Last Wednesday I was on my bus run when Mom called me. She was worried about Dad because he had become very weak all of a sudden. She said that she got him to the bed and that he was resting. I told her that since he was resting I would finish up late bus then Raymond and I would go down and Raymond would help me get him in the car and we would go and get him checked out. She sounded pretty scared.
I finished up late bus and got home. I called Raymond and he was on his way. Our angora goats had been outside all day. It was very cold. We did not have a barn built for them yet so I brought the goats into the old shed attached to our house and gave them their supper. Soon after that Raymond arrived and we jumped in the car. We went to get Mom and Dad. I took Dad to the hospital and Raymond took Mom and Dad's car back home to our place since he had to go and milk the cows.
Everything went well at the hospital. At 8:50 we were almost home. I called Raymond. I wanted to get him to meet us at Dad's house with Dad's car. But when he answered the phone he suggested that I come home right away; that he had to leave to go and fix Bobby's tractor. He believed that one of our does, Robinia, was in labour. Robin (Robinia the doe goat) had a water bubble. He had put her in the little stall with a heat lamp. Dad said, "I feel fine. Let's all go up to your place. I'd like to see the baby."
We arrived a few minutes later and went inside to see “Robin”. She was placidly eating her hay and there was no sign of a baby. After a short visit with Robin, Mom and Dad decided they would go back home. I went to see them off. As soon as I was out of Robin’s sight, she began to scream. I immediately ran back to her and she calmed right down. Just then, I noticed that there was an afterbirth about the size of my hand behind her. After just a few minutes, she let out another. I picked them both up and put them in the wheelbarrow. Now I was confused. The afterbirths tell me that the baby is born. I looked at her. She did look somewhat slim. I felt a sudden wave of adrenaline. I looked around her pen and then looked into the big pen where the other goats were. There were no signs of a baby.
I pulled over a bail of hay, sat next to her, and talked to her for about a half an hour. It was very quiet. I got up and put some old beach towels into the dryer to warm them up...just in case. I started the dryer and suddenly felt a second wave of panic - I thought that maybe she had had it outside and that I was in a hurry to go to Mom and Dad’s and didn't notice that Robin had had her baby. I grabbed my long powerful flashlight, the one that I use to check the bus with, and went outside. It was about -17C so cold. Thoughts of a frozen kid goat lying in the snow crossed my mind as I followed the goat tracks. I looked very carefully everywhere but there was no baby. I could hear Robin inside screaming for me. I went back inside and took my place next to her. I must have been wrong. Maybe they were not afterbirths at all. I felt confused and scared. Then, what could they be? They sure looked like afterbirths to me; what about the baby, there should be a baby. It was now 11PM. Two hours had gone by since I arrived. Raymond was not back yet. He would definitely know. He has delivered calves all his life. He will be home soon.
All of a sudden I heard a tiny baby voice call for its mother. I leapt to my feet as if someone kicked me. I looked under Robin who, by now, was calling for her baby. Where is the baby!? I heard it cry again. It sounded like it was in the other pen with the goats. I jumped into the pen were the others were. I looked under goats, under the water tank, and in every corner of the pen. I heard it cry again! It sounded like it was near the freezer. I got out of the pen and looked around the freezer and behind some boxes. I heard it cry again. Oh My Goodness! It sounded like it was outside near the door. I grabbed my flashlight and ran outside into the cold. My body was trembling with adrenaline and panic. There was no baby out here.
I could hear Robin inside screaming and screaming. I ran back to her. The baby cried again! It sounded like it was with the big goats again! I thought I was going nuts. The adrenalin was rushing. I leapt over the railing into the big pen. Robin was hysterical. I was moving the goats and making them get up so that I could see underneath them. "Baby!” I called,” Where are you?" It cried again. It sounded near the freezer again. As I left the goats, I remembered that there was a grill in the floor near the freezer. Raymond had installed it to let some heat up from the woodstove in the basement. Maybe it somehow fell into the grill. I ran near the freezer, took out the grill and leaned into the hole up to my belly. I searched around with the flashlight but I did not see a baby. It was very quiet under there. A thick supporting beam ran the length of the building and I was unable to see on the other side of it. I felt panicked; my mind was racing.
