Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Kidding Season 2012

Our four pregnant does all had their babies this week, so here's an update!

Mercedes had her kids early last Wednesday.  I mentioned this in my last post

She had one buckling and two doelings, and they're all doing well.  Mercedes is a great momma.  These babies are getting bigger, and they are very playful.  We will probably be keeping both of the girls (the brown ones), and we may keep the boy.

The black one is the boy, and the brown ones are the girls.

Thursday morning, I went outside and noticed Star standing with one of Mercedes' girls, but that seemed really weird, so I went to take a closer look.  The baby goat was a boy, so that meant it wasn't one of Mercedes' babies after all.  At first I thought there was just one, but then I realized there was a baby goat crying from somewhere in our yard, away from the barn and the other goats.  I looked, and eventually I found this:

Last year I wanted to fence an area that I could use to garden, and I dug holes for the fence posts, but we never finished the project.  So, somehow this poor baby goat fell into one of the holes.  Whoops!

He was totally fine, though.  I took him back over to Star and his brother, but Star acted like he wasn't her baby.  Any time he tried to nurse, she shoved him away.  Sad!  So this little guy started to hang out alone, outside the barn.  Then, he tried to join Mercedes and her kids, but she wouldn't let him.  Poor guy!  I milked Star and began bottle-feeding this baby goat.  (Now, he is very friendly.)

Star laying down next to one baby.  The other baby is curled up by the entrance to the barn.  Poor guy!

Caroline kidded the same day--Thursday afternoon.  She was obviously in labor, so I put her on the other side of the barn (Mercedes has been monopolizing the main side of the barn since she had her babies first).  She had a doeling (!) and then she tried to have another baby.  It took a really long time--maybe half an hour, and she really struggled.  She didn't clean the baby off right away, but the goopy blob moved a little bit, so I thought it was still doing fine.  Turns out I'm terrible company for a laboring goat, because what I actually should have done was helped clean up.  Instead, I waited so that Caroline could bond with her baby by cleaning it.  When she did start cleaning the baby, I was really sad to discover that it was not alive anymore.  And, it was actually two babies.  They were both doelings (!) and neither of them made it.  I thought the blob moving meant that they were alive, but I think actually it meant "WE NEED AIR--NOW!". 

So, that was really disappointing, and it made me feel pretty bad.  I remember that last year I had read up on how to help a goat at birth, and I used to know that you're supposed to clean off their nose and mouth if the mom doesn't do it right away.  I don't know why it didn't occur to me this year.  I think there were a couple other problems, though.  For one thing, goats are usually born one at a time.  And for another thing, one of the goats was born in a really bent up position; it almost seemed like her back was broken in birth, or something, probably because she was born in a big blob with another goat.  I don't know.  So, it was pretty exciting that Caroline had triplet doelings, and pretty disappointing that I failed to intervene in a helpful way. 

But, in happy news, Caroline's first doeling is doing great.  She's pretty big for her age, and very friendly.  It's actually been kind of funny over the past few days, because Caroline "loses" her doeling I think at least once or twice every day.  Caroline looks around, and sniffs a few other baby goats, and begins to become distressed because she can't find her baby.  The funny thing is, though, every time this happens, her doeling is actually "lost" inside the barn, with all of the other baby goats!  So, we guide Caroline to where her doeling is, and put the baby in front of her, and she calms down.

Caroline is a good mama goat to the doeling, but even though she is always willing to let her doeling nurse, the doeling is a real opportunist-- the little girl is constantly trying to nurse off of other mama goats.  They push her away, and she comes running right back.  She's very assertive.

So, after Caroline kidded, we were just waiting for Claire to kid. 

Claire had her babies on Sunday morning, before Jeff and I went to church.  I went outside to bottle-feed Star's little guy, and found Claire in the barn, cleaning off a new kid.  So, I hurried inside and let Jeff know that Claire was kidding and I thought she would probably have another baby pretty soon.  Jeff hurried outside with me and several minutes later, Claire did have another kid.  It was fun because it turns out Jeff had never seen a baby born before, except for in movies.  So, it was a new experience for him.  ("OH, wow!  That's amazing.  Wow.")

I was really grateful that we were there for Claire's second birth, because it was completely different than Caroline's second birth.  It made me feel a lot less guilty about losing Caroline's babies, because I realized that Caroline's experience was really not typical.

Jeff and I had the great idea to take the little guy that Star rejected and cover him in Claire's goopy fluids when she was having her babies, so that she could clean him off, bond with him, and adopt him.  Since we were there for the kidding, we were able to try this out.  We covered him in goop, she cleaned him off, and it looks like she has adopted him.  I am no longer bottle-feeding him, and he is getting fat!  We were happy that that worked out.

Oh, and both of Claire's babies were doelings!

Claire's second doeling.

So, our final count is: 5 girls, 3 boys.  (Plus 2 girls that didn't make it.)  Not bad!


zookeeper08 said...

Wow! Very exciting - both birth and adoption stories! I especially enjoyed hearing how you got Claire to adopt Star's buck. Well done, goat grandparents!

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