Lighting’s 3rd Kidding – 2006

DOB: 4/8/03
Age: 3 years
3rd Freshening: 151 days gestation, 1 buckling
Previous Freshenings:
1st Gestation 149 days; 1 buckling, 1 doeling
2nd Gestation 149 days; 2 doelings

I was away from home when Lightning went into labor. I had to run three errands on the way home, and my son asked me to stop by the store and get a few things, and I was supposed to go to the puppy training class, but since the wind was blowing so hard, the puppy training lady called and cancelled the class until next week. Thank goodness she cancelled!!!

I went out to check Lightning as soon as I got home and it was obvious to me that her bag of waters had broken (there were a couple of puddles of thick fluid on the ground, plus she had a long string hanging). I called my husband (called the home phone using my cell phone) and asked him to bring the towels and sheets out that I’d set aside for the birth. He came out, and our younger son came out with his camcorder. It took her a while (over 5 minutes of pushing), but finally she was able to get her single buckling kid out. Mom and kid are doing fine. WHEW.

Lightning is doing great… I still can’t believe she only had ONE kid in there. There is this “bumping” thing you can do, where you put your arms around their belly and bounce the dam’s belly up and down. You can only do it after they have had one kid since their belly muscles are relaxed. So I thought I would try it, after she had this one baby, because I was sure there were more inside. Nothing. Dh tried and he felt nothing either. She stopped having labor pains as soon as the kid was out. Nature demands if there is another kid in there (as long as the kid is positioned correctly, or not dead), that they will continue on with labor pains, because the uterus needs to shrink back down to normal size which is I would guess the size of a grapefruit, not big enough to hold kids. So, we felt pretty confident that she was done.

This little boy was born somewhat selenium-deficient. You can see his front legs are kind of bent funny. He was fine within a few days. I gave him a selenium-Vitamin E supplement that is given orally. Normally we use BOSE which is a prescription medication, and is given by shot SQ.

All in all, an uneventful birth.

Brooke’s 2nd Kidding – 2006

DOB: 5/2/02
Age: 3 years, 11 months
2nd Freshening: Gestation 152 days; triplet doelings
Previous Freshenings:
1st Freshening 135 days gestation; 2 bucklings, 1 doeling all stillborn; headbutting to side brought on premature labor

Milk Fever by Fias Co Farm

Milk Fever Strikes

More Feedback on Hypocalcemia by Muriel Sluyter Good article showing what signs to look for; however, doesn’t indicate which kind of calcium gluconate.

You might not want to read this story as unfortunately we lost Brooke to milk fever 26 hours after she kidded. I debated chronicling her kidding story because of the tragic outcome, but one of the reasons I tell the story of our kiddings is the hope that someone else can learn from our experiences, either good or bad.

Things I learned from this kidding:

  1. Reminder to pay attention to my instincts
  2. Recognize slow labor as being calcium deficiency which can lead to hypocalcemia aka milk fever
  3. Does that produce more than twins are more prone to hypocalcemia
  4. Always make sure the doe is eating her hay after kidding or suspect there is a problem
  5. Heavy producers are also prone to hypocalcemia
  6. Always have CMPK or calcium gluconate ON HAND before kidding
  7. Our first experience with a weak kid at birth

My family reported to me by phone around 3:30pm that Brooke had been acting like she was in labor since about 1pm. She was nesting, was walking around slowly, hunching, her sides were hollow.

I arrived home around 5pm and she looked to me like she should kid within a couple of hours, certainly by midnight.

She kept hunching and arching her back. With Dallas’ 2005 kidding, one of my goat mentors told me she only waits for three of those hunches/arches/stretches and checks to see what is going on inside. But I couldn’t remember if that was BEFORE she saw the doe actually pushing, or AFTER. I’m really reluctant to “go in” if I don’t have to, I’d rather not. Actually, for some reason I was having something akin to paranoia about having to “go in” and was really stressing out about it. I called another goat person around 8pm and she agreed with my dh that Brooke was probably still in early labor, since she didn’t have any mucous discharge. I had been debating just doing a finger check, to make sure no kids were blocking the birth canal. But I decided to go ahead and just let her labor. I went to bed and was up at 10pm to check on her. She had a bit of mucous discharge at this time, and she was still hunching/arching.

