Preparing for kidding. We have 4 sheep, and 2 goats that are all due to start having their babies in 3 short weeks. Last year I was doing a lot of shopping and reading to prepare, this year is much more of a mental preparation. Preparing for the worst, while hoping for the best is a good way to put it. Preparing for complications, possibly death, while hoping that everyone is born healthy and strong.
Preparing for the Worst
There is always those inevitable thoughts lingering in the back of my head. What if something goes wrong? I have to think about it, because I have to be prepared for it, and know what I would do in a variety of situations. I have to prepare myself that death happens, and sometimes it is out of my hands. I still think of Fawn’s birth last year, with her weak kids that eventually passed. The heartache that it caused my daughter, she still prays every night that her goat, Tink, will be alive again. I keep thinking of what we could have done differently, IF we could have done anything differently. Trying to digest what happened so we can prevent it in the future. Sometimes things don’t go as planned, and that is so hard to explain to our children.
Death would be the worst case scenario, but there are other areas we have to be prepared for too. If one of our goats has more than twins, I will have to watch them closely to make sure they are all getting milk, and be prepared to pull one (or two!) out to bottle feed. That might not sound like a big deal, but bottle feeding a goat 4 times a day for 3 months takes a lot of time. It is much easier for us, and better for the kids, if the doe is able to raise them. Mentally preparing for the possibility that I might be rescheduling our days to work around when the goats need a bottle.
Hoping for the Best
On the other hand, there is the ray of sunshine, and glimmer of hope, that all of our mamas will do great, the lambs/kids will be robust, and I am always praying that I will be able to be there to watch the magnificent event. The births, first steps, first nursing might be my favorite part of homesteading (especially when it doesn’t involve me being the one in labor!). It was SO exciting seeing our one ewe last year have 3, and when we thought she was going to lay down and push out the placenta, she surprised us with a fourth lamb! Last year we had 4 births, and I was able to watch them all. It was amazing. To be there in the moment, to witness the most amazing miracle. It was so intense sitting there in the dark with a flash light, peeking around the corner waiting. I hope to be able to watch them all again, and I know my 5 year old daughter is hoping that I will wake her up to watch too.
There is some much to hope for. I also hope that we will get two doelings from River. She is a great milk producer, and was bred to a great buck. We will be keeping any does we get from her, to be part of our dairy herd. This has been our plan for a long time, and I can not wait to see what they look like.
Calm and Ready
That is what I mean, preparing for the worst, but hoping for the best. If we only prepare for the bad, without hoping for good, we are mentally setting ourselves up for failure. Preparing for kidding is so much more than making sure I have all my supplies together and brushed up my knowledge on birth. I am still physically preparing with hoof trims, making sure I have bottles on hand, and getting my milking supplies ready. This year though I am walking into kidding this year mentally prepared. Calm, and ready for whatever it gives me. So many variables, so many unknowns. This life can give you a roller coaster of emotions if you let it. This year, this time, I’m choosing to stay calm and open. I can’t control it, and stressing about the unknown is NOT going to help me progress forward.
Let’s go kidding season 2017! I am SO ready for fresh milk again!