Whoa, I think she's taking this pregnancy too far, don't you. Look how huge she's gotten and I thought she was big last year. This photo was take a week before her due date, next Tuesday. If you think she's wide, you should see how deep she goes downward. It's like she has swollowed a humungous augh.... what? What's this big?
Standing next to Chicory is her daughter Contessa who is a yearling and due in four weeks from when this photo was taken. She's good sized but her mom well, I'm afraid she's going to have more than three. I know there are lots of goat owners that read this blog, what's your opinion? Is she fat or full, full, full of babies. I'm worried about her for you don't see that distinct tale tell lopsidedness that comes when the babies shift to one side or the other of her spine. That's what has me wondering if she is just packed full with no room for them to move around much. I've only had one goat before that had quads. She was older, not three like Chicory, and a larger goat being that she was a good sized Saanen. The gal we bought Chicory from was almost appologetic because she had just a single her first year. Oh my is she making up for that. Last year it was triplets and this year, well...what do you think? I've delivered kids, lambs, puppies (that was not fun, I'll have to tell you about it sometime- remind me.), piglets, calves, and aided foals after deliver, but I'm still a bit nervous. I encountered things I've never dealt with during Chicory's last deliver and just what I'm up against this time I don't know. Now I'm wishing mightily that I could put in a request, I'd ask for twins as there's plenty of milk and a faucet for each kid. As a benefit for me, the doe produces more milk than if she were to have a single and that means more milk after the kids quits nursing for our family. If the doe has triplets, she typically produces even more milk still but I can't sneak some milk here and there for our family like I do with twins because the kids need it all. Now quads, that means a higher risk pregnancy and delivery. I have to be present because legs become intertwined and often two kids compete to exit first. Or one or two and sometimes all three kids are headed out breach.
With a triplet delivery, I once had two kids each with a hoof sticking out at the same time. No matter how hard the doe pushed the exit door just wasn't big enough for two to leave side by side. I of course didn't know the hooves belonged to two kids and became confused when I tugged on them but no nose appeared. As I slipped my fingers up inside to investigate, I found two noses instead of one which caused me to chuckle. Now mind you the goat didn't think it too funny as I promptly pushed both kids back inside. Yup, if I could have interpreted that beller of hers and the dirty look she gave me, I'm sure it was a string of goat cuss words that would have stripped the paint off a car. Can't blame her after all that painful work and then to have me shove the kids back in. She probably thought she had to start all over. But it wasn't but a minute or two and I had those two kids repositioned and pulled them out one at a time, then I went back in looking for their sibling. The doe was pretty tired by then and I figured she'd had enough.
I can handle this situation but what will Chicory throw at me this year. Quads is beyond triplets by a ways and raises the risk level a great deal. It isn't so for pigmys as quads is pretty common but not as much so for dairy goats. There is also a question of having enough milk and so I hope Chicory is just extra fat this time and she has three inside, not four. I'll have to keep a close eye on her as other things are raising my concern. Her udder isn't nearly as full as I think it should be at this point, plus her tail head is barely beginning to soften and loosen. Wouldn't you think she would go early if not late? Now I've had a few does who's udder filled while they were in labor so she just might decide to do that this time. Then again I've had a couple pregnacies on does where their udder filled two days after giving birth. Not a good thing.
Last time of course Chicory's udder was very full before she kidded and I suppose she's just doing this to keep my attention pinned on her, making sure I'll be there to hold her hand, or rather hoof as she labors away. I wish animals would set a pattern for delivery but often each one is different. Though I have had does that always went on 150 or 151 days, which is nice. One thing is common though and that is the increase in Braxton Hixes with each pregnancy. Some of our older does and ewes drove me crazy as I thought countless times they were in labor and I got up at night to check them to find them peacefully chewing their cud. Our old ewe Lorna was horrible about them. She'd labor 12 hours before she'd lamb and spent a couple weeks sometimes in intense false labor pawing, getting up and down, and even sinking in in the flanks. Now her lambs were 12 to 14 pounds a piece and she had a large number of triplets. Which meant 36 pounds of lambs she was carrying. She was a LARGE ewe.
That is what Chicory was having last night as I shoveled the pile of sawdust from her pen into the pickup truck. Usually I keep it picked up but doing chores with our youngest waiting in the car, because it is too cold for her outside, has dictated that I make short cuts. Only shorter for the moment because in the end it still has to be done. So while the kids were with their mom, I was down there a while collecting a few months worth of bedding while Chicory moaned and groaned and pawed the ground frequently. Yup, the next month and a half will be busy and interesting. As you can see, Contessa on the far left will have twins or please no, triplets, as the greatest growth time for the kids is in the next few weeks; and Katarina in the middle will have a single or twins as she has by far the smallest belly. She is also the littlest doe and I'm sure I'll end up selling her this year if Chicory has does. I know I'll just have to keep one. Chicks are due the beginning of May, I'm working on the garden, and those yaks, well, we'll see what we do.