I went back to bed, and my dh woke me up at 2pm, told me he thought she might go soon. So we went out and sat with her for a while. She was still doing the same thing, no big pushes. I was nauseated because I was tired, stressed and really scared that this birth was going to be a repeat of Brooke’s first kidding. I finally worked up my nerve and told my dh that I thought I should at least do a finger check around 2:45am. I cleaned Brooke’s bottom carefully using this method, and cleaned my hand. With just two fingers, I couldn’t feel anything inside, no baby heads or bodies. I was preparing myself to go ahead and put my entire hand in to make sure she didn’t have any tangles going on in there.

Doeling #1: I guess the stimulation helped Brooke’s pushing urge to get started because within 15 minutes she had pushed out her first baby. Doeling #1 came out head first with one leg under her neck. Her little tongue was sticking out and it would wiggle every time. Brooke pushed and pushed, the baby moved out and back in, out and back in. I finally helped by pushing the perineum up every so gently each time until it was over the baby’s forehead. Soon the entire baby slipped out. I wiped her face and gave her to Brooke. Brooke was so happy about her baby, licking her and nanny-talking to her. Doeling #1 had frosted white ears.

Doeling #2: Soon Brooke had another pushing urge and a bubble came out with the baby’s head and feet. This second baby was born in the sack of waters, completely intact. I tore the membranes with my fingernails and started wiping the baby’s face. This baby was limp and I was afraid she was dead when she was born. But I started rubbing her whole body roughly with paper towels and soon she lurched up her head and coughed. I moved Doeling #2 away from Brooke’s focus and put Doeling #2 right in front of her and she began licking her thoroughly. Doeling #2 had one spotted ear and one brown ear.

Doeling #3: Very shortly after Doeling #2 was born, Doeling #3 was born, and she came out hind feet first. She was so alert, as soon as she was born she tried to stand up. Doeling #3 had two brown ears.

Everything seemed to be okay. I milked Brooke (didn’t strip her out) and got over 2 cups of colostrum. I poured 2 cups into a pop bottle so I could bottle feed her kids. I like to get them to take a bottle in case we have to bottle feed them for whatever reason. Also, since Brooke had triplets, I wasn’t sure how she was going to do at nursing all three of them.

We gave Brooke some warm water with molasses, which she sucked down and she also had some of her colostrum. She wasn’t interested in the rolled barley we brought her. Usually our does gobble grain (especially Brooke!! she loved grain more than any of our goats) when they are being milked.

So the first indication of a problem was the labor failing to progress. But I kept telling myself that Lightning had a slow labor last year and she was just fine. And maybe I was just making too much of a fuss out of this. (Doubting my instincts!) In hindsight, I now know that labor failing to progress is a concern. On a goats list that I’m on, one of the members says she gives one ounce of calcium to her does at the beginning of their labor and another ounce if they fail to progress. Before we started kidding season, I read Ellie Winslow’s book where it talks about hypocalcemia and the protocol of administering CMPK and I meant to have it on hand before kidding, but I forgot to order it!!

The second indication of a problem was Brooke’s disinterest in eating. Not eating grain is fine, but definitely indicates her body trying to balance the calcium “By the way, once her calcium level has been regulated and she resumes eating, she may initially refuse any grain that is offered. That should not cause you concern because her instinct is still trying to regulate her calcium-deficient condition. She is the best monitor of that.” from Ellie Winslow’s Making Money With Goats.

Also, I did not catch that Brooke was not eating her hay. Third indication. She was very disturbed at the thought of her kids nursing. So I was continuing to bottle feed them, and twice I tied her so I could hold her still and coax her to let her kids nurse.

She was licking them but was not interested in them nursing. Possibly a fourth indication. But Brooke had spent her entire life fending off kids that were trying to nurse and she’d never had her own. So I figured she was just antsy about that, and hadn’t quite gotten the idea that her babies should be allowed to nurse.

I brought her a flake of hay of her own, but the other goats ended up eating through it. I guess I thought she was eating some.

One of my goat friends has been wanting a spotted baby from us, so I offered one of the triplets to her. The baby with the most spots was [of course] the one that was so limp at birth. Doeling #2 had continued to be very tired after she was born. She would get moving if I rubbed her, but otherwise she was just lying around very weak. I put a baby goat sweater on her after she was born, and gave her two squirts of Nutri-Drench to get her started. I finally ended up bringing her inside because she was not warming up and moving around very good. Once I brought her into the house, she perked up pretty good, but continued to be tired. Here is a picture of the second baby.

I went ahead and took the baby girl over to my friend’s house, so that Brooke would only have to deal with two babies. My friend prefers to bottle feed her kids, so I thought it would benefit us all to place the doeling sooner than later. I also figured this little girl would need a bit more TLC, and my friend would provide that.

