We are thrilled to be able to tell you that Pebble’s first baby was born in the early hours of Sunday morning, a bonny little girl. Both mum and little one are doing well.
This is wonderful news for Pebbles and all the staff at Vauxhall City Farm, and very exciting for all of our visitors.
However it is also an important birth on a much grander scale. Namely the preservation of this wonderful breed of goat, that is numerically rarer than the giant panda!
it wasn’t all sunshine and roses yesterday, when Pebbles went into labour around 1pm, on Saturday. The weekend staff noticed and phoned Sophie at about 2.30pm, Vauxhall’s Stock and Farmyard Supervisor. Sophie wasn’t scheduled to be at work yesterday, but of course farming and especially pregnancies don’t much care about timetables and days off.
So Sophie made her way to the farm, arriving around 3.30pm, wanting to ensure everything was going to go smoothly with this birth. Which unfortunately it wasn’t. By 6.30pm Pebbles was still having contractions, but showing no signs of progress or dilation. While goat labour can take up to 12 hours, there are various key signs along the way, that show you that labour is progressing correctly, and allow you to intervene, if necessary. A decision was made to call out the vet, as there was the possibility of needing to deliver through cesarean birth.
It’s very hard to find a livestock vet willing to come into London and we are endlessly grateful to Westpoint Farm Vets – Sevenoaks, who have been our vet for years, who are always at the other end of the phone for advise and to (figuratively) hold our hand through the scary moments of animal care, and who are willing to jump into a car and brave London traffic, when we need them to.
They arrived at 9pm, and after a thorough assessment of the mum, they decided to have a go, to see if they couldn’t deliver the kid naturally, rather than put Pebbles through surgery. It was an effort from everyone involved, but finally, around 10pm, the kid was born!
After ensuring that the kid and mum were both healthy and a quick cup of tea, the vet was on their way back to Sevenoaks, while Sophie remained at the farm to make sure Pebbles bonded with her daughter, and that the kid knew where to find milk and was strong enough to suckle, especially after a slightly stressful birth. Sophie left the happy new mother to it shortly before midnight, catching one of the last tubes home.
So a day off for Sophie turned into 8 stressful hours of work, with a happy ending!