Back online and kid updates
On Thursday, we got a new satellite system installed for our Internet. It ran alright for a bit but then crashed on Friday and it hasn't been working all weekend. Finally Kevin's desktop computer came back online, but my laptop still couldn't find the wireless router, and even Mozilla crashed for some unknown reason. After trying everything he could think of, thankfully Kevin figured it out. He hooked my laptop up directly to the new modem to bypass the router, and that's when he realized it was the router... after leaving it plugged in for a bit, the laptop found the signal of the new modem and now it's working just fine. For some reason the laptop couldn't find the new system when it searched for it, but it's found it now, and so far, so good.... hopefully it stays that way.
Blodwen seems to be sticking as a name for Mini Nut's little doeling, who is doing wonderful. She had her first day outside with the rest of the family yesterday and she did great and had a lot of fun, she's like a rocket running around and she has no fear. She's a real handful for her mother who has to chase after her everywhere to keep her out of trouble.
On Friday morning, I knew Bucket was finally going to kid that day. She was showing every sign, and in my gut I just knew it had to be time. I spent a great deal of time sitting with her, waiting.... watching.
this is a goat who is very close to kidding
All afternoon I was on watch... meanwhile, Blodwen and her mama roamed around the barn, looking for goodies and in Blodwen's case, trouble.
hmmm what's this?
I feel like jumping around!
passing some time reading
After coming home for a short break, I decided I better check again. I was glad I did - fluid was just starting to come out.
It took a long time for her to kid, usually once it starts it's very quick in her case, so after a while I started to feel like something must be wrong. 1/2 hour in, I was nervous, more nervous than usual. Finally she started pushing and out was coming one little hoof, and it was going back in. I could see she was in discomfort and she wasn't pushing, for some reason, she couldn't push the kid out. I realized I better do something. I reached inside and felt the kid which was indeed, positioned wrong. I couldn't feel his second front leg.... it was way back behind the first and stuck and his head was positioned wrong. I moved the kids position and got a hold of both feet, which I slowly pulled towards me. The kids nose started to come, tongue complete hanging out. Bucket couldn't push, the kid just kept going back inside her and she'd just quit. I knew it was time, and I grabbed the kid and pulled gently, but at the same time with all the strength I could muster.... Once the kid came out and into my arms, she wasn't breathing. Her tongue was hanging all the way out the side of her face. I started clearing her nose and mouth and cleared it, and she took a big breath, much to my complete relief.
Seconds later, the second kid came, easily, without a problem. The second kid was breathing, but was very, very weak.
Bucket started cleaning them both right away, she's always been a good mother and has never failed her kids, or me. I stayed for a while and the little doeling I pulled out, finally started trying to stand. The second kid, a buckling, couldn't stand, or hold his head up, and his ears were down and his nose still cold and black.
I cleared the wax plugs from Bucket's teats so they'd be able to nurse, and I helped the little girl get in position, which she did quickly. The little buckling couldn't stand for a long time, most of the evening. I held him up for his first feed, and then again a few times throughout the evening... I held him up so he could nurse, he couldn't stand and drink at the same time without falling over. I checked on him at midnight the last time and his tummy was full, but he was lying alone and shivering. I gave him extra straw and stood in the barn for a long time trying to decide what to do next. The kid was eating, and had a full tummy. He was weak and still not standing well on his own after a few hours... my gut told me to just trust Bucket, this time... if he was going to make it, she would take care of him. At times like this you have to use your past experience and also trust your gut, when deciding how best to proceed. I've had lambs that seemed to be nursing just fine one minute, but the next were not... Goat kids that just were not strong enough, and normally wouldn't make it, but could with human intervention. Either way, it means not a lot of sleep and a lot of monitoring to make sure you don't need to take action.
It was a restless night. I've been through enough lambing and kidding now to know that I cannot always control the outcomes of situations. It's very difficult. I want every kid and lamb to be strong, healthy, and I always need to know I did everything I could to give them the best possible chance. But it's not always so easy, and often even though you did do everything possible, sometimes you still end up feeling like it wasn't enough.
