Breeding season has wound down and we are busy preparing the girls for kidding season. Our first kids of the year are due the last week of February. We are excited to see the first kids by our new buck and to see these 3 dry yearlings freshen in. Through out the season we have numerous does bred to OBER-D' RAINBOW DRK FALCON. We are very happy with his growth and development and are looking forward to seeing his kids.
Kidding season is always very stressful as we are concerned with the health and safety of the does as well as the safe arrival of the kids. We are on pins and needles waiting for the girls to deliver. Many nights are pretty sleepless and morning chores can't be delayed so we tend to operate in a sleep deprived state for sometimes weeks at a time. I promise to do my best in keeping this Log updated and ask that you bear with me as the kids arrive.
This time of year we make it a point to get the ladies in the best condition possible to deliver healthy and active kids. We lead feed our does for three to four weeks prior to their due date. One month before they are due we bring them into the milk room for their Pre Kidding abuse :-) Each doe gets vaccinated with CD&T, Lysigin and they receive their BoSe shot (at the rate of 2.5cc per 100 pounds) and a dose of vitamins A&D. Their feet are carefully trimmed and they are given a kidding clip. The kidding clip uses a #10 blade to clip the udder and the belly from in front of the udder up the rear udder and around the vulva area. The tail is clipped free of all long hairs and debris. I then remove the long hair on the back of the thighs and down the back of the lower leg. The kidding clip helps keep the does clean and the shorter hair drys out quickly so they stay warmer after delivery. It also allows us to get a clear view of the developing udder and the vulva so we can detect any discharge and signs of imminent kidding.
We also prepare the kid TiPi for the arrival of little ones and make sure we have a 100 watt incandescent bulb that works as a heat lamp. These bulbs are getting hard to find as apparently our government never considered that we use the bulbs for heat in some cases. I also make sure the kidding pads and the barn towels are clean and stocked by the kidding area. I check to be sure we have Calcium IV solution, Dexamethasone, Oyxtocin, OB Lube (both the jug and the powdered J Lube), a clean bulb syringe, a tubing set up and YMCP+ for Sheep and Goats on hand and where it will be used. We have several sets of newborn kid jammies for kids that are born first or who may be weak at birth. The barn hair dryer is tested and put out ready for use and we are pretty much all set for the new arrivals. Oh we have to clean out the hard water scale in the Weck and be sure it is working well so we can pasteurize milk and heat treat colostrum. We will check the Lambars and make sure that they are soaked in an acid rinse solution to clean off the milk scale and we will replace nipples as needed. I am pretty sure we need to replace the tubes in the lambars this year as they are getting stiff are hard to get clean. Hummm, I think I better get busy as our first kids are due in 5 weeks and I may have to order more nipples and tubing. I used to ordered the tubing by the roll but since we are freshening 17 does this year, as opposed to 30-40 as we have done in the past, I think that a visit to the hardware store would be a better option. It is time to clear out the kidding stalls and bed them with straw and check out the cameras to be sure they are aimed correctly and working. Looks like we will find plenty to keep us busy until the kids start arriving. If you have any questions please feel free to e-mail me and I will get back to you as soon as possible.
We will be kidding from the last week in February through mid May, What ever happens, good and bad alike, I will share on this page. If we have any problems you get a ringside seat to see how we handle them. Hang on because sometimes it is a bumpy ride. We are hoping for all good things.
We headed out to do chores at 7:00PM as usual and found Renee stringing some pre birthing goo. We have been expecting Renee to kid for a week now and it was nice to see her looking like tonight was finally the night. We place our first fresheners in the pen with their chosen suitors and check them daily for evidence of their having been bred. Very often they are bred at night so we don't see the deed done. Then when we find evidence of breeding we estimate that the breeding happened three days prior. So, in the end, the breeding date is at best a really good guess.
Renee has had little to no ligaments for the past 3 days and so has spent several nights and days in the kidding pen. We did our usual evening chores and also dried off the last doe we had in milk. Following chores I changed into clean gloves over clean hands and slathered my arm and hand with lots of lube. A quick check found two feet and a nose in good position. The kid had its front legs drawn back under its head so I straightened first one and then the other front leg. Renee was well dilated and she had copious amounts of very slippery goo. All the while I was checking the kid's position, Renee screamed in a most dramatic fashion.... A little traction and stretching of tissues over the head and quickly an nice lively doeling sputtered onto the pad.
I slicked her face clear and suctioned her mouth and then tossed a warm towel over her as she snorted and shook her head and began to inflate her lungs. A quick check found a second kid again in perfect position and a midst great screaming, she arrived very quickly. Renee didn't want anything to do with those nasty slimy little things at first but after sniffing my hands and licking my arm she decided that they weren't so bad after all. We hauled the kids to the milk room and got them dry and warm and fed and collared. They weighed in at a very respectable 6.6 and 6.3 pounds. Renee was brought in for milking and she was pretty sure she didn't want any part of that. She is one of the very few does I have ever had that objected so strenuously.
We finally had to tie one front leg up and milk a moving target but we got it done and headed in for the night.
