Monday, April 23, 2012
As I stated in the previous entry, everything changed around midnight. Sweet Pea started her labor around 8:30pm. An amnionic sac didn't appear until 10:30 with it finally breaking around midnight. Small hooves, pointed in the right direction, appeared and then disappeared with each contraction. Lisa and I drank our coffee, discussed plans for making cheese and future goat breeding. A quiet barn is the perfect place for making plans and reflecting on past experiences. Sweet Pea's progress however, was moving way too slowly. She did not seem to be progressing. We decided to give her a break, go to the house, have a snack. We were sure we were disturbing her. A good plan. Unfortunately, this plan didn't work either. Returning from the house it was obvious nothing had progressed. Sweet Pea's labor had intensified, the contractions stronger. Sill no movement foreword. We knew the small hooves were pointed in the right direction, maybe the head and neck of the kid were turned, not allowing it to enter the canal. Lisa held Sweet Pea and I reached in cautiously, not wanting to cause bleeding or pain. Two legs and a nose all belonging to the same kid were in the canal! Great news! With Lisa holding Sweet Pea again, I attempted to assist her by pulling the legs of the kid with each contraction.trying to depress the pelvic floor and rotate the kid to get the head past her pelvic ring. Third plan that did not succeed. I called Dr. Sanford from Sterner Vet Clinic in Ionia around 2:15am, explained the situation, and asked her to come. Dr. Sanford reached the barn 35 minutes later. She asked me to tuck the hooves of the kid back in the canal while we were waiting for her to arrive. This would keep Sweet Pea from straining. Thankfully, this worked. Upon her arrival, Dr. Sanford attempted to manipulate the kid. No success. The options to to euthanize Sweet Pea or attempt a C-Section. The C-Section was the only option for Lisa and I. Sweet Pea stood in the milking stand, exhausted, allowing Dr. Sanford to injection the incision site with Lidocaine. The incision was then made longitudinally behind the rib cage. An incision was then made ini the uterus. Dr. Sanford pulled out one baby and then the other. Two girls. Both babies were cleaned and vigorously rubbed with towels to stimulate breathing and dry them off. I used a hair dryer to dry them further and warm them up. The second kid had slight respiratory depression. She was gently gasping for air. I aspirated the back of her throat with a small syringe and massaged her chest wall hoping to get rid of any extra secretions in her lungs and airway. She continued to pant, mouth slightly open, but her lips were pink and she wanted to stand. Try your best! Sweet Pea was willing to give the kids a good licking while Dr. Sanford was closing her incisions. We then milked her and gave it to the kids. This helped her uterus start to contract and expel any retained uterine contents. Dr. Sanford gave Sweet Pea antibiotics, a steroid, and an anti-inflammatory injection. Finally, back in her stall, Sweet Pea nursed her babies. Time to leave everyone alone, the barn quiet, new babies and mother together. I'll check later, morning chores for everyone else needed to be done soon, but for now, quiet. Live well, Carmen
Two posts ago I wrote that Sweet Pea was in labor and had called Lisa, wondering if she'd like to come and keep me company. I had fully intended on finishing the post when Sweet Pea delivered her twins. Safe and sound, no fuss, no muss. An experinced mother, Sweet Pea, should have no trouble. She's had babies the last several years and has always been a good mother. I was looking forward to Sweet Pea kidding. The last mother to have her babies. We could then concentrate on making cheese. Kids are fun to have around as well. Jumping up and down, climbing on everything, playing with each other. I went to the house and made some coffee after calling Lisa. She was going to come after she finished milking a goat she picked up several days ago. Great! I should be in bed by midnight. That was the plan. A good plan. Best laid plans do not always work the way they were intended. Everything changed around midnight.
