Beginning Life at the Woodstove


March 12, 2013

2013 Kids: Day 3
Part 1

It’s 5:30am the day after daylight savings time has begun.  Seems like it should be spring, but really, it is late winter and the morning temperature is proof.  Belinda is ahead of me heading out to the barn.  The night was too short, but there are kids being born and our curiosity has gotten the better of us—More times than not, the does and babies do just fine without us intruding.

We divide the barn into two sections this time of year.  One side is where we place the does who are going to birth any moment and everyone else spends the night on the other side.  Entering the barn we see none of the does who we thought were on the verge of kidding kidded.  But on the other side, well, sure enough one of the first-time does who we did not expect to birth had two kids on the ground.

First timers have a habit of having one kid, cleaning it up, and then before she knows it she is birthing all over again.  So, she gets up walks around, lies down and has another kid—a good fifteen feet from the first one.  She gets to work cleaning the second baby, but by the time she is done cleaning-up the second kid, she’s forgotten about the first.  That is the case this morning.  The first kid laid flat to the ground, cold through and through.

Figuring the first kid is dead, we got mom and the second kid into a pen where we warmed him up and got him on mom’s teat.  Then we went back to the first.  Picking it up, the kid folded over Belinda’s hand like a cloth napkin.  She took it to the other side of the barn to leave it for burial later.  As she laid it down she checked it one more time and said, “David, I think it’s still breathing.”  It was, and its eye’s still had the clarity of life.

We milked the doe and took the baby up to the house.  There Belinda placed her in a sink full of warm water.  After she has warmed, Belinda took her out of the sink, wiped her down and placed her in front of the woodstove.  Then with a small rubber tube in hand, Belinda threaded it down the kid’s throat to it stomach.  After filling a syringe with milk, she attached it to the tube and fed the baby—this went on a couple of times throughout the morning.

About that time Kate arrived and for the remainder of the morning Kate and Belinda worked on a grant in front of the stove while feeding and massaging the baby to get its muscles moving.

By noon, a grant for the My Future extended learning program was finished and the baby was back with mom.  The day had just begun.

© David B. Bell 2013


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