When we did chores and brought Kiwi in for her grain I felt like she would wait until Leap Day and give us some Leap Babies. Apparently Kiwi had her own ideas. I was watching a show about Penguins and I noticed some different sounds coming from the entertainment center...Well, it didn't register what I was hearing. Penguins make all sorts of weird grunts and chirps and the like so until I really listened I thought that was what I was hearing...I looked at the barn cam monitor and there was Kiwi lying right in the middle of her pen and starting into hard labor.
I woke LeRoy and headed out to catch kids. Clean gloves over clean hands, clean towels and a clean kidding pad were all arranged in good order and I again slathered my hand and arm in OB Lube and checked the position of Kiwi's kids. I found one foot and a head fully engaged and progressing nicely. A little tugging and Kiwi's really strong pushes and we had a light gold and white kid sputtering on the pad. I quickly cleared his face and covered him with a towel as it was very windy and in the 30's by then. LeRoy arrived and a quick check found a second kid in the same position. More really nice pushes and a helping tug and a second gold kid was lying on the pad. I slicked off his face and covered him up and brought momma over to see her fancy boys...
She licked all of us and quietly watched as we lugged the beautiful boys off to the milk room for their first meal and a good drying. We tucked the boys in with the little girls and I picked up the towels and pads and spread them to dry then headed back to the house for a bit of a short night. Morning found all the kids ready and eager for a good big breakfast. The boys weighed in at 7.6 and 7.3 pounds. Good big kids for a first freshener. Mom stood very well for milking last night and again this morning. Such a contrast between these two does and their kids. Kiwi was a quiet as Renee was loud and Kiwi stood for milking like a pro while Renee was a wild child. Kiwi's kids started off a little slowly and are very laid back Renee's kids are quite demanding when it comes to feeding and are really sure they aren't getting their share.
This day dawned gray and dreary. It was raining lightly when we heard a truck pull up into the yard and the pump guys had come to replace our well pump for us. The pump was 19 years old and past due for replacement so LeRoy decided it should be our choice as to when we had the job done rather than the pump's idea. We were just finishing feeding the babies when they showed up a 1/2 hour early. LeRoy went to set the pump guys up, and I cleaned up the many bottles and buckets.
We had just had the last formerly dry yearling in for her grain and Zaynah's udder was full and looking spectacular. She had no interest at all in her grain so we returned her to the kidding stall. The pump work progressed rapidly and Zaynah did as well. Finally at 11:00AM Zaynah started rhythmic pushing and I headed out to the barn for the greatly anticipated delivery.
By the time I got there and pulled on my gloves and got the clean towels and pad out, Zaynah had two feet and a nose showing, as I cleared the kid's face she pushed hard and delivered a beautiful doe kid who weighed in at a healthy 6.5 pounds. While I cleaned some of her slime away and made sure she was breathing well, her mom was busy working a second kid into position. This time the kid had one leg up and a nose. He was delivered very quickly and put with his sister under a dry towel. The strapping boy weighed in at 7.1 pounds. We figured that Zaynah was done but I did a quick check and discovered another kid on its way and also in position with one leg back. No problem with that position and Zaynah was in a hurry to be done with this process so she quickly delivered and her baby was sputtering on the pad with her siblings. She weighed in at a healthy 6.7 pounds!
Zaynah offered to lick all of us clean but we hustled the happy brood off to the milk room for a good drying and a feed. The kids were all beautiful and quite a nice size for triplets from a first freshener. They were eager eaters and soon found themselves tucked in to the newborn Tipi for a warm nap. Zaynah came in to be milked and she stood beautifully and gave me over a quart of nice thick colostrum. She was treated to a bucket of warm Blue Brew and some restful time in the kidding pen until she cleaned. Zaynah was returned to the doe pen this afternoon and is very busy stuffing her face!
Last evening Tais came in for her grain but didn't eat it. Her ligaments were gone and her udder had colostrum in it. We tucked her into the kidding stall, turned up the sound and set the camera to keep watch on her. She would be kidding in short order but we hoped she would at least wait until chore time in the morning (8:30 around here). Of course we slept fitfully with our ear tuned to the sounds from the living room where the monitor is set up...Off and on Tais would dig a bit then stand around looking at the ceiling and at the litter of newborn kittens in the other kidding stall.
At 4:00AM we both herd serious pushing going on. I jumped into my barn clothes ....OK, I stiffly climbed into my barn clothes over my PJs and headed out to deliver her kids....It was a very cold feeling 22 degrees. I found Tais with her butt stuck in the corner...of course everyone knows that you push your kids out against a wall or fence...It s just how it is done...:-/ Well, I got the kidding pad out and the towels ready. Pulled on my gloves and explored a bit to see how she was doing. She seemed much relieved that I was there and seemed to relax and get busy.
I found first one foot then the other in perfect position with the kid's right foot a few inches ahead of his left and the head was close behind twisted at a rather odd angle but all was proceeding normally. By this time LeRoy had arrived and he quickly slid her out of the corner so we could help if needed... This was one BIG kid ...Tais pushed and I tugged and stretched her tissues around the head. In very short order I had a very large kid on the kidding pad.
It was a good thing we heard Tais pushing because she had already lost much of the lubricating slime and the boy was pretty sticky. Momma and boy are doing fine this morning. We had him fed and momma milked and were back in bed by 4:50. Of course it was awhile before we warmed up and got back to sleep. The boy weighed in at a whopping 10.7 pounds, Tais is a bit swollen but seems to be doing fine this morning. Great job all around. We have had 4 bucks and 4 does born so far.
