Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Goat Obstetrics

Because the sonograms showed that Blossom and Alsiki aren't pregnant, I took them to the vet today to get a hormone shot called Lutalyse that should bring them into heat in the next week or so.

I felt silly about not giving the shots myself, since I've given goats dozens of shots before. But when I ordered the injections over the phone yesterday, I was given some weird warnings: not to give the shot myself if I have allergies, and to wear gloves and be sure not to get any of the stuff on my skin. Then I looked on the web and learned that if a pregnant woman touches the stuff she will miscarry.

I am anything but pregnant, but I had visions of the goat jumping up at the crucial moment and knocking the syringe out of my hand, causing it to fly through the air and land point down on some exposed part of my body, which would in turn make all my hair fall out.

In short, I chickened out and let the vet do it. She told me that not long ago she was walking around with a forgotten bottle of Lutalyse in her back pocket. The bottle broke and, later that day, weeks ahead of schedule, she got her period.

Back in the barn now, the girls are refreshing themselves with some nice hay. Inside them, their little ovaries are gearing up to crank out the next crop of eggs.

We are taking them to The Buck tomorrow. With luck, his mere presence will hasten the egg maturation, which will bring them into “standing heat” and the devoutly desired consummation. BTW, “standing heat” is a term of art referring to that point in a goat's heat period when she will stand still to be bred. I couldn't believe it the first time I saw it—my normally frisky doe turned to stone the minute we put her in with the buck, concentrating with all her might on providing a stable target.

Blossom and Alsiki's future consort is named Challenger, and you can see him here:
http://www.willowmoonfarm.com/rosasharntlchallenger.html

We'll have to leave the girls with Challenger for a few days, and I will miss them. But then the lovely five-month pregnancy will begin, when every blade of grass they eat will go to nourish new life. I will scrutinize them for signs of heat (meaning that the breeding didn't “take”), and then for the inward look in the eye, the slowly expanding girth, the beginnings of an udder.

The kids will be born in early October, when the trees begin to turn.

This evening I'll take Blossom and Alsiki out to the field and sit with them while they gorge on the new grass. And the whole time I'll be seeing, in my mind's eye, the follicles forming, growing larger, then rupturing and sending the eggs tumbling down the Fallopian tubes, and into my life.

2 comments :

  1. oh my. there's a bit of the witch and the magic here.

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  2. Well, you gotta balance all that high tech veterinary intervention somehow.

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