"Not doing well...brought them both in...see if we can save them..."
These weren't the words I wanted to start my week with, but that's how things got started Monday morning around 5:30AM. Let me back up and say that Emma surprised us by kidding before Nickel. I caught her in the pushing stage on one of many checks to the goat pen on Sunday afternoon. I was able to sit with her as Abe & Moses were born. It was a fairly normal delivery, except for one thing. Goats are usually born in a diving position with their two front feet by their heads. (Both back feet first is also considered a normal birth position, but I've never seen this.)
When Abe (brown one) was emerging, I only saw one hoof and a nose, which isn't good. Before I intervened, I saw his second foot just back a bit further. Because of his "off" position, Emma had a bit of a hard time getting him out. It was also her first baby, too. Moses (black one) was born minutes after in a perfect position.
Emma is a first time Mom. So, we watched to see if she would take care of her babies. They were quite tiny at birth, but otherwise healthy. Emma began licking Moses right away, but didn't seem too concerned about Abe. She would lick Abe if we placed him under her nose, but then would soon be off to Moses again. Moses was a bit stronger from the start. We made sure the boys nursed and let them be to bond.
We checked on them periodically through the day Sunday. Abe didn't seem to be doing well. He was weak, but he would nurse well when we hooked him up. Emma seemed increasingly annoyed at the babies nursing and would kick them off.
We decided, since she was a first time Mom, to give her a few hours to adjust. We got up twice during the night Sunday to check on them. The first check was promising, but the second check found Abe pretty weak. Again, we decided to try to let Emma handle things.
When we checked them early Monday morning, Abe was very weak. He could no longer stand or hold his head. Moses, too, was showing signs of losing strength. Thus, the words I heard at the beginning of this post on Monday morning from my husband who found them this way.
He brought them inside to the wood stove, and we began rubbing them with towels to warm them up. We milked Emma and tried bottles. Abe couldn't suck, but Moses could. Soon, I realized the wood stove and towels weren't warming Abe enough. I gave him a warm bath in our laundry room sink and moved his legs to get his circulation going. This seemed to really perk him up. I also gave him 5ml of fluids subcutaneously (under his skin) and rubbed molasses on his tongue and cheeks. Slowly, but surely, he showed signs of improvement. In a few hours, he could weakly suck a bottle. He took small (0.25oz to 1oz) feedings all day Monday while Moses drank double that each time. But, this morning, they both downed over 2oz! Abe can now stand and take steps-a dramatic turn around from where he was yesterday morning. They are now enjoying a life of luxury in our basement by the wood stove. I had to put them in a laundry basket because Moses was getting quite curious and wandering all over!
Aaaaand, in other news, Nickel the goat has beat April the giraffe!
We decided to get up once during the night Monday night to feed Abe & Moses. After feeding them, I went out to the barn to check Nickel. I found her cleaning off her first baby - Jefferson (darker brown one). I was able to watch her deliver Jackson (light brown one) & Little Penny (black one) minutes later; all in beautiful diving birth positions. Little Penny was the first one I ever witnessed completely in the sack after being born. I helped tear the sack off, but Nickel did the rest. This is Nickel's second batch of triplets and her third kidding.
Remember I mentioned in my first entry that goats have a thing for snowstorms, low temperatures, & vacations? Well, it took a vacation & low temperatures, but we finally have goat babies in the barn!
If you live locally, you know we had bitter cold temperatures over the weekend - in the teens overnight and "real feel" temperatures down to the single digits with the wind. We had a short weekend vacation planned that we didn't want to miss. Looking at the forecast & knowing we were going to be away, we were sure Oakley would kid. So, we asked dear friends & fellow animal lovers if they would goat sit for us. They conveniently put up Oakley & Nickel for the weekend in their heated barn. We sent both of them because we are suspecting Nickel will go early & goats do better with a buddy.
He checked Oakley Saturday morning. All was well. He came back at lunchtime and found the two babies! The doeling was still wet, but Oakley was taking great care of them! He thinks she was wet because she was just born. He took fabulous care of them until we picked them up on Sunday and brought them home. They are now settled into our barn and doing well.
Here are some photos of the doeling.
And here is her brother... (He wasn't posing as nicely for me as she did - so better pictures will come later!)
These little ones need some names. Since Oakley's name is "Annie Oakley" we are thinking about naming them after some American heros. Like Harriet & Henry (Harriet Tubman & John Henry) or William & Penny (after William Penn). Give us your ideas in the comments!
Looking at the snowstorm coming this week, perhaps we'll have more goat kids!
Goat Kid Preparation Checklist
Stack of clean towels for drying off goat kids - check.
Blue bulb syringe for suctioning noses - check.
Path worn to the barn from checking on my pregnant goats - check.
Camera for newborn photos - check.
Clean kidding stall with straw, water, & food - check.
Propane tanks full to heat our barn - check.
Baby goats - ummmmm..........
Does anyone else hear the crickets?
The state of things around here can be summed up with a picture of Nickel from today...
Oakley is the goat we've been watching closely because we don't know her due date, but since Nickel & Llama both dropped yesterday, now I'm watching them too! When I say dropped, I mean that their kids moved from being carried high in their abdomens to low, which results in a sunken look at the hips. This happens as kidding gets closer and the babies are getting lined up in the birth canal.
Just for your reference as we count down the days, we know Llama is due 3/17/17, and Nickel is due 3/19/17. We didn't witness the deed with Emma, but we suspect it is around 3/21/17.
Throughout this pregnancy, Nickel has just been large. She had triplets last year, and I'm fairly confident it is triplets again. Based on her size, I wouldn't even be surprised to see quads, but I do think it is triplets. Her extra largeness compared to the other ladies in the herd is likely due to her "queen goat" status that earns her more grain at the food trough everyday. (For anyone not familiar with goats, they have a self-established pecking order like chickens. Nickel is the long-standing queen of our herd and won't hesitate to push her authority on the other goats - except our buck, Ziggy. She doesn't mess with him.)
So, we are keeping a wary eye on the bitter cold temperatures predicted for this weekend. I've gone from wanting Oakley to kid NOW to hoping her babies stay safe & warm inside her until we get through this bitter cold snap.
Stay tuned. The babies can't stay in there forever!
Vanessa from Russell Homestead. Follower of the Lord Jesus, wife of my knight in shining armor, mother of 5 wonderful children, and joint-keeper of the Russell homestead. Thanks for stopping by!
Independent Field Representative