We are still waiting for our last two does to kid (Dorcas and Edna). They both look more than ready, but nothing appears to be happening. I feel like time is running backwards, somehow.
But on the brighter side, our little Peanut is doing very well. She has gained some weight (a little over a pound), and she is very active, tappy-tapping around the house (and ticking off the chihuahua into the bargain). She got up on the bottom stair yesterday, but luckily she did not get any farther. She follows us around like a puppy, and I find myself doing the ‘puppy shuffle’ so I don’t step on her! She is also taking more milk at each feeding, which is a good thing.
We have had to close Fergus the sweet buck off from the girls until his neutering. He is going this Friday. I know that he will still be fertile for awhile after the surgery, but it’s just a matter of time now. Hopefully his physical recuperation will go smoothly, and as the weather gets nicer, he will eventually be able to rejoin the girls.
And so it goes. It is a dreary week, and everything we want to do outside feels like a bigger job than it really is. And today is bone-chillingly damp. Oh well, it is Maine in the springtime! But the moms and babies have had their paddock opened up to the middle section now, and the babies have the big rock to play on. It didn’t take long for them to start taking advantage of it!
Today we reached two milestones. The first was that we finally have found a home for Betsy’s bottle babies. It was a bittersweet goodbye, but we know they are going to a good home with people who love their goaties, and we also know that it is the best thing for their mother, Betsy. They were on the bottle 3 times a day, but they also never gave her a moment’s peace and were on her udder constantly. I just don’t think I can get her back into any kind of good condition while those growing babies take just about everything she has to give. And so it is a good ending for this part of the spring story.
The second milestone has to do with our little 2+ pound Peanut girl. Yesterday as she was tap-tap-tapping her way around the living room, she began to nose up to things and try sucking. So we tried, and tried to get her on the bottle (to put an end to the tube feeding party that we have been having). She was sucking our fingers like crazy, but would not, under any circumstances, get on the bottle. We tried all our little tricks, but it was a no go. So by 11 PM, I was ready to scream, and my husband said he would help me. (He had also been sitting with the little one and trying to get her to take the bottle, he sometimes does better than I do with getting them started on the teat, usually). He put his hand gently over her eyes and held her head straight, gently, and she went right onto the nipple and has not really looked back. Phew! I couldn’t believe it! She had had a brief moment in the early afternoon when I got the bottle in there and she had sucked up about an ounce, but after that it seemed to be a no-go until this.
Anyway, we got up this morning and I tucked that little one into the chair beside me, got her little mouth open, and off she went, having herself a nice little meal. I am still feeding her goat’s milk with colostrum powder, as I know she didn’t get much from her mother, if anything, but I will taper the colostrum powder off in the next few days.
Big sigh of relief! We had to go to our annual pigeon club meeting today, and since she has figured out how to get out of her rubbermaid tote, we had to put her into our jacuzzi tub with lots of towels, and her tote, while we were gone (although Sam had her out of there most of the day, and she even spent some time napping with him!).
All in all, a good day. And the weather cooperated and almost felt like spring, as well!
Firstly, Pippi has never had a single, never ever. Always pretty good sized twins, usually a buck and a doe (I wish I had a photo of her, pre-baby delivery. She always looks like she has a suitcase on either side, and we uncharitably call her Wide Load. Then she has her babies, and all is normal again). Secondly, she always has had her babies during daylight, or at the very latest, early evening, right around dinner time.
Not this year! Now we were pretty sure that Pippi was going to be popping her progeny yesterday, all the signs were good and she usually pops them out on her due date or one day later. As the day wore on, however, I just figured that it might go another day. But that’s not the kind of thing you don’t watch, so every few hours one of us went up and checked in on her. I was exhausted, and after we tube-fed little Peanut a little before 10, we went out for another check. Pippi was obviously in labor, talking to her butt, but the longer we stuck around, the less Pippi looked like she was going to cooperate (she is a very private doe and will cross her legs and wait until the humans are elsewhere). By 10:10, we went in and I threw myself on the sofa. Sam couldn’t wake me up at 11, which we had decided to target as the next check, but his text did, and it said Baby.
So he got her and the baby into the jug, got her settled, and we took care of getting the weight (9.25 lbs. Giant baby), giving the Bo-Se shot, dipping the navel, and helping to dry him off as he is one big piece of real estate. Beautiful boy. But her vaginal situation did not say to me, placenta, it said, there is more baby to come, and we waited to see if there would be another water bag. Then I realized that she wouldn’t do anything while we were there, so back we went to the house after getting her a little molasses water, about midnight.
I guess I must have dozed off again, because about 1 we went out and realized that she had passed the placenta, hence no more babies! I don’t blame her, she certainly has a beautiful and very large baby, but it was a little bit of a surprise from a champion twinner!
