It is that time of year again and we approach the coming season with great anticipation and some fear and dread. Kidding season is very stressful for us as we watch over our bred does to be sure they aren't dealing with Ketosis and that everyone continues to eat and move about freely.
This has been perhaps the strangest breeding season I have ever experienced. This fall everything appeared to be normal and the does and bucks were doing well. Then in late September-early October we had a cold snap where temperatures went below zero for about a week...It was early before everyone had grown their thick winter coats. All the goats seemed to take it in stride. I attempted some AI breedings but had a lot of trouble locating the Os in my older does so we put them with their chosen bucks and so continued on through the herd. My plan was to have the does kid from mid February through the middle of April.... Apparently God had a different idea because when we drew blood to test for pregnancy we found that none of the does bred from the end of November through mid December had settled. We have rebred those does and will be drawing blood to check them this month. So much for my plans to be done kidding in April :-D Looks like a fair number of kids will be born in June this year.
I will work hard on keeping this Log updated as the kids arrive and will share all the details both good and bad as they happen. I hope you find it helpful and I would be happy to answer any questions you might have. Just send me an e-mail at Sandy@reueldg.com.
Monday morning Zalika came in looking fuller in the udder and softer in the tush. We watched for her to show signs of early labor like light pushing and pawing around and full teats. I figured it would be yesterday but, when, was the question. We watched her all morning on camera and she just hung out wandering around her pen and nibbling at her hay. At 11:45 she just plopped herself down and started pushing like mad...zero to 60 in seconds. We got out there to help and by 11:55 she had delivered a 6.6 pound buckling. I helped by stretching the tissue over his head and a little tug on the feet and he was quickly delivered, put on the pad, and covered with a warm towel. I turned back to mom who was again pushing hard. Soon the feet appeared and a quick check found the head in good position. More all out pushing and soon the nose and mouth appeared. The baby was in good position and after several good pushing sessions it was evident that the kid was a bit stressed as the tongue was very very dark.
During the next pushing session I helped stretch the tissues over the kid's head and gave a good firm tug on the feet. The 8 pound kid slid quickly into the beautiful day. He quickly joined his brother on the pad and under a towel...Mom got up with a little coaxing, and I gave her a bear hug and determined that she was indeed finished. The boys were lugged off to the milk room for drying and weighing and they snuggled in the basket while their mom learned to be milked. Mom had plenty of colostrum for the boys but it sure takes a lot of 1/2 teaspoon squirts to make a pint of colostrum! The boys ate very well and were soon sound asleep in their warm Kid TiPi. Zalika was returned to the kidding stall where she soon cleaned and then went back in with the milkers. It was a good start to our kidding season.
Josee came in for her morning ration of grain and seemed a bit reluctant to jump up on her stand. She eventually hopped up and ate her grain. I finished cleaning up the milking machine and then checked our 3 close up does. Everyone's udder was softly full but Josee's teats were also full and she had very soft ligaments on either side of her rump at the base of her tail...We were heading off to church so we put her into the kidding stall so she could continue her birth preparations without being bothered.
She immediately settled in and relaxed, her water bucket was refilled and we headed in for breakfast and a change of clothes. We returned from church and from picking up a paper in Deer Park, at about 12:45 and Josee was very quietly rearranging the furniture. We relaxed and watched her preparations. At 4:00PM I put a chicken in the oven to roast and, right on cue, Josee started pushing. I quickly changed and called our friend Lanette so she could keep a close eye on dinner while we attended to Josee and her new brood. Josee is 7 now and she looked very wide and full bodied. She was soon pushing hard and a quick check found her nicely open and feet knocking at the door...after another few minutes of serious pushing I could feel a nose in good position. It was pretty obvious that this was quite a nice sized kid...A little stretching and her pushing and very quickly the kid's head was out...at this point Josee had had quite enough of this nonsense and she gave one more mighty push and completely evicted the boy! She quickly got to her feet and started helping clean the little man off. I checked and found that she was done! I was surprised that she only had a single and we so wanted an nice doe kid but her boy weighed in at a strapping 8.2 pounds. We left the two of them in together and headed in for dinner and a brief break before milking. The boy was up and around almost immediately and he was looking for supper.
