Wednesday, April 12, 2017

GRAPHIC VIDEO: Final Kidding of the Season~ Lydia's Delivery

We have been on final kid watch since late Thursday night when Lydia's ligaments softened and disappeared. On Friday morning, her udder swelled and she started showing signs of discomfort. She spent hours calling softly, pawing the ground, staring off into space, standing and sitting intermittently determined to get comfortable despite her burgeoning belly. I checked on her through the day and evening hours while Sean was working. Her timing couldn't have been worse. Sean had made plans to spend time with a friend who is moving to Florida. I urged him to keep his plans with the understanding that I would call as soon as Lydia passed her mucus plug and labor began in earnest. Lydia is 14 months old- and though vigorous and strong, she is smaller than we would like. With Becca's terrible kidding the week before fresh in my mind, I was not looking forward to this final one.

First hoof!
Sean got home at 10:30 pm and split the night watch with Kristen. They were up every 90 minutes, then hourly, and finally every 30 minutes for kid watch. It was a long, long night that didn't need to be. Lydia started labor in earnest at 6:30 am. By 7 am, she had progressed to strong contractions. Sean handled the morning milk chores alone while I spent time petting Lydia, talking to her, and preparing for kidding. While not a completely textbook perfect kidding, Lydia was pretty close. I took pictures and captured video as I could, but one-handed and alone, that was not the priority. Within 30 minutes of the bubble forming, Lydia began pushing hard with contractions. One little hoof peeked out. I know to let nature do its thing, but I was so worried for her, I went ahead and checked for a nose. It was right at the entrance, just on top of the hoof. That's good. We hit the 30 minute mark, but only the tip of the kid's nose joined the hoof outside of Lydia. I squirted on lots of lubricant gel before gently checking for the 2nd hoof. It was right where it should be. Everything was in the right place. It was just a matter of Lydia pushing that baby free.

Lydia was dilated, but she was not as large as I would like. I wasn't concerned that she had "Ring Womb"- where a doe fails to dilate though she is in labor. (Read about that HERE.)  Time was passing, but neither Momma nor kid was in distress. The pressure from the kid's head helps expand the opening so a kid can be born. Pulling a kid before the doe is ready to birth it can cause tearing and trauma. Letting a delivery go longer than it should can exhaust a Mother and kid and cause other problems. I waited another 10 minutes to see if there would be any more progress. When there wasn't a marked change, I thought that rather than trying to pull the kid at this point, I would try to gently add massaging pressure with just my finger tips to help ease Lydia further open. It took about 5 minutes of good, progressive contractions, but the kid's second hoof eased close enough to push against my finger tips. It was too slippery to grab well. I kept gentle pressure with two fingers of my left hand near the nose that was poking out and with my other hand, I provided gentle traction to the second hoof. Then, everything slid into place and head and shoulders were born. I stopped assisting at this point.

The rest of the delivery should be relatively easy and it was. Lydia started sniffing her kid within a couple minutes of its little cries. Then, she began cleaning it. She delivered the smallest kid we have ever had born on the farm- a 2 pound, perfect lamancha doe kid. :) It took about an hour for little girl to get her legs under control and attempt to nurse, but she got the hang of it in no time. Both Lydia and Senorita Brigitta are doing great. They are separate from the rest of the herd to bond and get a good start together. Though Lydia is developing a good sized udder- we probably won't milk her this season. We generally give first time Mothers the year to get used to their new role. Since parasites tend to bloom shortly after birth, and can contribute to difficulties, we prefer not to add any pressure to first time Mommas, other than caring for their young. That can be challenging enough!
Photo Shoot Models. Kristen, Brianna, and Meaghan with Brigitta. :)
If cute sells, we should be out of jewelry real quick! :)

In the couple days since Brigitta's arrival, she has gotten her feet under her and is thriving. Today we had a bit of a photo shoot with Krissy, Meg and our friends, Brianna and Benny in and around the yard. Brigitta was in the thick of things. Lydia roamed by herself for a bit. When breaking into the chicken yard to steal some cracked corn failed, she came looking for her offspring. Brigitta was happy to see her mother and get a drink, too.

That is what is happening in our neck of the woods. We're making progress slow and steady. Thanks for visiting with us today, friends. We're glad you're here.

~Sean and Sonja ♥

Monday, April 10, 2017

Bangor Daily News Article

We were happy to welcome reporter, Lauren Abbate and photographer, Ashley Conti to our homestead a couple weeks ago. It was a pleasure to meet them and talk about our goats. You can read the article on Bangor Daily News. There is a video, too!

Thanks for visiting with us, friends!
~Sonja and Sean ♥

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

A Visit with Lumiwa Farm

Sean explaining proper looking hooves to Lucy 
After the hard start to the weekend, Sean and I needed a day to spend together. We decided to spend part of Sunday visiting the good folks of Lumiwa Farm in Milbridge. Lucy and Mitja adopted our Miss Haddie, MacKenzie and Bryce and little Moses in the beginning of March. They are doing so well in their new home. It gives me a happy glow to see goats we've delivered, raised and loved settling into a new home and family.

Our visit had a purpose. Haddie's hooves needed to be trimmed. Sean demonstrated how to trim all the goats' hooves. We also checked eye lids for anemia from spring time parasites and talked through the benefits of deworming the herd. And, everyone except Moses provided us with a fecal to get tested. MacKenzie seems to have a case of mites that will be handled with injections of Ivomectin. Overall, the herd is looking fantastic. Sean and I just couldn't be happier or more thankful for the good care they are receiving.

Throwing an extra bale encourages the girls to venture into the pasture and onto the play gear. 
On Monday evening, Sean and I took advantage of the seasonable evening to spend some time in the pasture with our own herd. Earlier in the day, I cut branches of spruce and pine for a treat. When Sean joined us, he distributed an extra bale of hay along the play equipment in the main pasture. Since it was the first time we would have Benny, Captain, and Frankincense in the pasture, we hoped keeping the big girls busy munching on hay would be advantageous. For the most part, it kept them busy. My soul needs the weather to finally change over into Spring. Spending time with the herd, watching their antics, gives me such a profound feeling of inner peace. As the weather tempers, we'll spend more time outside.

I captured some footage of the day for you to enjoy with us. A side note: Becca is doing very well. She has milk because she gave birth. We will not be milking her this season, but to help wean her milk supply, we let other kids nurse from her a little bit, from time to time. It has the benefit of lessening some of the discomfort of an engorged udder, but she is not being nursed regularly, so her milk supply should peter out quickly.

In typical Maine fashion, it snowed 3 inches overnight on Tuesday so the ground is coated with a blanket of cold, wet snow again. I am so very done with that! It shouldn't be much longer until warmth returns to our lives. The days are lengthening daily. Unmistakable signs are all around us. The hens are giving us around 2 dozen eggs each day. Miss Jordan (turkey yearling) is sitting on her first nest in the secondary doe stall's auxiliary hay manger inside the barn. She is not picky about which eggs she'll sit upon; we have to remove hen's eggs daily from her clutch. A broody hen has made a nest in an empty goat stall and is sitting on a mixture of 10 eggs donated from an assortment of hens willing to generously give to her cause. It is earlier than I would plan for chicks or poults to hatch, but they seem so intent, I haven't the heart to stop them. We'll see what comes of it.
Our chives are visible in the herb garden. I can't wait to be able to harvest some to season our chevre. Life is renewing.

Thanks for visiting with us today, friends.
Sean and Sonja ♥