Kidding season is almost upon us now. All is in readiness, kidding towels and pads are washed and stored in a foot locker by the kidding pen, gloves and lube are in place, water buckets and hay racks await the first does due. Everything is ready with the possible exception of me...:-) Again the stress of kidding season has begun to build. I am watching our first does due with both great anticipation and great dread. The temperatures promise to be well below normal for this area for February and the snow is piling up like mad. I'll keep you all posted as we struggle through. We have 15 does freshening this year which is a far cry from the 25-40 that we used to have many years ago.
We waited around watching Jana all day and into the night and she seemed in no big rush to download her kids. As a first freshener she seemed a bit befuddled as to what was going on. She was quiet and restless in the kidding pen. When I checked her on the monitor for the barn camera she finally laid down and started pushing. I climbed into my barn sweats and warm jacket and hat and trudged out to the barn through considerable snow piles. I delivered her first kid who came with her head and one front leg. Jana was very open and the kid came out easily. It appeared that the kid's umbilical cord has separated before her head had cleared. There was no heartbeat. I placed her off to the side and quickly checked and found the next kid coming back feet first. Janna pushed her out very quickly and I slicked off her face and covered her with a thick towel. A quick check found a very lively and sizable buck kid on the way. He was born very quickly and covered. It was cold with temperatures in the low teens.Jana's delivery took 15 minutes from her starting to push hard to done. Her kids were good sized and strong. The doeling weighed in at a dainty 5.1 pounds of feistyness and the buckling a big strong 7.6 pounds. We didn't weigh the doeling who died. Jana freshened with a beautiful udder and has been milking beautifully.
Update Feb. 17: Jana has been milking a gallon per day for the past couple of days. This morning she came in without a full udder and didn't eat her grain. I took her temperature and it was 105.1 I gave her Banamine and Noromycin. Her udder seemed a little sore on one side. We are hoping that she recovers quickly and that she doesn't crash on us. When we left the barn this morning she was eating. She could have a case of full blown mastitis or a uterine infection. We will continue to closely monitor her.
Update Feb. 27: Jana finally has returned to a normal temperature, the inflammation in her udder has gone and she is eating and milking very well. We are delighted.
As a first freshener she seemed a bit befuddled as to what was going on. She was quiet and restless in the kidding pen. Tiana worked on getting ready for delivery all night and began hard labor at 5AM. We hurried out to assist her and found that he was indeed in trouble.
When I checked her on the monitor for the barn camera she turned around showing that she had a kid part way out. Finally she laid down and started pushing hard. I discovered that she had a kid's head out and a little checking found feet right up beside the head... I thought great this should be easy until I also found a head on top of those feet...I couldn't push that kid back and finally had to deliver her over top of the other kid's head. A quick clearing of the face and a warm towel on top of the kid and I went back to assist Tiana in delivering the stuck kid. This kid was dead on arrival. Apparently the umbilical had been compressed while he was stuck. The kids weighed in at a healthy 7.5 and 7.5 pounds. We are hoping that Tiana didn't suffer a torn uterus while we worked to deliver her kids. We will have to see as time goes on. So far she is acting normally and this morning she had more milk coming in. She is eating well and quietly talking when she sees me.
Update February 19: So far Tiana is doing well and learning the milking routine. She shows no sign of illness or torn uterus. I am monitoring her temperature daily for signs of infection.
Zalika was very content in the kidding stall and quietly watched as our barn cats marched through her pen. She watched Zara in the next pen over and the does in the loafing pen. In short she was a happy camper. At 5:30 this morning Trampus started bugging us. He just wouldn't settle down and finally LeRoy turned on the TV in the bedroom. Trampus still didn't quit so I asked LeRoy to check the monitor and see what Zalika was up to. He quickly came back saying she had kids on the ground. I asked if they were moving and he said he didn't know. I rushed into barn clothes over my PJ's and headed out to see what was happening.
It was 27 degrees! A far cry from the predicted 15 degrees. Zalika did indeed have kids on the ground the first born was dead and appeared to have just suffocated as his face was covered with the birthing slime and his sack. The second born was working on standing and was nicely deslimed.
