Lately every time I talk to friends or family I get asked "what have you been up to lately?" I could answer this a number of ways, since I'm currently looking for a job I could bore them with all the job postings I'm either lacking a nursing degree for or am so over qualified for its painful, but its depressingly boring for me and seems cruel for the listener so I don't. I could talk about how we are on day 146 since the goats and sheep when to good friend Amanda's house to meet her lovely gentlemen and do the deed. Many of you know Shasta had complications and unfortunately lost her babies, This makes me worry about the other girls pregnancies. Shasta is feeling much better and is back to her sassy self. She will be headed back to see nice young buck named Lucky as soon as we can coordinate our schedules. I asked Shasta and she's ok with waiting until its not raining. For those who don't know goats take a dim view of rain. The rain might help grow things goats like to eat and provide water for them but as far as they're concerned its acid falling from the sky meant to kill them and make their lives miserable. Most goats won't step foot in it, I'd like to think my girls are willing to brave it to see me because they love me but its probably the grain I show up with, well and maybe the love too. Sheep don't care about rain, I'm not sure they notice weather at all.
Back to the impending motherhood, Matilda the sheep and Lily the bitch, I mean goat. Gestation is about 145 days plus or minus 5 days each way. Now goats and sheep have been having giving birth and raising babies since the dawn of time without the help of us monkeys but I'd like to be on hand just in case. Plus who doesn't want to see cute baby animals try to stand for the first time?
There are some tell tail signs of impending labor. Their udders start to "bag up" which is what is called when they fill up with milk, this can happen anywhere from hours after birth to weeks before. Their lady parts get bigger, swollen looking, and redder, again this can happen anywhere from hours to weeks before labor. Their bellies will drop as the kids and lambs get into position to be born. The ligaments that run alongside their tails will become soft and then disappear. There's this thing called a mucous plug, I won't describe it only that I'm anxiously awaiting its arrival because it'll mean active labor is next. Every time I'm outside I check on them for mucous plugs, swelling and redness, state of the ligaments. When I'm picking up duck eggs at 6:00 am, feeding ducks and chickens, 9:00 am, Feeding sheep and goats hay 11:00 am, letting them out for exercise/play/mug rabbits for their food 1:00-3:00 pm, feeding rabbits and collecting chicken eggs 4:00 pm, and feeding goats and sheep grain 6:00 pm.
When I'm not checking on them I'm reading everyone's opinions on signs of impending motherhood and what to do if complications arise. When I'm taking a break from reading about it I'm watching videos of people, with their hands in places it is not polite to talk about at the dinner table, untangle triplets and getting them all delivered safely. These videos are very gooey and not for the feint of heart. They all end the same way though, with an adorable baby laying in straw shaking her head while mother licks her dry.
So I could tell everyone: I follow my sheep and goats around staring at their lady parts, comparing them to pictures from a few days ago to see if they're different. I interrogate them as to when I might be needed so I can relax a little and stop dreaming about missing the whole thing or nightmares of everything going wrong. To ease my anxiety I'm watching gross videos on the miracle of life and rechecking my lambing kit.
Instead I settle on "Just doing the ranch stuff. Girls are due soon, can't wait to see the babies!"