I’m exhausted!

Wow, what a couple of days I’ve had!  Kidding season has kicked off with lots of excitement…

Abby who isn’t a show doe but milks like a cow had me running to the barn every couple of hours throughout the night.  She finally began pushing early in the morning.  By this time, I was already tired and starting to feel like a cold was brewing.  After some pushing without any results, I went inside of her.  I pulled a stillborn doeling out 😦  Next came a buck kid who immediately began breathing.  Poor Abby was so tired.  I milked her out, gave her some grain, a big bucket of warm molasses water and left her in the barn snoozing. 

Her little buck wasn’t doing well but I managed to get him warmed up in the house in front of the coal stove and on top of a heating pad.  I tubed him with a little colostrum and hoped for the best.  I had the kids check on Abby every couple of hours to be sure she was ok.  Later that night we went back to the barn for chores.  She hadn’t lost her afterbirth yet so my vet had me give her 1cc of oxytocin.  Within a 1/2 hour she cleaned out.  We went back to the house and I just had a feeling that I better check on Abby one more time.  I was busy trying to get more colostrum in her little buckling and the kids went back to the barn (just one more time) to check on Abby. 

Katie came running in the house yelling for me.  “Mom, there’s another baby”!  Like a bolt of lightning, I ran to the barn (somehow I managed not to slip and fall on the ice).  Sure enough, there was a baby there obviously just born.  Mikey said he wasn’t breathing, I cleaned off his mouth and was hoping for the best.  He took a big breath of air and I sighed in relief.  Mikey scooped him up and ran to the house with him.  Yes, another buckling.

I helped my poor Abby get some fluids in her and a little beat pulp.  I gave her some Alfalfa hay, lots of hugs & kisses, and stayed with her until she drifted off to sleep.  The poor girl had twins and then 10 hours later had another buck kid.  She had two complete afterbirths…this is a first here at my farm.

The little bucklings are doing well now.  They are standing on their own and are gobbling down their bottles.  Remember, every life is worth something here on this farm.  Yes, I wish they were girls but I’ll do everything I can to make sure they live regardless.

Last night, we headed to the barn again for chores.  I noticed Mikey’s Boer doe Breezy was having contractions.  Mike and I sat with her from 6 pm until 12 midnight.  She also was having a hard time at it.  Being a first freshener as well, she was confused and didn’t understand to work with the contractions.  At midnight, after her water had broken over a 1/2 hour ago with no progress at all, I went inside.  I knew right away we had a problem.  I grabbed a hold of two hooves and they were huge!  I just couldn’t get a grip on them. 

Mike and I traded places as I told him I needed him to try and get a hold of the baby and pull.  He has never had to do this before and was scared to death.  I guided him with my words and told him he could do it.  Having smaller hands than me, he went inside and was able to get a good grip.  As Breezy pushed, he pulled and got the hooves out.  We traded places again, and I helped ease the head out.  Once we got the head partially out, she pushed and I pulled.  Out came this very big buck kid.  I cleaned off his little face, he took a breath, and I handed him up to Mike.  Mikey put him in front of his mama and helped her get him cleaned off.

Breezy gave one more good push and out slid a little doeling.  Again, I cleaned off her mouth and we handed her up to her Mama.  We helped her clean them off and I blowed them dry with a blow dryer as I was a little worried they would get chilled.  Of course, Breezy picked to have her babies when we were having a snow storm.  Before leaving the barn we helped them latch on and nurse for the first time.  Mikey checked on them every hour throughout the night just to make sure they weren’t shivering, were eating, and Breezy was ok.  This morning they are walking around and talking.  Breezy looks like she has felt better but is looking after her babies.  The new little family is in their own pen with hay, grain, and fresh water.  When we left this morning, Breezy was napping with her two little babies beside her.

Before I left the barn, I checked on my other does who are due tomorrow.  I checked their ligaments to see if anyone was close.  Jasmine’s are gone.  This usually means she will go sometime today or tonight.  It has been two days since I had a chance to take a bath.  My clothes are covered in birthing fluids and blood.  I was hoping to be able to throw the  insulated bibs and coat into the washing machine this morning but I better not with Jasmine showing signs of kidding.  My luck , I’ll end up in the barn in a spring jacket trying to deliver babies.

So, my plans today are to take a bath, hopefully do some laundry, do a little cleaning, and deliver more babies.  I’m hoping to take a nap at some point too.  Mike took pity on me and shoveled snow so I at least don’t have that to do as well.  Katie has a cold and ear infection but has been helping with bottle feeding the two buck kids while I run back and forth to the barn every hour.  Mikey was vomiting last night but says he feels better this morning.  I have one whopper of a cold but that is the way it goes I guess.  Vince left yesterday around noon time right after he plowed the driveway for us.  My parents are coming this weekend and so is Joey.  I am hoping all the kidding is done before they get here so I can enjoy a couple minutes of peace with them. 

Anyway,  I have two little sweet miracle babies boys in the house to cuddle with.  And, I have two happy healthy Boer babies bouncing around the barn.  Yes, it is my most favorite time of the year…even though I’m exhausted!

***Update***  I was wondering just how common Abby’s birthing is…to have two fetal sacs and delievering alive babies 10 hours apart.  I’ve heard of it happening before but was curious.  I posted my question on two of the list groups that I belong to…this is the reply I got from scientist at Cornell University.  I found it facinating but I’m the nerdy/brainy type just like I was in high school.  I thought I would post here on my blog for all my fellow goat/sheep farmers out there.

Hi Amy,
In sheep and goats placenta is a composite of many individual units called placentomes (combination of maternal caruncle and fetal lacental tissue).  Each embyro typically attaches to a large number of these caruncles to form the placentomes.  The placentomes are connected via chorionic membrane which often fuses with the amnion as well.  These membranes often fuse also with the membranes of the other fetuses within the uterus making them impossible to separate although they each have their own set of placentomes.   When an sheep/goats give birth, the fetal and maternal components within the placentome separate.   So, the typical presentation is that each lamb or kid is delivered followed by all the placentae at once as the are fused via the fetal membranes. Also, the process of maternal/fetal placentome separation is typically initiated in all fetuses at once which is why it is not uncommon for the final fetus, if delayed, to be born dead as the placenta may already be detached and non functional.  It is uncommon in triplets to have a fetus that would not have its membranes fused to the others and not have begun to separate which is apparently what happened to your doe.  It is also uncommon that the placentomes also did not begin to separate but because this did not happen the last little guy was able to remain happy until you gave the oxytocin which would have initiated the final push.
I study this area as a research scientist at Cornell but also have a decent sized sheep farm and lamb around 500 ewes a year.  I have seen what you have described maybe 3 or 4 times over the past several years.   
Best Wishes,
Richard Ehrhardt
Thanks Richard!  You learn something new every day!

About asciotti

Please keep in mind that I never grew up on a farm, lived in the city or its suburbs all my life. Many farmers out there will find this blog a hoot as I stumble through the every day life of running a farm (most of the time...all by myself).
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