Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Kids Are Dropping! GRAPHIC IMAGES and VIDEO

More excitement and worry (and no sleep) around here last night and this morning. Sean got home from work and commenced with evening chores. Between the time I checked on Samson and assisted in his feeding at 3pm and Sean's arrival at 6pm, Ruby decided to begin labor... maybe.

Signs Pointing to Labor Beginning:
Ruby was panting.
Ruby's kid(s) had dropped and she had that "hollowed" out look when standing.
Ruby's ligaments were non-existent.
Ruby had colostrum filling her udder.
We could see her kids wiggle inside when she stood.

Ruby did not want to stand. She laid down in various positions all night.
Ruby did not appear to be dilating.
There was no bloody show or mucus.
Ruby was not straining or attempting to push.

So, was she really in labor? Or, just beginning to be? We got her settled into the kidding stall comfortably. I threw the vet towels into the dryer to begin warming them. We offered petting, which she seemed to appreciate and some grain, which she ate. She declined water, but that is normal if she was in labor.

Sean brought Samson outside for his last feeding. Abigail allowed Samson to nurse, but she still was not happy about the idea. Ruby heard Samson calling and perked up, interested. I had a thought. When Samson finished drinking, I brought him into the kidding stall and introduced him to Ruby. If she was disinclined to accept him, no harm, no foul. But, if she would adopt him, Samson could stay with his herd and be cared for by a proper goatie Momma. Immediately, Ruby began cleaning Sam's bottom and licking him all over. She would not stand to give him access to milk, but she was more than happy to care for him and snuggle with him. If Ruby was in labor and kidded soon, this just might be the solution to our trouble.

By 11 pm, no kidding progress was made. Ruby stopped panting and her breathing returned to normal. We set our alarm clock and checked her every 90 minutes through the night. All. Night. Long. Nothing. For those of you counting, that makes 3 nights without any real sleep for these homesteaders.

This morning we decided to call Ridge Runner Veterinary and get some help. Jen and Emily drove out after their morning surgery to examine Ruby.

No sooner was the call placed, than Sean came inside to inform me that Leah was in a hurry to beat Ruby and kid next. Within an hour, Leah lost her mucus plug, went into active labor and delivered a robust and healthy buck to Jedi. We named him Elisha. Eli is GORGEOUS; part lamancha (He has elf ears!), part oberhausli (Check out the stripes on his head and those pants!), and all CUTE!

This is Leah's first freshening. As with her last kidding, she gave birth to a single buck. I was hoping for twins from her this year, but I am very pleased and thankful with the healthy buck she gave us. We'll be offering this little guy for sale come early summer. He is going to father some lovely kids if someone wants to add him as a buck. Or make a fine companion if someone wants him as a pet.

This is the video of Elisha's birth. It contains GRAPHIC IMAGES. Reader Discretion is Advised.

Ruby was not in any better shape when Jen and Erica arrived mid-morning, but she stood for them for a few minutes before laying back down. As she examined Ruby, Jen advised us that this could be a couple things. One was a calcium deficiency that sometimes happens just before a doe kids. Another possibility could be a more serious kidney/liver issue. If that were the case, we could perform a C-section to try to get the kids out and give Ruby the best shot of recovering. I usually opt for the least invasive treatment plan first and work up from there. Our course of action for Ruby was to get some calcium into her via an IV line sewn into her neck. The calcium was given in a saline drip infusion. We would repeat the treatment with a 1/3 bag of saline later this evening and if Ruby was still not up and about, repeat in the morning.

Erica prepared Ruby for the IV port by shaving a place on her neck. A needle was inserted and Jen sewed it into place. They left us with all the supplies we'd need to do this ourselves overnight. A blood sample was drawn and a stool sample collected to be checked back at the office. The final part of their visit was a physical exam of Ruby's cervix. This revealed that Ruby was not in labor yet, but her cervix was softened and ready to begin dilation. Jen predicted we'd be having more kids within 24-48 hours. I really appreciate how patient they were with my questions and how thoroughly they walked us through the procedure. This is another reason why I love this veterinary office.

Jen called later to let us know that Ruby's iron was very low and that her worm load was high. She advised us to treat Ruby with Ivomectin now instead of waiting until kidding and to continue with the IV infusions. To add some iron to Ruby's diet naturally, we offered her some collard greens and a tablespoon of peanut butter, which we had on hand. Ruby refused both. Spinach and beet greens are both better sources of iron so we'll purchase some at the store and offer those to her.

This is how things stand in a nutshell: Sean milked Abigail this evening and we collected 9 ounces of milk from her. We'll begin milking her twice each day tomorrow and see how she does. Samson has adopted Ruby as his "snuggle and sleep mama" and Leah as his "milky mama". Both Leah and Ruby seem amenable to this arrangement. Ruby is undergoing treatment for worms, iron deficiency and low calcium. She should kid any day now. It would be best for her to regain some strength first, but we'll deal with things as they come. Leah delivered a fine lad and is active, alert, and recovering as if it was a walk in the park. Rachel is showing signs of kidding, too. I suspect we'll have more kids tomorrow.

I'll be sure to update you all as things progress. Thanks for visiting with us today, friends. We're sure glad for the company.

~Sean and Sonja ♥

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