Monday, February 10, 2014

Goat trauma and drama

I've always heard folks complain that their animals wait until the worst possible conditions to bring new life into the world, but I hadn't experienced this first-hand.  At the start of over two weeks with high temperatures below freezing, our first goat of the season kidded just one doeling (girl baby).  We isolated the momma and baby goat in an area where we hung a heat lamp to keep the baby warm.

As an aside, I didn't plan on having baby goats yet.  Our buck didn't have access to our does 5 months ago.  So how did this happen?!  Ah, in my wisdom of keeping the babies nursing so I only had to milk once daily, the bucklings (baby boys) impregnated my does.  Oops!  This year, we will have to castrate our bucklings.  Sorry boys!

One week later, we came home at 8pm to find that June, our white Saanan, had also kidded.  She was hugely pregnant, so I knew there should be another baby coming any minute.  I kept checking on her every 20 minutes.  After several visits, I called our vet, who instructed me to get out there and pull her baby out ASAP.  "I've never done this before", I explained.  He walked me through the process, and Johnny provided a strong, much-needed pep-talk.  With arms washed and lubricated, I reached in, found the two (back!) legs, and pulled her breech baby out.  June started licking it clean, but it never took it's first breath.  I felt June's belly, and realized a third baby was still inside her.  Johnny held her again while I reached way in this time, and helped her deliver a second still-born.
This was, of course, challenging and sad, but over a week later, I'm happy to report that momma and baby Annie are doing great.  There are now a total of 4 babies, all staying together with their mommas and our billie goat.  If you think you've got cabin-fever in this cold snap, think of 8 goats in 12x14 room all snuggling together!