Zalika was given her welcome bucket of warm blue brew and the boy was taken off to the milk room to be dried and fluffed. He topped the scales at 7.8 pounds and his brother weighed in at 9.3 pounds. Zalika was milked and fed her morning grain ration. She gave plenty of colostrum for her kids and she was returned to the second kidding pen to clean while Zara was moved up to the kidding pen on camera until she decides to give up her hostages. Zalika is moving a whole lot easier now and seems relieved to be done with kidding for another year. Her blue roan buckling is stunning and he drank a healthy 10 oz of his allotted colostrum in his first feeding.
Well, we went out to feed the littles their lunch. Checked on Zara and found her stringing some amber goo with some blood streaks. I got gloved up and prepared the landing zone, grabbed extra towels and went in to check. Zara was not a happy camper and clamped down her tail and made it hard. Finally she realized I was helping her and she relaxed a bit.
I got in and found her cervix was completely dilated but there was a kid across the cervix, presenting back first. He was lying sideways across the pelvis. It was a big kid and moving him was really difficult. I finally traced his back down and around until I could find a leg. I traced the leg down and finally reached a foot. I managed to slowly work the foot up and out. It was a back leg. Zara was pushing hard now and I knew that I couldn't reach far enough forward under the kid to get the other back foot so I pulled as Zara pushed and together we delivered a 7.4 pound boy. All the time I was working on him the kid never moved so I was under the impression that he was dead. I plopped him down on the pad and he started moving! A quick clearing of his face and a warm towel and back to see what else Zara had.
We had a hard time getting Zara to stand up but eventually she was on her feet again and I reached in to find a second kid in perfect position. It was another buck and this one weighed in at 7.5 pounds. He quickly was cleared off and tucked under the towel with his brother. I checked again to be sure Zara was finished and found another kid ready to be delivered. This one was a little more refined and sure enough it was a beautiful girl who tipped the scales at a healthy 6.7 pounds. Momma was treated to her warm bucket of Blue Brew and gratefully downed a healthy drink. I milked her and returned her to the kidding stall where she cleaned a little while later. We toted the brood to the milk room to be processed and fed. All the kids were pretty stressed and so they didn't eat much until later in the evening. The girl will be retained and is doing fine, the boys will be sent off to be raised for meat. We were very thankful that this was a mid day delivery and that everyone survived so well.
I put Josee in the kidding pen for close observation as she approached her due date. She was very quiet and relaxed and we would turn her in with the herd in the afternoon for some exercise. She was doing quite well and eating nicely as well. On Saturday morning she was acting somewhat differently. She was starting to hollow out in the flank and didn't want to come in to the milking parlor for her grain. We gave her her grain in the kidding pen and she took her time and ate it all.
Her udder was getting quite full and she seemed to be lying down and getting up a little more frequently. She was not in distress at all but had started to string pre birthing fluids... at about noon we went out and fed the babies their lunch and then I checked on Josee. I scrubbed my hands, donned clean gloves and slathered lube on my glove and wrist. Josee was still pretty tight but after a little work I slid my hand into her vaginal tract. Her cervix was not dilated very much. I could only get one fingertip into the cervix. I decided to let her go for awhile and see if she would dilate on her own. She wasn't in distress so it seemed a prudent course of action... We returned to the house and relaxed and watched her on the barn cam. She continued to get up and down and after about an hour she started rearranging her bedding a bit. Soon after we could see that she was stringing some more and at 3:30 we headed out ...
At the pen I traded my wonderful, warm Carhart jacket for a not so warm vest, pulled up my sleeves, put fresh gloves over clean hands and lubed up. This time when I checked Josee was much more open and I could reach through the cervix where I found a back against the cervix. It took just a little while to help fully dilate Josee's cervix and I discovered that this kid was vertical with his head up and his back against the cervix. I was able to work down his spine and eventually maneuver his back legs, one at a time, up into the birth canal... Jose is a HUGE doe and so there was room to move this kid. A good hard push from Josee and a quick tug and the first born was safely delivered and sputtering on the kidding pad. Josee was watching him closely but had other kids to deliver.
When the buckling was breathing well and covered with a dry towel, I went back in and determined that kid number two was trying to be born butt first...While I have seen does manage this it is just a lot easier to get the kid's back feet up and out. I did so and a big push delivered a nice sized doe kid. She sputtered a bit and coughed out a wad of slime and got to work breathing and clearing her lungs. I wiped her face clear and put her under the towel with her brother.