By around 4pm, I started realizing that she was not acting at all herself, acting depressed and still grinding her teeth (an indication of pain). Her udder felt sloshy, like it was swollen with water. It didn’t feel like congested udder usually does (hard and tight). I had milked her two more times that day, and was barely getting 1 cup each time, with stripping her out completely. I actually insisted that she come to the milking stand one time, having to pull her most of the way. More normal behavior for Brooke — we often dragged her to the milking stand — so I didn’t see this as being too unusual. I could tell she was weak when she got up on the stand, because her back legs almost collapsed (fifth indication) as she hoisted herself up. She refused grain at that time and was not interested in her own milk either. I asked my dh when he got home from work if he would help me with her. I could do it myself, but it is easier with help. As it turns out, she didn’t fight me on anything I did.

Around 5:30pm I submitted an inquiry post to a goat list I’m on [Holistic-Goats] asking for advice, detailing my plans of what I was going to treat her with.

I went out after that with my dh, we gave her a shot of Vitamin B complex, 8 cc’s. I gave her 50cc’s of Nutri-drench. We went back in and ate supper, then came back out and I gave her a dosage of Safeguard wormer, and some ProBios.

By 7:30pm, I thought her symptoms sounded like milk fever. I took her temperature at 8pm, it was 103.1°F. Sub-normal temps are part of milk fever. Normal goat temperature is 101°F to 104°F. So she was well within the normal range, certainly nowhere near being sub-normal.

Treatment for hypocalcemia/milk fever is calcium. I had Calcium Gluconate, one 10ml vial that said to only use with slow intravenous drip.

I called a local goat friend and she said to give her a shot of BOSE, give her the Calcium Gluconate orally. She said to give her some Banamine if I had it on hand (for pain, we don’t have it on hand), and she said I should call our friend that lives close to me for calcium.

When I couldn’t get hold of the friend who lives close by, and I was still afraid to use the Calcium Gluconate orally because of the warning on the bottle, so I decided to go ahead with my first plan which was to give Brooke a drench consisting of Vitamin E, Vitamin A and Vitamin D (this via cod liver oil), and Calcium & Magnesium (this via crushed calcium pills). said she needed calcium, magnesium and A, D and E. It just didn’t say how much. I also don’t recall mention of potassium.

I got that into her I would say at 10pm. I was by then so exhausted and worn out, I just had to get to bed. I intended to check on her at midnight, but neglected to set my alarm. I slept like a log until 4am. I actually wasn’t too concerned as one of my books said something like (paraphrased) “Bear in mind if you find a doe in this condition she has likely been down for three days, so time is of the essence.” So I thought I had more time! And I had given her calcium. I just didn’t know that I should have given her CMPK (a balance of minerals) every TWO HOURS. If only I had known!

I went outside and she was lying on the barn porch, nosing her leg and the ground where she was laying, bobbing her head kind of funny, like an old senile lady fondling her pearl necklace. I thought at first she was looking for hay, so I threw flakes to the other does and brought one to her. I tore open the flake and got out some of the tender parts and offered them to her. I thought she tried to eat it. I got her to stand up. Her babies were crying and starving hungry, so I went back in to get them a bottle. When I came back out, she was hanging her head and frothing and foaming at the mouth. I forgot about feeding the babies their bottle, and went back in to get the Calcium Gluconate. I’d decided I had better give it to her. So I got that out of the vial and into some water and got it into the drench gun. I drenched her with that, she swallowed it. I then got 50cc’s of Nutri-drench into her, and 1 cup of warm water. She was drooling and dripping the water out of her mouth.

I took her temperature and she was at 98 something. I think 98.8°F. Oh God. Sub-normal temperature. She was trembling and shaky and out of it. I went back into the house to wake up my husband and then I went back out and fed the babies. They were milling around their dam, she was drooling foam on them.

I went back in, and felt so weak, like my blood had been drained from my body. I wasn’t sure if I had what it took to go out and check on her again. So I asked my husband to come with me for moral support. I wanted to check her temperature to see if the Nutri-drench or Calcium Gluconate had helped her at all. I put a blanket in the dryer to put on her and try to warm her up.

She was lying down, half on and half off the barn porch, clearly in trouble. We moved her off the porch onto the ground and she started flipping around like a fish out of water, moaning and lurching about. In desperation we decided to try giving her the lactated ringers we had on hand, in case she was dehydrated. We started the IV subcutaneously, and I covered her with the warm blanket. There was a nail on the porch just out of the reach of the tube for the IV, so I went looking for something to hang it so my dh wouldn’t have to stand there holding it. While I was gone, he called out to me and told me he thought she just died. I ran back and kneeled in front of her, and laid my head on her chest. Nothing. She was gone. I had already been crying and this brought about a new round of tears and I apologized to her, that I could not save her. We have never lost a goat. We’ve always been able to save them.

