Thursday, March 13, 2014

Delia and Eva...

Not everyone is a Facebook user so we thought it was about time for a farm update!  The last few weeks we have been focused on running a maternity ward as well as starting all our seeding preparations.

At the end of February Delia one of our Berkshire sows thought it would be a good idea to farrow.  At this stage on previous years the days are normally getting a little warmer and the nights are not as cold, but Delia felt that she needed to farrow on a -23 morning in the barn.  We don't have electricity in our barn so if I say we did start to worry it is an under statement.  Our barn is an old bank barn which is located down a hill and on the other side of the stream.  Lots of things go through your mind on what we could do but sadly nothing was possible.  So we gave Delia loads of bedding and she basically burrowed down into the earth floor we have in our barn and built a huge nest for her and the babies.  Every morning we would go down to our barn with some trepidation to what we might find!  We would see heat raising from the nest, Delia emerging and nine little snouts grunting away.  Our beautiful girl has done an amazing job of raising these little guys who are now as of this morning running a muck around the barn!  Ina is due to farrow on Monday and then we do get a little piggy break as Nigella is not due till August! 

A week later Eva one of our does was due to kid.  This is our second kidding season and last year to be honest it was all a bit of a blur.  Elly kidded and just over 24 later so did Eva.  This year the girls heat cycles where slightly out of sink which meant that Eva would kid and Elly will be kidding two weeks later.  Nigerians are typically known for kidding at 145 days and that was true for last year.  But as we know any one year is not the same as another.  On day 144 Eva started to become distant from the others and craving attention.  So we made the decision to walk her down to the kidding pen.  All the goats took a nice morning stroll to the summer kitchen that Michael had turned into a luxury kidding pen with heat lamps and two kidding areas.  I think our goats thought they where in the lap of luxury as they all sprawled out under separate heat lamps.  Then for the next seven nights, one which was spent sleeping on the sofa and another actually sleeping in the kidding pen (trust me my Christmas list to Santa this year is going to be for a wireless camera!!) we took it in turns getting up and checking on her on a regular basis.  As the fatigue set in with lack of sleep I came to remember my sisters two pregnancies and when she had had enough it involved hot curries and driving over spend bumps really really fast! Which actually did help! So we did contemplate putting Eva in a truck and going for a drive! Thankfully on Monday (150days) she started to get very vocal and obviously uncomfortable. By 8pm she had had enough, breathing was getting deeper, she was becoming more focused and even more uncomfortable but she was still not showing any signs of labour starting.  Michael slept on the sofa and kept popping in to check on us as I was sleeping in the kidding pen to be near by. At 4am my straw bed had gone firm so I headed back into the house.  I think I had been in for about 30 minutes when one huge scream followed by another came ringing through the walls of the summer kitchen into our kitchen.  By the time I got back to her a head and two hooves were presenting. After two more pushes and a couple more screams the first one was out.  Between Eva and I we got the little buckling cleaned up, on his feet and nursing within 20 minutes. After that Eva laid down, then came another couple of screams and another head and hooves appeared.  Kid number two was with us and within a minute she started to push again and another head and two hooves appeared. By this point it was all hands on deck as Michael and I cleaned up the last two kids with some help from Eva.  Our little Eva bear is now a proud mother to three very healthy buckling's.  It is now time for us to catch up on some sleep and get ready for Elly who is due in just over a weeks time.  More pictures of Eva's triplets can be found on our Facebook page.

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