Back in to check Josee and yep there was a third kid, again trying to be born butt first. I found her feet and got them up and out and Josee pushed and we had a second doeling to add to the pile. Josee soon got up and LeRoy offered her a warm bucket of Blue brew while I lugged the babies into the milk room to be dried, checked, weighed and tagged. It was a very nice set of triplets weighing in at 7.1, 7.3 and 7.5 pounds. The girls ate a couple ounces of colostrum and the boy managed about an ounce. None of them were particularly eager to suck and their tummies seemed pretty full. Apparently they had been drinking amniotic fluid during the birthing process. We tucked them onto the newborn TiPi which is warmed by a 75 watt light bulb. I hand milked Josee for about a quart of thick yellow colostrum that will be heat treated. Finally I exchanged my vest for my warm jacket and headed in for a cup of coffee and to make dinner.
Update Feb 24: Josee came in to be milked but had to be practically lifted onto the milk stand. I took her temperature and found that it was only 99. I immediately gave her 150cc of Cal Dex. I gave it sub Q and I only milked her about 1/2 way. That night she had a temp of 101 but still was reluctant to jump onto the stand, I again gave her 100cc of Cal Dex and Monday morning her temp was 99.9 and again she had to be practically lifted onto the stand. Again she got 100cc of calcium. She appears to be slowly making the transition from putting calcium into her bones when she was dry to now drawing it out of her bones as a milker. She is making quite a bit of milk so the draw is pretty high. So far she is doing OK.
Well, today was not a good day here on the farm. We have those days sometimes but it isn't easy. I have been watching Tucker for signs of labor for several days now. She just wasn't looking right. Today I noticed her discharge looked a lot like amniotic fluid so after we sent the little silver buckling off to his new home I gloved up and dug out the new lube and slathered it on clean gloved hands and went in to check. Sure enough there was a serious problem. I found the cervix was not open and there was a kid against the opening. I gradually dilated Tucker's cervix and slowly managed to put my hand in . It took a little while to locate the kid's parts and determine how he was lying. I finally managed to find the head down and to the left of the doe. I felt around and pushed on the head trying to get my hand under his chin so I could lift it up. It was very evident that this kid was dead and had died several days ago. The hair was starting to slip and the eyes were sunken. He had no odor however.
After working hard for about 45 minutes I just couldn't budge the kid and thought it was because I just don't have strong enough hands anymore. After a couple of phone calls for some help we finally called the vet to come out. Dr Larry Gay was up to his ears in calls and he arrived as soon as he could. Tucker was resting comfortably waiting. Dr. Gay has hands smaller than mine so he decided to check out the situation. He tried for about a half hour to extract the kid and found he couldn't get the head up either. He then discovered why....The uterus had ruptured and the kid's head was through the uterine wall. In addition a loop of muscular tissue was tight around the neck. We quickly euthanized the doe and opened her up in case there was a second kid.
There was only one very nice 8 pound buckling. Even after the uterus was opened it was very difficult to get the kid out. Apparently, Tucker had contracted so hard that she actually pushed the improperly positioned kid through the uterine wall. It is so very sad to lose such a promising young doe but by the same token it is nice to know that there was nothing that could have been done to save her or her kid and it wasn't just because I didn't have the hand strength needed.
So we are moving on and hoping that the rest of the kidding season goes off without a hitch.
We have been enjoying quite a long mid season kidding break while awaiting the arrival of some greatly anticipated kids. For some reason none of the does we bred in October settled...Not sure why but it sure makes for a strange kidding season. At any rate Jig decided that we needed to get busy with new babies again! On Monday morning we headed out to do chores and check on Joanie who had spent the night in the kidding stall. We heard a funny sound and looked in on the yearling pen where we found Jig mothering a set of twin does. She had them all deslimed and mostly dried off and they were up wandering around the pen. Well done little Jig! The girls weighed in at a healthy 6.1 and 5.7 pounds. Jig is quickly learning the ropes as a milker and her kids are busy eating and growing well. We really like this kind of delivery.