At less than 24 hours old, he looks like he could just go and join the other babies and fit right in. He is quite tall, and has a beautiful long body. I must say that I am surprised the Lamancha genetics trumped the Guernsey genetics where the ears are concerned!
Anyhow, mother and baby are well, although Pippi gets incredibly pissed every time one of the other mothers looks into the pen. But this is life, and when you are the Queen, I guess it is part of the job!
We are still trying to get Peanut on the bottle. She had one shining moment today and got sucking her tongue, so I shoved the bottle in and she drank an ounce all on her own. She looked very surprised, and then went to sleep. One day at a time. She has already become my little cuddle buddy.
What a day! Our little Peanut Butter is still with us, and is a feisty one at that. I fell into bed last night at 12:30, and managed to sleep some, but by 5 I was up trying to evaluate how our little girl was doing. I tried and tried to get her onto the bottle, but it did not work. Last night she passed a lot of meconium poops, so something was working, and this morning she was chirping and crying for food, but as soon as I got that nipple near her mouth she would panic and just not deal with it (her tongue has no coordination, and it just rolls around. Early days yet, I hope).
So by 6:30 I just realized that we needed to tube feed her. I couldn’t give her much, because she obviously had some milk lurking there from last night (so then I began to worry that she wasn’t digesting, which is a distinct possibility). But we kept trying to get her on the bottle, and when I finally spoke to the vet, she indicated that we need to take small steps, and it’s always a possibility that she would not ever be able to digest her food (being hypothermic for so long, her belly may not be able to really do it’s job, or come back to normalcy). Just about the time I was on the phone with the vet, however, Peanut was making a big, giant, poopy mess in her little warm box. So we hope that we are on the right train tracks here.
We have to be very careful not to let her get too dehydrated, which is a by-product of hypothermia, so we are doing small tube feedings of milk with colostrum, alternated with Gator Ade. Saffron and Battie are our star girls, giving us a few quarts a day, aside from what their babies are consuming. (And I could definitely get more if I need it!).
And so it goes. That little goatie girl has the run of the house now, but luckily she doesn’t want to stray too far yet. (Peanut loves hanging out with me and snuggling, while she chirps her little songs and snoozes). Our chihuahua, Tesser, had a fit yesterday because we set up Peanut on her bed in front of the wood stove, with hot water bottles all around, and blankets and towels galore. I don’t think I have ever seen Tesser so upset! She has been hiding in her cave of a dog bed in the bathroom ever since, where the floor is 70F, and there are no roving alien goat babies.
Was quite the day. We have been doing round-the-clock checks on a few of our does, and no one appeared to be doing anything yesterday or last night. Getting bigger, but nothing else going on.
Last night we thought Beezus might be in the beginning stages of labor, so we were checking her every few hours. Nothing. But this morning when I went out there, I found a wee little babe covered in the straw near where Beezus sleeps. There was no wet spot, no placenta, no nothing. Just a little baby, apparently dead, lying in the straw bedding. I grabbed her up, and even though I presumed she was dead, I wrapped her in my jacket and grabbed a towel, and ran her down to the house. Beezus was just sitting there cudding. Oy!
Anyhow, she mewled once, and as I was rubbing her belly, I felt her breathing. And so it began. After I took her temperature and it didn’t even register on the electronic thermometer, I knew we were in trouble. And so I had to go to the trusty internet to read the instructions for giving an intra-peritoneal glucose and water shot. I have never done this before, but luckily I had the glucose, and I did it, following the instructions from one of the big universities. It was clearly A Miracle. I watched her come to life in the minutes after that shot, and I still can hardly believe it. When we got her temp up to 91.4, we celebrated, although when I spoke to the vet, she didn’t sound very optimistic about that milestone. But we are keeping on, and hopefully it will be a positive outcome. (Lots of hot water bottles, a heating pad, and body heat to help her get to a temp of 101+. We did it around midday!).
Little Peanut Butter should not be alive, but as of tonight, she still is. We worked long and hard this morning getting her warmed up, so that we could begin to give her some colostrum and milk. I don’t have a lot of frozen colostrum, and her mama wasn’t making any. She was dry as a bone. So I defrosted some from another doe, and broke out my powdered colostrum. I am milking one of my does, so I can mix that with the powdered stuff.
I don’t know where this will go, or whether or not this little one will survive. She is truly a Peanut. About as big as our chihuahua, who is 3 lbs soaking wet. I want her to thrive, but the odds are against her. We shall see. We are having to tube feed her, even though since midday she has been able to hold her head up and get up on her feet and lurch around. She is not interested in the bottle yet, but I am hoping against hope that we can coax her to it. (I really hate tube feeding).
