Thursday, March 27, 2014

Hardest kidding season yet

If yesterday's blog posting made you want goats, today's post may change your mind.

When I woke up this morning Lulu's eye was not only cloudy but it was swollen.  I called the vet and they said they could squeeze me in at 4:00.  I had also noticed that Lollie's eyes were crusty and stuck shut so I was assuming Lulu had pink eye and had passed it along to Lollie.  LG's eyes still look fine.

Lily is the only doe I kept from last year's kids.  I couldn't wait to see how much milk she produced because her mom, Luti, is my biggest producer.  For some reason I didn't write down Lily's breeding date so I had a 3 week window for when she was due.  Her ligaments in her back end got soft a few weeks ago and I was having a hard time guessing when she would kid.  Her body behaved very different than all my other does pre-kidding.

I spent a few hours cleaning out the barn this morning so I had plenty of time to watch her.  I was sure she was going to have kids today.  I was right.  She went into labor about 45 minutes before it was time for me to take Lulu to the vet.  I knew that would happen.  The last kid showed its face a few minutes before I should be leaving.  When I saw the afterbirth after delivering twin boys I breathed a sigh of relief - good, no triplets.  Then she had another contraction and screamed as she pushed again, hard.  What she pushed out was not a kid.  It was her uterus.  James and I stared at it in disbelief.  It looked like a giant jellyfish and I couldn't tell what was what.

I quickly called the vet and told them I was due there in 20 minutes but had another emergency.  They asked if we could drive her there.  James wrapped Lily and her dangling uterus in a blanket and we were able to lift her into our station wagon/farm mobile, along with her twins and Lulu.  The vet showed up a little after we did.  He was out on farm calls.  He was so matter-of-fact and relaxed about it all.  Everything he did to Lily was done in the back of our car.  He kind of cleaned up and then with great effort pushed her uterus back in and then explained to us that he still had to turn it right-side-in.  I hadn't thought of that.  As he did all this he kept talking and answering all our questions.  After he got it turned right he got a hose and pumped water into it to weight it down.  Then he stitched her vagina closed with "the purse string suture".   The thread he used looked like a shoelace.  I couldn't see all this because I was in front of Lily holding her in one place.  James was in the back holding her backside up by her tail so he got to watch it all and asked plenty of questions.  He pulled some of the afterbirth out but told us to expect a little more.  He didn't pull the suture too tight that she couldn't pass the rest.  He told us not to forget to cut the suture sometime after 2 weeks.  I assured him we wouldn't be forgetting this.  A shot of oxytocin and an antibiotic and he said she was good to go.   Now we watch her and wait to see how she heals.  She doesn't seem at all interested in the twins.  I have her locked in a stall with them and I gave them their first colostrum I had in the freezer from the other does.  Lily didn't want to stand to let me milk her or let them nurse.  I gave her a shot of Banamine for pain hoping she comes around and warms up to her kids when she feels better.  I found her eating when I checked on her last so that was a good sign.  I also noticed the twins hooves are very soft like they're not fully developed so I wonder if they're a bit premature.  They're also slow to stand.  They're 5 hours old and I haven't seen them walk yet, though they are alert and wiggly.

The vet gave Lulu an antibiotic and sent us home with a syringe for the other two girls too.  He also put some terramycin in her eyes and I did the same to Lollie when I got home.

Right now I have 3 little diapered goats on the couch with me and that's nice.  We're all tired.  

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Posing in PJs

I need to warn you, if you don't want a baby goat you probably shouldn't look at these pictures because after seeing them you're going to think you must have one..... or 2 or 3.  I went to Dollar General to get them diapers today so they could wander around the house more without me worrying they're going to pee on everything.  I couldn't get LG to stand still for a picture in her diaper.  I cut a hole in the back for their tails.
While I was there I also picked up some pajamas to complete the adorable look.   Modeling a multi-colored onesie  with jungle animals,  LG makes her debut on the runway.  
She wasn't the most graceful model.  She couldn't figure out how to move her back legs individually and lifted them both in the air at the same time.
Together Lulu and LG show how jammies with the feet cut out can be fashionable.
Lastly, Lollie wears a 3 piece ensemble, complete with matching hat that shows off her long ears.
I'm not so sure Lollie liked her outfit.  She was either crying or singing as she tried it out.
Lex looked very sad that I didn't bring him home any new clothes.
Playing dress-up is very tiring for little goats so, all wrapped up, they're now taking naps on and near me as I blog.
They all seem to be doing much better but they're not ready to re-join the herd yet, especially in this cold weather.  Yesterday I let them play in the basement and all they wanted to do was hover by the gas logs.  I had to put a screen in front of them because they wanted to climb on them.

