After watching our camera non-stop for 4 days we were finally rewarded with this big girl. Last night I checked on Carmel around 5:30, there was no change. She looked exactly the same as every other time I checked on her that day. We came in and had some dinner and I cleaned the incubators for the next batch of eggs. I kept checking her on the camera like I usually do as I multitask and while she seemed huge and a little uncomfortable, this was nothing new. Then I sat down to do some work and checked the camera again around 6:30 and saw a head coming out! I screamed, "She's having it!" and jumped up to get my jacket and boots on. Wolf was in disbelief and checked the camera himself then started yelling for Little Owl. I ran out to the stall and found Carmelita laying down and the baby's face out. The membrane had popped and baby was breathing. Wolf ran and got my birthing kit for me and Little Owl started getting the puppy pads (great absorbers and keeps the straw off them) and towels ready. Carmelita stood up and started pushing again but there was no progress. I looked and realized only one leg had presented. I had been so focused on getting other stuff ready, I hadn't taken a good look at the baby once I saw it was breathing. So on the next contraction I gave a gentle tug and got the one shoulder out. A few more pushes and still no progress. I raced over to get gloves on so I could help the other shoulder out. By the time I got the gloves on out came the baby. Momma just stood there in shock so we quickly put the baby on the puppy pads and started wiping her down and clearing her mouth and nose. Momma still just stood in the corner staring. When we had the baby breathing okay we tried to get mom to come over and finish cleaning but she wanted nothing to do with her and actually started attacking her. She would sniff her, take a few steps back, and then ram her hard. We finished cleaning the baby and my daughter took her inside to get her warm while Wolf and I watched to see if there were any more babies coming. After a few minutes mom started exploring and sniffing the used towels. I asked Little Owl to bring baby back outside and we wiped the towels all over her to try to get the smell on her. Again mom headbutted her. Then I wrapped a towel around baby and mom tried to bite her head! At this point we figured we'd be having a bottle baby in the house for the night. Since I knew I'd need colostrum, I got my milking stuff ready and put mom on the milking stand. She was cooperative and I was getting a bit out then had the idea to try and get the baby on her while on the stand. Little Owl once again brought the baby out and I put her under mom. Eventually she got it figured out and was able to empty one side of the udder. She was full so Little Owl took her back inside and I milked out the other side of the udder (6oz of colostrum was milked). When she was done milking I let her back in her stall and watched her again for a few minutes. She went over and got some food and a drink. No signs of labor. I "bumped" her again to see if I could feel a baby and felt nothing, so I went in the house to check on things in there. Little Owl and baby were good so once again I sat down to get some work done. I check the camera just to be sure and I see her pushing. Once again I jump up and run outside. It was just the afterbirth. I waited while she ate a bit of it then it was too cold (23deg F) to stay outside and watch so I went in to watch from the camera. About half way through I decided to once again try getting mom to accept the baby and had Little Owl bring her outside. I rubbed the afterbirth all over her and finally got a piece to rupture and get liquid on her. Little Owl and I stepped back and mom looked like she was going to charge again. But when she got close she suddenly stopped and sniffed her. She tentatively started licking her. What a relief!
We watched for a good 10-15 min as she licked her all over. The baby was hungry and kept trying to nurse but Carmelita was having none of that and kept jumping back if the baby got near a teat. After about 20 min I gently held Carmelita against the wall and directed the baby to a teat. Carmelita finally stood there and let baby eat! What a happy moment!
Since I was now confident she wouldn't kill or abandon the baby the next thing to tackle was the temperature. The weather report called for a low of 18deg. Both mom and baby were shivering. The heat lamp I had hanging directly over them was doing nothing to take the chill off the air. I thought maybe I could get Cinder to lay with them and keep them warm. He was all for meeting the new addition.
But he didn't stick around. After a quick intro he was more concerned with cleaning up any remaining after birth. So I went back and got Little Owl to help me move them to the tack room. We enclosed a small space for them and put our large oil heater right next to it. As soon as I placed the baby near the heater she curled up and went to sleep. So thankful my parents helped me clean out and organize the tack room when they were visitng so I had this nice open space. Of course I was still worried about them! I felt a little better knowing Little Owl is a night owl and would be up all night watching them on the camera, but I still couldn't sleep. I made it to bed at 11:30 but I dreamt about them and couldn't get warm myself. At 1:30 I woke up and checked the camera. I watched as mom nudged baby awake then fed her. It was such a relief that I was instantly able to fall asleep and was suddenly warm. I didn't wake up again until 5 to check on them. All was well and I fell into a heavy sleep until 7:30. They were both doing well this morning and again I watched her nurse. I'm hoping the weather warms up enough today to put them back in their pen.
Here is a shot from the camera this morning.
Now the next step is finding a name for this little one!