And so it goes. Dorcas and Pippi are still ‘wide loads coming through,’ and very pregnant. Don’t have a date on Dorcas, but Pippi’s due date is today, which means that tomorrow is a good bet for her. She will be watched closely. I can only hope that she decides to go during the day. Beezus has actually been our only doe to do something at night so far.
Adventures in farming. Always something new. All positive thoughts are welcome!
Saffron is our very sweet girl that came from Ardelia Farm a year and a half ago. She was the one that had issues kidding last year and had a stillborn preemie. Two vets told me that there must be something wrong with her plumbing and that she would most likely not be able to carry babies to full term in the future. But the post-mortem on the preemie baby indicated that she died of an infection, not that she just couldn’t be full term for some physical reason.
So we gave Saffron another chance. I think when we brought her home over a year ago she had a lot of stress, and things just didn’t work out for her (she aborted the fetus she had been carrying, having gotten bred at Ardelia, and then got re-bred here). And I think that I am glad we gave her another chance, because she just had two beautiful doelings this afternoon!
I wasn’t home today, and I got a text from Sam saying that he had fed everyone this afternoon, a little before 3. He couldn’t find Saffron, and when he went into the recesses of the other greenhouse, there she stood with two clean and nearly dry babies, delivering her placenta. Easy-peasy, I guess! He said she never made a sound, and he was just in the next greenhouse, which is only 6 feet or so away.
She is a fantastic mama, and stands forever to encourage her babies to nurse. I think the larger of the two is in a milk coma this evening as I couldn’t get her interested in getting back on the teat when I went out to check them a little while ago. They both feel fine, and have warm mouths. (I get obsessive and look for the first dark meconium poops and then later the yellow poops that show milk consumption, but some of the moms get rid of the evidence, and I couldn’t find any signs of the baby’s fecal matter, so I just have to trust that things are going to plan). It’s my turn to do the late bottle feed tonight, so I will double check on them again.
10 babies on the ground so far, 8 of them are does. I hope there are a lot of people out there who want Guernsey goats this year! I certainly can’t handle all the added mouths to feed, at least not for long! These girls are just doing too good a job :*)
This morning was really special, and not just because it is the first day of Spring. Our Betsy did not spend most of the night with her babies, they actually were camped in two different greenhouses, but when we fed the mamas their morning grain, Betsy ate her whole portion, like a champ! I can’t believe it! She has finally earned the step away from being drenched with that awful propylene glycol, thank goodness. She is off her antibiotics, her banamine (analgesic), and now the drench. We continue to give her vitamin B every day, though. We just have our fingers crossed that she can keep eating well.
Betsy’s babies ate like like champs as well this morning, drinking a little over 12 ounces, each. We are slowly beginning to make the transition from kid milk replacer to cow’s milk, but it’s going to take at least another couple of weeks for that. Most folks who have been raising goats for years do not use replacer as there is a much higher incidence of diarrhea that comes with it. Our little ones are doing well, and I would use goat’s milk, but all of my current mamas have regulated their supply to meet their babies’ demand, so they are not letting me have a dependable supply yet. And the next best thing is cow’s milk.
Jingle the donkey was happy today as her good friend Fred the Farrier came by. I know a lot of farriers don’t like visiting with donkeys, but our Jingle has always been good about her feet, and she and Fred love each other. It’s such a relief that it isn’t a big deal for her! Very nice. Great start to Spring, even if we still do have a lot of snow sticking around.
Was yesterday for the 8 babies that are on the ground right now. A friend of ours had offered to help us out, and because I have been sick, time got away with me a little bit. 4 of the babies were turning two weeks old this weekend, and and that is kind of the outer limit on when you get good results with it.
So our friend and her husband came up around midday, and the sun was shining and everything went very smoothly. I am not sure I could ever do the procedure myself, but someone experienced makes it look quick and easy. So our little ones all have alien markings on their heads, and by chore time yesterday afternoon, they were running around and playing, totally unfazed by the ordeal. I, on the other hand, was exhausted!
This is something that I really do not look forward to, but horns in a dairy operation are dicey… the girls frequently get annoyed with each other for one reason or another, and they bash at their victim with their heads down. Udders have been punctured and slashed, and then you have an even bigger problem on your hands (getting udders to heal is a long process as they are constantly expanding to fill with milk, and then contracting after milking). And so we disbud. In the long run it’s safer for us as well. (Purebred Guernsey goats are naturally ‘polled,’ but our little herd isn’t quite to that level yet, although our Betsy was naturally polled).
