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Not kidding around

Sandy residents surprised when goat mom gives birth to six healthy babies

When Sandy residents Melody Ennis and Kris Fitzgerald adopted Abby the goat, they knew she was pregnant.

What they didn’t know was just how pregnant.POST PHOTO: ELIZABETH KELLAR - Melody Ennis, Sheila Hough and Kris Fitzgerald pose with the six kids that were born last week to Ennis and Fitzgeralds goat Abby. Six is considered a high number of kids.

“I’ve never seen that many,” said Dr. Dave Christenson, a Sandy mobile veterinarian who examined Abby’s six newborn kids on Monday morning. “That’s a record in my book.”

A usual litter of goats is two or three, he said; in rare cases, a doe will have as many as four. And in those instances, the babies are not always as healthy as Abby’s offspring, Christenson said.

The Guinness Book of World Records reports a litter of six pygmy goats was born to a goat in Pennsylvania in March 2006. Five of the six survived.

“These guys just came right out of the chute running,” Christenson said.

Three-year-old, mixed breed doe Abby came to live with Ennis and Fitzgerald in January. At that time, her previous owner told the friends that Abby was near to giving birth, but admitted he wasn’t sure about her possible due date.

Ennis and Fitzgerald expected the kids to arrive soon, but quickly realized they might have to wait a little bit longer.

They also turned to a goat-savvy friend, Sheila Hough, for a bit of advice.

Then, on Tuesday, March 8, around 7:30 p.m., Ennis and Fitzgerald realized Abby was in labor. Her kids arrived less than an hour later.

Hough was on hand to help. She was stunned at how many kids were born, she said, since the most kids she has ever seen born at once is three.

At one point, the friends ran out of soft barn blankets to dry the newborns and had to run into the house to grab bath towels.

“All the house towels are now goat towels,” Fitzgerald said.

Ezekiel, a white kid, was born first. Next up was Wattles, so named for the hairy appendages on her throat. Third was Neytiri, her name a nod to a character from the 2009 fantasy movie “Avatar.” Fourth born was Abigail, named for her goat mom.

Fifth was Grace, also a reference to “Avatar.” Finally came Runt Boy. In all, there are four females and two males.

After the birth, the women loaded the newborn kids into their coats to warm them, laid in the hay and took a nap.

“We were so exhausted,” Ennis said.

Not that they are troubled by any of that, they agreed.

“We are so proud of Abby,” Ennis said. “It was her gift. She just said, ‘Hey, Melody and Kris, thank you. Let me give you the best gift I can.’”

They’ve already decided what they will do with all the baby goats.

Not a thing.

“Through much discussion, we are keeping everybody,” Ennis said. “How could we break up a piece of history?”