Today my husband worked on getting our kidding stall up and running; which entailed getting the surveillance camera up and running so that we can monitor whichever goat is in the stall from our bedroom (wake up, roll over, turn on portable dvd player and check out doe = way better than gearing up every couple hours and making the trek down the icy path and into the barn. For kidding season we start using a sliding pocket gate that goes unused the rest of the year. We also unscrew a board that blocks of the drafty back door to the goat barn so that the soon to be mother can have access to the outdoors on nice days and not be exposed to the rough and tumble hierarchy of the herd. As of yesterday there were three feet of snow and no paths in the back pen leading out from the kidding stall. Now thanks to D, there is a cleared patch of ground which will soon host a very pregnant doe and thereafter goat babies.
Zinnia is due on the twenty fifth of this month, which gives her eleven days to get ready to push out some kids. Unfortunately, this is a feat which she has not been able to accomplish on her own - yet. Zinnia's first year kidding she never got to the pushing stage but was in labor for a long time. I finally went in to see what was going on. She was dialated but the kids were far in. While I was in there I went ahead and pulled them out. She had two strong doelings. I didn't know if I had jumped the gun that year. Then, last year she had a similar long labor without much progress. This time when I went in the first kid had it's neck turned back on itself and he was upside down (which is the worst position ever!), and then the second buckling was in the same position as the first. Because they were upside down with no head I thought they were backwards and just pulled them out with all my might (oops. sorry Zin). But then it was good that I did, as they were not alive - or just barely but not enough that I could save them. Then I went back in and there was a doeling who was a little weak, but she made it - yeah, Clary Sage.
So, for her second kidding again the kids had been deep in and not coming out on their own - but it was hard to know if their lame position had something to do with it. So, the vet says that in older does sometimes they have a condition where their uterus is not strong enough to push the kids out. Maybe this is Zinnia's problem as well. Because of this I have not felt like I could sell her without a full disclaimer - which is why I am giving her one more chance.
I do not expect her to do all the work by herself, so I had/have a plan I'm trying to be good at following. Starting about eight weeks before her due date I started feeding her a large handful of wild red raspberry leaves with her morning grain- which is a uterine strengthening and toning herb. I also got some Partridgeberry tincture from an herbalist friend of mine, which I've started feeding 2-3 dropperfuls twice a day (supposed to be three times a day) which I plan on continuing up until she is in labor. The other herb which I just started feeding yesterday is Black Cohosh. I already had it around the house is dried form - otherwise I'd read that it is more effective in tincture form. But I made it into a tea and am also drenching her with that twice a day. These last two herbs are both supposed to help strengthen uterine contractions while in labor. I believe that they are not recommended for women until the last three weeks - and I chose to start Zinnia on these thirteen days before her due date - as she usually kids early anyway.
For the last week she has been not real interested in her herbs nor her grain or alfalfa. As she is a fine boned, fairly heavy producing doe who tends to have multiple kids I was worried she may be in the early stages of pregnancy toxemia so I gave her about 50cc's of our warm raw honey, followed by 20-30cc's a few times a day for the next day. Fortunately I had purchased Fir Meadow's herbal keto mix last kiddding season to have on hand for emergencies. It is a blend of herbs which are to be used after the doe has a significant amount of sugar in her body, and the purpose is to help cleanse the body and get rid of the toxins she is processing which are making her feel nauseous and go off her feed. Today she ate most of her grain and was eating her alfalfa tonight - which she didn't touch two nights ago. Hopefully we are back on track.
Now I'm drenching Zinnia twice daily with a mixture of raw honey, red raspberry leaf and black cohosh tea, combined equally with the keto mix and then with a big splash of the partridgeberry tincture. Hopefully all that will help and my lack of measuring and combining will not cause more harm than good.
The end goal is that Zinnia will push her kids out on her own in a timely fashion. The challenge will be knowing when to intervene and when to sit back and let her do her thing.