I stood up and tried to collect my thoughts. I was having a thousand thoughts a second. I could hear the baby. It is born. Now I have to find it. By now, Robin was utterly hysterical. She was screaming and screaming. Were would a newborn go? Then I remembered a tiny hole, not too far from the gate, where the water hose brings water to the tip-tank. It was a very tiny hole about the size of a computer mouse. I thought, "Could it be! Could the kid have fallen into that tiny hole?" I laid my ear to the little hole and waited. Then, I heard a weak little discouraged cry. I grabbed the edge of the hole and literarily ripped a board off with my bare hands. The adrenalin was pumping and I ripped off another board and another.
I peered into the hole with my flashlight. I could see something. It looked like a dusty rag. I called out, "Baaybeee!" The rag responded and I saw a tiny foot move. It was too far so I grabbed a hammer and began to rip out a few more boards. I still could not quite reach. I pried off one more board. I leaned inside and set the flashlight on the ground. I stretched and felt the tiny foot with the end of my fingertips...got him! I pulled him just a bit closer and then I lifted him up. It was a boy and he was quite big. How could he have fallen into that tiny hole? I laid him down under the heat lamp. Robin was so glad she began talking to him and licking his nose.
I took a couple of clean rags and rubbed some of the dirt off. He was so cold. His legs were just like Popsicles! I ran and got the warm towels from the dryer and I filled a couple of 2L milk jugs with hot water and set them up under the towels. I then laid him on top to help warm him up. I milked Robin a little. I put the milk in a bottle and heated it up just a bit more. I gave it to him and he caught on right away. I put him on Robin and he filled his belly. I decided to name him Urian. He was still so cold. I gave him a shot of selenium and vitamin E.
Just then Raymond came in. I told him what happened. He was surprised. He thinks that she must have given birth before he moved her to the little stall. He asked me if she had had twins last year. I said yes she had two boys, Tony and Triden. I showed him the afterbirths. She must have had twins again. He took my flashlight and dived into the hole. He crawled around under the floor. He searched to see if he could find another baby. He was under there for at least ten minutes. Well, I guess Urian is the only baby this year. He is big. Maybe she gave birth to only one, even though my gut told me that there were two. We boarded up the hole. I called up Mom and Dad and told them the story. We stayed with Robin and Urian until about 1:30AM to make sure that they settled in.
The next morning I did not go into work right away. I was scheduled to go in at noon. I was dressed for work and I was making myself a green tea around 10:15AM when I thought I heard a baby cry. I went into the shed. The baby was sound asleep. That was strange. All of a sudden, I heard it again. "NO WAY!!!" I ripped up the floorboards again and grabbed my flashlight.
I dived into the hole in my good work clothes. I was wearing a sweater with a second sweater that had a zippered front layered over it. I am so claustrophobic but because the flashlight was so bright it made that little crawl space seem bigger than 14". I crawled around on my belly looking everywhere. I worked so hard to be brave. The floor trusses were catching my hair and the cobwebs were clinging to my face. "Baaaybeee!” I called out, “Where are you? I know you are here! Talk to me!!" Then I heard a cry way up at the other end - another 20 feet away. I crawled and fumbled over the uneven ground. I felt around and touched a very soft furry body. “Oh baby, there you are!” I exclaimed. It was a little girl!
She had fallen into a hole that was about a foot deep near the outside foundation. This is why Raymond was unable to find her last night. She was lying upside down with her head folded completely backward under her body. Her back legs were pointing straight up. I felt so bad for her; the poor little thing. I was still lying on my stomach and somehow managed to take off my zipper sweater. I draped it over her and pulled her out of the hole. I set her down near my face. Strangely, she felt warm. I inched my way back towards the opening. We gently inched along with her all cuddled up and warm in my sweater, just ahead of me . I wiggled up out of the opening then I reached in and lifted her out. I then carried her over to Robin.
The baby began to cry for her mother. Robin looked at me. "What is that!!?" The baby was so muddy and dirty, eager for milk and just screaming. She definitely wanted to live and she wanted to be accepted by her mama. She was eagerly rooting around Robin looking for the place to nurse. Robin seemed confused. She stepped back and smelled her and then smelled Urian who was still asleep. I left her with Robin for a minute while I warmed up some of Robin's milk. I offered the baby some milk from a bottle and she guzzled it right down. She wanted more. Robin wasn't too sure about this new baby so I held her gently so that the baby could drink her fill. After she drank, Robin became curious but didn't appear motherly.
