Friday, October 8, 2010

The Story of Mouse

Oeddie the buck (short for Oedipus - or, as he is commonly known, Eddie) was put in with the girls when we sheared late last April, so I knew to watch for babies anytime from late September/early October on. This was all part of the great plan to have the babies in the fall, when our weather is usually warm and dry instead of muddy, cold and wet as it is in early spring. Another myth shot down: we have had the coldest, rainiest week ever in all recorded history. Well, don't quote me, but it seems that way. So of course, the girls started having their kids.

The tip off was when I looked out to see Mojita, a young pygora doe, acting very strangely, not eating, standing off by herself. When she did approach the hay, her mom, Margarita, gently shoved her away. I kept checking on her all day, but nothing happened, until it did. As it started to get dark my final trip to check on her resulted in her hurrying off in a rush, as if to say, "Thank goodness THAT's over with!" Behind her, in a nice little hollow in the ground, were two newborn kids ... still inside of their sacks. I pulled the biggest one first, and tried to clear his airway with my fingers, then tried swinging him gently by his hind legs to force fluids out of his lungs, but he never showed even the slightest sign of life. Damn.

I turned my attention to the littlest one, who was obviously VERY premature, and - I thought - probably already dead, but when I picked him up he gave a little gasp. Ok, then, let's go, fella! I worked on cleaning him and getting him to breathe, which he finally did with tiny little peeping squeaks. His feet were soft as jello, his ears were folded in half - a storage position for when they're in utero - but by damn, he was alive.

My patient spouse rolled his eyes when he saw me come into the house with a little bundle wrapped in a blanket. I know he was mentally counting the little souls that we have tried to save and lost anyway, after days of sleepless nights. With barely hidden exhaustion he said, "Don't tell me it's alive."

Thanks to kind souls who gave me colostrum last February when I had a needy lamb (thank you Jenna and others!), I had a freezer comfortably stocked with goat milk and colostrum so we didn't have to go chase mom down in the dark to milk her. As a packet was thawing out in warm water, I set out on the hunt for the lamb nipples, which inevitably seem to migrate to far, far corners once the immediate need has passed. Eventually kid, milk and nipple were brought together, and we fed him. He drank, he stood, he peed!

After I fed him and dried him off, I put him on a little scale: he weighed in at @ 20 ounces, with a full stomach.

We fed him on demand for a day or so, but pretty soon we were all sleeping through the night. Today we didn't get up until 8:00! He was on the move, however hesitantly, from day one, exploring the house, meeting the Sheba the cat and Tank.

Kids are programed from birth to head into dark corners, because that is where the milk is, but the problem with that for little Mouse (as he was dubbed) is that he would constantly munch himself into, under or behind pieces of furniture, get stuck, and be totally lost. If he did manage to extricate himself, he would emerge from some dark hiding place bedecked with fuzz, yarn bits and dust bunnies. Most of the time, either we couldn't find him at all or he would dart out right under our feet.

So I found some elastic and a very small bell, and now we can hear him coming and going. The pee puddles are prodigious, but can be easily mopped, and - as of this week - he never pees in his basket/bed!

He is 10 days old now, not much bigger but is very clever. He has figured out how to run, lie down (no kidding - that was really hard for the longest time!), do that cute little sideways jump thing that kids do, and finally calls us when lost or hungry. Even my husband admits: he's kinda cute.

Mouse's favorite spot is a hemp rug just inside the door to the deck, where he loves to nap in the sun.

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