Mother’s Day came early for Snowball, our snow-white banty hen. Of course, we are enamored by the adorable Nermal (yes, I am serious), marveling at her weigh-nothingness and her tiny peeping but Snowball is really the one to be admired. Sacrificing food and water to keep her egg warm for three weeks, shading baby from the sun’s heat, and clucking softly to it to just let it know . . . Mom is here — she is the one who reminds us of the God-given “I will peck your eyes out if you hurt my baby” instinct. Happy Mother’s Day, everyone.
They are the words that every livestock breeder dreads: “You need to go in.” No, YOU need to go in. Not me. Not this city-girl-turned-hobby-farmer. But, when faced with the alternative, you do what you gotta do. I guess.
Rewind to the beginning . . . Fay started kidding this afternoon. We were ready. Except only one of us was here but that was okay. First baby out, no problem. A little buckling.
Second baby out, not so easy but all’s well that ends well. An absolutely GORGEOUS precious, pure white baby girl.
But what came next was really the miracle. Baby #3 wasn’t making an appearance. It had been too long and the advice was, “You need to go in.”
And do WHAT, exactly?
Cut to the chase . . . Wendy gloved up and lubed up and went in. And in. And in. And in. Too many times to count. To no avail. Vet was called. Another hour to wait would mean certain disaster. As it was, baby was probably dead. Our objective now was to save Fay and, possibly, any other babies. Friend was called. An amazing, incredible friend whose willingness to drop everything and come and offer a fresh supply of determination probably meant the difference between a happy ending and a devastating one. Ten minutes later, she arrived and, with gifted hands (although I am pretty sure this was a first time experience for her), she finally pulled out baby.
It was alive. After two hours of being stuck.
Very floppy, but alive in all of his amazing wonderfulness.
Lilac’s buckling, affectionately referred to as “Cornflake” (what can I say? It stuck.) has won the hearts of a few girls around here.
Poppy’s labor began in the morning. She began pushing around 3:00 pm and two gorgeous babies (one of each) were born soon after.
On Friday, March 1, she began having difficulty walking. We thought, pinched nerve, babies making her uncomfortable.
By Friday night, we figured labor could begin soon, so we slept in the barn (which essentially means we DIDN’T sleep).
Saturday morning, not only was labor not progressing, but something seemed wrong, so we called out the vet who diagnosed her with ketosis — and said we need to get those babies out. He induced labor and gave her a slew of supportive meds and told us to wait for babies to come. Easy to say, hard to do.
She went downhill all day until we made the decision to take her to Banks Vet Clinic for (most likely) a C-section. Loading an unwilling 80 pounds into the car isn’t so easy, but we did it.
And it was a good thing we did. Dr. Steve said she wouldn’t have lasted much longer. Four babies all born alive but very weak.
And Jazzy with Big Brother (any name suggestions?) snoozing happily.
Mama Lilac is a fighter. She survived the surgery and is working to regain strength in her hind legs due to severe calcium deficiency (four babies took a lot out of her). We have a long way to go and are very thankful for that two babies and Lilac survived. I don’t recall these kinds of stories in the idyllic Country Living magazing articles . . .
Poppy is due in one week.
We have discovered that Puff has a weak right leg. She falls over easily and ends up on her back, unable to get up, resulting in her being unable to eat or drink regularly. So we check on her frequently, turn her over if needed and give her Physical Leg Therapy (supported walking on a towel and swimming) several times per day. Which is kinda fun for her therapists (so far) . . .