Art of Proprietation

Friday, April 25, 2008

An addendum

This is an addendum to my previous post about our first kidding. We thought the evening was over. I had posted pictures on the blog. Both of us had showered and were headed for bed. It was about 1 AM. My wife went out to check on the doe before we went to bed. She came back into the house carrying a still born kid. The doe had given birth to a second kid without us two hours after the first. It was a sable (Saanens have a recessive gene that leads to dark colored Sables as opposed to the normal white Saanens). The kid's eyes where either so sunken that they appeared to be missing or they were unformed. The vet says that means it probably had been dead for more than 24 hours.

In addition to the second still born kid, the doe didn't pass the placenta. This happens and the doe sometimes reabsorbs it. But we were slow to reacte to it because we are inexperienced. Our doe ended up on antibiotics. I also have since learned that I should have been reaching in and fishing around for that second kid. The vet assumes twins or triplets until proven otherwise.

When we realized we had not reacted quickly enough to the doe's retained plecenta, it hit us pretty hard. If there had been a third kid in the womb that did not come out, it would be in there decomposing. Since the cervix was closed up, there would be no way to get it out (C-sections can be done on a goat, but the prognossis isn't good). Our whole dairy operation flashed before our eyes. We could loose the doe. The kid was still floppy and we might loose him as well. And if we could screw it up once, what's to say the other doe would survive kidding? All these thoughts flashed through our minds while we were on an emergancy after hours call with the vet on call.

We went the course with the antibiotics. It meant there was a milk witholding period so we would not be able to drink the milk for two days after the last antibiotic injection. The doe looked good, good apettite, no mastitis, temp was normal. But she had the most awful brown sticky discharge coming out of her vagina. Some discharge is normal but this color was concerning. We are keeping a close eye on her.

In the meantime, the buck kid has been thriving. I weighed him last night and he has gained 8 pounds. He is frisky and vigarous.

So, after all that, we where anticipating the next delivery with some trepadation. We thought we were reasonably well prepared for the first one. The second one hung over us heavily. We expected her to be late, she always has been in the past. I checked on her at midnight the night before she was due, she wasn't showing any signs of labor. But at 6 AM the next day when I went out to milk, I found the doe on the ground with head and neck delivered. That's a bad thing, it means the front legs are both back, preventing delivery. There was also no way to know how long the do had been like this. I wasn't sure at first, but the kid was alive, but it moved it's mouth. I had to run back to the house and get my kidding supplies and get my wife to help me. Back at the doe, I lubed up my hand and forearm and tried to explore the babies position. But I couldn't push the baby back or get my hand past the cervix to reposition the forelegs. I was really worried. I even called the vet (at their suggestion, they said they could talk me through a tough one). When my wife got there, she lubed up and tried since her hands and arms are smaller. She got one then the other hoof, but wasn't sure if they were from the same kid. But the kid popping out should beyond a doubt they were from the same kid. I did a quick survey for a second kid and found nothing. Within 20 minutes, we were seeing the afterbirth coming out.

Things seem to be going OK for both the mother and the kid. In spite of how big with pregnancy the mother was and the single kid, the doe kid was not big. She has a good sized frame, but she was thin and gangly. She has made good progress, though. She is walking and starting to scamper around. Here mother seems sore and maybe depressed, though. She is eating some, but not a lot. And her milk has not come in strong yet. It is building though. We have hope.

Kidding has been a grounding experience for me. A reminder of the fragility of all life. Also the level of risk managing livestock entails.

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  • Congratulations on getting a doeling. I'm sorry you had to go through some stressful situations with this kidding season. How unfortunate to lose that other kid, especially it being a special sable, but it was weak and things work out the way they should I guess.

    By Blogger Danielle, at 2:29 PM  

  • That's really scary. My mom went through this a couple of times with horses. You just never know what they're going to do or when and it's not like the barn is attached to the kitchen. On the other hand, she didn't need those horses to eat either.

    By Blogger Alecto, at 11:31 AM  

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