A little bit of perfect arrived on our little farm the other night.
We went out to feed at 6:30 and could tell Justice was starting to go into labor, but she lacked all the signs that would have made us think she was very close to delivering. She had torn up the barn stall, digging up the straw and creating little 'nests', but she still ate like she was starved and wasn't dilated or having noticeable contractions. But when we went out again in an hour to see if she'd progressed, there were two tiny baby goats in the pen with her. The little boy came first, standing on wobbly legs next to his mama. The baby girl had just been born and wasn't even standing yet.
We were sad to have missed the birth, but thrilled that she had no trouble and didn't need us. Both babies eventually stood up, and it wasn't long until they started nursing.
Justice is a wonderful mother, and knew exactly what needed to be done.
We helped dry them off just a little bit, but she did most of the work. She didn't mind having us in there with her, holding them and petting them and working with them a bit, though as soon as a barn cat comes near she threatens to butt it across the stall.
We stayed out for a couple of hours, making sure they were nursing and showing them the warming barrel where they could sleep (and dry off some more. Wet babies plus a cold night is a little disconcerting.) Within two hours, they were hopping around on their shaky newborn legs, reaching around and then falling down only to get up and try again. We could have stayed and watched longer, but by then it was long past bedtime for little girls, and they were cold and tired.
The girls are both thrilled, as is to be expected. Chloe got all teary as she watched Aurora stand for the first time. Cora was shaking with excitement. As soon as we dipped their cords and determined their genders, Cora announced their names - apparently she had had their names planned for some time and had just been waiting to tell us what they would be. Aurora, you know, is Sleeping Beauty's name, and Phillip is her prince. Okay, so it's not my first pick, but it'll do. Chloe has adopted Phillip as her very own, and he's already taken to following her around the stall and nudging her leg when he wants his head scratched.
Aurora immediately became Cora's, and while she is not so fond of being petted, she seems to love being held close to her girl's chest.
For two goats who came from the same mama and daddy, they sure do look different. Phillip has long, floppy ears like a nubian with a cream colored head and spots. He's stocky, the larger of the two.
Aurora is dainty and nearly pure white, with tiny la mancha ears, like a little pixie.
Phillip is outgoing and playful, sticking his nose between the slats to sniff the dogs or trying to get Liberty to play with him (much to Justice's chagrin.) Aurora is more shy, preferring to stay nearer her mama, occasionally jumping around but only half-heartedly. It's like she's trying to pretend to be grown up, while he's all rough-and-tumble little boy.
While we were waiting to see whether Jussie would have boys or girls, the expectation was that we would keep a girl, but would either eat or sell any boys. Yeah, well. That was before we saw Phillip. There is No Way I am eating him. I've just accepted that we now have two more goats. Besides, Chloe loves him. Clearly, we're going to have to work on this attachment thing. It's not so bad with feathered animals, but these furry ones melt your heart the moment you set eyes on them!
Welcome to the farm, Aurora and Phillip!