Family grows at fair

One Wapakoneta area family returned home Saturday from the Auglaize County Fair with a few more “kids” than when they arrived at the fairgrounds a week ago.

Enduring nine hours of labor in Friday’s heat and humidity and dealing with nerves of giving birth for the first time, the long-awaited event would soon arrive for the soon-to-be  mother in front of a crowd gathered around her.

Then the miraculous moment occurred.

Seventeen-year-old Dustin Kohler’s 1-year-old white-and-brown Kinder goat gave birth to two kids at 6 p.m. before more than 50 people who crowded into the Miller Building to watch Kohler’s friend, 15-year-old Josie Steinke, deliver the twins.

After his goat had the miniature Schnauzer-sized brown buck and white doe, Dustin, and his parents, Kathy and Bill Kohler, said two thoughts crossed their mind — one was the health and welfare of all the goats.

“When she (mother goat) had them we just wanted to make sure she was going to mother them well, that the kids were healthy and nursing and they were up and standing,” Kathy Kohler said. “I think they did very well with all the distractions from people crowding around and the environment of the fair being such a busy place.

“We also are so grateful for Josie because she had to pull the first baby out,” she said. “She delivered the first one which was the boy, or buck, and then she delivered the girl.”

Kathy Kohler said her family knew the goat may be close to giving birth on Thursday, the day Dustin had to enter the show arena. That day, Dustin’s goat proved busy garnering three trophies. She won reserve champion miniature goat, grand champion Kinder goat older than 1-year-old and grand champion Kinder goat.

“They (Dustin and Bill) were feeling the muscles and ligaments in her tail and they were loosening so they knew she was close,” Dustin’s mother said. “She was in labor for most of the day, Friday.”

The goat, which Dustin described as calm and collected during their spring training, went into labor at 9 a.m. The Kohlers waited nearly nine hours before she was ready to delivery. They soon realized they would need help.

Five minutes prior to giving birth, one of Dustin’s relatives went and got Josie to help with his goat’s delivery.

“I deliver for us at home and they had never seen babies born before so they came up and asked if I would help,” Josie said. “I had just gotten out of the show arena and was putting my goat in its pen when they came down and got me.”

Josie, who plans to become a pediatric physician after college, assessed the situation simply as “kids being born” — an event she has helped with for the past couple of years. The Botkins High School sophomore said she started delivering in the seventh grade when she came home from school, found no one else home and one of the family’s goats was having babies. She also delivered her first set of triplets this year.

Dustin, who is a senior at Botkins High School, said he and Josie are members of the 4-H livestock club, Fryburg Happy Farmers and the two have been friends for years.

There is another link between the two friends. Dustin’s Kinder goat was born and raised on the Josie’s family farm, Lucky 7 Farms, owned by her parents, Nancy and Chad Steinke, of Fryburg. Dustin also explained a Kinder goat is a cross breed between a pygmy goat and Nubian goat, or a meat goat.

But Dustin’s kids were not delivered without some difficulty.

“For the boy, his head came first and they are supposed to deliver two legs first so I had to push him back in, grab one foot and then pull,” Josie said. “I had done that before so it was not a problem.”

It also proved not to be a problem for Josie and the new mother delivering before a crowd at the fair.

“People said there was a huge crowd but I don’t remember seeing it,” Josie said. “I just remember worrying about getting the baby out. I wasn’t really paying attention to anything else.

“I was just happy that I was able to bring new life into this world,” she said. “I know there was a lot of people congratulating me afterward, but I wasn’t aware of how important it was when it was happening.”

After giving birth, the Kohlers took the newborns and mother home to give the new family members some privacy as she and her “kids” returned to a more normal routine.