Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Fredrick is Born

I promised this post for yesterday, but bottle feeding a kid and checking to see if his Momma had passed her placenta broke up my day into bits. Writing did not make it into a bit until now.

Look at that SMILE!!!
Yesterday, Sean and I and our awesome farm helper, Bethany, were greeted at 6 am with a damp and cold, (but not critically so) goat kid in the main doe stall. Lily kidded before Abigail. (At this rate, I suspect Abigail is going for the world's longest gestation... ) Lily kidded before Rachel and Keziah. This was the WORST possible scenerio, barring the loss of life. Lily can produce milk, but there is no way for it to get to her kid because of a genetic anomaly or scar tissue from an early injury. There is no way to know. It doesn't matter. What does matter is that whenever Lily decides to have kids, she runs the elevated risk of mastitis and/or a retained placenta. Both of these conditions are serious, though not necessarily immediately life-threatening. Additionally, anyone who has nursed an infant can understand the pain involved in being engorged without relief. This is not an ideal situation. Had any doe kidded in the past week, we would have had freshly frozen colostrum on hand and a ready source of warm milk for the necessary bottle feedings. We did not.

Nothing there, lad. :( 
While Bethany and I warmed the kid inside with a heating pad and towel, dipped his umbilicus and finished cleaning him up, Sean gave the rest of the herd a once over to check for any likely candidates to donate the precious colostrum needed to pass on antibodies. Why is this important? According to Michigan State University Extension, "The antibodies found in colostrum are absorbed whole by the kids and lambs through the lining of the stomach. However, the efficiency with which a newborn can absorb these antibodies declines within just one hour after birth. The ability to absorb antibodies drastically decreases after 12 hours and is essentially gone by 24 hours of age. Therefore, if a newborn doesn’t get colostrum within the first 24 hours of birth, its chances of survival are very slim." After the first 24 hours, the colostrum still has nutritional value as food, but if the antibodies have not been transferred before then, kids can fail to thrive and die. The failure of getting sufficient colostrum is called Failure of Passive Transfer (FPT). Sean discovered that Abigail had colostrum. Easy fix, right? Just use hers. Wrong. If we were to milk Abigail regularly to supplement Fredrick, Abigail could switch over to milk and her own kids~ whenever they show themselves~ would be in danger. We compromised. Sean milked 2 oz of colostrum from Abigail in the morning and afternoon. And, I supplemented that with an additional two 4 oz bottles of Bovine IgG Colostrum Replacement for Kid Goats and Lambs (click for product view). Between the two sources, we feel that Fredrick should have gotten the necessary antibodies. With the last 2 bottles, I added two ounces of warmed goat's milk from the freezer to his feeding before switching him to straight goat's milk for his regular bottles. We are feeding him 4 ounces of milk every 3 hours. By the 4th bottle, Freddie had it down and is drinking with gusto and no confusion. We'll increase the amount of each feeding commiserate with his weight gain.

Lily is a wonderful Mother.
Lily is not out of danger. We watched her through the night, but by this morning, she still had not passed the placenta. That is a HUGE problem. It means that we probably will need to use Oxytocin and possibly treat her with an antibiotic. We're monitoring her temperature and waiting to hear back for assistance from Dr. Tanja. She is fantastic about getting back to us and answering questions.

If all of this were not enough, Ruth went into premature labor this morning and there were complications with that kidding, too. I'll write about that shortly. I just need to catch my breath for a minute in between. Even though the does are the ones dealing with these problems, it sometimes feels like everything is against us. It feels like no matter how hard we try, it doesn't matter. The hits keep coming. It would be easy to dwell on the sad times, but I won't. For now and for this post, it is healthier to focus on some sweet, healthy goat kid pictures.

Thanks for visiting with us this morning. We're glad you're here.

~Sean and Sonja ♥

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