Galen came in for her grain this morning and she had a nicely full udder. Her teats were full and she had colostrum. We put her in the kidding stall for the day and watched her as she spent an hour walking around in circles and muttering to her babies. She lay down and got up multiple times and was quite restless. She didn't ever paw the bedding nor did she climb up on the pen or give any indication that she was trying to position her kids. We headed out to church and came straight home to check on her.
Today we were expecting a visit from a couple folks from about 2 hours or so south of here. They were coming to see the herd and had ordered a buck kid. They arrived right on time, and we all headed out to the barn to check on Galen. I applied copious amounts of OB lube to my clean gloved hand and felt first with two fingers to see if Galen was dilated. I found that her cervix was partially open but even after getting my whole hand in I couldn't feel any kids knocking at the door. I slowly worked my hand through and opened the cervix. I soon found 3 feet and two heads and both fluid filled sacks that normally are around the kids, had broken... These kids were well tangled and one was upside down under the larger kid.... Because the cushioning and lubricating fluid was gone the kids were very hard to move. A lot of sorting later I finally had a firm grasp on the head of the larger kid. Galen was pushing really hard and I got the head half way through the pelvis when my hand just gave out! I couldn't get that kid to move and my grip was failing.
Thankfully our two visitors were pretty handy at delivering sheep and they jumped right in to help. I held on to one front leg while the head was finally delivered. Some firm pulls later and we had a stressed, sputtering doe kid on the ground.... A brief suction and she was breathing and sputtering. We went back in the doe and quickly delivered the second kid also a doe. The kids were pretty stressed and Galen was exhausted. LeRoy brought her warm bucket of Blue Brew and the kids were moved to the milk room where they were dried and fed a small meal of heat treated colostrum.
The kids weighed in at 8 pounds and 6.4 pounds. The delivery was tough for all concerned. We really appreciated all the help. Galen was given some Oxytocin and she quickly cleaned. At milking time tonight she jumped up on her stand and stood nicely for milking. I applied a liberal coating of Preparation H Ointment and gave Galen a nice dose of Banamine . She is badly swollen but is moving well and seems to be doing fine. The girls downed about 5-6 ounces of colostrum and were working on standing up as we tucked them into the newborn Tipi for the night.
This morning dawned bright and breezy. Nice to have the sunshine as yesterday was very stormy and windy. LeRoy shaved and was making coffee and while it brewed he watched Jael on the monitor. I had buried my head under the covers and was pretending to be asleep...Jael was due on Monday and had been slowly filling her udder. We had put her in the kidding stall last night so we could watch her closely, and at 11:00 PM she had been sleeping quietly in the corner of her pen. All of a sudden LeRoy said "we're having babies, she is pushing". I crawled out of my nice warm bed and stumbled into my clothes and we staggered out to check on the baby situation at 7:00 AM.
Jael had delivered a nice sized buckling and was carefully cleaning him off. She looked up at us and quietly nickered a greeting. LeRoy went to get her a warm bucket of Blue Brew while I got to work drying him with a towel. It was quite evident that all was well so we left the boy in his mother's capable care while we came in and drank our cup of coffee.
Some folks have said that taking the babies away from the does at birth will diminish or destroy the doe's ability to raise her kid and that doing it generation after generation will eventually breed out the instinct all together. Jael is 9 years old and has never, ever been allowed to mother her babies. In fact at least 10 generations of does in her line have always had their kids removed at birth. I guess Jael didn't read those opinions because she was being the perfect mother, her boy was nicely cleaned and trying his legs when we headed back out to do chores and take care of the new baby boy. He was still quite damp and it was only 34 degrees. The application of a nice warm hair dryer finished up what momma had started and after milking the life giving colostrum from Jael we fed Junior and put him in the warm Tipi for a nice long nap.
Mom very quickly cleaned and returned to the milker pen where she promptly took a nice nap before heading out to pasture in the bright sunshine. Oh, and Junior weighed in at a very healthy 7.7 pounds! Gotta LOVE these neat and simple births especially from our old and treasured Senior does. Jael carried her boy very nicely and had no trouble jumping on the stand for her grain during the last month. I have no doubt that she will again be begging to be clipped and taken to the shows as spring blends into summer.
Two views of Jael's buckling
Zamar's due date was April 8 and her history showed she usually delivered on or one day either side of the date. She came in for milking on Friday night with a much fuller udder. She ate her grain about like usual. We put her in the kidding stall for the night so we could keep an eye on her. She seemed to enjoy her private room and ate her hay and rested comfortably. This morning her udder again had filled more. We left her in with the herd and noticed that she was starting to isolate herself from the herd.
In the late afternoon we put her back in the kidding stall and watched as she began to start pushing lightly. At 6:00PM she was beginning to push hard and we headed out to see what she had for us. A good scrub with soap followed by rinsing and drying with a clean towel, clean gloves and a hand full of OB Lube and I quickly checked to see how she was doing. Her cervix was open and even though her pelvis was tight at first she opened up nicely and I quickly discovered the first kid was presenting butt first...