Joanie typically goes to day 150 or so, so even though I was wondering why she wasn't filling her udder much I wasn't overly concerned. This was my only AI breeding of the year and I was looking forward to seeing the kids. It was a rainy dark morning and Joanie was stringing so I scrubbed up and put on fresh gloves and lots of lube and went to work to check on the kid's position. Well, Joanie wasn't really fond of the intrusion but gradually she relaxed and I worked my hand through the cervix. I found two BIG feet and then a head that was tucked down and to the doe's right side. A little manipulation and the head was up. As I pulled the feet and legs out I checked and made sure that this was the matching head. Yep it was all the same kid....Joanie pushed for all she was worth and I pulled but the baby wasn't budging. After several of those sessions we began to notice some progress. Joanie and I were both tired so we took a short break.
LeRoy offered Joanie a bucket or warm Blue Brew (YMCP for goats) and she quickly downed a quart of the wonderful stuff. We got back to work and tried pulling the kid with Joanie in several different positions. Finally I had Darrell pull on the kid's legs while I moved the head into a little different position and suddenly the kid began to move....Ever so slowly his head began to make progress and entered the vaginal tract. Joanie rested a bit and then began some serious pushing and soon the boy's head was through and one mighty push later he was evicted! Joanie was very tired and the boy was quite stressed.
In the middle of Joanie's ordeal we heard a sound from the dry yearling pen ...Checking we found our cute little yearling tending her beautiful set of twin does (see Jig's log entry above). They were deslimed and quite dry and running around the pen. Jig was quite proud of herself and her brood.
Joanie's buckling was quite stressed and tired. We lugged all the kids off to the milkroom and started the process of preparing the kids for their first meal and getting them all dry and warm. It took awhile for Joanie's boy to start moving around much but he finally ate some good heat treated colostrum and started perking up a bit. I think the boy's name is going to be Jonah and he is really amazing.
CONGRATULATIONS on your new Jr. Herd sire, Kerri! Oh, almost forgot....he weighed in at 9.3 pounds. While those that breed other breeds of goats may not consider this as a large kid, I assure you he is quite large for a Nubian...I have explained to Joanie that starting evictions on day 145 would make the process much easier, I am not sure she gets the picture :-/
Tuesday night found Jodi filling up her udder and with very soft ligaments so into the kidding stall she went. She was a bit restless but soon settled in for the night and I wasn't sure that she would wait until morning. Finally I headed to bed and turned the intercom up and left the camera on the kidding stall full time. Jodi and I both slept through the night. Heading out to do chores at the usual hour LeRoy found Jodi stringing a nice string of birthing goo. It was amber colored and about the size of your index finger in size.
I arrived a few minutes after him, Jodie took one look at me and turned her head into the "help me corner." I gloved up and spread copious amounts og lube on my arm and hand. LeRoy held Jodi while I checked the first kid's position...Jodi was nicely open and the kid was upside down with her back against the cervix.... I was able to roll her over fairly easily but then she had her head buried down to the doe's right side. A little digging and I got my hand under her head and lifted it up as Jodi pushed her right out! She was very active and sputtering while I checked for the next kid...
This one was a rear presentation so I easily got the back feet up into the birth canal and Jodi pushed him out like a champ. He was soon breathing well and tucked under a towel on the pad. Another check found a third kid in good position and on her way out.
The trio came in to the milkroom for their welcoming examination and their first meal. Jodi rested and sipped her Blue Brew and waited for her turn to be milked. The kids weighed in at 5.8,7.0 and 6.8 pounds. Jodi is a nice open doe with plenty of room so this delivery was nice and easy on both of us. Jodi gave us a nice thick 3 pints of colostrum from her first milking and another 3 pints from the evening milking.
Friday morning Jenga came in for her grain and had a little more trouble hopping up on her stand. It was quite evident that she was going to kid sooner rather than later. He udder had doubled in size over night and although it was still quite soft, the teats were full. Her ligaments on either side of the tail head were too soft to feel and she was walking "lumpy". We put her in the kidding stall and headed out to get groceries and breakfast.
