Last week our goats started kidding and so far they have given us 15 healthy, beautiful kids. Jolene even gave us our first brown kid–an adorable critter.
But it was a very difficult week, adding to sad events which have made for a tough beginning to the year. Unfortunately this wave of kidding came just as a nasty winter rainstorm moved in. It rained here for days–over 6 inches. Horrible conditions for kidding. When it stopped raining, it started snowing. We woke up to a clear snow-covered morning on Friday and it was a relief.
We moved all the mamas and babys into barn stalls which I dubbed the “maternity wards.” There they were able to stay dry and warm and were safe from any temptation to go get soaked.
But two of our goats, Loretta and Marie, kidded in the middle of the night, in pouring cold rain, and when we discovered them the next morning their kids were dead. I can’t express how frustrating that is for me. Both of them delivered just a few feet from an open door to a warm dry barn stall. I checked on them at about 10 p.m. and neither was in labor. In the case of Loretta there was no reason to think she was going to go into labor that night. But with Marie I thought there was a good possibility and I’m very mad at myself for not dragging her into a stall and locking her in. Had I done that her kids might have survived. Sigh.
Our nanny Sara delivered two beautiful kids, a male and a female I named Grace. We were hoping she wasn’t pregnant. She didn’t dry off properly last time and, as we feared, she has no milk in her bag. So we’re bottle-feeding her babies. That changes our schedules around here for the next three months.
Prudence delivered a healthy male kid and I thought I confirmed that she had passed her afterbirth. But I was wrong. Several hours later I was concerned that she didn’t seem well. I moved her into the maternity ward with her kid. Then that evening I noticed she was in the early stages of delivery. Assuming she must have a stillborn kid that wouldn’t come out, I got Cherie, who is our skilled goat midwife. She put on latex gloves and went inside Prudence, found the baby and she and I pulled it out. Surprisingly he was alive, but barely. We brought him into the house and nursed him for a day, but he never got his strength. He died the next night. Sigh, again. But our intervention likely saved Prudence’s life.
Our good goat Amy fell ill after delivering and never recovered. It is rare for a goat to die after kidding, but we’ve had it happen once before. It was sad to lose Amy and particularly sad that her kid also died.
Finally, and inexplicably, two more of the kids, who were to all appearances healthy and sound, died within a couple of days of their birth. Double sigh.
I hate it when things don’t go perfectly. Some losses during kidding are to be expected and especially in the dead of winter. But losing a mama and 7 out of 22 kids is not OK.
I’m trying to stay focused on the positive. We have 15 new kids and it is a joy to see them frolicing in the pasture. It’s one of the things I love most about this life.
Eight of the new additions are does. Lizzie, Grace, Delta, Dawn, Becky, Edie, Natalie, and Camille will hopefully be with us a long time.