I quickly located one rear leg and worked it up into the correct position followed quickly by the second and very quickly a nice flashy doe kid was sputtering on the pad. A quick check found a second kid also presenting in a breach position, I quickly found the back feet and extracted another pretty doe kid. Once she was breathing I checked again and soon located a third kid. This kid was curled up and presenting shoulder first on her side. Gradually I managed to turn her up right and got both front feet into position... Now the kid was refusing to allow herself to enter the birth canal...She kept tucking her chin and presenting her forehead ...Not a good position for the poor doe to deliver...Subsequent pushes caused the head to be deflected first downward and then the next push caused the head to turn toward the kid's right side. I finally pushed the front legs back in and delivered the head. I quickly worked my hand in along side the head and neck and located the shoulder. I soon had the front leg and worked it up into position and delivered another pretty doe kid.
I made another check to be sure Zamar was done and located yet another kid, worked her up into position with one leg engaged and her head right behind... Yep quadruplet doe kids. A fine night's work....Zamar watched as LeRoy brought her a bucket of Blue Brew and she quickly guzzled down a full gallon of the stuff . We carried her doelings off to the milk room to be dried weighed and checked over for defects before tagging and feeding and tucking them in for the night.
The girls weighed in at 5.5 pounds (3 of them) and 5.3 pounds. A very close examination revealed that one had a double teat. Very hard to see at this age and size but we will examine them closely again to be sure the others are OK... It has been years since we have had this defect show up...once a couple years ago and now this doe kid. It is always good to thoroughly check over kids at birth in case a problem crops up. This kid will go off to be raised for meat. Zamar is resting comfortably and seems very happy to relax in the kidding stall and watch as Josee is preparing for her delivery in the kidding stall next to her.
Two years ago Josee had mastitis in one side of her udder. It was a case that was bad enough that we weren't sure that she would ever be even again. Last spring and summer we kept a very close eye on her udder as she slowly rebuilt the damaged tissue until she was even. We were thrilled to see her looking fantastic again. She finished her Championship handily and continued to milk well into her 3rd month of pregnancy. As she was dried off we dry treated her and crossed our fingers that she would again freshen nicely . Mastitis organisms can lie dormant in the many nooks and crannies of the udder only to flare up when the doe freshens again. We were keeping a very close eye on Josee as she approached her due date.
Yesterday morning Josee came in for her gain and hopped up on her stand. I turned around to wash the udders on the two does who were in for milking and lo and behold Josee looked like she was ready to walk into the ring. Over night her udder had doubled in size and yet it was still soft and her teats were not full. Last night her udder was even bigger and still soft and pliable. This morning there was again an increase in size and her teats were starting to fill.
We put her in the kidding stall last night and returned her there this morning and headed off for church. I had LeRoy drop me off while he headed in to get a paper. I checked the monitor as soon as I stepped into the house and saw a very relaxed looking Josee and a very active and big kid,,, I jumped into my barn clothes and headed out to see what Josee had in store. The firstborn buckling was big, strong and very long and tall. Josee started talking to me and stood up to greet me. She was happy to show off her boy and was obviously not done yet. I quickly gloved up and got some towels out. I found her very open and the next kid in good position... This kid was a bit smaller than his brother and he slid out very quickly with copious amounts of slime.
I packed up the boys and lugged them to the milk room one at a time. LeRoy soon arrived and got Josee her bucket of Blue Brew that she sipped gratefully. The boys weighed in at 9.5 and 8.6 pounds. We had a buck pre ordered from Josee so we selected the larger of the two boys for Kerri and sent his brother off to be raised for meat. Josee gave me 3 quarts of beautiful, thick, yellow colostrum. Josee was returned to the kidding stall to clean which she did very quickly and then joined the rest of the herd enjoying the lovely day in the pasture. Congratulations, Kerri! I am looking forward to using this boy come fall. He's a real looker!
Last night Twill's udder was filling nicely. She was a little reluctant to jump up on her stand but did so and ate her grain nicely. She wasn't thrilled to being returned to the kidding stall for the night but soon settled down. Morning found her reluctant to leave the kidding stall for her grain. She refused to get up on the stand and didn't want anything to do with eating grain or animal crackers. She was quickly returned to the kidding stall where she was obviously having early contractions. We finished up chores and headed into the house to have breakfast and watch her on camera. Twill did a lot of getting up and lying down. Around noon she started obvious pushing and I headed out to check her. I put fresh gloves on cleaned hands and coated my hand and forearm front and back with lots of lube. Twill stood very nicely and let me check on her cervix.
She was open and I quickly located a head. It took a little searching to locate one front leg. The kid was quite large and it took quite a bit of traction to get him delivered. When he was half way out he got hip locked and it took a few minutes to find the right angle to finish pulling him.
During the time he was stuck the umbilical cord was compressed and he must have gasped and sucked in a lot of slime. I put him on the pad and quickly went back in to check on the next kid. The second kid was on his way and delivered very nicely. Meanwhile, the first kid started thrashing and trying to breathe. If I had suctioned him immediately at birth and worked on him a bit more I am pretty sure we could have saved him but it was too late and he died. The second born buckling did fine as did the third born also a buckling. All three of the kids was born with one leg forward and the other leg back. I have found that larger kids often are delivered this way and seem to be more streamlined through the shoulders than if they are in the standard nose and toes position.