After she passed, we went and got a blanket to put her on, so we could pull her out of the goat yard. She has always been a big doe, and weighed around 200# usually. We then went out and dug her grave.

Brooke was our favorite. She was sweet and had the weirdest quirks about her. She will be missed. I thought it would be neat to give her a legacy in her daughters, so we are naming her girls:

Doeling #1: U-Say Ranch Brooklyn TwoPointO
Doeling #2: U-Say Ranch Brooklyn’s Hailey (my friend has this doeling and named her Hailey and was happy to have Brooklyn’s name on the registration)
Doeling #3: U-Say Ranch Brooklyn’s Mocha

Doeling #1 looks like Brooke in the face, she has the stripes that Brooke had. She is tan and blonde, where Brooke was black and tan. Here are some pictures of Brooke and TwoPointO (later known as Brooke II).

Brooke, we loved you. Thank you for entertainment and laughs that you provided. No more of those nasty hoof trims that you hated so much. Lots of delicious hay and plenty of all your favorite treats. You left three baby girls to carry on your name. May you rest in peace, honey.

Zoe’s 1st Kidding – 2006

DOB: 3/17/05
Age: 1 y 1m
1st Freshening: Gestation 146 days; 2 bucklings
Due Date: April 7, 2006 Kidded on April 3, 2006

Udder shots, 1 month fresh

Sire: Pepper, our unregistered blue-eyed Nigerian Dwarf buck

Dam: Zoë is a 75% recorded grade doe
DD: U-Say Ranch Lightning Bolt
DS: Sire: N.AZ. Anatolians Keci’s Bambi is a registered American buck

Awesome birth! Zoë did so wonderful. Both boys are doing great.

About 7:30 this morning I milked Dani, and I thought Zoë looked like she could be in early labor. She had that “zen” look about her, standing as still as a statue, stargazing. The rest of the herd was wandering around nibbling on the remainders of breakfast, drinking water, lying around chewing cud.

Here are some pictures of Zoë. I’m not so good at reading the ligaments, as far as I can tell, Brooke’s were GONE a few days ago, I can put my fingers right around her tailbone. Zoë’s seemed to be gone, too. Anyway, another telltale sign that birth is imminent is when they get a hollow look in their side. You can see that here in Zoë; the time on this photograph is 8:45am.

8:46am Zoë was pretty well bagged up, too.

8:48am Here’s a few shots of her concentrating. Brooke is concentrating, too, but no action on her part. Brooke’s due on the 5th.

So I kept going in and out checking on Zoë. Finally at about 10:10am, my ds hollered “What’s she doing out there? Is she kidding?” I went out to take a look at Zoë and she was in the barn.

Dh went to get water. Ds and I sat with Zoë for a few minutes and then he said to call him on his cell phone if she starts kidding. I told him I would. Before dh got back from the well, both kids had been born!

10:20am Right after ds went back in the house, she start pushing and I could tell the baby was starting to make its way through the birth canal, so I called him and told him he’d better hurry. He came running out, with his camcorder to tape the blessed event.

Zoë stood through a couple of more pushes, and one hoof was coming out. I know by now that as long as a mouth presents with the one hoof, one hoof is perfectly fine (two hooves is best, everyone says). So I didn’t bother to consider assisting at this point. Here is a picture after she laid down and you can see the kid’s foot and mouth and tongue. She pushed several times and I finally helped a tiny bit by pushing back a little bit on her vulva and then pulling ever so slightly on the one foot that was presented. Within seconds he was born.

As you can see by this next picture, the second buckling was born within 5 minutes of the first one.

Wow. She did so great. She let me milk her, and I got the black and white boy to suck on the bottle, no problem. But the little brown and white boy acts like I’m abusing him. I tried several more times throughout the day, but he just won’t cooperate. I was hoping to get them to take the bottle a few times, it seems to help them to be more people friendly.

And here is the little family. Not even one hour old and the little guys are up and about, all dried off and nursing great.

May 3, 2006 Wednesday

Zoë’s udder at one month freshened. We separate the dams from their kids overnight. We had separated Zoë at 6pm and we took these pictures just before milking at 5am.

I am not milking her out all the way because her kids are only one month old. The most I’ve gotten was on Monday, when I took 3.3 pounds. This morning I took 2.6 pounds. Here is what her udder looks like after taking nearly 3 pounds of milk.

