With Equinox and Jubilee’s kiddings done, we only had one doe left to go to finish off our Spring kidding season – Sweetie. Last year Sweetie gave us a single doeling and freshened with a very nice udder, so we were anxious for her to finish out the season on a good note.
As her date drew closer, we became concerned – Sweetie was showing NO udder development. My husband insisted I must have gotten her breeding date wrong. I insisted there was no way, I keep meticulous records on that.
Day 145 came and went for Sweetie with no signs that her udder was filling, and no signs of labor. I doubted myself. I worried. I checked in the vet, and we decided to ride it out until day 150 and see what happened. I checked her often, feeling for ligaments, making sure the babies were moving, making sure she seemed healthy. No red flags. The anxiety to continued to grow with each day that passed with no signs of an udder that was holding any milk.
On day 149, I went to work with the stress riding high. Could I have been wrong on my dates after all? Was Sweetie sick with something and not showing any symptoms? What was I missing here? I checked in as the day progressed, but W reported no change.
Towards the end of the day, after a lengthy visit with a customer, I checked my phone, and W had texted me to let me know that Sweetie was in labor. I quickly let my work know I had to leave, and raced towards home, knowing how nervous W was about being left alone for a potentially difficult kidding. As I got closer, the texts came in about her pushing. Before I managed to make it home, Sweetie had delivered a very large single doeling, once again, with very little trouble.
When I finally made it home W was waiting in the driveway with the big, very healthy doeling. She was perfect. Unfortunately, Sweetie had a history of being a lousy mom, and still had virtually no milk – not even enough to support a single. So, we milked out what colostrum we could, and took the doeling on as a bottle baby.
Through diligent milking we’ve managed to get Sweetie’s milk production up, but it is still incredibly low, and we still don’t have any idea why. It’s baffling, and it’s frustrating, but it may just be the way things are with her this season. Since we have a very healthy mom and baby, we can’t complain.
Overall, it’s been a good kidding season. Parts have been hard, and we won’t soon forget them. We try to learn from each and every experience and be better farmers for it. Now we get to recoup and regroup and focus our energies on tackling other projects for spring. It never stops.