Saturday, February 6, 2016

GRAPHIC IMAGES: Abigail's Kids are Born

Spock, newly delivered.
While I was helping Sean with implementing the new hay manger/wall design I dreamed up for inside the barn (a post for another day), I noticed Abby displaying signs of pre-labor. She couldn't seem able to get comfortable; she'd lie down, then immediately stand up, repeatedly. Next came Abigail pawing the ground and calling softly. Then, began the contractions. Abigail has always had an easy, normal delivery. We like that and vote for the streak to continue. While we're making preferences known, it would be awesome if she could take a year off. We hadn't intended on breeding her this season. Clearly, she didn't understand that. Or, she had plans of her own. 

Abigail's kidding was nearly text book. Active contractions began at 12:15 and she was completely delivered by 1:00 pm. Abigail gifted us with two, 8 pound, perfect little bucks. Her first kid presented himself nose and hooves first. After a couple good pushes and not much forward motion, Sean applied a little traction on the hooves and within a few minutes, "Kirk" was completely delivered.  Abigail took immediate interest in cleaning him off.  I helped with a towel to speed the job before kid #2 presented. About 10 minutes after Kirk was born, his brother entered the world. We named him "Spock" because of his upswept eyebrow markings and long ears. He is stunning. With an anticipated season that could potentially give us 20 kids, we cannot keep them all, nor even most of them; I am sorely tempted to keep him based on his markings and character. He is all GOAT. While Kirk is happy to snuggle down with his Momma, or enjoy some warm milk when it walks by and naps the rest of the time, Spock wanders into whatever pen he pleases- to explore, to bounce upon on unsuspecting chickens or sleep in a goat pile with Rachel's kids or Jane's. Oh! You caught that, did you?  Yes. Wednesday saw an explosion of kidding on the homestead. Between noon and 4:30 pm, we delivered 8 kids to 4 Mommas.

After Abigail's delivery, we gave the other goats a once over. No one seemed to be heading into labor, so Sean and I went inside to clean up, eat some lunch, and spend some time with our human kids. We finished the final half hour of Star Trek "Generations" (which may have been what led to the strong Vulcan resemblance I saw in Spock). Sean went back out to the barn to check on the kids and Abigail while I posted some images of the new kids on our facebook page. Sean was gone about two minutes before he raced back inside to yell, "I have a hoof!" pause "Keziah" pause "Hurry or you're gonna miss it!" Door slam. Feet running.
I grabbed my boots, camera, fresh towels, the goat kit and headed back to the barn. We thought Keziah had about a week to go before kidding, so she was still with the rest of the herd. When Sean got to the barn, Keziah was on the floor of the main stall, crying with contractions. Her mother, Rachel was standing over her, protecting her from the unwanted attention of the other does. When I got to the barn, Sean was furiously screwing in the panels of our kidding stall to make a separate space for Keziah to kid in peace. Between contractions, we assisted Keziah to her feet and helped her into the private kidding stall. Rachel was determined to follow her daughter. We didn't stop her. Rachel's presence seemed to help calm Keziah as much as anything we were doing for her. Rachel helped clear away the mucus discharge. She was quite the midwife, actually.

Don't think about resting now,
I am about to be in labor, too. 
While I watched them, I noticed that Rachel seemed to stop and tense for a second, every now and again. I was suspicious that she, too, would be going into labor shortly, but Rachel did not have any discharge or udder forming so, I focused on the kidding immediately to hand. Keziah's single kid was a hearty, 8 pound doeling. She presented perfectly, but with this being Keziah's first kidding, we did not let her strain and push alone. Once the head and legs were free, we applied careful pressure to help the kid be born more quickly. Immediately, Rachel set to work, helping to clean off her grand-daughter. Keziah was more interested in grabbing mouthfuls of hay and the bowl of grain I offered her. Once she'd eaten, she turned her attention to cleaning her young.

And, then Rachel began active labor. We decided to just let her kid in the same stall since it was both convenient and seemed to be acceptable to the does. In between contractions, watching Abigail's kids to make sure they were up and getting colostrum, watching Keziah and her kid, I glanced over to the other side of the wall and spotted Jane, panting. She couldn't also be going into labor, could she? Now? Right now? Her answer: Labor. Now.
Right now. The other does, having met foul tempered Jane when she is NOT in labor, decided to give her a stall all to herself and watch from the relative safety of the doorway to the main doe stall. Still, we felt it best to add a couple more panels and seclude her for her comfort and safety. No sooner were they added, both Rachel and Jane began straining and panting.

"Do you want to call Shea for the extra pair of hands she offered?" I asked Sean. Our friend, Shea from Gentle Meadow Goat Farm had offered to come out if we wanted more hands.

"I'm on it!" he replied. We have 5 years of experience helping our goats to kid. But, asking for some assistance seemed the wise course in the wake of three kids already born to two Mommas needing attention compounded with two more imminent deliveries. Shea arrived within minutes and then it was a back and forth rash of kiddings. Jane delivered before Rachel, a healthy robust chamois colored buck. As I was getting him sorted, I heard Shea say, "I have a nose right on top of hooves. Do you want me to straighten a leg?" Sean replied,"Give her a minute to see if she can deliver... *heart beat*... Like that." No sooner had he responded, Rachel delivered her first kid, a black buck with just a touch of white spots along the edge of his ears. He was delivered still inside his membrane. Shea broke it for him, introduced him to Rachel and worked with her to stimulate the kid. I looked up to see all was well and turned back just in time for Jane to deliver another buck. He dropped onto the floor still housed in his caul. I opened the membrane with my finger. Though it only took seconds, it felt like forever as he started to thrash on the floor. Sean grabbed him, turned him upside down and cleared his nose and throat of mucus and fluid. The kid was fine and quite probably would have been fine without the extra effort, but watching a kid thrash is scary! I am glad Sean jumped into action. As soon as the kid was laying on the towel again, Jane turned her attention to stimulating and cleaning him. There was another push and Jane's third kid shot out of her in a slippery, whoosh onto the floor, which seemed to surprise her as much as it did me. Our first triplets born on the homestead! All boys!

I couldn't really pay attention to Sean and Shea delivering Rachel's final kid, a lovely chamois doe, but it seemed that the delivery went quickly and without incident. Normally, we have time for one of us to be on the camera or video while the other catches a kid and helps dry it off. Once dry and standing, we weigh the kids, dip umbilical cords in iodine to help dry them up, and make certain everyone is getting colostrum. We have had multiple goats kid in one day. We have NEVER had them kid all at once, back to back! It was exciting. I'll say that for it!

When all was said and done, at the end of the day we had 4 happy Mommas and 8 healthy, perfect kids; 6 bucks and 2 does. We are very pleased to introduce you to our first kids of 2016. Most of these will be available for sale.
Kirk, 8 pounds, Lamancha buck, cauliflower ears

Spock, 8 pound Lamancha cross buck

Mason (left) Sanaan/Lamancha cross buck (full ears), black with white spots on the ear, 7 pounds
Nyota (right) Sanaan/Lamancha cross doe (full ears) She is going to be paired with Spock, 8 pounds

Lydia, Lamancha doe, chamois colored, 6 pounds. We are keeping her.
Mason, for sale (see above)
Nyota for sale (see above)

Jane's triplets. Un-named as of now...

Black buck w/tan eyebrows & legs and white splotch, lamancha/french alpine cross, lamancha ears, 5 pounds
Chamois colored lamancha/french alpine cross buck, lamancha ears, 7 pounds
Spotted brown and white buck, lamancha/french alpine cross, 6 pounds, ears