A plug for some friends' blogs

Two of our friends are embarking on a new adventure and I'm envious.  Terry and Sharon are selling their houses and almost everything they have and going to Europe for a year.   I can only imagine all the interesting people they'll meet and all the good food they're going to eat, not to mention great wine.  They're both very funny, outgoing ladies and I know they'll come home (if they come back here at all) with loads of new friends.

James and I have talked about doing this kind of thing, maybe for 6 months or so, but would need to find a farm sitter for that time.  Maybe there's someone or someones who'd love to live here while we're gone.... Jon?  For the time being we'll just have to live through Terry and Sharon.  They've both started blogs and I hope they'll update them often.  They don't leave till the end of April but they've started getting ready.  If you'd like to follow along here are links to their blogs.

Terry's - A broad abroad
Sharon's - Where in the world is Sharon Daugherty?

Monday, March 24, 2014

Triplet neglect

Of all my 3 girls that had triplets, each one of them has decided she only wants to raise the 2 strongest of the three so I'm nursing the 3 runts/unwanted kids in a crate in our living room.  It's been very slow-going and stressful.  Every morning I think I'm going to find one or more of them dead in the crate, that's how weak they've been.  As of tonight, one of them is finally sucking a bottle enthusiastically.  The other two I either have to tube feed or practically force feed a bottle in their mouth and then they barely suck.  Tonight James did the holding and feeding.  It was a better night.

Yesterday I did something I'd never done before.  I gave the 3 babies enemas.  I could tell they were constipated by the way they were standing hunched up.  I used warm soapy water and held them over a towel.  I won't go into too much detail but I will tell you it was a very good thing I did it and one of the girls has got to be feeling much better and lighter on her feet.  I had no idea they could get constipated on goat's milk.  Needless to say, having the goats in our living room makes our house smell like a newborn baby's diaper.

After naming Jiminy and Cricket I haven't been all that excited about giving the babies names.  I don't know why.  I know when I sell them the new owner will probably change their name but that doesn't usually stop me from giving them a temporary name.  After 4 days in the house, I've decided to give the       weak little girls names.  This may be a mistake but I feel like it's a hopeful message to them.   Luti's little girl is Lulu, Pessa's big white girl is Lolly and Respa's tiny little thing (the first one I began nursing) is LG for Little Girl.   In 6 years of raising goats I've never lost one except for stillborns, and I don't plan on losing these girls so I'm pulling out all the guns.  I won't feel guilty if I lose one because I really feel like I'm doing all I can for them.  Tonight I discovered Lulu has a cloudy eye.  I don't know if that means she's blind in that eye or not.  She's the one who is taking a bottle now and thriving more than the other 2.

The other kids are doing really well and it's cute seeing them all hang out together.
My mom and sister have introduced me to the show Dr. Pol, on NatGeoWild.  As I watch it I realize how much of this stuff he does is stuff I've learned either by experience or by reading all the goat, pig and cow forums.  I hope I don't need to learn anything more this kidding season and the rest goes as smooth as silk.  I'll let you know of the 3 crate babies progress.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

How many goats can you fit in one stall?

Every night at least 4 of the goats cram themselves into one stall.  None of the stalls are bigger than 6 or 7 feet by 3 1/2 feet.  The one they're in tonight is only about 5 feet by 3 1/2.  Usually it's Tila, Respa, Cato and Cooper snuggling.  I understood this when it was cold but tonight was warmer and they got 6 of them packed in there.  There's a lot of moaning and chewing going on.  I don't know how they can sleep with all that noise.  They don't need a white noise maker like I do.
Tila was part way out the door.
As you can see there's plenty of floor space available and other stalls but they choose to sleep together.  Tonight Lily joined them since her mom, Luti, had babies and kicked her to the curb.  Just last night they were all cuddled together and were inseparable.   Poor Lily.  She'll have her own babies soon.  Tila and Respa (mother and daughter) still sleep side by side even though Respa has kids.

Here are 2 more kid photos I thought were cute and forgot to include in the previous blog post.

Third set of triplets

So far our kid count is 8 girls and 3 boys.  Luti gave birth to triplet girls today.  The lighter colored girls are pretty big.   The smallest of the 3 is brown with white ears and looks like many of the other kids, taking after her dad.
Luti is an awesome mom.  She makes it all look so easy and she has plenty of milk for 3.