Josee wasn't too sure about letting him nurse and only allowed him a few sips at a time. I milked her at milking time and we fed her boy all he wanted from a bottle. Josee returned to the kidding stall to clean and promptly finished her bucket of Blue Brew. She returned to the doe pen in the morning and quickly resumed her role as a milker. I am always nervous when our older does are going through labor. By the time they are 7 they are well loved and valued friends. They have earned their place in the herd and in our hearts. When they successfully deliver their kids we are very relieved and delighted. Josee's hard labor and delivery took about 15 minutes so we were back in and sitting down to dinner in about a total of 45 minutes...we even had to wait a bit for the chicken :-)
Her boy is beautiful, powerfully built, and level over the top line. His baby pictures show his substance and nice leg set. We really wish he was a doe .
JoJo was very quietly going about her business through out the day as we did our thing and milked the two new moms on Monday night. She is a very quiet and personable young doe. After we finished up the milking and cleaned up I went in the pen to check ligaments and udders on the 3 does left to kid in this batch...as usual there was much milling about and looking for cookies and begging for attention. I located the does to be checked and managed to get around the others in the way to check..Juno and Sukey were in the middle of everything so checking them was quick and easy. Then I had to search a bit for JoJo and finally located her just lying quietly by the big slider door and she wasn't wanting to get up. We finally persuaded her to get up and we got her into the kidding stall.
She was very quiet and was starting to push. She had a string of pre birthing goo showing and seemed to be relieved to have a quiet place to work on delivering her kids. JoJo is a nice young doe but she is by no means what I would consider a large doe. She is average size for a 2yr old second freshener. Last year she delivered very nice sized twins with no problems so we didn't expect any problem this year...We got her settled into her private quarters and went into the house to relax while she completed her preparations. 30 minutes later she was pushing in earnest but still very quietly so we headed out to attend her delivery. A very quick check found a foot and a nose working their way through the pelvis and cervix. It felt like a pretty big foot but JoJo wasn't in distress at all but was quietly pushing well...Checking again I found the second foot located up under the kid's chin making a bit of a big mass to deliver but the baby resisted my straightening out the leg so we just let JoJo push... Soon the head was through the pelvis and cervix and ready to be delivered.
I carefully helped stretch the tissues around the head and tucked up foot and JoJo quickly delivered a beautiful 9 pound doe. This year she got up immediately and started helping to clean off the kid. Last year she was shocked and amazed at the whole procedure but this year she was a champ and took care of licking off both me and her baby. The kid was lugged off to the milk room where she was dried, weighed and tucked into the basket as her colostrum warmed. JoJo came in for milking and sniffed the baby a few times and then went back to the stall to clean. The big girl sucked down 8 oz of rich heat treated colostrum and found herself tucked into the kid TiPi with Josee's boy for the night. Mom cleaned before morning and breakfast for the "little" girl was another 8 oz of rich thick colostrum.
We plan on adding this kid to our keeper pen. The pictures show that she still has a lot of unfolding to do but her wide and deep muzzle promise good things as she grows up.
SIGH,well, a sad story tonight, Our pretty little black doe is dead....I managed to sort out and pull her first kid. A cute black with white ears, cap, and splashes, buck. Then went after another kid....worked for an hour and couldn't for the life of me figure out what was going on...thought I might have 2 kids tangled up but just couldn't budge them...We Called Kerri and she graciously came up.
