On the morning of her 149th day after her breeding to Atlas, I noticed that Flurry‘s udder had made some significant changes overnight, but her ligaments were still a bit palpable. I finished early morning milking with the new mamas and went in for some breakfast. After I caught up on some things, I went back outside to round on the critters, and noticed that Flurry was engaging in a lot of pawing activity, and acting restless in general. Although she was trying to keep some distance from the herd, her yearling daughter kept following her. I decided to watch her for awhile and caught up on some farm chores to kill the time. It was a nice day with some bad weather predicted for the next few days, so I decided to scrub out the stock tanks and buckets and get some fresh bedding put down. I also set up Flurry’s kidding pen, and made sure the camera was pointed on her. At about 11am, I checked her again to find her ligaments gone and she was having a little vaginal discharge. She had continued to pace and paw the whole time I was outside, so I moved her to her kidding pen and alerted my vet and support system that we would be having babies. I let Flurry settle into her new space while I went inside to catch up on some things. I watched her on camera and she was extremely restless, and clearly uncomfortable. Last year, her labor was pretty quick and she had her babies when I wasn’t looking, so I was surprised when I checked her at 12:30 pm and she wasn’t even dilated yet. I thought perhaps her uterus was getting tired, so I drenched her with some crushed Tums mixed in water and went in for some lunch. After about an hour, she was pushing in earnest, so I checked her again. This is the weird part: even though the baby was in the birth canal, her cervix was only a tiny bit dilated. She was clearly very uncomfortable and pushing hard, so I helped stretch her cervix and break her water. Luckily, I felt a (big) head and front hoof, so I went ahead and pulled the first kid out. He’s a beautifully-colored and moonspotted buckling who will have a nice roman nose. He weighed in at 6lbs. Within a few minutes, his sister was born with the sac intact (they say being born “en caul” is good luck). She is a light bezoar or red buckskin with moonspots, and weighs 4lbs, 8oz. Not long after, Flurry was up and getting the kids to nurse. All is well!
I’m not sure why Flurry wasn’t dilating, but sometimes the cervix can have a band a scar tissue on it that will prevent dilation until it breaks. I suspect that’s what happened in this case.