This has not been the case for Respa.  It's interesting to see how different all the mothers are.  Darla's kids are very independent and I hardly ever see them with her but she shows up to feed them regularly and they're bouncy and doing great.  Respa's boys have been nursing fine but this morning I thought the little girl looked cold and hungry with her back all hunched up like hungry kids do.  I made a note to myself to keep an eye on her.  I went out a few hours later and found her in the corner of the barn feeling stiff and very cold.  I was sure she was dead.  Well, she was nearly dead.  Her mouth was very cold and I could just feel a little movement in her so I decided to try to tube feed her and see if we could save her.  I really didn't think she'd live another 30 minutes.  I quickly coaxed Pessa in to milk her since I didn't have any milk and her udder looked like it could use some relief.  I took the weak kid indoors and James kept her warm while I got things ready.  In 6 years I've never had to tube feed a baby so I wondered if it would be as simple as everyone says it is.  I wasn't nervous, probably because I knew we had no other choice.  The tube went down very easily and she didn't cough or gasp so I knew it didn't go into the lungs.   

I gave her about 40 ml of warm milk but then later read I should have first given her some diluted coffee, molasses and electrolytes to give her some quick energy.  I knew you weren't supposed to feed a cold baby but I felt we didn't have much time to wait till she was warm.  An hour after I gave her the first dose of milk I gave her the coffee/molasses/vit E and water mixture.  I think I tube fed her at least 3 or 4 times in 5 hours and kept her in a cooler with a towel in front of a heater or tucked inside my coveralls on my chest while I took a nap.  By the afternoon she was able to stand, cry and took a little bit of milk from the bottle so I returned her to the barn to be with her brothers and feathered sister to bask in the warm sunshine.   

I'm not sure if Respa will mother her or not, especially since she has the smell of Pessa's milk on her.  I'll keep a close watch on her and will probably have to continue to bottle feed her.  Anyone want a bottle baby?

Pessa mothers her kids very different than Darla.  She's SO protective and drives everyone crazy, including me.  She stands in front of the doorway of the barn and you cannot pass her without her yelling and trying to butt every goat out of the way lest they come anywhere near her kids.  She doesn't mind me near or Cooper, just everyone else.  Her kids are struggling with nursing also because her teats are so gigantic and close to the ground.  I've helped them a few times and have also given them a bottle of her milk but I hope they catch on soon.  They sleep a lot and aren't real active yet but I really don't want to have to continue to bottle feed them.  

We have 2 more girls left to kid.  I hope they don't have triplets.  

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Kids, kids, kids

The barn is getting crowded.  Not to be outdone by Darla's twins, one day later Respa gave birth to triplets, 2 boys and one girl.  Yesterday Pessa also had triplets, all girls.  Our herd has quickly doubled.
It's impossible to get a photo with all the kids in it but here are a few pictures I took today.  It's very muddy now that our snow has melted and I hope to get some better shots when they can run, jump and play outdoors.

More kids should be arriving in the next day or two.  Poor Luti's udder looks like it could explode if she doesn't get relief soon.  I hope tomorrow is her day.  
Today began work towards getting electricity to Raisa's barn.  I know it will all be done satisfactorily because Raisa and the donkeys supervised the whole thing.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Jiminy Cricket

I was pretty sure when I went out to feed this morning that Darla was going to give us some kids today.  After breakfast she found a stall and holed up in it for a few hours.  She made it all look easy.  Aside from her constant  baa-ing and softened ligaments around her tail, you couldn't really guess she was having them today.  There was no mucous until her water broke and it didn't appear that her babies had dropped into position.  After her water broke it was just minutes, she hollered just a little and then very easily pushed (I know, that's easy for me to say) a little boy then girl into the world.  The little boy has ears like Darla.
And the little girl has tiny lamancha ears like her daddy, Jimmy.  Her coloring is very much like her granddaddy, Witty.  I love her feminine face.
I named the boy Jiminy (mini Jimmy) and the girl Cricket.

It was very cold and windy today and I was glad to see them finally dried off and no longer shivering.  I held them in my lap for about an hour while they took a nap in the sunshine.  Someone had to do it.
Aren't these faces adorable?  They look like they're smiling.
More to come in the next few days.  Long eared goats next time.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The pigs experience Baxter

No babies yet so you'll have to read more dog chatter.

I was just remembering today how things were when we got Keri almost 3 years ago.  Many of my blog posts were about her and her antics.  I should go back and read them so see if there are any similarities between her and Baxter, or at least what we were up against.