Thankfully the next morning, he was indeed standing, and nursing, although still weak and falling over. Over the past couple of days he's grown stronger, although he's still pretty wobbly. The little doeling is doing very well, and Bucket is taking good care of them. At first the two kids didn't lie together, which surprised me, since twins are always very close. This made me think maybe something was wrong with the little guy, but now the two kids are lying together and snuggling, which is positive and the little buckling, while not a bundle of energy, is full, and warm... and able to stand and walk on his own.
and so it begins...
cleaning her babies
the twins this morning
Today it's really cold outside and so windy you can barely stand up without holding on to something for support. Over the weekend however the above seasonal temperatures remained. We took advantage yesterday and pulled our taps and buckets and washed them all outside.
putting a new salt block out for the deer in one of the fields, the last one is completely gone and they have been digging looking for more
the soft maples have budded
starting to pull the buckets and taps
turtles out in the sun in our turtle pond
first flowers of spring!
our washed buckets drying in the sun
our pond in front of the house today
Last night at about 11:30 PM the temperature started to drop and the wind came up. The wind tore through here all through the night, roaring through the trees and taking everything not nailed down with it. I had hoped by morning, the wind would have calmed down, but we were not so lucky. The sky is blue today and the sun is out but the wind is terrible, and it's freezing outside. It's a more seasonable temperature but after so many days of 70 and 80 degrees F, our bodies forgot it still gets chilly this time of year.
This morning when I went up to the barn the first thing I noticed was that Bucket's kids were both up walking around, which was a very good sight. The second thing I noticed was, the two black squirrels I've been trying to keep out, were back in the barn and wrecking everything, buckets turned upside down, stuff knocked over, and the two of them were standing on the roof of the turkey coop, looking down at me, snickering.
When I was about to announce to them that I didn't appreciate them knocking all my stuff over, and I was going to be calling in the recruits (I.E. Max, head of the Great Pyrenees squirrel control unit) I noticed something in Buckets pen that I didn't see the first time my eyes passed over it... Wait a minute... That can't be right.... Bucket has three kids? What the....
How is that possible? Bucket had three kids in her pen with her. THREE.
I went down to Biscuits pen at the other end of the barn and saw that there was afterbirth there, uneaten. Biscuit is the goat that never accepts her kids - ever. She tries to kill them, so I put her in a pen they can get out of, if she has them when I'm not there, which she almost always does. What I couldn't figure out was, how did this kid get into Buckets pen? I had it blocked with straw bales so Buckets kids couldn't get out. Her getting in the pen meant she climbed over two straw bales to get in there, right after being born.
Bucket wasn't beating her up, but she wouldn't let her nurse and gave her a tap every time the little one tried to get milk.
I couldn't believe this kid was that tough, she got out of the pen with her mother, ran the entire length of the barn (there are four more goat pens, a sheep pen, and the turkey coop in between her pen and Bucket's) and jumped over two straw bales to get in with Bucket, whom she hoped would let her nurse.
I picked the doeling up and put her in Sammy's pen while I worked since he was outside already. I came home to get a bowl for the milk and a clean baby bottle. After I milked Biscuit, I took a bottle of milk down to the little girl and after a few seconds she took the bottle quickly and drank. She was cold, she hadn't been cleaned, so she was wet. I grabbed her up in my arms and brought her home. Kevin wasn't even remotely surprised, he just went outside and brought more wood in to get the fire going so she could warm up.
I cleaned her up a bit, and wrapped in her a blanket and we sat by the fire to warm up. After a while she stopped shivering and spent a few minutes getting to know Douglas, who was overjoyed he had a new friend. Norman just gave me a dirty look and wandered off to lie in a sunbeam, he's seen this scenario play out a hundred times before.
I finally got her to sleep so I could go to the barn and finish my chores, and milk Biscuit some more.
Douglas wondering why she's sleeping again
Douglas says "chase me!"
he's making that face because she's sniffing him - he's the submissive one in this household- to everyone
Norman and Brina sleeping in a sunbeam this afternoon
She spent the afternoon checking out the house, climbing on stuff, and following Douglas around, in between taking naps by the fire. She's drinking well and she's pretty strong so I'm hopeful. For now she'll stay in the house until she's a little older and stronger and it warms up again. It took a while, but finally I got her to have her first poop after a few times of working to get things going with a warm cloth. That gave me a huge sense of relief, since now I know her little system is working. Now I can sleep tonight and not worry.
Tomorrow Kevin will be away getting the truck fixed (hopefully fixed) and I'll stay home and make sure the baby is fed and hopefully fix a few things in the barn.
There is just one more doe to kid, Beatrice. It's her first time, so I'm anxious. Only one ewe this year to lamb too, which is easier than last year. Lila is always a good mom and thankfully has never had a problem with lambing.
Now, the chores are done, supper has been cooked and eaten. Brina is sleeping at my feet, while she waits for her next bottle, which is cooling off because I warmed it up a hair too much. I gave everyone in the barn extra bedding to get them through this cold snap, and in the house the fire is burning to keep us comfortable.
Before sleep tonight, I hope to enjoy a hot cup of tea, some silly movie, watched in the easy chair with a baby goat, a jealous Pug, and an indifferent Chihuahua.
Norman just hopes there will be popcorn.