At 3:45 am this morning, I awoke to a high-pitched wail that I could not place. At first I leaped out of bed and raced to the door thinking, “Oh god, who’s being killed now?” Usually when wakened at that hour, it is because a fox has gotten into the chicken or duck pen, or a cougar is considering cabrito for breakfast. It took a couple of bleary-eyed seconds, but I finally realized the call was a clear, ‘M-u-u-u-u-u-u-u-u-u-m, M-u-u-u-u-u-u-m!” I jumped into my boots, grabbed the flashlight and headed to the barn. Sure enough, Fatty-fat was standing there with three kids on the ground, one of them bleating continuously for attention.
One was still-born (or at least dead when I hit the scene). I took him out and placed him in a bucket for later disposal and returned to the nursery. I was eager to see if they would nurse successfully or not. Once that happened, I figured all would be well in the world. Once the babies had successfully suckled, I decided to leave mama and babes alone to bond in privacy, and left the nursery, with a view of burying the dead kid. However, Tui (my dog) had a better idea. She thought that the kid would make a delectable morning snack; there she was on the lawn, munching happily on what was left of the kid. Ah, well, the cycle and recycling of life. At least I now won’t have to worry whether or not I buried it deep enough that other predators can’t smell it!
So, although I didn’t get to see the actual birth as I’d hoped to, I did get to meet and greet these newborns within minutes of them being born. Shiraz is still pregnant so there is still a chance I’ll catch her in the act, here’s hoping!
One of my concerns this morning is the fact that Fatty’s afterbirth is still hanging from her behind. I’m not sure how long to wait for the rest of it to be born and/or cleaned up to be considered ‘normal’ (living 500 kms from the nearest Vet does have its disadvantages).