The boys weighed in at a healthy 9.6, 8.4 and 6.9 pounds respectively. I tried to explain to Twill that it is much easier on her if she delivers them smallest to largest rather than this way...We will see next year if she got the message. Twill came in and gave me 1.5 quarts of very nice colostrum and went back to the kidding stall where she cleaned by about 3:00pm and went back in with the herd. Twill looks considerably more comfortable and much slimmer now. The boys were tucked into the newborn Tipi after they each sucked down 6 oz of colostrum. They are strong with wide muzzles, open nostrils, and tremendous length of body.
Sukey has spent the past couple of nights in the kidding stall. At first she objected strenously but each successive night she objected less. This morning her udder was fuller and her teats had colostrum, this would be the day. Sukey wasn't interested in her grain at all, didn't want to jump onto the stand and generally wanted to hang out by herself, she walked back to the kidding stall quickly and settled down while we finished milking and headed in for breakfast. Sukey was very happy to be in the kidding stall and relaxed in the sunshine. We finished up breakfast and headed off to church....Afterwards LeRoy dropped me off at home on his way into town to get a paper.
Sukey was getting a bit more restless but still not into pushing so I changed and worked on dinner preparations. At about 2:00PM Sukey started lightly pushing... By 3:30 she was getting serious. We headed out to help. A quick check found the doe open and ready to deliver.
Sukey is a small doe, she has grown this year but is still small. She doesn't know it though as she has the attitude of the big does and milks like them as well. She will never be a big doe but she should reach minimum height for a Nubian by the time she is 4+ years old. She has looked pretty wide this last month and has taken up more than her share of room on the milk stand. She has a nice wide and flat rump and she delivered her kids nicely.
The first was trying to come head only but a little rearranging and a firm grasp on one front leg and finally he arrived with an ample supply of slime. The boy weighed in at 5.5 pounds and he kept pulling his foot out of my fingers and putting it back underneath himself. He just didn't want to be evicted from his hot tub! We got him delivered and cleaned his face and mouth off and got him settled.
The next kid again presented with her head only but it was easy to get one leg up and a good push delivered a nice 6.5 pound doe. We figured Sukey was done but I checked one last time and there was another kid on her way. A few good pushes later and we had a 5.7 pound doe sputtering and gasping her arrival. Sukey licked and I removed as much slime and goo as possible then lugged the squirming bunch into the milk room. LeRoy brought Sukey a 10 quart bucket of Blue Brew and we watched as she downed 4-5 quarts before coming up for air.
As soon as the kids were dry and fed we refilled Sukey's bucket .She continued to suck down her brew and milked a nice quart and a half of colostrum. The kids ate a little and curled up in a happy kid pile and slept. Sukey soon cleaned and returned to the milker's pen where she took a well earned nap. Sukey had two separate placentas, not a usual situation but not all that uncommon either.
Today is breezy, very cloudy and in the low 60's... Not much rain but it sure is cool out there. Joanie was so content in the kidding stall this morning that I took her grain to her instead of making her come into the milk room. She spent the night in there last night. I checked her on the way back to the house for breakfast and she just had that look. She was having light contractions and by 1:00PM she was pushing nicely.
I got out there and quickly retrieved a clean pad and some fresh towels. Then gloved up and checked to see how far along she was. I found two feet. A few pushes and out came a nice active and healthy doe kid. I quickly cleared her face and suctioned her mouth and set to slicking slime off her. As soon as she was doing well I again checked Joanie and again found two larger feet. She quickly pushed out an 8.2 pound, handsome buck. He was very quickly breathing well and he arrived with a year's supply of slime all over him. We got as much off as we could and again checked to see if Joanie was done. Again two feet and a few pushes delivered another beautiful doe kid with dark ears and in a very deep shade of Mahogony.
We lugged the trio to the milk room and began the drying process while the babies all worked on controlling those long unruly legs and begged for food. There was a lake of slime on the pad and on the babies and we left another lake in the kidding stall! I don't think I have ever seen so much slime except maybe the last time we had quintuplets... Gotta love that slippery stuff.
The babies all mastered standing and they each sucked down 4-5 oz of colostrum and were packed off to their tipi to rest and practice their leg work. Joanie came in and jumped on the stand so I could milk out her quart and then some of very thick, syrupy, golden yellow colostrum. She returned to the kidding stall where she cleaned by 4:30. By that time she had drunk most of her Blue Brew and cleaned up most of her hay and all her grain.. Throughout the process of delivery and cleaning Joanie was very very quiet. It is a good thing she delivers in the day time or we wouldn't hear her. The trio weighed in at 6.1 pounds, 8.2 pounds and 6.1 pounds of large framed, active, and healthy kids. All in all a perfect kidding on a gray day. Congratulations Cheryl your beautiful doeling is here!
Sunday morning dawned warm and beautiful. The sunshine and light breezes were just perfect for a spring day in the Inland Northwest. We got out to the barn to greet the does and get morning chores done so we could head off to church. Everything went smoothly. The 4 soon to be milking yearlings all came in for their breakfast grain and jumped up on their stands like good little milkers. I checked udders and ligaments on all of them and found that the little udders were slowly expanding even as the ligaments were starting to soften. When I checked Tucker I commented to LeRoy that she was going to be the first of the group to kid and that she must have settled the first day we put her in with her buck.
