Robyn Scherer: From the Edge of the Ring 6-4-12
Every spring, new babies of all species are born in meadows and barns. New mothers lick their young, and they take their first breaths and steps in life. This is by far my favorite part of raising livestock, as newborn animals are so incredibly pure.
When I attended my first goat show last year, I saw one breed of dairy goat that I thought was adorable, and told myself that I would one day one them. That goat was the Nigerian Dwarf goat.
Last December, I had the opportunity to look at a couple of does that were for sale, and picked one out for myself that I would pick up in January after she was bred.
That is when I brought home Mattie, a tan and white beautiful doe. She was tiny compared to my other goats, and full of personality. Her ultrasound showed that she was due at the end of May with triplets, and I couldn’t wait to meet those babies.
The next several months was a lot of waiting, while watching Mattie’s belly get bigger and bigger. Finally, on the 20th of May, I brought her into the kidding pen, to wait for the arrival of her babies.
On the 24th, I checked her udder in the morning, and she looked like she was not quite ready to kid. That afternoon about 4:45, I heard the distinct cry of a baby.
At first I wondered if my new addition, Texas Tornado, a purebred LaMancha, had come up with yet another sound to make. Over the course of the first week I had her, she demonstrated five different noises, with the most interesting sound being one that sounded like a cross between a goose and a cat.
I headed out to the pen to check, and to my amazement three little adorable babies were lying there, just old enough to cry. Mattie was licking them off, and they were starting to stretch their legs and try to move.
I picked them up and put them on fresh towels, to get them out of the afterbirth and straw. I continued to watch as Mattie cleaned and dried them, and as they struggled to stand.
After only a short 45 minutes, the biggest baby, a buck, was on his feet and taking his first steps. He was finally moving, and found what he was looking for – Mattie’s udder.
He took his first couple of drinks, and then began nursing vigorously. The other two babies, another buck and a doe, were struggling to their feet at this time as well, and were soon nursing with the first buck.
I watched as these little miracles gained strength and vigor, and were soon running around the pen. The biggest buck decided to try and see if he could also nurse from Tornado, obviously still a little confused about who his mother was.
He learned very quickly this was not OK, and was soon back to his mother’s side. I spent the next few hours watching them play and nurse, and finally settle down and sleep with their mother. I let them be, and went to the task of deciding what to name them.
The next morning when I checked on them, the big buck was jumping on his mother’s back, and the other two were chasing each other around the pen. They were so adorable, and it just amazed me how these little 2-pound babies already had me so in love.
I thought about many of the people who own and show Nigerians, and many of the people who show them are children. That got me thinking about names that would fit the goats, and it suddenly dawned on me.
I decided to name the doeling Jasmine, the colored buck Aladdin and the big buck Abu. I’ve always loved the movie, and the names just seemed to fit these little babies. The big buck reminded me of a monkey in the way that he played, so it just seemed to fit.
The babies are now healthy and doing well, and spend most of their day running, playing, nursing and sleeping. Whenever I have a rough day or get frustrated, I can look at those little babies and they always bring a smile to my face.
That is one thing about animals, whether it is livestock that are shown, commercial animals or family pets: they love you unconditionally. They don’t hold grudges, and always listen when you need someone to talk to.
I can’t imagine my life without these animals. I can’t wait to see what my little Jasmine, Aladdin and Abu will grow into, and the lives they will live. I can’t wait until Jasmine is big enough to show with Mattie, and who knows, maybe some day she can win a ribbon.
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