This past month has been quite the blur of baby goats as we’ve kicked off our 2017 kidding season. Last year I was able to really capture each and every kidding on the blog, but this year has left me with less time and energy to document everything as thoroughly as I like. With my husband being diagnosed with a chronic neurological condition last year, we’ve both been left with less time and energy to keep up with the demands of full farm, two teenagers, and a crumbling old farmhouse.
Be that as it may, we’ve been really blessed with an excellent start to our kidding season this year. Even though we’ve been really buck heavy, and the temperatures have been unexpectedly low, all of our moms and babies have been happy, healthy, and just gorgeous, treating us to a few surprises along the way. What more would we ask for, right?
Here is a summary of the action so far:
1*M Old Mountain Farm Maple Cream 2/25/17 – Maple kicked off our kidding season with a long labor. And I mean long. It was an all day event. We invited over some people who wanted to witness a kidding – they sat with us for hours in the cold stall, for a whole lot of nothing. Finally, into the evening, while I was all alone with her in the stall, labor kicked off. When the first one arrived, the amniotic sac contained feces, which I assumed was the results of stress from the long labor. The second kid followed quickly behind, and we blessed with two lovely blue eyed buckling, both the spitting image of their mom.
SG 1*M Old Mountain Farm Sweet Leaf 3/5/17 – Sweetie had given us single doelings with her last two kiddings, so this season we were really hoping for multiples so we could get a better picture of her udder capacity. As she got closer to kidding, I knew she was bigger than she had ever been before. We were excited. And so we waited. And she went into the kidding stall, and we waited some more. Like last year, she wasn’t bagging up, and we were nervous. Finally, on day 148, her udder had milk, and she was showing signs of labor. And so we waited. And I got scared at how long it was taking.
Finally, at 1:30 AM, I told my husband I needed to check her – things just didn’t feel right. And so we went out into freezing cold barn, half asleep. I gloved up, and lubed up, and inserted two fingers gently. And there was a baby right there. And as soon as I made contact, Sweetie pushed. And pushed and pushed. And the sac ruptured. The minutes ticked down and still no baby. I went in again. Breech and stuck fast. With some careful maneuvering, and adding some pressure with contractions, out came a lovely chamoisee doeling. As Sweetie was standing and cleaning the first baby, I noticed the second baby was coming, and fast. I dove, in a rare and astounding feat of athleticism, and caught the baby right before it hit the floor. A gorgeous swiss marked doeling. Yes! Soon after, she laid down and delivered a stunning chamoisee buckling. Couldn’t ask for better results or nicer kids
3*M AR NC Promisedland MG Mizi 3/6/17 – Mizi was one of our most anticipated kiddings this year. Mizi has some of the nicest teats I’ve ever seen on a Nigerian, and I desperately wanted them in my herd. When our good friends at Old Mountain Farm sold us Mizi last year as a 9 year old, we were worried about her settling and if she would get through kidding all right – we’ve never had a doe so old kid on our farm. After not settling for a fall kidding, we got confirmation she settled for a spring kidding.
When Mizi went into labor, the timing was perfect – all hands on deck! I’d been wanting to do a live stream of a kidding, and with Mizi I had my daughter available to hold the camera. Even though I was nervous, it ended up being a really unique kidding, and one worth filming, especially with the surprise ending!
FeatherNScale Jacksons Tsunami 3/9/17 – We were a bit worried about Sue’s kidding – she was a petite first freshener, and her mother had experienced a case of ring womb that was one of our hardest kiddings to date. While I was at work, my husband alerted me to the fact that Sue was in labor. I watched on the barn cam through my phone, and before I could even think about heading home, Sue had delivered a beautiful set of twins, a buckling and a doeling, flawlessly. Phew.