Upon our return at noon we found that Jenga was still very happy and wandering around the kidding stall, sampling a mouth full of hay here and there and dipping at her water. Watching her ears we could tell that she was starting to have some labor pains. When we were heading to town in the morning I had told LeRoy that she would be kidding at 3:30. Sure enough at 3:15PM Jenga started to push and we headed out for the arrival. She was so quiet and worked so hard pushing like a trooper. I got my gloves on over clean hands and did a quick 2 finger check...Yep two feet and a nose.
Jenga continued to push hard and after another 5 minutes, I checked to make sure the head was in proper position. It was, but now the first foot was just poking out with each push and it was a big foot. I gently but firmly extended the leg. This was a nice big kid and by pulling the one leg out forward I reduced the mass of head shoulders and elbows all trying to come through the pelvis at the same time. Very soon after that the other foot and nose appeared and several good pushes later and we had a nice big robust buckling.
Jenga was amazing and got to her feet immediately. She started licking her boy and talked quietly to him. We took the boy beck to the milk room, cleaned him off and blew him dry. Then we brought Jenga in for her first milking. She was a bit of a challenge to milk but gave a nice amount of colostrum that we fed to the buckling and then put him into the newborn Ti pi to rest. We headed in for dinner and a brief rest before milking at 7:00PM. We fed the new baby some more of his colostrum and put him in the basket out of the way while bringing the second group to be milked... he discovered the refilled lambar sitting by the basket and quickly figured out how to drink from that...Smart little guy...actually big guy since he weighed in at 8.3 pounds!
Jenga is a yearling....she did a great job and didn't have any trouble delivering that big boy. She is looking as if she has a very nice udder coming in as well. Now I just need to convince her to stand still for milking...:-/
Saturday dawned chilly and a bit blustery but we did have several sun breaks and the wind did finally let up. Athena came in for her morning grain and hesitated before jumping up on her stand. Eventually she did jump up and she cleaned her pan of grain in short order. I checked her ligaments and found they were all but gone and then I checked her udder. Her udder was still nice and soft but her teats were full of colostrum. I had Darrell put her into the kidding stall so we could watch her through out the day. She didn't seem to have any objection to being separated from the rest of the herd and she settled right down. I remarked , "I bet she will kid at about 3:30 this afternoon".
We watched her as she wandered around a bit and finally settled down for a nap. I headed to the office to finish up the kidding log entry for Jenga...Just as I was finished LeRoy called me to, "Come look at this critter, I think she is pushing". Sure enough she was pushing and as I looked she delivered her first kid. I got out there in a pretty good hurry and quickly slicked the slime off the little girl's face and fished her out of a big puddle of goo. A quick face cleaning and she was snorting on the kidding pad while I checked the position on kid number 2...A couple pushes later kid number 2 arrived in all her glory.
Athena quickly got to her feet and got busy licking off her two beautiful kids. The girls tipped the scales at 6.8 and 6.3 pounds. Nice healthy eager eater kids who sucked down 7 oz of colostrum each at less than 45 mins old. Momma came in and gave us a nice bucket of colostrum and quickly cleaned when returned to the kidding pen.
Zacari came in for her morning grain and was showing a greatly enlarged udder and full teats that seemed to be growing as we watched. After her breakfast she went into the kidding stall willingly and quietly spent the day alternating between relaxing and chewing her cud and rearranging the furniture. She continued her activities as we finished up evening milking and feeding the starving babies. Her teats and udder were still a bit soft but certainly fuller than they had been earlier in the day. I had a sneaking suspicion that she wasn't going to wait for morning to kid.
We headed into the house after evening chores and watched Zacari on the GOATV. She was relaxed and spending more time lying down...She began flaring her ears from time to time and seemed to be concentrating on some far distant object. At 10:00PM LeRoy headed to bed and I watched TV and Zacari closely. At 11:00 it was clear that we were going to deliver babies. I woke LeRoy up and headed out to help Zacari. LeRoy was pretty sound asleep so it took him awhile to get dressed and get out to the barn, meanwhile I was trying to get Zacari to stand still so I could check the position of her first kid...Finally she figured out that she needed help and she stood very still as I tried to sort out which feet went to which head and who got to come first. It seems that the first two kids were both trying to emerge together and that sure wasn't going to happen.