I milked all the milkers and we brought Kinsey in with the last group. She was filling her udder and her teats and her ligaments were fading quickly. We put her back in the kidding stall while we headed off to church. Tucker was happily munching away on the pasture along with her other yearling buddies. We returned and checked on Kinsey and let her in with the milkers to enjoy some exercise and the beautiful day. Tucker was still happily munching away and relaxing with her buddies.
Promptly at 7:00PM we headed out to again feed and milk. I was setting up the milk rom when I heard LeRoy shout that we were having babies. He quickly moved Tucker into the kidding stall and I got the towels and a pad and gloved up . It didn't look good. You see, Tucker had two "bubbles" hanging out... Obviously her cervix was open so after a quick wipe down of her vulva and the application of copious amounts of lube, I slowly worked my hand in to see what was happening. Tucker's pelvic ligaments had softened but no kids had been pushed through so the pelvis was still quite tight.
As I had suspected, there was a serious log jam...You see when I saw two "bubbles" I was afraid that the fluid filled sack around each of two kids had been pushed out. Of course that means that the cushioning fluid is likely to have also leaked out . It was a serious situation. I found one of the kids upside down on top of a second kid that was a bit farther back and in good position. To farther complicate things the upside down kid was dead and had been for a few days. Now every time Tucker pushed the correctly positioned kid would slide forward and the dead kid would collapse in on himself and block everything up. If I tried pulling the live kid, again the dead one would stick to him and come forward and block the exit. I finally got a good big hand full of powdered J-Lube, splashed some water in my hand on top of the powder until it was at least dampened and I reached in as far as I could go and dropped the handful into the uterus. I then filled my hand several times with regular OB lube and spread that over as much of the dead kid as I could reach.
A short rest later and I grasped the dead kid's head and began to pull it through the cervix. Tuffy finally lay down and the change of position, the extra lube and a lot of pulling quickly delivered the dead kid's head. Tuffy pushed like a trooper and together we delivered a very nice, fully formed but very dead buck kid who weighed in at 5.6 pounds. I very quickly made sure my gloved hand was still clean and reached in in an attempt to save the second kid. He was in perfect position and Tuffy and I got him delivered. I thought that he was dead but a few swipes with a towel, some suction, and a concerted slime removal effort found that he was very stressed and a bit weak but very much alive and determined to stay that way! Tuffy was exhausted and very swollen.
We got busy and milked the does while Tuffy spent the time cleaning off her boy. We brought Tuffy in last and I hand milked her. She stood like an experienced milker and made my job as easy as possible. She gave plenty of colostrum for her boy who weighed in at 4.8 pounds before his meal. We fed the kid and put him in the TiPi for the night. Tucker was given 2cc of Oxytocin and returned to the second drier kidding pen to rest. She cleaned at about 11:00PM and curled up in the corner and slept hard. Tucker was plenty big enough to deliver her kids. In fact there was a good deal of room to maneuver them for delivery. Apparently the first buck had died several days ago as his hair was shorter and finer than his sibling and his jaw and features were just not quite as developed. I suspect that there was a detachment of the placenta for some reason. I am hoping that Tucker recovers but with this much intervention she could very well have a torn uterus.
Update 5/2/16: Tucker came in this morning looking very swollen but she hopped up on her stand and nibbled at her grain. She stood very nicely for milking and I got enough colostrum for her son before my hands objected to milking those tiny baby teats....I covered her vulva and backside with a liberal dose of Preparation H ointment and put some inside the vagina. Tucker got a good dose of Banamine and returned to the yearling pen where she seems to be doing well... I'll keep you posted on her recovery as she isn't out of the woods yet.
This morning dawned pristine and picture perfect. The vibrant green of the lawn and pastures was bathed in the golden glow of the early sunshine. The air was heavy with the sticky sweet smells of the lilacs and the cotton woods. It was a perfect spring day and the temperature was headed up to the low 80's. LeRoy headed out to start feeding the starving and I was finishing up stuff in the house. I was on my way out when the intercom came to life with the announcement that babies were on the way. Kinsey was sporting thick ropy birthing goo and was in mild distress. I quickly gloved up and got the towels, OB Lube, and clean pad ready for the new arrivals.
Kinsey pushed but didn't seem to be making progress. I washed off Kinsey, applied lots of Lube and went exploring. Kinsey's cervix was soft and nearly fully open and directly behind it I found a head. Some continued searching found some front feet. A firm tug didn't move the head. Hummmm, after years of experience and many assisted births I kind of have a pretty good idea of the size of head that matches the size of feet and my experience was saying that the feet were too small to go with that head. I pushed the feet back and fished around and finally located the correct feet. The buck had his knees bent and his feet tucked up under his chest! I got one foot stretched out and Kinsey gave a mighty push while I tugged the leg and checked the head position with my other hand. Very soon we had a nice sized buck kid on the pad and shaking his slimy head. A quick suction of the mouth and a few swipes with a towel and he was on his way.
Back to Kinsey to find the second kid in perfect position but a bit on the dry side. I put several hands full of lube on her and she quickly slid out to join her brother on the pad. The girl was indeed a bit smaller than her brother and covered with an orangey yellow, thick, and very sticky slime. In addition she was a bit weak and slow at getting started. I suctioned her mouth and tried to get the sticky birthing slime and sack off her body. Kinsey was a very good mom and set to trying to clean her babies and me.