Dallas 3rd Kidding – 2006

DOB: 3/10/02
Age: 4 y 1m
3rd Freshening: Gestation 148 days; 1 doeling
Due Date: March 11, 2006 Kidded on March 9, 2006
Previous Freshenings:
1st Gestation 150 days; 1 buckling, 1 doeling
2nd Gestation 150 days; 2 bucklings

Sire: N.AZ. Anatolians Keci’s Bambi is a registered American buck
SD: Az High Country Spotty is a registered American doe
SS: Ragels Ziegenhof Keci is a Purebred Nubian

Dam: The U-Say Ranch Dallas is a recorded grade doe
DD: AZ Apache Vales Thelma
DS: AZ Apache Valley Joseph

Let me just quote dh to our ds upon my arrival home (from work): “All went well, Mom wasn’t here.”

They like to tease me about my having had to “pull” kids in previous kiddings.

So no kidding story for Dallas this year. There is however, plenty to yammer on about. This young lady has an unusual looking bottom. I suspect hermaphroditism. You may not be interested in what this looks like, so I’ve placed the pictures on a different page. Click here if you are interested in seeing the images. I am not sure yet, so I am asking some of my goat mentors for their opinion and how to tell more if this is her condition. UPDATE: Several goat breeders responded to my question on one of the lists I’m on, and they assure me this little one is normal.

And here are some pictures of mama — the herd queen — and her newest baby princess. Mama has more spots and patches then she knows what to do with, and the sire is spotted, but together they seem to produce plain babies. This little girl does have a white spot on her head, and one white spot on her left side.

March 11, 2006. It’s finally raining after a record breaking 144 days. I crocheted a sweater for the little princess. Click here to read about it and see her modeling her baby goat sweater.

Lightning’s 2nd Kidding – 2005

DOB: 4/8/03
Age: 1 year, 11 months
2nd Freshening Gestation 149 days; 2 doelings
Previous Freshenings:
1st Gestation 149 days; 1 buckling, 1 doeling

March 18, 2005 Day after Lightning gives birth.

Sire: N.AZ. Anatolians Keci’s Bambi is a registered American buck
SD: Az High Country Spotty is a registered American doe
SS: Ragels Ziegenhof Keci is a Purebred Nubian

Dam: Lightning is a 50% recorded grade doe
DD: U-Say Ranch Dallas [DS: AZ Apache Valley Joseph DD: AZ Apache Vales Thelma]
DS: Jacobs Pride Peanut [DS: Six M Galaxy Milanis Pistachio DD: Six M Galaxy Aisha 5*M]

I’m very proud to share our latest birth story with all of you.

I’ve been home from work this week, on birth watch for our two does. Dallas already kidded on Sunday, and we’ve been waiting for Lightning to kid.

Lightning seemed uncomfortable last night. Grinding her teeth, yawning, stretching. But there was only a little bit of discharge. No “copious” amounts. So we got the baby monitor set up and went to bed. I set my alarm for 2am, but didn’t sleep well, fretting about Lightning. I got up before the alarm went off, and went out to check on her. I had to go into work for a few hours and decided to go ahead and leave right away, thinking maybe she would wait until I arrived home several hours later. I felt she was going to kid soon, in spite of there still being little discharge.

I got 20 minutes away from home and my cell phone rings. My ds says, “Can you hear this?” He puts the phone by the baby monitor and I hear this god-awful screaming, grunting, growling, moaning, roaring. I know the sounds well! It was Miss Lightning pushing out a kid!!!!!! I found the nearest turnaround (I was on the highway) and dashed back home as quickly as I could. Speed limit in town is 35mph, I did a bit over that (shhhh! don’t tell!) and drove at 80 once on the highway again. About 8 minutes back toward home I got a call that she’d had one kid. I got home in about 15 minutes, parked outside the gate, let myself in and rushed into the house to get some warm water with molasses, the camera, a towel, newspaper — things I knew were not with the kidding kit.

I rushed out to the barn and found she had just pushed out the second kid. This second one has a beautiful white belt across her back and chest. Just gorgeous. Notice Lightning’s matching belt across her left side.

I stuck around a while and helped dry off kids, milked mom and tried to get the kids to take the bottle, no dice. They were screaming indignantly. We had already decided to let the dams raise their kids this year, but I wanted to get the babies to take a bottle first just in case we would need to give them a bottle.

We feel so blessed and thrilled to have these two little girls. With their genetics, they should make awesome milkers. Their granddam gives 2 gallons a day, the genetics on the dam side are heavy milkers with lots of stars.