Our Betsy has been eating fitfully, and since we have taken her babies away, all she is doing is poking her head out of the panel and calling to her little ones, who huddle next to the gate into her pen. She has eaten a little more over the last few days, but not enough, and I think her stress level has been rising, as she wants her babies with her. So I fed the little bugs their 5 PM bottles, and let her out. They mobbed her and nursed her for awhile, but I am hoping they will settle down and let her just be their mama. She is such a good one. I just have my fingers crossed that I can get her through this and onto a better nutritional plane. One of the reasons I kept her is because her mama, Battie, is such a fantastic mother, that I hoped the trait would pass to her. I guess it did, and ironically it’s putting her health at risk.
And so we keep figuring out as we go on. You just never know what’s around the corner. I am hoping for a little lull between births. 4 more to go, 3 of whom I have pretty good dates on, one of which I do not. We shall see!
And here we go! Battie did not show up for her afternoon suppertime, and at the time, we didn’t notice until everything was over. I was feeding the bottle lambs, and Sam was doling out the grain. When we looked in the other greenhouse, there lay Battie, facing the corner, not doing much. This was about 2:30 PM.
We watched her for awhile, and then we went back to the house. I got into the bathtub and soaked for awhile, but when I was getting dressed, I noticed Sam jogging up the driveway. Not a good sign! He had heard Battie bellowing up in the greenhouse, and guessed what was going on. He got there just as her buckling hit the ground. He got her moved into a jug, and that’s when her little red doeling came dropping in. (We actually thought the doeling wasn’t a viable baby. She was flat as a pancake, wasn’t moving, and wasn’t breathing). We got her nose cleared off and there she was, right as rain. Little spitfire!
I wasn’t really expecting Battie to be due for another two weeks. When I put Reddog in with my group on October 12, I knew that he had been all over Battie, but he also seriously bred her for a full day almost 3 weeks later. So I had the second date on my calendar. Just goes to show you, you never can tell!
On another note, we took Betsy’s babies away from her this morning. Every time she got up, both of them were at her and never let her have a minute of non-nursing. I put them in the jug right next to her, so they can stick their heads through the panel and chat, but no milkies. I don’t think I have ever been given the stink eye from a goat the way Betsy gave me one this morning, but I think in the long run it’s going to be better. She stared at them morosely for a few hours, and by early this afternoon, she was frantically eating hay. And when all the hullaballoo started with Battie, she couldn’t contain herself, standing with her front hooves on the panel, watching and trying to see what was happening. That’s more like most goats I know! Noseybodies, one and all. When I went out to bottle feed her babies at 7 PM, she was still ravenously attacking her hay, and the babies were just happily cuddled up in a corner of their pen. I actually had to wake them up. So I think things are progressing well. I just have my fingers crossed that Betsy keeps moving forward with her nutrition.
What a day! I think a glass of wine is in order! Someone else is doing the 11 PM bottle feeding tonight. That’s a huge gift :*)
They have been promising us another blizzard-type storm. And it is here. Blustery and blowing from the north, it’s a white world again. Not what any of us want to see in March, but this is Maine so that’s how it rolls! (I won’t curse here, I promise).
We are definitely keeping busy with Betsy and her little ones. Betsy is coming along slowly, and I am hoping that she revs into high gear sooner rather than later and gets some eating done. We need to put some weight on her (we are doing all the supportive appetite-inducing things, as well as making sure she has vitamins, probiotics and plenty of minerals, salt, etc). Even though we are bottle feeding those little bugs, they continue to nosh on her as well. At some point I need to decide whether or not it is putting too much stress on her, and if I think it is, I will have to take the babies away. I really don’t want to do that, they all need each other and that could be just as stressful to Betsy, but as the vets say, she is in a ‘negative energy’ zone right now, and I hate to think of her body trying to produce the milk for those hungry, hungry twins. Sigh. It’s always something on a farm!
Dorcas is the next doe in the lineup, and she could freshen at any point. Difficult to tell, and most of our attention is focused elsewhere, so I suspect she will have a big surprise for us any time now. And that will be the halfway mark for us. 4 more girls are due end of March, beginning of April.
The 4 older kids are having plenty of action-packed adventures in the meantime. They can’t help but have fun, because 4 is much more exciting than 2! They love to run the fenceline and torment Fergus the buck on the other side. He very sweetly sniffs them through the fence, and then they hippity hop away to torment someone else. For a few days there Olive, one of Delta’s girls, was trying to sneak treats from Eleganza. El is wise to her now, but for a few minutes there I thought Olive was going to get away with it. They are all too funny. And Twig has figured out how to get into the Sydell blue tub feeder… that is one of the highlights of every goat kid’s life! It’s not a perfect design, because of that, but none of the work-arounds I have tried keep them out. And so it goes. A goat kid’s world is a wonderful place, most of the time.
Just about time for afternoon chores. Time to go out in the storm. Ugh. They say this one is a fast-mover, and I hope they are correct!
Coopworth Fiber, LaMancha Dairy Goats and Cheese on the Coast of Maine!