With a vet on speakerphone, Stamford Museum & Nature Center farm manager helped two baby goats be born
STAMFORD — Everybody loves baby animals; they’re cute, they’re soft and they remind people that the world — despite a life-altering pandemic and a year of solitude — can be a fundamentally beautiful place.
Especially when they are baby goats named after breakfast foods.
“I never get tired of baby goats. When you need a break, you can just come in and snuggle,” said Victoria Jaffrey, manager of Heckscher Farm at the Stamford Museum & Nature Center.
Even after 13 years of tending to sheep and chickens and cattle at the 10-acre animal oasis tucked away in North Stamford, Jaffrey hasn’t tired of the tiny creatures making their debut.
Neither do the visitors.
Even at midday on a Tuesday, people hustled toward the goat corral to get a peek of the farm’s newest additions: Biscuit, Cinnabun, French Toast, Waffles, and Poptart. On top of the breakfast bunch, the Stamford Museum welcomed two other goats, Mocha and Macchiato, into the fold only a few weeks prior. The youngest kids, Biscuit and Cinnabun, are barely 2 weeks old.
Even without the precious newborn animals, visitation at the Stamford Museum has doubled over the past year, Communications Director Kristin Sinatra said. Even during the dead of the winter — December and January — the museum welcomed approximately 6,500 more visitors than it did the year prior. Other local outdoor attractions such as the Bartlett Arboretum and Mill River Park noticed similar pandemic-induced booms throughout the year.
“It’s definitely testament to the SM&NC meeting the unique needs of a population longing for normalcy during a time like no other,” Sinatra said.
But it wasn’t always sunshine and roses with the baby goats this year. For mama goats Stella and Chai in particular, Jaffrey had to roll up her sleeves and get a little dirty. Literally.
“All of our goats, we had to be a lot more involved in than I have had to in the past,” Jaffrey said. Stella, mom to Biscuit and Cinnabun, had a tumultuous pregnancy. She required extra care from staff to treat an infection. Plus, she was carrying triplets like Chai, though only two of Stella’s newborns survived.
Triplets are common for goats, but they can lead to more complicated pregnancies. The goats at the Stamford Museum typically can give birth without help from farmhands, but two of Chai’s babies were born back first, called breech births.
“We noticed that there was a little tail sticking out, and that is not the first thing you want to see,” Jaffrey said. Baby goats should be born either feet first or head first to ensure the safest delivery, she continued.
“I gloved up and had the vet on speakerphone,” she said.
While Biscuit and Cinnabun came into the world without much outside help, staff had to bottle-feed and tube-feed them for the first few days of their lives. After two weeks in the world, both baby goats have taken to nursing like the rest of the herd.
All the babies will likely head out to other farms or families in the comings months, mainly because the nature center wants to prevent inbreeding among the goats. But before the breakfast bunch head out to their forever families, they have full few months ahead of them. They’ll star front and center in a number of the Stamford Museum’s educational programs and have plenty of adoring fans fawning over them during visitation hours.
“It’s very hard to not just hold them and kiss them all the time,” Jaffrey said, “or hold them up like Simba (from The Lion King).