She gave it her best shot and neither of us could get anything to budge. We figured that Sukey had torn by now so I euthanized her I immediately took a scalpel and cut out the uterus and extracted a very large schistosomus reflexus kid....It was also a buck and he was about half again larger than his brother. His belly was split open and all 4 of his leg were up over his back and his head was down toward his open belly... there was no way that the kid could have ever been born without a C-section....and Sukey had torn trying to have him...Sadly she tried so very hard and worked so long.... She wasn't my favorite doe and she was a brat, but with Sukey you always knew what you would get and she did her job as a milker. We will miss her.
So we are sad tonight but, also relieved that there wasn't anything we could have done for her or the kid...We are exhausted tonight as well, but the morning will find us back in the barn and milking as we await the arrival of Juno's kids. This is only the second time in all my years that I have seen this rare and devastating deformity. Both time it has cause the loss of the doe. It was an exhausting ordeal for all of us but the process of growing a kid from a Zygote is unbelievably complex and intricate. There are bound to be problems occasionally. Thankfully they are very rare. For readers with a strong stomach, here is a link to an image of the deformed buckling. It is not pretty.
Saturday morning we worked our way through chores as quickly as we could so that we could get to a meeting by 9:30. We had to open the building and put the coffee on so it would be nice if we could get there early.
We brought in the does that we were lead feeding. Those are does that are 3-4 weeks from kidding. They start getting grain as their babies are entering the last month of gestation. At this point in their development they are so large that the does need the extra concentrated nutrition. The yearlings learn the milk stand routine so that milking is second nature for them after they freshen.
Juno came in for her grain and jumped up on the stand. She was awkward and her udder was very full. I told LeRoy that she would kid today... He put her in the kidding stall where she totally ignored her nice flake of 3rd cutting alfalfa and wandered around the stall stopping to dig now and then. She settled on a good spot to lie down and parked herself. We headed out the door and made it to our meeting in plenty of time to set things up.
Once a year we have a meeting where Kathy Sackman from WA State DHIA, comes across the mountains to do a training and scale certification. For those who don't know...we are on production testing just like the cow dairies. It is a program where a certified tester comes to weigh the milk that each goat produces and takes a sample that is then sent to the lab.
As a herd owner I receive a print out showing the production of each doe and the percent of butterfat and protein she is producing. There are a number of programs available to the herd owners and that information is available at www.ADGA.org under the "Performance Program" tab, click on "production testing DHIR". I would be glad to answer any questions that you might have regarding the program or direct you to someone who can help you. We have been on test continuously for 37 years and find it a valuable tool.
Back to Juno....well while we were busy getting recertified Juno was quite busy delivering her kids. Juno is a very long bodied doe and she has taken forever to start to fill out her gangly frame. I seriously doubted that she was even pregnant up until the last 2 weeks of her gestation when she started building a udder. I expected she would end up having a single kid. Well, much to our surprise Juno delivered triplets while we were cleaning up after the meeting. We arrived home to find the two doe kids up and around and still soaking wet. The boy had died at birth as he still had the sack over his face.
Juno seemed quite proud of herself but was very happy to see us. We lugged the kids to the milk room where they were weighed and dried and fed, Juno came in and gave us plenty of very nice yellow colostrum. She ate her grain well, sniffed the doe kids and returned to the kidding stall to clean and rest until evening milking. The kids were quite good sized Weighing in 8.4 lbs for the boy, the girls were 7.6 lbs and 5.6 pounds. Quite a sizable trio for a doe who didn't even look pregnant! :-O It is nice to have a couple of does to keep Jenga company! Happy St. Patrick's day to us! We are keeping J-8 who will be named "Reuel Juno's EDV Irish Jig".
Zaynah's due date was Monday or rather her 150th day post breeding was Monday. Last year she was 152 days for her delivery. On Sunday the girls had all spent most of the day lounging in the sunshine either in the dry lot or out in their pasture. They made trips into the barn just to be sure nothing had changed in the mangers then they headed right back out again. They seemed to do a lot of wandering around and so when we put Zaynah back in the kidding stall for the night she promptly curled up and went to sleep. All that fresh air and exercise makes a girl tired. Zaynah was walking pretty lumpy and we knew it wouldn't be too long before she would deliver those kids. ("Walking Lumpy" is how we describe the gait that the pregnant does get when their ligaments have relaxed and they are close to delivery.)