LeRoy brought her a full bucket of warm Blue Brew and she quickly drank down about 1/2 of the 10 quart bucket. She finished off the bucket, cleaned, and returned to the doe pen at about 2:00PM.
It was past milking time and the goats in the loafing pen were getting restless so off to the milk room with the babies we went. LeRoy got a bottle of heat treated colostrum from the freezer and I got to work trying to get the little girl cleaned off and dried...It took some serious work but we managed to get her at least 1/2 dry and I started on the boy. He was much easier and cleaned off rather quickly and the hair dryer dried him quickly. The kids weighed in at 8.7 and 8.0 pounds. We tucked the kids under a dry towel in the laundry basket and slid them under the counter. Then we started bringing in the milkers and getting everyone fed.
Meanwhile the doeling's colostrum was warming in the hot wash water. Milking went quickly even though every one had to stop and check on the babies on the way into the milk room. Kinsey came in and, with a little encouragement, hopped up on the stand and gave me a half gallon of beautiful rich yellow colostrum. We fed the babies and the boy sucked eagerly. However, the doe just refused to suck. She swallowed some colostrum but not nearly enough. I finally had to tube her. She hollered the whole time I was feeding her so I figured that I had the tube in her stomach for sure :-) I put about 3 oz into her stomach and we tucked the kids into the Newborn TiPi with Tucker's little boy...After I finished tubing the doe and removed the tube she just became limp and unresponsive. A little rubbing and stimulation and she finally picked up her head. We were concerned but when lunch time rolled around she was very ready to suck down a good lunch and was standing exploring her TiPi along with the two boys.
Zacari came in this morning and ate her grain as usual, her udder was looking fuller and her teats were still empty. Her ligaments were all gone and she was looking a bit lumpy. We sent her back to the Yearling pen and kept a close eye on her throughout the day. Tonight there were some subtle changes, she had a little trouble jumping up on her stand, she didn't finish all her grain, she seemed distracted and her teats were now filling. I had LeRoy put her into a kidding stall with her buddy Keiko.
They were quite content to be there and settled in nicely. We got the herd milked and fed and LeRoy had all the kids on the lamber. We headed in for the night at 8:30. We paused by the kidding pens to check on the two yearlings...Zacari was acting a bit suspicious and quickly started to push in earnest. She very quickly had a good sized puddle of goo behind her. I quickly got my gloves on and prepared the landing pad for her kids... I scooted my stool up behind Zacari and proceeded to check to see if the kid was in good position.... Zacari was VERY tight. Her cervix was open and I could feel a head in the birth canal... I worked my hand in as far as I could and worked on opening up the pelvis... Zacari pushed like a trooper ... It took some doing but I finally had enough room to get my hand in and I quickly located the kid's feet. They were tucked up under the kid's head... A lot more pushing and it was pretty evident that this kid wasn't going to budge until I got at least one front leg up.
I pushed the head back into the uterus and grasped one front leg pulling it firmly and carefully forward. The head followed nicely and we carefully laid Zacari down. She pushed hard and steadily and soon a very colorful and active doeling was on the landing pad and breathing well. Zacari was a bit bewildered and not quite sure what to do with her baby so she licked me instead. I picked up the pad and towels and toted them to the milk room. LeRoy offered Zacari a bucket or warm Blue Brew and scooped some of the wet spots out of the kidding stall while I thawed a bottle of Colostrum and dried the very colorful kid.
Zacari was brought in and helped up on the stand and subjected to her very first milking...She was not all that much a fan of the process but she settled down and let me milk a pint of nice colostrum before my hand gave out. Those teats are a bit of a challenge since they are only about an inch long... They will quickly grow to a more reasonable length in the next week or so and after the first 2 milkings I will use the machine on her. We are going to keep her doeling as she shows a lot of promise. Zacari was returned to the kidding stall to clean and rest, and Kieko was put next door in the other kidding pen. Both were very content. The baby weighed in at a very respectable 5.7 pounds.
Kieko has been a pretty matter of fact doe since she was born. She watches what is going on and just goes with the flow. She always has been a nice quiet doe so last night when we put her into the kidding stall mostly to keep Zacari company, she handled the change in her life like a pro. She was getting close to kidding and we expected kids any day. She quietly peered through the fence panel as Zacari announced in a most dramatic fashion that she was going to have a baby, Zacari comes from a long line of drama queens so all the noise she made was expected.
Kieko was fascinated by the arrival of Zacari's kid and watched quietly as we tended to mom and the baby. We got everyone settled and headed into the house by 9:30 PM ... Both of the yearlings stayed in the kidding pens and we headed to bed. At 11:30 Kieko was a little restless but quiet and Zacari was sound asleep. No noise at all until Trampus went up to the living room and barked. LeRoy checked the monitor and announced we are having babies! "I think she has already had one!" Sure enough Kieko was delivering. I got into some barn clothes, LeRoy got on his coveralls and headed out to find one kid on the ground and the second arriving just as he entered the pen... He caught him and slicked off his face. I got there to begin the drying process and lugged a lovely set of twin bucks to the milk room to have their very own welcome to the world party.