AND it was an uneventful birth!!! We did not force Lightning to dry up; we continued to milk her until she dried off by herself naturally on her 121st day of pregnancy (gestation is 150 days).

Notice how Zoë’s standing on her back legs. She is not standing on them properly. Irene Ramsay said she should straighten out within a few days, and she did. Note in the picture dated 4-17-5 how straight she is standing on her legs.

July 25th, 2005. Lightning’s doelings are a bit skittish, so we have started working with them on the milking stand. Both doelings come out of the kid pen with the dam, while she is being milked. They are both doing well. I am also training them to allow me to lift their feet while on the stand, so I can do hoof trims more easily.

August 29th, 2005. Zoë’s udder started feeling thicker about 3 days ago. I wrote for opinions on Holistic Goats, and Irene Ramsay is the only one that responded. She said we may need to milk Zoë out, especially if her udder is swollen and tight. Well, it was not swollen and tight, but there was a pea-sized nodule at the top of her left teat, so I decided to see if there was anything in her udder. She has milk in there! Irene calls an unbred doe, a maiden milker. It was very difficult to milk her, I could not direct the milk into the can I was using at all. The tiniest streams of milk came out, and her teats are very small yet. They are maybe an inch long, and about as big around as a drinking straw. I decided to milk her out in the afternoon as well. Now she thinks she should live with the big girls, because she’s a milker. 😉

We decided to allow Lightning’s doelings to continue nursing until they are six months old. Irene says they need the milk in order to become good milkers. There are also a couple of books that make this recommendation.

November 12, 2005. Lightning and her eight month old doelings. We did allow the doelings to nurse until they were six months old, and then kept them from their dam for 6 weeks or so. We tried putting them back in with their dam at a couple of weeks, but they kept nursing and she let them. But now they are totally weaned and living with the adult does.

We have decided to not breed Lightning this year, but are going to see how she does “milking through”. It is very common (in the US) to breed one’s does every single year. But some believe (folks who live in other countries) it is hard on the doe to produce kids every single year, and some believe the doe produces as much or more milk (if she is capable of “milking through”; this will be dependent on her milking background) if she is not bred every single year. Some people find it more advantageous to breed their does every single year, especially if they are into showing and have very high quality purebred stock. When they can command $400 for a kid, it makes economical sense to produce many kids every year. Plus, having kids every year gives the chance to see if you can produce a champion.

However, we are not into showing, and our does are recorded grade. They are registered, but they are not purebred.

Lightning’s next kidding will not be until Spring, 2007.

UPDATE: We changed our minds; Lightning was bred to Bambi and her due date is April 26th, 2006. Read Lightning’s Kidding for 2006.

Dallas’ 2nd Kidding 2005

DOB: 3/10/02
Age: 3 yo
2nd Freshening
Previous Freshenings:
1st Gestation 150 days; 1 buckling, 1 doeling

Sire: N.AZ. Anatolians Keci’s Bambi is a registered American buck
SD: Az High Country Spotty is a registered American doe
SS: Ragels Ziegenhof Keci is a Purebred Nubian

Dam: The U-Say Ranch Dallas is a recorded grade doe
DD: AZ Apache Vales Thelma
DS: AZ Apache Valley Joseph
The most significant things I learned with this kidding:

* I came to the realization that a lack of pushing urge can be directly related to kid tangling. When the head engages the birth canal, this causes the doe to have the urge to push mightily. If the doe has pushed a few times, but then stops altogether, it could be that the kids are tangled up, or are not presenting properly. This is why it’s important to check to see what is going on inside once the doe has indicated she is in active labor for 30 minutes.
* Overweight and underexercised does will often have trouble kidding.

The 14th, Monday, is Dallas’ official due date. At her first kidding, she delivered on the 150th day of gestation. It is said that does tend to follow a pattern. If they kidded on the 150th day of gestation at their first kidding, they tend to deliver on that day with subsequent pregnancies. If Dallas follows this, she should deliver on Monday. [Dallas delivered on her 149th day of gestation.]

March 11, 2005 Friday

Dallas began having some discharge this morning. It was a rusty color. I read my goat books and websites I’ve bookmarked and didn’t see anything regarding this color discharge, so didn’t think too much of it. I wiped the discharge away, and she didn’t get anymore of this color. [Later I found in one of my printed out sites that rusty colored discharge can be a sign of infection and sepsis; luckily this was not the case this time.]