Morning found Zaynah showing signs of early labor. She came in for her grain and had a bit of a hard time jumping up on her stand. She didn't finish her grain and she had no objection to returning to the kidding stall after her grain. We knew that this was the day. Zaynah had a soft udder but it was growing larger and her teats had colostrum in them. She was restless and pawing at the bedding a lot. She only nibbled at her hay and wasn't drinking water. I watched her on the monitor and waited for her to get down to business. LeRoy ran into Spokane to get the AI tank filled and to pick up some things at Harbor Freight...Still Zaynah kept pawing around and not pushing... At 2:30 we headed out to check her and to see if she had a badly positioned kid. I washed up well, got the kidding towels and pad ready and slathered my arm and gloved hand with OB lube. LeRoy held Zaynah while I slowly worked my hand in and through the cervix.
The cervix was very soft but only partially open. I worked my way in to the uterus I quickly located the problem. Right at the pelvis was a strange feeling blob...I very quickly identified it as the loin of a kid.
It took some doing but I managed to work my hand back and under the kid and found first one hock and then the other. Poor Zaynah was pushing like mad and I talked to her as I worked trying to keep her relaxed. I cupped the first foot in my hand and struggled to get the foot up and back and through the cervix. There just didn't seem to be any room to move the little guy forward to get the leg out but eventually I managed and then did the same for the second back leg and foot. When all was in position Zaynah pushed and I caught as she quickly delivered a feisty 6.2 pound boy. As soon as he was breathing well I went back to check for the rest of the kids and found #2 in good position with nose and toes and ready for his entry. He was quite a bit bigger at 7.5 pounds and arrived very quickly I took a towel and removed the slime from his head and face and again checked and found #3 in good position and in the other horn of the uterus. She arrived very nicely with no problems and was breathing well. She weighed 7.2 pounds and was quite lively. One last check to be sure she was finished and way deep in the uterine horn there was a forth kid!
Zaynah pushed him up and I grabbed his front feet. He arrived with a splash and tipped the scale at a healthy 7 pounds. Zaynah promptly turned around and started licking her brood. She was tired but determined to do her job and get those babies cleaned off. LeRoy got her Blue Brew and she took a few sips while we piled the boys onto the kidding pad and I grabbed the girl tucking her under my arm and we lugged the brood off to the milk room for processing. The kids were quickly dried, weighed, checked for defects, and fed. They were tucked into their warm tipi and I milked Zaynah...She gave us ample colostrum for her brood and an extra half gallon to be heat treated and frozen for future use. It was a great delivery and all involved are doing fine. Zaynah was returned to the kidding stall to clean and she promptly swigged down 2 gallons of warm Blue Brew. She had cleaned before 4:30 and after evening milking returned to the doe pen.
Jodi's due date was officially April 18 but when she came in for grain on the morning of the 17th I knew it was her day. She hopped up on her stand and ate most of her grain but it took a lot of effort to get up there and, up to then, she had been slicking her pan clean. She appeared to have a bit of possible discharge and was really walking lumpy. Her udder was softly full and her teats were warm and full as well. Her ligaments were completely gone and she had no objection to returning to the kidding stall. She spent the day milling around, lying down and getting up and nibbling at her hay. She wasn't in distress but she didn't seem to be getting on with the program. No pushing and only a little digging. I was sure that there was a problem, so after supper we went out and I prepared to check to see if she was open. Lots of lube, clean hands in clean gloves, the landing area prepared and a nice pile of clean dry towels were ready. LeRoy held Jodie while I slowly worked my hand in and found the cervix only about 1/4th open and very soft. I could feel a kid right there but it was a back first presentation. I slowly applied pressure to the cervix and slowly expanded it so I could reach through and explore farther. I finally found a back foot and worked hard to get it up and through the birth canal. The kid was not moving and offered no resistance. More work and I finally located the second rear leg and got it up and out. There wasn't a lot of room to move anything and with all the cervical manipulation and kid moving, Jodi was pushing hard...