I finally located the right combination of feet and pulled them up into the birth canal and in very short order we had a very lethargic kid lying on the pad in a puddle of slime... I quickly grabbed a dry towel and cleared off his face and moved him higher on the pad in a drier spot. He was very quiet and still. I went back to check for the next kid and found front feet and a head and lined them up while Zacari pushed hard and we had a very fancy doeling on the pad and working hard to breathe . She was also quite stressed and lethargic.
By this time LeRoy arrived to hold on to Zacari while I checked again and found a somewhat larger kid in the other uterine horn. A lot of manipulation and I had 2 front feet but couldn't find the head...Several tries later I discovered the doe had her tilted back so that the top of her head was resting on her spine....When I pulled the feet up there wasn't enough room to pull the head forward and when I pushed the feet back I couldn't reach the head...After about 45 mins I decided that the only chance we had was to deliver the doe with her head back. We worked a bit more then LeRoy went to find Darrell so he could pull the legs while I worked the shoulders through and out...Darrell was sleeping hard and so didn't hear LeRoy for the longest time.
Zacari rested a bit and then started pushing hard...I got a handful of Lube and spread it on the kid as best I could...Zacari had several sessions of hard pushing and the kid started to move ever so slightly, after a few good pushing sessions I started applying strong traction back and down, with my left hand, as Zacari pushed. I used my right hand to work the tissues over the shoulders and head of the kid and finally, after one mighty heave and a strong pull the kid arrived! There was a big glob of merconium that came with the kid who was dead on arrival and Zacari was exhausted.
We lugged the kids off to the milkroom and prepared them for their first meal. Both the surviving kids were weak and lethargic but they each drank about 2 oz of colostrum and were tucked in for the rest of the night.... We trudged back to the house hoping that Zacari would be alright after her ordeal and that the kids would also survive. Finally at 12:30 I scrubbed the slime off, tossed my slimy pants and shirt into the laundry hamper and crawled into bed for a short night.
This morning both kids were up and active and had fully inflated lungs and Zacari was up and around and had cleaned so she was milked and returned to the doe pen to enjoy the beautiful sunny day and green grass.
On Friday morning I checked Zaynah's ligaments and found that I couldn't feel anything on the right side of her tail head but she did have a nice but soft ligament on the left side of her tail head. I checked her ever enlarging udder and discovered that here was colostrum starting to form in her teats. She was allowed to walk around to the loafing pen with the rest of the herd while we cleaned up from milking and put everything away then she was moved to the kidding stall where she was quite content to sample the hay and occasionally sip at her water. Evening found the udder even larger and the ligament ever softer so after some exercise and hay in the barn she returned to the kidding stall again.
Saturday morning the ligaments were both gone and the udder was larger but still quite soft. When returned to the kidding stall Zaynah did a lot more rearranging of the bedding and wandering around. She was in no distress and wasn't doing a lot of climbing on things or stretching as if she was trying to reposition kids...
At 7:00PM before evening milking I went out to check her progress just as she started to string birthing goo. I got gloves on clean hands and applied lots of lube. Zaynah stood in the "help me" corner and I checked and found her cervix very soft and easy to stretch open and a head just about in line to be born...I eventually found 2 front feet and then 2 more front feet and another head...The two bucks were stacked one on top of the other with their front feet bent at the knees and tucked up under their bodies, their back legs were also tucked up against their bellies.
Eventually I found the right combination of head and feet and delivered a nice big tan and cream buckling followed by his bigger black and white spotted brother. Both boys were breathing well and I returned to the task at hand and found a petite little girl deep in the uterus and not at all interested in relinquishing her spot in the hot tub. She must have pulled her feet out of my hands a dozen times before Zaynah and I managed to evict her!
After she was suctioned out a bit and put on the pad with her brothers I went back to check to see if Zaynah had any more kids....Again deep in the uterine horn I discovered a 4th kid. This one considerably smaller. I got him out and he appears to have died about a week before. Babies were lugged off to the milk room for processing and Zaynah slurped her Blue Brew and waited for her turn to be milked. Zaynah is a bit sore and she took a bit of time to finally clean but so far she and the kids are doing well. The little doe has some issues with her back legs. Apparently she didn't have room to move much and her muscles are under developed. We don't know how she will turn out but there has been daily improvement so we are hopeful. Congratulations Talitha on your beautiful tan and cream buckling and Kerri on your black and white spotted boy.