March 12, 2005 Saturday

Dallas is having some discharge again today. Before going to bed at 8:30pm it seems her tendons have disappeared, but I could still feel the kids moving around, so decided we won’t have kids during the night. [Most of my information indicates if you can feel kids moving around, then you have at least 12 hours to go.]

March 13, 2005 Sunday

We got up to find Dallas had kidded. NOT. Of course not… Dallas still had discharge, and was still moaning and groaning. I called one of my goat mentors and she said that she thought Dallas was still in very early labor, and would quiet down once she was in “real” labor. Around noon I checked on her again, nothing was happening, so decided to take a nap and check her in a couple hours. When I got outside around 2:30 or so, she had a very long white cord hanging from her. I wish I had taken a picture of it. I tried to remove it, but it was pretty tough, so I just left it. I’m assuming placenta membranes, but not sure. I decided to stay out with Dallas, and keep an eye on how she was doing. Finally around 3:30 she stretched her back, and did a small push. At 3:45 she had a massive contraction where she pushed her way through the barn door, out into the yard. She then proceeded to spend the next 30 minutes cleaning up every drop of fluid she had emitted from her body. No more pushes whatsoever. I called my goat mentor, and she said if it’s been 30 minutes that I should take a look inside and see what was going on.

So I scrubbed my right arm and hand, and Dallas’ backside and felt inside with my fingers. I felt feet. I went in a little further, and felt more feet, I believe 3 were trying to enter the birth canal at the same time – no heads. I had to put my arm in quite a bit in order to find a head. My goat mentor had told me that at the conventions she has been to lately, the vets are recommending that with the case of tangled kids, try to find one foreleg to match the head and don’t try to find both forelegs. I also remembered learning with Lightning’s 2004 kidding that head only presentations are okay. It is easier on the doe for the kid to present with a forearm and head, rather than just the head, but it is possible. I could not match any legs to the heads I was feeling. Finally, by putting my arm inside the doe up to my elbow, I was able to follow the neck down to find a foreleg. But once I got the foreleg and head moving in the right direction, and the doe would push, the two forelegs of the other kid would present right alongside! The doe was screaming, and finally fell onto her side with her head stretched out. I was afraid we were going to lose her, so I decided to just grab onto a head and start pulling. Easier said than done. My hands aren’t tiny, but I could barely grip the head of the kid and pull with all my might before I lost my grip and had to start again. Finally, after five hard pulls, the head was at the birth canal, but I had to keep my grip on the head in order to get it out into the world. I was afraid the kid was stillborn, because his tongue was sticking out the side of his mouth, but then he opened his eyes!

I pulled him out gently, but quickly, scrubbed up and went back in for the next kid. There seemed to be a lot of blood, I was kind of worried.

Here is a picture of the newborn bucklings, not yet fully dried off.

We weighed them shortly after they were born, the first kid born weighed 10 pounds. The second kid weighed 9.5 pounds.

We decided to try raising our kids differently this time. We had weighed the pros and cons of bottle feeding vs. dam raising. Up to the birth of these bucklings we were still planning to bottle feed the kids ourselves. But because the dam had a difficult delivery, my goat mentor told me that sometimes the doe has a harder time expelling the placenta. The last kidding we had where the placenta was not expelled within the “allotted time” (ranging from four hours to twelve hours depending on the book you happen to be reading) we had a terrible experience, I won’t go into it here, you can read Brooklyn’s 2004 Kidding if you are interested. All I know is I didn’t want to experience this again. My goat mentor suggested we put a kid with the dam to get her licking the kid, which would hopefully stimulate her body to expel the placenta (the hormone oxytocin is released after birth with the licking, and when the teats are stimulated by nursing.)

Since our does tested negative for CAE, I started thinking maybe it would be easier on all concerned to allow the dam to raise her own kids. In addition, we were worried that our does would not allow us to milk them, if they had kids they were nursing.

I have to say that although we had come up with these fine and in some regards “politically correct” reasons, it was totally against our better judgment mainly due to the fact that I nursed my own children, and abhorred the thought of giving my children a bottle. I have also been learning in the past few months about the great benefits of raw milk. I already knew how much better human breastmilk, straight from the breast is for baby humans. But I have been learning more about raw goat and cow’s milk, and it just doesn’t seem right to pasteurize the baby goats milk and cook all the wonderful nutrients. To learn more about how very important real milk is for humans, please visit A Campaign for Real Milk and Dr. Mercola’s site, also Fiasco Farm’s Info on Raw Milk & Pasteurization for a quick summary.