Together we quickly delivered a 7.2 pound nice doe kid who had been dead for about 3 days. Her eyes were very sunken and her hair had just started to slip. Sadly we set her aside and I went back for the rest of her kids and found a second set of rear legs and I worked them up through the birth canal one at a time. This was a very lively kid who was objecting to being delivered. A few hard pushes and a helping tug got him about 3/4ths of the way out when he got shoulder locked... LeRoy quickly took over on the pulling detail and after we changed the direction of the pulling a few times the 8.3 pound boy arrived none the worse for the wear and I was able to get the slime away from his mouth very quickly. He was a strong kid and quickly cleared his lungs with a couple of snorts and coughs and was breathing fine.
Back to see if Jodi was done yet and found another kid within reach but not in any hurry to make her exit... I would grab her feet and she would promptly tug them out of my hands. Eventually Jodi and I won and the little 7.3 pound girl was delivered in the classic nose and toes position. Jodie was greatly relieved and joined me in desliming her two live kids while LeRoy got her a bucket of warm Blue Brew and retrieved a bottle of heat treated colostrum for the kids. I packed the slimy little critters off to the milk room for drying, a quick physical, a collar for ID and a warm feeding of colostrum. They were tucked in for the night and everyone was milked, fed and tucked in for the night. Jodi returned to the kidding stall for more Blue Brew and a good rest and to clean. Her delivery took about 20 mins from starting to dilate the cervix to hauling the kids out to be tended and we were back in from chores about 15 minutes later than usual. Jodi did not finish cleaning over night so she was again returned to the kidding pen after the mornings milking where she cleaned before noon. She was a little swollen and sore so I gave her some Banimine at milking after she had cleaned. Jodi is doing well and starting to increase production. Her kids are really great eaters downing their milk like real champs.
Athena came in for milking in the morning and all of a sudden this well grown yearling had an udder. It was full but not tight and it looked pretty nice. Her ligaments were all gone and even though she finished her grain she just had that confused far away look about her. I knew that she would be kidding so she was put in the kidding stall next to Jodi while we were going to be gone to Spokane. I had arranged for LaNette to check on her and Darrell would keep and eye on her while we were gone. Athena was perfectly content in the kidding stall and spent a lot of time sniffing around with an occasional paw or two.
We headed out to two doctor appointments, the second of which was all they way down by Sacred Heart Hospital in Spokane... The traffic was lovely as apparently it is now road construction season in Spokane. After all our appointments we headed home and arrived at just about 3:00PM . I headed in to check the monitor and change to barn clothes. LeRoy headed out to check on Athena. Yep, apparently just after she was checked on and without any problem, Athena had delivered a single 6.3 pound doeling. The baby was still soaking wet but had been nicely deslimed and was following her momma all over the stall. Athena was so glad to see me when I arrived that she ran over to the gate and was quietly but frantically talking to me. She was quite relieved when I got the kid under control and started rubbing her dry.
This mom thing is a little confusing at first ya know...Kids are all fine and well until they start following you where ever you go or when they cry... Athena came in to be milked for her first milking and she stood perfectly and gave a nice amount of colostrum. Baby was on her feet walking all over the milk room while her colostrum was thawing...A good meal of warm colostrum and a session with the warm hair dryer and Baby was quickly sound asleep. Mom went back to the kidding stall where she cleaned before evening milking, She got to spend the night in the kidding stall where she could get a good rest and drink her Blue Brew. Morning found her eager to come out for milking and after milking she and 2 dry yearlings were put in with the milkers where she and they are doing very well. Baby is very nice and will be offered for sale.