Friday, April 10, 2009


Xoe kidded on April eighth to two bucklings and a doeling. We lost one of the bucklings and the doeling. Above is a picture of the two bucklings sleeping together. Below are pictures of the first and surviving buckling. His name is Zen. He is black and white/light tan and he weighs seven pounds. In my last post I said that Xoe kidded last year on day 150, but I realized that she actually kidded at five pm on day 149. This kidding was also on day 149 and if there hadn't been complications she would have delivered mid to late evening. To make a very long story relatively short, I began sitting with Xoe at about seven p.m. and around midnight it seemed like she wasn't making as much progress as she should be. My friend April was with me (this was her first time attending a goat birth). We decided to intervene. The first kid was upside down with his legs in the wrong position and his head was turned. With much effort April was able to straighten his legs and his head, we tried pulling him out but his head kept returning to it's original sideways position. We ended up having to turn his whole body sideways and finally she was able to pull him out. We should have gone right back in but we gave mom and baby about fifteen to twenty minutes together before going back in. Again the kid was upside down with legs in the wrong position. This time April was able to quickly get the doeling out. When she came out she wasn't breathing and we weren't able to get her going after much nose-mouth wiping/sucking/blowing and lots of rubbing. While I was trying to get the doeling going, April went back in and pulled out a third kid, a very tiny and weak buckling. He was breathing and alive but he was so weak it seemed like we lost him a couple times and got him going again. By the time all the kids were out it was probably about three or four a.m. and we spent another couple hours with them, trying to get the big kid to nurse, and trying to feed the little one milk in a dosing syringe. The two bucklings fell asleep so at about five a.m. I decided to leave and let everyone rest. I could only hope that when I returned they would be stronger. I had Dustin check on them an hour later about six a.m. Then I made it back up at eight thirty and the little guy had died. In retrospect I should have brought him to my bedside to make sure he stayed alive and kicking. I wish we had gone in earlier for the first kid and then right away for the second two and maybe we would have a doeling. Goat raising is not for the faint of heart, and incidents like this certainly shatter one's confidence. Yesterday was a gray day around here. It was the first overcast and cloudy day in weeks. When I watch Zen my heart ache for the little ones we lost eases up a bit. I'm looking forward to the kids that are still on their way.
Zen is about seventeen hours old in this picture. He is real wobbly, learning how to stand and walk. In just a couple days he will be running, skipping and jumping...flying really.
Here are a few photos of Noah, Avery and I spending a little time with the new family. In the photo below Xoe is facing the camera and her daughter Yin is behind her. So far Yin is rather indifferent about her new brother.

To make matters more complicated, Xoe isn't willingly caring for and nursing her son. So every few hours (as often as possible) we are helping Zen nurse. He is in an indoor pen on his own, mostly sleeping on fresh hay. I guide Xoe in and hold her in a neck lock while I guide Zen to her teat and kind of angle it into his mouth. We had to do this with Xoe and her kids last year as well. I think if her labor hadn't been so complicated and she hadn't lost a couple kids, we wouldn't have this issue because she wouldn't be near as stressed. I think within a couple days she will regain her mother capacities and be nursing and caring for him on her own.


Hot Belly Mama said...

You're a good mama yourself helping them out! My husband wants to get baby calves so bad. I should show him this post to remind him that we are not quite yet ready for the tasks that come with it. I am sorry you lost some babies. That is always hard.

Kathleen said...

I've got an Alpine doe that just gave birth to three babes. She's not interested at all in letting them nurse. The gal who owned her before never let the kids nurse on her. Do I have any hope that she'll warm up to motherhood?

Emily said...

Kathleen, I totally think you have a decent chance of getting her to accept her kids- or letting them nurse. You will probably need someone to hold the doe while you get the kids to latch on. Xoe did this twice to me. Does your doe lick and accept them at all? If she is licking them and excited about them she'll come around sooner than if not. Xoe was trying to stomp and kill her kids at first so I had to keep them in a kennel. Every few hours my hubby would hold her while I got the kids to nurse. Each time it got easier and she struggled less. Finally we started letting her be around the kids supervised and then she after a week she was ready to be their mom. If your dam just won't stand for their sucking on her, you'll probably just have to hold her for them for the first few times before her instincts kick in. Try giving her treats, grain, molasses water, alfalfa and see if that distracts her. Otherwise hold her for them. It will save you so much work overall if you can put the time and energy into making it work for that first day or two. Good luck, Emily