Sunday, April 15, 2012
Arriving in the barn when you are expecting new babies is either a disappointment or a surprise. The disappointment, you have checked on the mothers so often and nothing has appeared. Complacency sets in. Doubtful thoughts creep up. I don't think the mother is due just yet, maybe in a week. Her udder isn't big enough. She hasn't dropped. She doesn't act uncomfortable. She was laying on her side and moving a little slower this morning. No, later. The surprise, the babies are actually standing in the stall. I knew she was ready. A true guessing game. Ruthie presented me with such a surprise Wednesday afternoon. I arrived home from work, called Kelvin to help me milk the ewe with mastitis, and headed to the barn. Planning on getting the ewe in her stall before Kelvin arrived, and yes, checking on the goats. The goats had been in their stalls for several days. I leave them in the barn when the time for them to kid is close and I am working. It's been chilly during the day and I don't want to run the risk of them trying to kid outside. Sweet Pea was in the divided portion of the stall next to the inside door. I knew she would deliver first. She had to. She was so big! I resisted the temptation of looking at the goats and got Lulu in her stall so we could milk her. Then to the goat stall. A baby goat was nestled in the hay in Sweet Pea's stall. Just one? Yes, one. All clean, dry, resting. Sweet Pea still looked huge, pregnant. Oh well, drying the cord with beta dine, I examined the kid more closely. Everything looked perfect. Warm mouth, bright eyes. After much difficulty, I caught Sweet Pea and attempted to milk her. She wanted nothing to do with me and she was shoving the kid away. What shameful behavior for a goat! Sheep act this way not goats! And why does Ruthie keep calling to this kid? Okay, plan B.. Call Lisa Johnson. Yes, Lisa is available to help. Great! Walking back to the barn it occurred to me that the kid's ears are small...like Ruthie's. Wait a minute! Small ears, Sweet Pea still looks pregnant and dosn't want anything to do with the kid, no afterbirth in the stall, and Ruthie is insistant on calling for this baby. Sweet Pea and Ruthie both were trying to tell me that the kid was in the wrong stall. As soon as I put the kid in Ruthie's stall everyone calmed down. Sigh, crisis averted. Lisa laughed a lot when she arrived. This was a much better outcome than having to deal with a mother who is rejecting a baby. Okay, so I laughed a little too. Kelvin and I returned to the mundane task of milking, or stripping, the ewe's udder with mastitis. I purchased udder cream from a friend at work, her husband has dairy cattle and swears it helps treat mastitis. Kelvin and I have the routine down to a science, he catches the ewe and I milk her, first the left side then the right. As Lulu wanders off smelling like peppermint udder cream, I am immensely thankful for good friends willing to help at a moments notice, and for a small temporarily misplaced kid with small ears. Live well..Carmen
Saturday, April 14, 2012
Sunday, April 8, 2012
This is Easter weekend. Katelyn and John drove from New Jersey for a long weekend. They came to help organize the basement, a huge task, so Katelyn's friends from England, "the Brits", can stay with us for the wedding. Katelyn also came so she and I could, once again, look for a wedding dress. This time we were successful! She found a beautiful dress that really, was completely different than the dresses she'd tried on in the past. Yeah! We had smoked leg of lamb Saturday for Easter dinner. Bob is first call today, Sunday, so we celebrated Easter yesterday. A friend from work, Dennis Gregory, smoked the leg for us. It was fabulous, done medium rare. He rubbed it with a salt, pepper, and rosemary marinade, let it sit for twenty four hours, and then smoked it yesterday morning. Bob picked it up and I warmed it in the oven, in it's own juice and wrapped in foil. Amazing. Dennis will be known forever as the King of Smoke. Paul Shetterly came Thursday and trimmed everyone's hooves, goats included. We discovered that Lulu has mastitis. I wondered why she looked a little thin and her babies did not seem to be growing as rapidly as the other lambs. Mastitis. Mastitis is an infection of the udder. Symptoms include pain, reddness, heat, and a hard swelling of the udder. She was so painful that she was not allowing her lambs to nurse on that side of her udder. The lambs were surviving on milk from one side. They were not starving, but they were not growing as rapidly as they should either. We gave her a shot of antibiotic Thursday. On Friday after Bob spoke to the vet, I went to the dairy farm around the corner and picked up a different antibiotic. The vet had to stop at the dairy and was kind enough to leave it for me. The new antibiotic was presription strength, so was not available from the Tractor Supply. That also meant I didn't have to make the drive to their office in Ionia. The treatment for mastitis is antibiotics every other day for a total of three shots and milking, or stripping her udder on the affected side, as much as possible. We've stripped her udder twice a day since starting on Friday and Bob said the lambs were actually nursing on that side on Saturday. Good news! Frost came again on Friday morning. Hopefully, everything will struggle through. I need to check the seeds I planted in the early garden. Some had germinated. I may need to re-plant. The chickens come on the 23rd. The area in the barn will need to be cleaned. Rabbits are due to kindle on the 17th and 24th. I put a nesting box in with Wanda but I think it's a little early for that. Wait and see. Live well, Carmen