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Our doe Puddin’ really pulled a fast one on us this season. My husband put her in with our buck Princeton several times, and each time they were together, she ran. And ran. And ran. We never saw her stand, and we never saw her be bred. We were frustrated and baffled. She was healthy, young, sound and up to date on all of her supplements, vitamins, etc. We thought maybe she was having silent heats were missing. Since she had just had a year off, we were incredibly disappointed it looked like she wouldn’t settle for spring kidding, and we would have to try her again for fall.
Months passed, and we realized Puddin’ was getting fat. Really fat. One day out in the barn, my husband wondered out loud, could she be pregnant. I told him there was no way – we never witnessed her being bred, how on earth could she be pregnant?
Still not convinced, I sent of Puddin’s blood along with a batch I had shipping out that week for pregnancy and CAE testing. The results came in. Puddin’ was indeed pregnant.
I had not marked down any breeding dates, and so we had no idea when she was due. All we could do was watch and wait. As she grew, she became quit miserable, loosing her typical Puddin’ spunk. I knew she was carrying multiples this time, and she just wasn’t having a good time of it. I hoped for her sake she would be due sooner rather than later.
When we went to move our first two does into their kidding stalls, we decided to move Puddin’ too as her udder was becoming full and her ligaments were growing soft. After Abby and Leia kidded, I hoped Puddin’ would follow shortly after.
On Saturday morning as we were doing chores, I took a careful look at Puddin’ and noticed she seemed very uncomfortable. While it was chilly out, it didn’t warrant the shivers I spotted, and I knew it must be a sign or serious discomfort. In my gut I felt this was the beginning of her going into labor. As the day progressed, she grew more uncomfortable, standing looking dazed, not eating laying down, shifting around. We watched, and waited.
Around noontime I noticed Puddin’s leg kick out slightly to the side – a sign of early pushing. I told my husband it was time to get moving, and we made our way out to the barn with my 13 year-old daughter trailing behind to assist. We watched and waited as Puddin’ strained and shifted and pushed, and finally got down to business. As a bubble of fluid presented it’s self I looked it over carefully. No hooves. No face.
“Um, I think we have a butt.”
“That’s ok, butts are ok.” my husband reassured me.
And sure enough, the tiny breech baby came out with a few good pushes. But as the baby was making her way out, so was the placenta. As I cleaned off the tiny doeling in front of me, I stared at the placenta coming out, puzzled. There’s no way Puddin’ only had this one tiny baby inside her. I placed the baby in front of Puddin’ and gave her a few good bumps. I felt at least two more babies in there. And now I was puzzled – I’d never had a placenta come out before babies. I was worried it would impede the other babies coming out in a timely fashion.
After a few minutes Puddin’ passed the placenta and soon baby #2 was on the way. After a few minutes of pushing a very large head and one hoof had made it’s way out. I wiped off the nose and mouth and worried that I would have to go in after the other leg and this baby appeared to be a bit stuck. I decided to let her work at it a bit, and soon baby #2 was out – a good sized buckling, our first boy of the season.
As Puddin’ stood up to give her babies a good cleaning, baby #3 fell out of her. Literally. I’ve never seen anything like it. I dove quickly to make sure the baby was all right, and set to work cleaning off as it was still in the sac. Another sweet and tiny doeling. A second placenta followed her shortly. Two placentas – another first for us.
We spent some time out in the stall making sure the babies were fully dry as it was on the cold side, even blow drying them to be sure they were warm and fluffy. Puddin’ was attentive to her babies, but not aggressive or weird, and we made sure each baby found a teat and was able to nurse well. We were thrilled Puddin’ was such a great mom.
We kept a careful eye on the new mom and babies as the day wore on. By the end of the day we realized the first doeling wasn’t doing very well. We placed her under her mother’s udder and she wouldn’t even lift her head. She was droopy. I worried. As we made our way to bed, super late, I saw the little doeling sprawled out on her side away from the other babies, and I knew something was wrong.
We brought the little doeling inside and spent the next 24-hours encouraging her to take a bottle. After a lot of persistence, we finally got her eating and active in the house with the other bottle babies. It was disappointing that she couldn’t stay with her mom, but sometimes, despite the best efforts of everyone involved, these things can just happen. So we will enjoy her with our other snuggle babies in the house and let Puddin’ enjoy her remaining kids.