Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Kidding Season is Over - Finally

Emerald had her baby today marking the end of kidding season, thank goodness. It was exhausting, exhilarating, happy and heartbreaking all at the same time. We learned several lessons that I wish we hadn't had to learn the hard way, and we'll do several things differently next year. We ended up with a total of 9 doelings and 3 bucklings and should have done much better. We lost 2 doelings and a buckling and had one stillborn baby of undetermined gender.

Angel was first on March 23 with 2 doelings and a buckling. We lost Eve because she just
wasn't getting enough milk from mom. She couldn't compete with the other two babies for ninny. I tried bottling, but by the time I realized she needed supplementing, she would have nothing to do with the bottle. I syringed milk down her as often as I could, but I guess it just wasn't enough. That ripped my heart right out. Next year only does with four working teats will get to keep any multiples above twins. Or - bottle supplementation will have to start for all multiples over two from day one so that the bottle doesn't get refused. Elvis and Edna are doing wonderfully and are both HUGE. Edna has been chosen to be a replacement doe for our herd. She's very beautiful.

Ruby had two boys on March 28th. One buckling died the first night. Ruby's teats were really swollen and I think the babies couldn't get their mouths around them, so they had no warm milk on a cold night. I had milked a bottle out of Ruby earlier that day and bottled some colostrum down them, but I guess it wasn't enough. The other boy wasn't breathing, but I heard a heartbeat... so I blew a couple of times in his nose/mouth and he gave a big gasp. I took him in and his temp was 94... hypothermia, poor little guy. I put him in a trash bag (with his head sticking out) and then into my canner full of hot water. Then I took him into the laundry room and kept swapping out hot towels to get his temp up. I'm not sure what I can do to prevent that next year. I don't think I'm going to breed Ruby next year. She's 10 years old and had a pretty hard time this year.

April freaked out this year and ran out to the field on March 29th and had her babies in a creek near the pond. One was stillborn as mentioned earlier. She had left the living baby in the water
while trying to get the stillborn one to get up. Craig brought the live (barely) doeling inside and we sat in front of the dryer with hot towels to get her warmed up. She wasn't registering any temperature at all, which is normally a death sentence for goats. So at this point I have two half-dead babies in the laundry room and am in tears because I'm absolutely sucking as a goat farmer. We had previously milked some colostrum from Ruby and fed this to both April's little girl and Ruby's little boy. The babies were much better by around 7 that evening, but I kept them both inside in the bathtub for the night and gave them BoSe shots. When we took them both out the next day, I guess little May smelled like Ruby from drinking Ruby's colostrum, so April wouldn't have anything to do with her. Ruby took her without blinking an eye, though, and all is well. Poor April hollered for days looking for her missing babies. That was heartbreaking.

Horton (Ruby's) and May (April's)

Feisty also had her baby on March 29th. She was running around the yard SCREAMING at the top of her lungs, then plopped out a baby girl into a mud puddle. She looked at me like, "what the HELL????", so I grabbed the baby and one of Feisty's horns, kicked Ruby out with my third hand and put Feisty and the baby into one of the two freaking kidding stalls we have available because I HAD to get Nubian babies to take up the other side, didn't I? Feisty freaked out totally... why in the world did she have to let that cold wet thing crawl under her??!!!??? Then, the baby let out a little bleat and she melted. She started talking to it (non-stop) and licking it... then everything was cool. The little cutie has very curly hair, so her name is Curly. (Hey, give me a break - it's been a long however many days at this point.) Before Feisty was pregnant she was, well, feisty. Her baby is doubly so. She refuses to go where mama wants her to go and does whatever she darn well pleases at all times. While the other mamas are placidly grazing with their babes following along behind, Feisty is stuck following her headstrong little girl around the yard hollering at her. She deserves this kid.

Feisty and Curly

On March 30th, Artie had two beautiful little doelings. She wasn't in a kidding stall because she showed no signs whatsoever of being this close, but she seemed to be doing fine. Artie is a very wild doe, and with this being her first year she was even more freaked out. We tried to
keep our distance and just sit in the goat yard and watch. But - after about 30 minutes of labor it was obvious that things just weren't progressing. We could see a head, but no hooves. The baby's legs were tucked backwards and it just wasn't going to happen. So, we needed to help. Artie, however, had other ideas and wasn't going to let us catch her. We were chasing her around the goat yard and there was this little head hanging out her hoo-ha bouncing around. It was creepy, funny and nerve-wracking all at the same time. We finally caught her and Craig "went in" and pulled the baby out. We kicked Feisty and Curly out of the kidding stall and popped Artie in. The second doeling was properly presented and all went well. They are pretty little girls. They had some problems with pink eye, but that's all cleared up now.

Artie and her girls

On April 1st, Flag had a little buckling and a little doeling. Flag's udder is absolutely horrid. It was dragging the ground by the time she delivered. She wasn't supposed to be bred this year, but somehow managed to get her some through the fence during the couple of hours that we had her penned next to the main goat yard, the little tart. Needless to say, the babies had severe trouble nursing. Flag's boy was quite willing to be shown how to drop his head lower to nurse than he instinctually wanted to, but the little girl was stubborn and refused to nurse. She also had some lung problems and just didn't make it. I tried to revive her and bottle feed her, but I was too late. Flag's Boy (that seems to be his name) is something else. He's extremely friendly and likes nothing better than to jump onto my lap (and back, and head) every time I sit out in the goat yard. I come in covered in tiny little muddy hoof prints every day.

Flag's Boy Climbing Me...Again

Dot had triplet girls on April 2nd. I've named them Faylana, Brenwyn and Kitcha. I may just have to keep them as well. Dot is a very good mama and has four working teats, so she's feeding the trio with no problems whatsoever. Dot's girls are screamers. They scream when they're lost, they scream when they're hungry, they scream even when they're eating and they scream when you look at them. They'll be difficult to tame down, I think, but we'll figure that out eventually.

Faylana, Brenwyn and Kitcha

Emerald rounded up the season on April 22nd with a very very beautiful single little girl. She's the prettiest of them all. The birth went like clockwork and she was healthy and happy with no problems. We've named her Holly after Craig's friend Lance's lass. (I hope the real Holly doesn't get upset with us!)


All in all things went ok, although they went much better as we got a little more experience. It was highly stressful and there are many things that I wish I could have done differently. We will do it right next year!

You should all come out and see the babies!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Kid Vid

There is nothing cuter in the world than a baby goat.

One more mom left to go (although I'm now wondering if she's actually pregnant); current count: 10 girls, 3 boys. Phew!