Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Zuri's second kidding story

It is a typical May morning here. The kids and I got an early start on farm chores and milking this morning. A friend of mine came up and we chased and caught ducks together, with Noah's help, of course. Rosie the goose is due to hatch her eggs this Friday. Now the hopefully soon to be mother has her surroundings to herself. After a short stint in the garden and the swing set we made it back to the house where I processed the milk that was chilling. Now, a fresh batch of yogurt is incubating. The bread dough started. Nine flats of seedlings are set out to harden off, bearing the brunt of the cooler outdoor temperature and the light wind and sun -we'll they're shaded somewhat. The kid's are upstairs playing and it isn't even lunch yet. I was thinking it was time to prepare for our main lesson of the day, but remembered I'd yet to tell you guys of Zuri's kidding. Sorry, no pictures yet. Just haven't gotten around to dealing with picture/blogger stuff.

Zuri kidded to one black and brown doeling and one black and tan buckling on Saturday. I noticed her ligaments were going on Friday morning, then were gone and she was noticeably in early labor Friday night. She was only at day 145 and her udder was not filled out yet. She wasn't having arching contractions yet, but she was very verbal, affectionate and pawing for the first time. I was hesitant to go to sleep and decided I could get away with three hours to start, then I was afraid to sleep more than an hour at a time for the rest of the night - which is probably why I succumbed to a cold Sunday.

Her labor progressed gradually as I ate breakfast, did morning chores, ate lunch. Then around one p.m. she started pushing. Her doeling came out in the correct diving position. She was good sized and healthy. Noah has been wanting to name a doeling for a while, and came up with Cila, (seelah). Zuri was sooo excited about her daughter that her labor pretty much came to a complete halt for about an hour. It would be pretty unlikely that she just had one kid for her second kidding. I don't know if you guys remember but last year Zuri had one healthy silver doeling. I don't know what happened to her, but my guess is that Zuri accidentally kicked her in the head or something, because when I did my first after kidding check, the doeling was completely limp and unresponsive. We brought her into the house and dripped her dam's milk down her throat with a drenching syringe for a day, before she was strong and standing again. We put her back in with her much relieved dam. The next morning I found her dead, outside her pen. She had escaped through a narrow slat in the gate, and had been stomped by another doe. Zuri was so devastated that for weeks she continued to call and look for her doeling. Finally, she adopted Xanadu's daughter. Xan had triplets, and was more into feeding her two strong bucklings than her much smaller weaker doeling. Zuri took over mothering Bali, nursing her and watching out for her. Needless to say, Zuri is very excited to be given another chance at motherhood.

I tried bouncing Zuri; a technique where you lift up in front of their udder and see if you feel more bones; kid parts. She was starting to resume her contractions and lay down and get back up but nothing was coming out, and it seemed like it was time for the next kid to get out. So, D came down to hold her. I gloved and lubed up and went in. The second kid was pretty far in and not close to coming out. The first thing I felt was pointed and angular, not a nose or a hoof. I followed it forward and realized it was the back hock  (I think that is the correct name although it sounds funny) of his leg. He was backwards with both his legs straight forward under his belly from the hock on. I had to push it forward and get a grip further down towards his hoof, then gently pull it back, then the other leg. Holding onto both hooves finally, I pulled and she pushed and he came out. He was still in good shape, although a little smaller and weaker than his sister. Today I got Zuri out of her stall for the first time. She ate her grain on the milk stand while I milked her full side, as the kids tend to go for the easier, emptier side all the time. 

This was our last spring kidding. Rose may be due in August. Now there is just the disbudding, wethering, registering, weaning and selling. Whew. This is why we are downsizing. We had three goats kid this spring and that is plenty. I think two does kidding each spring is the perfect number - enough to get our goat kid fill. 


Plain and Joyful Living said...

Hi Emily,
I was wondering if you would mind sharing your thoughts as we move forward into breeding our two yearlings.
They are alpines but on the smaller side of the spectrum as I think they were both runts. We are trying to decide if we should buy a baby buck and whether and keep them separate until breeding time and then just keep them here on our little homestead or see if there are any bucks to rent for a month this fall....
How do you handle the breeding?
thanks so much and warm wishes,

Buttons said...

Wow is right you need to downsize me too. B

Emily said...

Tonya, your Alpines are a year old now right? Even if they are on the smaller side, they should be ready to breed this fall. If you wait another season, they might get too fat which will keep them from cycling. As far as keeping a buck and whether - I would advise against it for now if your plan is to keep just a couple or a handful of milkers. Even if you have to make a couple hour drive somewhere to breed them, it is worth it. If you are having trouble determining if they are in heat this fall, get a buck rag. It cost a lot of money to feed to males throughout the year, not to mention hoof trimming, feed and handling. If you rent a buck, that would be the best, as your does will be able to smell him and you won't have to drop everything to load your does up and go for a drive. I would deffinitely keep him separate if you can. So you will know exactly when they are due.

When I have a doe in heat that I want to breed, I walk her up to the buck pen. Depending on the buck I'm using and whether the doe is a seasoned breeder or first timer, I either bring the doe into the buck pen and hold her on a leash, or open the gate and lead the buck to the doe who is waiting in the breeding stall. The first timers can be skittish. The older does know what is going on and usually stand for the buck. I don't hold the younger doelings for the buck at first, but instead let them run around together for a while. Depending on how cold it is out and what my time schedule is like, sometimes I restrict the yearling so the buck can mount her. also depending on the weather sometimes I just leave the doe and the buck in the stall together for the day or night - if they are getting along well together. However I've read some stuff recently on breeding for doelings. I read that Y sperm swim faster than X sperm. So If you breed early in the does heat cycle, the Y sperm may die off before the egg is released. So breeding early as opposed to later in the doe's cycle should give better chances of doelings than bucklings. I'll be experimenting with this next fall. Let me know if I can answer any more Qs. Best wishes.

Allison said...

Been reading through your blog Emily and I gotta say I'm more and more motivated to start down the road to homesteading myself! We just bought a house on 2.5 acres over in North Pole so it isn't enough land to go full-out but I'll be looking into it to see if it's enough for a milkin goat and companion and some chickens. Always good to hear from people in my USDA zone!