I mentioned last post that Baxter is fascinated with our pigs who live across the road.  This afternoon I was doing some outdoor spring cleaning and feeling productive when I was interrupted.  I heard a distant bark that sounded very familiar.  Is that????  Yeah, that's what I thought.  Baxter had somehow found yet another space to squeeze through around a gate, crossed the road, went through some barbed wired and then ducked under a tight space to be in with the pigs.  This couldn't have taken him more than a few minutes because he was just by my side.  The pigs were totally unimpressed with him - "seriously? you think we can be bothered?"  they seemed to say.  Wendell and Mickey (spotted pigs) cracked me up the way they kept on resting while Baxter barked.

I'm pretty certain Mickey is pregnant.  She's super lazy, getting rounder and I haven't seen her come back into heat for months now.  I'm watching her closely and getting excited.  I have a few predicted due dates but I'm not going to count my piglets before they hatch.

I wish some of my goats would hatch a baby or two.  I'm betting between Respa and Darla, whose due dates are a day apart.  Pessa is also due then but she doesn't look anywhere near ready.  Darla's udder is more developed than Respa's and I can't wait to see what kind of milk this tiny little knee-hi goat produces.  Her mom, Luti, is my biggest producer.  This is the time of year when I become obsessed with udders.  Weird, I know.  Goat and cow people will understand this.
Tomorrow is supposed to be cold so I'm sure one of the goats will have babies.  That's the way it goes. To bring some Spring into our house to get us through our last, yes LAST, cold day (I'm trying to be positive here), I picked a bouquet of daffodils.  Don't they make you happy?

Monday, March 10, 2014

Everybody loves Baxter (well, maybe not)

When Baxter arrived he was the sweetest little guy and I was amazed at how well behaved he was for a stray.  Well, he's become very comfortable here and I'm quite sure he loves his new home but sometimes I  think he's gotten too comfortable.  There have been days I've been ready to send him back to the SPCA.  Just kidding.  It's not been as hard as raising a puppy but it has been challenging at times.

He loves to sleep by my side on the couch.  How nice it's been to have this cuddly warm body next to me while I'm on my laptop.  The other day he came down the stairs and climbed up next to me all innocent-like.   I saw a small piece of paper stuck to his mouth.  It read "cover story".  Huh.  I went up to our bedroom to see what he got into and found a magazine torn to shreds.  See that little red dot stuck to his mouth?   Dead giveaway, dog.  You could've blamed it on someone else.
Owning a small dog has taught me many things, such as, small dogs can find any hole in a fence.  I've patched 5 different holes so far and I feel certain this is just the beginning.  He wanted to get a closer look at the pigs across the road, so see them he did.  Those 3 holes have now been patched.

He wanted to find another way to get closer to the goats so he found the space at the end of the driveway between the bottom of the gate and the gate post which took him for a walk along the road.  I knew it was only a matter of time till he ended up in the goats' pen with Keri, the goats and donkeys.

Two weekends ago I moved the goats back from their 10 acre pasture to their small acre and a half.  I hated to do it because there's no grass in their small lot so they have to eat more hay.  I needed them close to the house though because kids are due any day now.   I can't wait to see grass growing again.
I've seen Baxter sit for an hour or more watching the goats, looking very content.  Today while I was with the goats getting ready to clean up their yard to make it safe for babies Baxter showed his whiskery face.  I really wasn't worried about Keri hurting him because I already knew she liked him.  I'd seen the two of them playing through the fence with tails wagging.   The 2 of them will even share a water bucket side by side.  Being a guardian dog Keri is supposed to dislike other dogs and keep them from her charges.  Of course she loves Lex because he was here when she was a puppy so he doesn't count.  Other dogs though are not welcome.  I guess Baxter isn't threatening.

Unfortunately, Baxter has a herding instinct.  He herded them all back into their small fence and ran in circles till they were in a tight bunch.  I wasn't able to stop him at first but when I yelled at him Keri would try to help.  As you can see, Pessa wasn't intimidated by him.

Pessa is due to kid in 5 days.  Check out her girth.
After a while Baxter calmed down and got used to the goats and began listening to me.  In this video the goats look bewildered as he eats their goat berries.

I thought to myself, how nice it is that he's lying down relaxing.   Then I realized he was probably relaxed because all the goats were in one place.
We should have babies any day now and I can't wait to post goat baby videos.  I've blocked the holes where I think Baxter got into their fence because I don't want him harassing the kids but I'm not feeling too confident I've secured the area.

Stay tuned for goat babies.