One of the most memorable accomplishments of my 22-Week-Challenge has for sure been birthing goats for the first time. Boy, was it an adventure! I laughed, I cried, and I prayed harder for an animal than I’ve done since my goldfish Snickerdoodle nearly a decade ago!
Let me tell you all about it…
Walker and I recently adopted and fostered some goats from our brothers. Two of the goats were pregnant when we got them and they both ended up going into labor within 24 hours of each other! Which also happened to be within 24 hours of our neighbor’s house burning down. Needless to say, it was one crazy weekend.
The birth (or “kidding”) was a lot more intense than we expected. The first two kids were born without a hitch, but the 3rd one got stuck. Walker ended up having to pull her out of the birthing canal with his bare hands, only to find that she was stillborn. We were already emotionally exhausted after the stress of almost losing our house to the fire just hours before, so birthing a stillborn goat was…ug…just really sad.
But at the end of the 24-hour period, 6 healthy kids made it into the world! 3 boys and 3 girls! It’s so hard to get good pictures of baby goats because they’re all over the place, but here are a few good ones that I managed to get 💛
The morning after the first momma gave birth, we realized that she had rejected the runt of the litter, a little girl we named Lavender. I knew this kind of thing happened, but I didn’t expect to see it in my own backyard farm and it was awful! I spent hours and hours trying to get Lavender to nurse, but the momma kicked her out of the way and ran away every time Lavender got close. It was so heartbreaking to see a baby get rejected by her mother over and over again like that, but the worst part was how weak Lavender was getting. Finally, all she did was sleep. I knew the end was coming but I wasn’t willing to leave things up to nature like that. Not if there was a chance that we could save her.
The rest of the day was spent trying to bottle feed Lavender formula. It was really hard because she wouldn’t take the bottle no matter how many hours I tried coaxing her to do so. Finally I knew I had no choice but to force-feed her. She screamed and she cried and by the evening I was so tired from the effort. But she had gotten a couple ounces down, so there was still a chance that she would make it.
When Walker came home from work, I was SO thankful to have reinforcements! I had spent the day in the goat’s pen sitting in the dirt, so Walker was amazing and helped me move camp into the house instead. We tag-teamed Lavender’s feedings for the rest of the day. Penelope helped out by showering Lavender with countless kisses (it was adorable!), and Walker took advantage of Lavender’s nap time to catch up on some sleep himself…it was precious.
Finally Lavender had eaten enough to get her through the night and Walker and I had an exhausted little celebration. I didn’t really know what the best move was at this point, but my gut told me that Lavender would have a better chance getting accepted back by her momma if she spent the night outside with her family and not in the house with us. So we put her with her siblings, prayed that God would save her, and went to bed.
I prayed for that tiny goat and her momma the whole night. I couldn’t get Jesus’s quote out of my head about how our heavenly Father cares even for the sparrows…and I thought, if he cares about sparrows then he must care about goats too. So I prayed and prayed and prayed. I prayed that somehow my heavenly Father would help this little goat’s momma to love her little girl.
Well, the next morning I ran down to see if Lavender made it through the night, only to find that not only had she made it, but her momma was feeding her!!! God answered our prayers!! It was a perfect end to a crazy 36-hours.