The boys weighed in at 5.7 and 5.9 pounds and they were quite hungry... I got them slicked off and dried with the hairdryer. LeRoy got Blue Brew for Kieko and scooped out some of the slime. Kieko came in for milking and hopped up on her stand. Again the fun job of milking a first timer with tiny teats... She actually settled down very quickly and I milked a nice pint of rich colostrum and we fed her boys a good meal before tucking them into the TiPi with Zacari's doe kid... We headed in to get a bit more sleep before morning chores.
Kieko promptly cleaned and curled up in the corner of her pen and slept hard... Kieko did a great job - the boys were born quickly and they were in perfect nose and toes position... All the newborns finished their colostrum off before they were 12 hours old. We LOVE deliveries like this one but I m going to put a suggestion in the suggestion box for Kieko...Please deliver at a more reasonable hour! :-) One doe left to kid...
Glenna went into the kidding stall last night and she spent all day in there again today. Poor little Glenna just couldn't figure out what was going on at all... If an experienced doe had been as ready to deliver as Glenna's body was, the kids would have been on the ground early on the 8th. Poor Glenna would lie down and rest quietly then jump to her feet and run around in a circle or two before settling down once again. She was chewing her cud at warp speed and in short she was doing everything except pushing.
We completed the evening milking and I had just finished cleaning up the milk room when LeRoy came in and said that Glenna was stringing a nice rope of birthing goo. We headed off to assist and gathered the towels, pad, and bulb syringe on the way. I checked the kid position and found her in perfect position, nose and toes presenting . Glenna is a small yearling but the kid was also small and after Glenna figured out that she needed to push she started making progress. I straightened out the front legs and pulled as Glenna pushed. She opened up slowly and soon the feisty little girl arrived, Glenna had no idea what to do but eventually she muddled through and decided to sniff and lick me and her kid.
I lugged the baby to the milk room,LeRoy thawed a bottle of treated colostrum and we got the kid cleaned off and dried. Glenna came in and milked about a 1/2 cup of very thick and rich colostrum... She headed back to the kidding stall to clean and rest and we fed her baby about 5 oz of colostrum. Baby weighed in at 4.4 pounds and is as cute as can be. She finished her 18 oz of colostrum before she was 12 hours old! At this rate she will soon pass her older and bigger sisters!
As I sit here a week after our kidding season concluded, I am feeling very relieved and at the same time, I am missing the anticipation of more babies. We had a wonderfully uneventful kidding season. All of our does did well and are milking nicely. The yearlngs and first freshening two year olds are doing more than their share in feeding the babies and the calves. The oldest doe at 9 years old is still putting it in the pail.
There were some tough kiddings like Galen's and Tucker's but the important part is that the Moms and babies are doing well. The worst by far was Galen's tangle and without the help of our two visitors might have turned out very differently. Tucker's dilemma was caused by a dead kid and although she was a little yearling there was enough room to get those kids sorted out. It just took a little time. We had no emergency vet calls this year and all the kids were born healthy and hungry. In short we were very blessed and are very thankful.
We had 4 does deliver single kids, 7 deliver twins, 4 sets of triplets and one set of quads. We had one kid born dead (he had died about 3 days before delivery) and one buckling died right after birth due to his aspirating birth fluids. I just didn't get him suctioned out in time. We had 17 does and 17 bucks born. Can't get much closer to 50-50 than that :-)
I have been pondering the reasons why we have had such good fortune these past few years when others with as much and more experience have lost both does and kids. We also lost does and kids in the past and have had emergency c-sections as well. What is going on here that is the question and I think I have figured out at least part of the equation. About 4 years ago we changed the grain ration that we feed our milkers and close up does (those a month before kidding). We used to feed Purina Dairy 16, which is a dairy cow ration made up of primarily pellets and rolled corn. It is a good solid dairy ration but in the last two years that we fed it the does were reluctant to eat it... Our herd looked sleek and shiny and had good fleshing but as I think back on it I realize that they were just fat....Not only outwardly so but Internal fat made repositioning and turning badly presented kids very difficult and sometimes impossible. The ration we switched to is composed of primarily whole grains, some cracked grains and a vitamin and mineral pellet as well as a little molasses. The grains are all grown locally and it has no GMO products in it. It has taken several years to see the benefits of this feed but there are benefits. The does are in good flesh but they don't have internal fat making kidding difficult. They have regular and normal heat cycles and their production is climbing. They eat this grain with gusto and I don't end up sweeping it off the floor for the cows to clean up...They eat their way through a ton of grain considerably faster than they used to because they are actually eating the grain! Do I have any proof? Do I have a study to back up my theory? No, on both counts. Just a sense of an accumulation of subtle changes that have very slowly happened over the past 4 years. Changes that have resulted in a healthier herd and better production, changes that have resulted in healthier kids, changes that we are glad to have made.
It has been a very good spring! I hope you have enjoyed the journey and found it at least a little educational. If you have any questions please feel free to e-mail and I will try to answer them for you. You will notice that we have added a section to the website called “Goat Stuff”. In it we have put plans for a milk stand and our Kid TiPi. From time to time we will add additional items as time permits. If there is something you would like to see e-mail and let me know and we will see what we can do about getting plans up for it.
Thanks for your interest in our herd and goats in general! They really are wonderful and generous animals.