Hoping that you read this mainly for enjoyment, I try not to handwring much about day-to-day worries. However! once the worry is past, no harm at all in sharing the relief.
Thanks for the calls, emails, texts and kind inquiries, March 2-3, when it was good to be able to say, All is well here.
More relief. Trillium, of the complicated history, was due (by my always-suspect calculations) around Feb 28. The date brought a real worry: she hadn’t bagged yet!
Does begin making their udder usually 2 or 3 weeks before kidding. If, like Trill, they were being milked at the time they were bred, a pretty good sign that they’ve caught (i.e. conceived) is that the udder not only empties, but visibly shrinks. Nearer to kidding, it will lengthen again, and then fill. In Aggie’s case, it distended a month before her quads were born, and got so large the last week that it hurt her to lie down.
The concern when a doe doesn’t bag is that she may give birth and not get her milk in. This is a catastrophe: not for the kids who can be bottle raised, but because a doe who loses her milk becomes useless as a breeder, and should be culled.
I prepared by penning Trill up, poor girl, through some of the best weather we’ve had. If she had her kids and couldn’t nurse, they’d need to be tubed till her milk came in, and bottle-fed if it didn’t. And a cause would have to be found, and her fate decided.
After three days of reproachful looks, two less awful possibilities occurred to me: 1, she wasn’t bred: 2, she wasn’t due. So she went happily back with the flock, and continued to look nicely, tho not hugely filled out. NB: anything but triplets (or quads): a healthy single kid would make me as happy as good twins.
One week later, share the hope! At yesterday evening’s check, her udder was noticeably fuller. In this case, misfiguring a due date is one of the happiest ways to be wrong that I know of. Of course, now I have virtually no idea when she is due, but watch for updates, and maybe this time I’ll even have the camera handy.
Moreover, bad weather is not without its up side: time indoors for baking, and enjoying friends’ luxurious apricot jam!