So… I talked with my family about it… putting the kids with their dam and letting her raise them. My main goal was the expulsion of that placenta, but I also was thinking it would be easier on my family to not have to do bottle feeding. Plus, we are trying to limit our attachment to the kids as we cannot keep them all as pets.

So far, so good. Within an hour the placenta was expelled. Mommy was licking and nursing her kids, being a great mom in spite of having never even known she’d had kids before. It was such a great relief to see that she had expelled her placenta.

Now for the next step of worry. Using antibiotics prophylactically when needing to “go in” is quite the controversy. I have had personal experience with the overuse of antibiotics and hate using them unless they are absolutely necessary. One of my goat mentors takes her doe’s temperature twice daily for three days after kidding, and if the doe’s temperature goes up, she starts antibiotics. Another of my goat mentors uses antibiotics if she has to “go in” no matter what. Both people lean toward natural healing as a general rule. So it’s always a big source of worry for me, whether to use antibiotics or not. I don’t want to endanger the doe’s life with a case of metritis, nor do I want to endanger her life by giving her antibiotics prophylactically.

This time I choose to take her temperature. Another time, I might choose to use antibiotics. In the interim, I did learn from a goat list I’m on some information about how to be as clean as possible. It will make me feel more comfortable to use this process for future deliveries. I have written to the author to see if she would allow me to post her suggestions on my website. Permission granted, the page for Proper Cleaning for Assisting with Difficult Kidding is ready for viewing.

One side of Dallas’ udder is congested on day 2, so we are treating her with 5cc’s injectible Vitamin C daily (SQ), rubbing the udder with peppermint oil, teatree oil and olive oil. I am being careful to not get the oil on the teats because of the kids. She does not seem to have much milk, so I am giving the kids a supplemental feeding each day. Since I did bottle feed them right after birth, they seem to be able to nurse and use the bottle. I find that the “Genuine Pritchard Valve Nipple” is the easiest nipple to get kids started on. One of the kids is even starting to come running at me when he sees me, because he knows I’ve got enough milk to give him a nice full tummy.

I have to say that the difference between bottle raising kids, and dam raising is like night and day. When we separated the kids and dams in the past, we allowed the dam to lick our arms and hands, like she would her kids. This caused her to bond to us, we were told it would make it easier to milk the dam if she thought we were her kids. But it also caused the dams to yell constantly at us – their human kids – whenever they saw us step out of the house. They would look at those little goat looking things, and then yell at us. The kids would be screaming, too, looking toward our house, looking for their next bottle.

But this time, we let the dam lick us, and we let her lick and bond to her own kids. It is a world of difference, plus it just feels like the right thing to do. Also, because I am spending time with the kids, and giving a supplemental bottle to the kids, they are very people friendly, even though they are with their dam much of the time. Plus, it’s just more of the way nature intended things to be. We are much happier with this method. So far. We have yet to see how weaning goes, and if it is a problem. I did not come to this decision all on my own. I was first tempted by this when reading the Fiasco Farm site, where the owner describes the method she uses. If I remember correctly, she leaves the dam and kids together for two weeks, then separates the kids into a nursery area at night. In the morning she milks the does, and says the does learn to hold back enough milk for their kids. Read more about how Fiasco Farm raises kids.

We are also going to be disbudding our own kids this year. I have seen five kids disbudded, (two were our own) and I think we are ready to do our own.

I think that’s it for now.

August 2005. Dallas’ boys were banded on May 22nd. They were 7 weeks old.

Update on weaning. We began separating all the kids from their dams at two weeks of age. We milked the dams first thing in the morning, then allowed the kids in with their dams for the day. When the wethers were 8 weeks old, we just stopped letting them go in with their dam. Male kids are quite brutal when nursing. They bang and shove on the dam’s udder, and would nurse whether Dallas allowed them to, or not.

In comparison, Lightning’s doelings are very well trained. They appear to wait for her permission before nursing. If she does not want them to nurse, she backs up away from them, and they stand there, licking their little lips. They hang around her, waiting to nurse, and as if by some silent nod of approval she gives, the two doelings simultaneously dive under her. They also bang and shove, like the boys. Lightning’s back legs fly up into the air from the force of them nursing. Lightning just stands there, chewing cud. She always sniffs Zoë’s bottom when nursing the doelings. 🙂

Dallas did not seem to be very concerned about not having her boys nursing once we weaned them. The boys yelled for a couple of days, but Dallas did not seem to care, in fact, seemed to appreciate that they were not attacking her udder.

Dallas’ boys are skittish. We did work with them on having their feet touched, for hoof trims, but they do not like it when we go into their pen. They will run and hide in the barn.