A pedigree Nubian nanny goat named “Begonia” wasn’t kidding around when she birthed quadruplets Saturday at a homestead just south of Peabody.
Goat owners Gary and Marilyn Jones helped Begonia deliver her kids in the middle of the night.
“I pulled the first one,” Marilyn said. “It was in a huge water bag, as big as a 2-liter bottle, surrounded by amniotic fluid.”
At first, she wasn’t sure if there were more but when she saw another foot coming, Marilyn decided to get Gary.
“Gary’s not much for getting up at night, but I had a lousy cold at the time, so Gary went out and pulled the rest,” Marilyn said.
The couple has raised goats, lambs, and other livestock for more years than they can remember, and has coined a term for their part in livestock births.
“We always say we go ‘fishing,’” Gary said. “So I fished around in there, felt a leg and a head, and pulled him on out.”
Over the years, the couple has delivered their fair share of kids and lambs.
Each time, he made sure he felt a head and legs before he pulled one from Begonia. He said he would have worried if he felt a tail because it indicates a kid is in the breach position, but he knew everything was OK, because he felt “lots of legs” before he yanked them into the world.
“If there were more in there, well they’re still there,” Gary said. “I quit pulling at four.”
“He’s just joking, “Marilyn interjected. “I’m sure he checked.”
The Jones’s goats have had many multiple births, so after the second and third, Gary checked again.
“It surprised me but sure enough there was another,” Gary said. “So I went in the house and told Marilyn, ‘We’ve got four prizes out in the barn.”’
Marilyn said her initial surprise was replaced by concern for the quadruplets’ well-being.
She said Begonia had triplets last winter, two of which flash froze.
“Mom licks them and spiffs them up as fast as she can, but with so many kids sometimes she can’t get to them fast enough,” Marilyn said. “I was concerned if any might need special attention.”
The Joneses put Begonia and her quadruplets in a special octagonal barn under a heat lamp where they keep most of their newborn livestock.
Soon enough, three bucks and a doe walked on wobbly legs, weaving under Begonia, jockeying for her milk.
“Goats just have two teats,” Marilyn said. “I try to make sure everyone gets fed enough.”
Marilyn has had to bottle-feed the doe several times because she said the doe seems a bit smaller than her brothers do.
Otherwise, Begonia’s kids have been a rambunctious quartet of bonks and bleats.
“New life is a miracle, it really is,” Marilyn said.