Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Kidding Surprises

We plan our kidding times very carefully...at least we think we do!

It is our hope to have kidding season begin at the end of winter.  We don't want does dropping babies in the field at night when the temperature is in the 30's....too easy to loose babies in the cold.  However, the weather doesn't always cooperate and it certainly hasn't this year.

Our next doe kidded on a cold, overcast and rainy day.  Her name is Baby Girl.  She is an Alpine doe who had a rough start herself and is a bit on the small side.  She is, however, an excellent and experienced mama.  We knew she was close and we were checking frequently throughout the day.  I told the boys that I just thought it might be "today".  We checked her shortly after noon and then got busy on a project outside.  I think we checked again about 3 hours later.  I was helping with something at Mom's house when Jeremy came in to tell me she was in labor.

I went home to change into chore clothes and Mom beat me to the barn, as did all the boys.  When I got to there, I found out that Jeremy was wrong - she wasn't in labor - she was working on the afterbirth!  There were already two babies on the ground!


But, there were problems.  They were very weak.  I didn't know how long it had been since she had given birth - she was in a pen in the barn but it was still very cold.  They were shivering and unable to stand.  I had never seen such weak babies in all the years we've done this.  I truthfully didn't expect them to live.

Mama was doing the best she could to stimulate them and clean them up...

Mama hard at work!

The red topped container is a Betadine solution to dip their umbilical cords into - to prevent infection and encourage drying.

First feeding!

Josiah is trying to get this little buck to take some colostrum. It is very important for the babies to begin taking colostrum shortly after birth.  He's not much interested....he'd rather be sleeping.  We finally got a syringe and began force feeding them a little at a time to get a few ounces into their tummies.

Sound asleep!

They both curled up on Josiah's lap and fell asleep.  We decided that it would be way to cold to leave them in the barn overnight.  I made a quick run to the store for some powdered colostrum, just in case, and a nipple for weak kids.

When I got back we encountered another problem!  I found that one of them was bleeding out through his umbilical cord.  It was difficult to see since he was still covered with blood from his birth.  It appeared that he had developed some sort of hernia just past his belly. We sterilized some string, tied it off in two places(one as close to the belly as possible and one an inch or so further down...just to be sure) and covered it with alcohol.  The bleeding stopped! We took turns staying with them and their mama until about 11:00 pm.  Then we brought the babies in, milked mama out and brought in her colostrum. The boys took turns looking after them and feeding them through the night.

My mother came over to offer babysitting services while the boys did chores and I got a few things done.  They were very contented on Grandma's lap.


Their ears droop down, instead of the normal "airplane" ears you find in Alpine babies.  The boys named them Droopy and Floppy, I don't know if those names will change if their ears stand up.  It appears that one of them has some sort of issue with one of his eyes - it almost looks like a cataract.

We are placing them with mama on the warm and sunny days (few and far between) and in the house with us when the weather is nasty.  Our prayers are that they will survive and grow strong and healthy.  Our plan is to wether one so that our buck has a companion and to sell the other.

This agrarian life has ups and downs...but we rest safely in the knowledge that He holds everything in His hands and that the promises of Romans 8:28 are true.  He is a loving and faithful Father and His desires for us are for good and not for evil.  No matter what....we trust Him.

We will keep the goat nursery open until they are able to get around on their own and we'll keep you informed of their progress!



  1. You certainly have your hands full. I will keep your family and your critters in my prayers.

  2. Hi Cheri,
    We have one more goat to kid; our record so far is 6 males and only 2 females. I'm not sure what we're going to do with all of them. Thankfully we haven't had any major problems. You sure have had your share of challenges with your goats this season.

  3. Thank you for sharing this sweet story. I'll be praying that they grow strong and safely.

  4. Wow, you've really had some excitement there on the farm lately!
    I hope those babies grow strong and healthy soon!


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