1*M Denbow Acres Farm VnillaPuddin 3/9/17 – As I was wrapping up my work day, my husband texted me that he thought Puddin’ was headed into labor shortly after her wrapped up with Sue and her babies. I put on the camera again and watched as I shut down my work area. Puddin’ was huge, and miserable, and we were relieved she was kinally kidding. I watched As the first baby came. A buckling. A second sac emerged and ruptured, but no baby came. As the minutes ticked away, I sweated bullets. Finally, my husband decided to go in and do a check, which I knew he wasn’t comfortable with. A stuck kid. I hyperventilated as I watched him manipulate the kid and finally get it out. Another buckling. I drove frantically to pick up the kids, and then handed my daughter my phone so she could watch the monitor as we headed home. Kid #3 came. A doeling! As we neared home, a fourth baby appeared- quads!!! Another buckling. This was huge for us, since we’d never had more than triplets at a time. I arrived home and helped with baby clean up and encouraging everyone else to nurse. I bumped Puddin and was confident there were no more babies. Then, after almost an hour of tending to her 4 babies, pudding laid down. And started pushing. We looked at each other in shock. Could there be another baby in there? If so, would it be alive after so long? And sure enough, out came #5, a big healthy doeling. To say we were stunned is an understatement. Our first set of quints, and all were alive and moving and doing well. Puddin’ had really given us the ultimate surprise.
2*M Old Mountain Farm Megan Quinn 3/10/17 – Another work day, and Wes texted me to let me know he thought Megan was going in to labor. I watched on the camera again. And sure enough, she started pushing. And Wes was no where to be found. I texted him and he didn’t answer. Suddenly Megan stood up and there was a head sticking out of her back end. I called Wes frantically and he answered. “Where the hell are you!!?? There’s a kid sticking out of Megan! Get your ass out there!” Within seconds, he appeared on the monitor, just in time for Megan to deliver a nice set of triplets without a hitch. Two bucklings and a doeling.
FeatherNScale Solstice 3/12/17 – Another first freshener, and one I was really excited about. This was another one we managed to get on FB live. It wasn’t super smooth, but ended with a a nice doeling and two lovely bucklings.
SG 3*M Sugar Moon Dolly Maddison 3/19/17 – I was really excited to see what Dolly would give us. Since this doe joined our farm this past year, I’ve just been in love. She had been bred to a fantastic buck that would never be able to use again, so I planned to retain a doeling and a buckling at the very least.
On day 146, we went to bed with Dolly showing no signs of impending labor. We knew she was getting close, but her udder still looked like it had room to fill, and no other signs were leading us to believe we would see kids within the next 24 hours. And then it was 2AM and I was awake. I heard bellowing and looked over at the monitor, shaking Wes to wake up. He squinted at the monitor. “Is that a bubble?” I looked – sure enough, it looked like a baby was on it’s way. I booked it outside, throwing on my jacket with Wes close behind. We got there just in time to watch the first kid be born. And then another. And another. And another. Quads! The kids came out so fast, that #3 came out right on top of #2 before I could move him. It was an impressive feat. 3 bucklings and one doeling, all in great shape. It did take us a long time to get everyone nice and dry and nursing, leaving us with virtually no sleep. But it was well worth it.
Of course, a successful kidding is not where things end. There is still plenty of room for things to happen. Puddin’ ended up rejecting her tiniest doeling, and we took her and the other doeling inside to be bottle babies and take the pressure off of Pud’. Solstice’s tiny buckling also struggled after being born, and it was a lot of work to get his temperature up and stabilized. He also joined us inside as a bottle baby. This all ended up working out well, as all three found great homes that wanted bottle babies.
We lost one of Maple’s boys. This has been the hardest to deal with. Right from the get go, things weren’t quite right. They had chronic scours – Maple was producing so much milk that they were overeating and it was making them unwell. We called the vet to come out and look at them to make sure they’d be ok. She treated one of the boys with antibiotics and advised pulling Maple out and milking her periodically to avoid overeating, and we did. However, in the week or so that followed, I realized the boy who hadn’t been treated with antibiotics, Pete, didn’t appear to be doing well. When I weighed him, I noted he had lost weight since the vet had visited. We brought him inside and did our best to treat him, but he was too weak. He passed away in my arms, and it’s been weighing heavy on my heart ever since. His brother continues to do well.
Then, in the past 24 hours, Dolly has decided not to feed her quads. At all. We’ve given her a thorough exam – temp check, membrane check, mastitis check, etc. It appears her teats are just extremely chapped and painful. So, we’re milking her out, applying my healing salve, bottle feeding her kids, and hoping her teats make a swift recovery.
Every kidding season is a roll of the dice, and comes with it’s own set of struggles – no one is immune. So, we take it as it comes and do our best. It’s all we can do. For now, we’re working hard to make sure everyone is on track so we can focus on our next wave of kidding that starts next week. As always, we’ll continue to share as much as we can of our Facebook Page.