The snow/sleet/freezing rain mix continues to fall and we are largely buttoned up… I say largely, because every three hours I am wrapping up and making a trip to the barn to check on the goats. One mama in particular.
One of our best milkers, a Nubian named Impressive, was the size of a compact car a couple days ago and could not get up. It had become a dangerous situation for her and the babies, so when we started seeing early delivery signs we were relieved, but labor was slow and hard. So much so that, for the first time since we have owned animals, maybe seven years, we had the vet make a house call. Twice! Now you know why we named the golden boy in Gunnar’s arms, ‘Benjamin.’ Took several benjamin’s to keep the vet happy! (After I showed the bills to Jeremiah he decided to double down on his studying!!)
“Impressive,” the impressively large mama, had three kids, two does and one buckling, but all three were complicated deliveries requiring assistance. I manipulated the first two and the vet arrived to deliver the third, as I left for work. Poor mama was wiped out. The boys took the kids to the house and began bottle feeding while we began the task of trying to nurse mama back to health. Currently, I think she has turned the corner and is improving, but not without prayer and some help from our Father. Yesterday, I thought she had given up!
With some of the worst winter weather we have seen in a decade, the challenges have been more than normal. Besides keeping a blanket on mama, I have been taking juice bottles of warm water to lay around her under the blanket. A couple penicillin shots a day as well as forced water/fluids, you can bet I was happy this evening when I helped her to her feet and she pee-d before eating about two cups of sweet feed.
Earlier today, because snow and ice were blowing into a major section of the three sided barn our goats stay in, I crowded the other four girls in the herd into the sectioned off hospital area. You can believe they were all happy when I hung a heat lamp down there this evening! Farm living ain’t easy, but it is rewarding in small ways!
Meanwhile, up the hill in our enclosed back porch, we feed the little rascals every three hours. Praise Yah that we got enough colostrum from Impressive to mix with supplements. Today, we began the transition to raw cow’s milk a member of Davar Chaim is providing.
So, I just went to the barn to get a pic of Impressive curled up and keeping warm and I noticed my yearling doe, Beth, laying down with major contractions. Yep. After checking her, I confirmed full blown labor. Looks like my nap this afternoon was well timed! So, now we troop to the barn every 10-15 minutes until…
Here’s a pic of the remaining three big mommas doing what pregnant mammals do best… eat! At least six babies between those girls. Maybe seven!
An hour and fifteen minutes later, we have two little bucklings! Both big! I was expecting a single for Beth’s first kidding because she carried so small. Nice surprise, though we want/need girls. (Bucks don’t milk so well…)… So, back to the barn to milk and feed Beth. She did very well for her first milking, though the expression on her poor face was something akin to, ‘What in heaven’s name are you doing back there?!?’
After bedding them all down we came up the hill and threw a bunch of towels in the washing machine, plus gathered supplies and I hit the shower while Gunnar fed the two newbies.
Before I finished the shower I just had to laugh! Talk about a man among boys!! One of my sons announced that the larger of the two new bucklings took more than NINE ounces on his first feeding. That is five to seven MORE than any kid we’ve ever had!! He is big and going to get bigger with that appetite! His ‘little brother’ cleaned up six ounces on his first feeding… still very respectable!
So… happy day! Yah’s blessings on the farm…
And Impressive? She ate well a bit ago and drank some. Still moving slowly, but starting to look like her old self. Hopefully tomorrow she’ll let down and we can get her into the milk cycle!
Time for some rest before the next trip to the barn!