Goat Babies

It’s been a whirlwind week what with the new Biofuel Oasis opening up shop and both goats giving birth within a few days of each other.

novellabfoLast Tuesday Bebe came running out of the goat area looking crazy. Extra crazy. And then she started making the deep bleating noises that mean only one thing. I, exhausted from a marathon BFO construction weekend, ran around the house looking for all kinds of thing that I had now lost: iodine, washcloths, towels, beet pulp, molasses. Knowing Bebe, a pro with 4 births under her belt already, would be popping soon. She lay down and got back up for about an hour then started the real pushing. She yelled her head off, and I was reminded that birth is not fun and should not be a priority for me.

Finally, we saw a head poking out. A stuck-ish head and one hoof. Because normal position is two hooves and a nose. I couldn’t help myself, I broke the bag of fluid so I could talk to the head. It was a beautiful black and white La Mancha eared-head. “Ahhh,” it nickered. I cleaned off my hands and gently pushed the hoof back, and fished around for the second one. I couldn’t reach it. So, after another minute, and some intense bleating and pushing on Bebe’s part, and some gentle tugging on mine, Bebe finally got the thing out. These kids were huge compared to the straight Nigerian Dwarf kids.


Then out came the second one without issue. Bebe is the greatest mom ever, and she cleaned them off, made low mumbling noises and eagerly licked them while they nursed. Her udder is *enormous*. I breathed a sigh of relief–birth is very dramatic and scary, not unlike a death.

So, Bebe’s are: Eyore, a black and white speckled sweet boy. and Hedwig, a earless black and white girl who also has a weird extra thing on her vagina. These sexes are not ideal. I felt kind of sad the rest of the day. Yes, the birth went well, Bebe was healthy, and as cute as they are, these are not keeper goats if you’re in it for the milk.


That was Tuesday.

Friday, on the day of the grand opening of the BFO at 11am, Orla ran up to me at 9am with a quizzical expression and grunted. At least I could find everything I needed because the gear from Tuesday’s birth was still on the washing machine. I figured her labor might be short like Bebe’s. Around 1pm, with no signs of movement and lots of heavy breathing, I called Cotati Large Animal Veterinary. The nice lady vet talked me down when I confessed that Orla was having her first birth, she was slightly fat, and that I lived in downtown Oakland: “Has her water burst?” No. “Is she bleeding?” No. “Call me if her water breaks and there’s no progress.” It’s just so nice to talk to an expert (must remember to send a thank you card).


By 1:30, Orla was pushing and yeeeellling. I crouched next to her, offered her molasses water, and tried to facilitate the pushing by making dramatic facial expressions. Then, out squirted a spindly yellow thing. Dead. I thought. Because how can something look so skeletal and yellow and be alive? But then she coughed and I wiped her off. Orla, meanwhile, had one of those distant stares. She didn’t know this was her baby. I thought. I pulled on her collar–check out your baby! But she would have none of that. Bill came out to see the baby–an adorable blonde with blue eyes–and so did Bebe who couldn’t refuse the sound of a mewling kid. “There’s another one in there,” he said.

“No, she’s just fat,” I said. And stupid, I thought. I worried that she was like a neglectful teen mom. Visions of me doing 3 am bottle feedings flashed in my mind. Then another baby slide out. Twins! I couldn’t believe it because usually first timers have only one kid. After that one was out, Orla’s motherly instincts kicked in and she started cleaning up her girls.Both girls. Both blue-eyed. It was 3pm, I headed to the new Oasis. A good day to be born.


18 responses to “Goat Babies

  1. Wow, that thing looks awful in the first picture (like deformed or an extra limb or something) and cute as a button in the second picture. Quite the transformation. Goat babies! I’m fairly jealous. We may get around to adding meat rabbits this year. Or not. Next year: bees.

  2. Oh dear. I wonder if one of Orla’s babies would like to come live an illegal, but much loved, life in Sacramento. I’ve got goat envy!

  3. Wow! Congratulations! Go Bebe and Orla!


  4. Gee, and I thought birth was just a pain in the a$$ for hominids!

  5. Yay, so happy for you and the amazing mommas and kids! Hope to meet them on the next trip up north… do you have homes for the boys yet?

    Congrats on the new station, too!

  6. Sunny Beaver

    Yay for cute baby goats! Hopefully we’ll be checking out the new Oasis on our way out of town next week.

  7. Happy (belated) birthday, Eyore, Hedwig, and unnamed Orla’s babies

  8. WOW. What an amazing few days YOU’VE been having. Let’s see, you tripled your herd!

  9. awww! They’re so cute.

    Man, that sounds stressful! I’m about to have my first baby any day and your experience with the large animal vet you called sounds an awful lot like the human experience, I hate to say…

  10. That dead-looking baby reminds me of my second child, actually. She’s nine now, so it apparently is a common experience!

    They’re lovely; I’m glad both the girls came through well.

  11. ghosttownfarm

    thanks for all the warm wishes…and please–help me name the girls. remember, they arrived on may day so some worker’s name or spring time flower might be appropriate.

  12. In Celtic lore, May 1 is the celebration of fertility. Maybe a good tribute would be to name them Anu – the Celtic goddess of fertility – and Casseopeia – the constellation that is associated with her ;).

    And congratulations in the “kids”! I’d love to have goats on my little homestead in the suburbs, but my husband says no way. Instead we have chickens, and ducks, and our rabbits just had babies ;).

  13. They are AMAZING!

  14. Yay for baby goats.
    Having recently had a baby at home myself, I have to honestly report the birth was a very exciting adventure and very cool.
    I bet after your 20th goat birth, it won’t be so scary.

  15. Here in the mountains in Central Oregon, my first hyacinth bloomed on May Day…how about Hyacinth for one of the girls?

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  17. As someone who birthed a human at home, I love reading birth stories ( of any species, apparently) and find it reassuring that non-human mammals make noise too! After reading more of your blog I’m guessing your goats live on your city lot?? Boy, do I feel like a whiner now. Still, any source of knowledge for a wannabe goat owner would be appreciated. I am impressed and inspired!

  18. ghosttownfarm

    hi nicole;
    it’s really about finding a goat mentor. if you are really serious, find someone to be your mentor and buy your goats from them. my friend jim has had goats on his smallish property for 10 years, and they are doing fine. he takes them out for walks and is diligent about cleaning their areas. in your case, you have enough space for a few regular sized goats. they need good housing, strong fences. buy good stock, and make sure they don’t have any diseases (actually look at a vet’s lab results). i love my nigerians, but they don’t make a huge amount of milk. there’s a new book out called living with goats that is good. but really any of the storey books are fine, too. good luck!

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