Just then, Mom and Dad came in. "Guess what else I found." I said with glee. They were so surprised. I told them how I found her 14 hours after she was born. I was all dirty. I told Dad that I wasn't sure that Robin would accept her. I felt that the bonding time had pretty much passed. I sat down on a bail with a clean rag and took the baby into my lap. I began to clean some of that mud off her nose and cheeks. I decided to name her Ulani. As I was washing her face, I chatted with Mom and Dad. I didn't notice Robin becoming upset. Suddenly, Robin took a mouthful of my hair and gave it a good yank. Dad burst out laughing. "Well, you just got your answer." Dad laughed. It appears that as I began to give Ulani some attention, Robin began to feel possessive. Ulani was her baby and I had better not forget it!
Was Raymond ever surprised when he got home that afternoon. If I wouldn't have been home from work, Ulani would have surely died and we wouldn't have known she even existed. The temperature had dipped down to -23C that night. It is amazing that she lived at all. Urian and Ulani are doing great. They jump, run and play. We have since built them a nice barn...with a dirt floor.
Robinia's Baby Story
By Teresa Michaud
The sweetest mother in the world - Robinia; with one week old kids. Ulani (on the left) and Urian (on the right).
Robin and newly born Urian
It is quite a story so you should get yourself a cup of tea and enjoy.
I will have to give you just a little bit extra info to set it up a bit before we get into the actual story. This could one day become an exciting novel (^_^)
Three goat stories on this page:
1.Beautiful Mohair-A short note about the first time Raymond and I ever clipped an angora goat.
2.Robinia's Baby Story- An exciting true story about our first birth of the year 2008.
3.Utah Finds the Stairway-
Utah, a busy little kid-goat. Need I say more?
One of my doe goats had twin boys. She only accepted one of them. I guess she felt that one was all that she could handle for now. After a couple of days holding her so that Utah, the rejected kid, could fill his tummy; I decided that I would have to bottle feed him. Utah lives with the goats so that he can still be a part of the group. He learns to do goat things and learns to avoid the big goats. He also hangs out with his twin brother. His mother tolerates him but does not mother him at all.
Mom and Dad came over wednesday night. They are both in their 80s and very active. They wanted to see the baby goats. It was time to give Utah his evening milk before he goes to bed for the night. He is only a week and a half old so I figured there would be no harm in bringing him into the house and letting him hop around a little in the kitchen. That way Mom and Dad could enjoy watching him play without having to go into the barn. The stairway is located in the kitchen. Utah immediately found the steps to go upstairs. He walked up the first and second step and paused. He turned his head to look at us and then went up one more step to the landing. He walked around a little on the landing and looked at us again. Then there was a mischievous twinkle in his eye and up the steps he went. Dad was right there and went after him. Dad carried him back down. I then gave Utah his bottle of milk. We petted him a little and off he went hopping around the kitchen and down the hall and back. He looked as if he had springs in his knees. Then he zooomed up the steps again. Dad was hot on his heels. A couple of minutes later Dad returned with Utah in his arms. "Boy, he is some busy." he exclaimed.
I guess it's time to put the baby to bed.
Utah Finds the Stairway
By Teresa Michaud
Giddy-up Go, Mama!!!
Hey, Tridon! How do we make her go?
I donno, I think she's sleeping...
Mother Robin with her kids - Toni and Tridon.
(Actual picture!) - "Robin seemed confused. She smelled her and then smelled Urian who was still asleep."
This story was published by "Goats Across Canada" Magazine February 2009.
for more of my true stories
5 day old Bottle babies Zayden, Ziva and Zelda playing on the old couch while we were bringing in the containers.
A story about the first time Raymond and I ever clipped an angora goat.
Raymond and I clipped Rockie today. We took our time since we didn't want to cut him and we weren't too sure how he was shaped under there. He seemed to be boney like a real milking goat. Not so round like a sheep is. There was a lot of fleece. It took quite a while to do. After we finished, Rockie kept looking at himself. It was really funny. He kept looking at his legs and his body. He was soo white!! We weighed his fleece and it weighed over eight pounds! He is so tiny!! He seems to feel so good. He is jumping around and he is all hyper! It must be like taking off a cast. He isn't huffing and puffing anymore either. The others didn't recognize him at first, then they all crowded around him. They were smelling him and it was as if they were asking Rockie what happened to him. They soon found out - as they each had their turns - one by one.
I have three more wash tubs with some of the fleece soaking in it. I'll let it soak over night. You couldn't begin to imagine how soft it is. Mom, Dad and Raymond were right here and were admiring the fleece that I washed yesterday. I told them to put their hands on it and everyone had the same reaction, "Oh my God it is so soft!"
Rococo (Rockie) - Two weeks after his first yearling clip.
Banyon's First Meal
You can hear how yummy it is.