So the next of the first group of does to be due has kidded. Any guesses who it might have been? Here was a picture from the 31st...
If you guessed the brown doe on the far left, give yourself a cookie. You got it. I ran up to the farm yesterday to give Chuck a quick hand with the CD&Ts for all the does due to kid in March. As we aways do, we spent a moment doing a stare and compare at the top area does, hoping one would get down to business while we were there to watch from a distance. The goats, who are generally disagreeable creatures no matter what some say, did not comply. I mentioned to Chuck that UPS (the brown doe) had had her udder fill in the past two days, but upon palpation, her ligaments were the tightest of the three in this bunch. Just goes to show, there is a different "normal" for each individual, just like there is for people. Not that I would know much about "normal." There are of course some signs that are "typical" but within the definition of typical there is still a huge range when comparing one individual to another.
This leads me to the next part of the post - what to do with a very large male dog who apparently wants to be a momma. I got a call from Chuck about 2am this morning, because when he arrived at the farm to do checks, he found UPS wandering around hollering for kids, and the kids, who were dry, hollering and looking for... Bo. It would appear, using circumstantial evidence, that Bo must have cleaned the kids himself and interfered with the bonding process. I suggested he smear the kids on any fluids left on UPS's hind end (pleasant, I know) and then allow her to clean them so maybe they could start from scratch. What he ended up managing was to tie her, so the kids could nurse, and when she looked around and saw that these were her kids and not puppies, she happily started licking them and everybody but Bo was happy. Obviously, we are going to have to watch him closely, since he goes over or under any fence to be with this particular group of does. We will have to remind him to back off, since the doe can't do much in that particular vulnerable moment. If anyone has been through this, we would welcome suggestions about how best to do this. He respects the does otherwise, and I have seen CB plow into him from the side, and toss his considerable body up and into the side of the hay feeder like he was a chihuahua so I have a good idea why. Since I was wide awake, I googled and found a few other people say that they have had young male LGDs do this, so we will try to help him through this learning curve. Not long after, Chuck heard the din of coyotes at the bottom of the farm. He drove down to investigate, and Bo had already joined Ralph in that field and the two of them had rounded up the does into a bunch and were barking back at the coyotes. Have I mentioned I really hate coyotes?
Last year UPS had one giant (and I do mean giant) buckling. G was 13 lbs at birth (not exactly a good thing), but even as a first timer she had no trouble delivering him. This year, she had twins - a buckling and a doeling, both over 9 lbs. As you can see from her picture, she was wide, but not huge. I think she just has the ability to carry more kid weight than some others without looking extremely large or having it slow her down at all. Some does are like me - they waddle around in late pregnancy and seem to have all sorts of aches and pains. UPS hardly seems to slow down at all, though. I wish I could have said the same!