Wednesday, March 07, 2007


We're moving right along with the kidding season. Most of the births are routine and the goat mothers do a good job of taking care of their kids. Once in a while, however, we have a little drama.

On the fifth, last Monday, I did the usual routine of taking care of the goats. One of the Boer goats had a nice, big single buckling and it wasn't hard to set her up in the old barn. I went to the new nursery and when I got finished there I just did a visual check of the rest of the herd outside. There was a young doe about as high up on the hill as she could be crying in pain. This was her first birth and it became obvious to me when I looked at the two legs coming out, that this was a breech birth but that the baby was positioned with head down. I sat down on the ground and helped pull the baby out, as it was obvious to me that she couldn't do it herself. (Naturally just as we got to the end, working with her contractions, my cell phone rang in my coat pocket. I didn't answer.)

The baby was wet and there was a cold wind blowing. The little mother had no clue about what was happening and didn't seem to know that this was her baby. I sheltered the baby as well as I could; I didn't have a towel or anything to dry it off with. Rather than walking down the hill and back up again, I decided to try to get them both into the closest barn. Ursula -- the new mother -- didn't want to come, so she kept laying down. The baby was slippery and I was worried about dropping her. It was quite an effort to get them both down. I put the baby into my warming crib, which has gotten a lot of use this season. It is a deep trough with hay, a towel, and a safe heatlamp.

For a day or so, Ursula didn't do much at all with the baby. She licked it a little, but had no milk production at all. I freeze colostrum each year for this sort of scenario and used a baby bottle to give little Wilma some nutrition.

A young fellow named Jason came over that evening and helped nurse Wilma. He also helped feed the mothers and rake out stalls. If he or his wife sees this, I want him to know that Ursula's milk came in late yesterday and baby Wilma is doing fine. Ursula's mothering instincts have kicked in and the two seem devoted to one another.

This morning, we have another single female birth. I named her Wanda.

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