This summer we've rescued dozens of does from a local slaughterhouse. The question we ask as we check each one in is always "Is she pregnant?" Well this summer we learned we're not so good at the guessing game. There were a number of does we thought were likely pregnant only to have pregnancy tests come back negative. Barbara even had to ask the lab "Are you sure?"
Last week much to our surprise one test came back positive! The surprising part was not that one is pregnant, in fact, we were surprised that more aren't expecting. There is no separation of does from bucks at the slaughterhouse. They're all thrown into pens together to fend for themselves. If the doe goes into heat, they're likely to be bred. So we wait 30 days from their arrival and test to see if in fact we've rescued more that just one.
Our surprise came when we learned that the expectant mother is Amelia, a skinny young Alpine cross that was rescued in July. Amelia is a real sweetheart, bright eyed and full of energy. Of all the does, she was one we least expected to have little ones on the way.
So what do we expect when we're expecting? A lot of waiting. If she was bred at the slaughterhouse, she'll kid around Christmas. Since we have no idea if she was bred there or before she was sent to auction, it could be anytime between now and then. She's receiving lots of extra groceries to help her gain weight and nourish the growing baby (or babies). We'll keep a close eye on her for signs that she could be getting close to kidding, at which time she'll move into a maternity part of the barn. The baby monitors get turned on every night and we continue to wait.
The other surprise in store....we have no idea what breed the buck was. More unknowns. What we do know though, is Amelia's little ones will never know the carelessness and fear their mother has experienced. They will know comfort and security and a lot of love from the minute they arrive in the world. They will get to live out their lives together, as a family, safe and cared for. Congratulations Amelia, we can't wait to meet your little family!