By JENNINE ZELEZNIK
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
BAZETTA -- Dr. R.F. Papp grasped the tiny front hooves of the yet-to-be-born kid. Lying on her side, the mother goat kept pushing.
The veterinarian pulled steadily until the baby's blood-covered head popped free of his mother, followed by the midsection and finally his splayed back legs.
Darlene Brooks, a 4-H goat club adviser, toweled the kid off, then held him up to the audience crowded around the goat barn at the Trumbull County Fair.
She then set the young kid gently by his mother, who started cleaning him off.
"What are you going to call him?" Debbi Duda of Champion asked her daughter, Stefanie, who showed the mother goat, Lady, as her 4-H project.
Stefanie, adorned in a silvery-blue evening gown and matching heels, grinned.
"Right now, I'm going to call him stubborn," the 16-year-old laughed as she patted Lady lightly on the head, then hurried out of the barn to take her place on the 4-H Royal Court.
No surprise: The Dudas had known that their 3-year-old goat would give birth at the fair. Lady didn't go into heat, the time that females can be bred, when most goats did -- instead, she waited a few months.
With a gestation period of 150 days -- "They're usually right on the nose," Duda said -- Lady was expected to give birth Thursday.
Brooks attributed the kid's early arrival to the stress of transportation.
The family had debated whether to bring Lady to the fair. With two other goats to show, plus steers, "we figured it would be easier to watch her here," Stefanie said.
Around 11 a.m., not long after Lady moved into her pen, her water broke. For six hours, the goat labored lightly. She was in no hurry, much to the consternation of her small audience.
Karie Lichty, a veteran 4-H goat showman, kneeled beside Lady and stroked a heavy hand down her white sides.
"Honey, lay down and do something," commanded the recent Southington High graduate.
Lady continued to stand, calmly chewing her cud.
"She's not ready yet to be a mother," said Stefanie, at that time wearing jeans and a plaid shirt.
"Well, she should have thought of that five months ago!" Lichty said with a smile, watching as Lady paced her small pen, then lay down again to push. After a few minutes, she stood up again.
"When she sits, she smooshes the kids to the birth canal," Lichty explained, then laughed. "When she stands up, they slide back down."
After Lady finally had her baby, Brooks opened the barn's gate to allow the assembled fairgoers a closer look at the pair. Lady and her kid will remain at the fair throughout the week.
What goat did: Nine-year-old Shaun Rowbottom of Mecca stood in front of the pen, avidly watching as Lady cleaned the kid from head to toe. He grimaced when the goat began chewing on a mucus-covered cord.
"They eat the umbilical cord?" he asked, distaste rolling through every word.
"Pretty gross, isn't it?" Duda said with a laugh.
"Yeah," the boy replied as he continued to watch the pair. "But he's still pretty cute."