Tuesday, July 3, 2012

It's a Baby Yak!

Born 7/2/2012 7:14pm

OMG it's happening!
We're trying to relax after a rough day in town and car breakdowns. I look over at Yazoo and notice that she's at the far side of the corral, lying flat on the ground in a rather unusual way. The baby bump is getting bigger every day.

"I think it's going to be soon," I tell Quantum. "Maybe in the next couple days." The other two girls are chowing down and I figure I should bring her some hay of her own. Yonkers chases her away from the food sometimes.

Just as I get back inside, Quantum looks out the window. "Oh my god! It's happening! It's happening NOW!"

Zoozoo (that's still Yazoo - our pet name for her) has her tail up and there's a pink bubble forming there.

I run for the camera. (Thanks again, Mom!) "Her water broke," Quantum says.

Absolute terror sets into both of our hearts. Neither of us has ever helped a critter give birth. We're miles from the nearest large animal vet, miles from town, and we're not even sure the truck will run. It had vapor-lock before, and we barely made it home. Besides that, even though Zoozoo has become relatively accepting of Quantum (and me to a lesser degree) we doubt she'll let us help if she needs it. She doesn't like to be touched. We've read that yaks are easy birthers, but as first time grandparents, we're trembling.

Yonkers and Yeti are curious, but Zoozoo makes it clear that she wants to be left alone, so Quantum climbs into the corral and keeps them away from her.

We watch, helpless, as Zoozoo grunts and strains and the bubble gets bigger and bigger. We can see tiny white hooves inside the veil of the birth sack. And then it slips out, landing on the ground, a tiny, motionless form of black and white.

Moments after birth.
"It's alive! It's breathing!" Quantum says. Both of us slump with relief.

Zoozoo starts licking the baby and eating the birth sack away. It's already clear she's going to be a doting mother. We watch, enthralled, as the baby makes several attempts to get to her (at least it might be a her, we're still not positive) feet.

"You can do it, Ferdie," Quantum says.

This morning. 10 hours old.
"You do realize that whether it's a boy or a girl, that's it's name." I say

He smiles over at me, his face alight.

We'd actually hoped for a bull-calf, because we had considered studding him out. We'd like to get the local ranchers interested in cow-yak hybrids. So if it was a boy, we planned on naming it Ferdinand. We hadn't picked a girl name yet.

It's so tiny and perfect and fragile. We don't care what its sex is. We're already deeply in love.Zoozoo keeps licking away and Ferdie struggles to rise and plops back down in the dirt several times.

Then she's up, tottering on the very tips of her hooves. She can't seem to figure out how to use them yet. She falls down again then finally rises and take a few wobbly steps forward. Straight towards me. Zoozoo stands alongside her, but doesn't protest Ferdie's interest in me.

Still a little wobbly.
I put my hand through the fence and she comes over to me, her pink nose just inches from my hand. She sniffs and gives a little baby yak grunt.

The two of us are stuck halfway between laughter and tears.

The other yaks are very curious, especially Yeti, but Quantum and Zoozoo make sure they keep their distance.

We're surprised by her coloring. Both of her parents are black Imperials with a white patch on their foreheads and white socks. Ferdie is a Royal, like her grandfather Sherpa, black in the front, white in the back, with spots and patches, here and there, white legs and a wide blaze down her nose.

We go inside, and let them be, feeling high and exhausted. It's going to be a long night, because neither of us are going to get much sleep, especially with the coyotes living so close.

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