2020... A Bit of a Tough Start

No thoughtful person would state that farming is easy, and kidding time in the goat barn this year has made that crystal clear. Boomer, my most correct and dairy-style doe, kidded just after midnight in the middle of February. I was awakened by noises coming from the barn camera and ran out with boots and pajamas as she easily and quickly delivered three gorgeous and feisty bucklings. I cleaned them off, made sure they were dry and checked to see that they each got some of the precious life-preserving colostrum. This first milk is literally vital to the health and life of baby goats, and if they do not get any (or even enough) within the very first 12-24 hours of their life, their little immune systems are forever compromised. Satisfied that she was being a good mama, I went back to bed. Little Moe, Larry, and Curley had joined Shiloh Run.

The next afternoon was just trauma and fear, as my girl Caprica (this is her third freshening, so no beginner) went into labor around noon, but was clearly in distress. My good friends from Grazin' Goats and Truenorth Homestead not only stayed with me for the entire 6 hour ordeal, but Melissa (GG) repositioned and pulled the first girl, the apparently dead (but not somehow!!) second kid (boy), and the last came out on his own like slick soap. Caprica was looking pretty rough, and was still pushing, and she finally delivered the placenta. This difficult birth earned the kids the names Calamity, SNAFU and Fiasco.

But Caprica still didn't seem right. She would constantly lay down and appear to be pushing still. By Monday it was clear that something was terribly wrong. I called Dr. Lisa from Tristate Vet. She came down and after digging deep into my terrified Caprica, pulled a fourth doeling, who sadly had passed.

I spent the next few weeks getting to know all the kids (10 in total at the time, with Josie's doelings and Noelle's twins) and checking on the frequently. Little Moe was soooo small, and was always far behind the others. Not just in size, but in his ability to follow, get around the barn and the yard, and gaining access to his mama. It was becoming clear that something was wrong. I did an assessment, and his growth was very stunted, his temperature was dangerously low, he had horrible diarrhea, and his mama wasn't letting him nurse like his two robust brothers. So, Moe became my little guy. I made sure he got milk before everyone, he was a frequent house goat, and was making great advances in his health, weight and general healthy demeanor. I was convinced he was on the right path to becoming healthy and making it. I was still guarded, and kept monitoring him, to make sure he had what he needed.

Unfortunately, last week I found his lifeless little body in the kid pen one morning. Poor little man just didn't have what he needed after all, and it may have started that first night, perhaps not getting the precious colostrum he really needed to secure his future.

Farming is hard, and I will always miss this little man. Difficult lessons to learn, and a sad story to relay to those who had hoped to adopt him. The good news is that the other babies are such a joy and they refuse to let me feel sad! Spending time with all of the goats, big, small, babies, adults, is pure therapy and I highly recommend it to those who need a respite from loneliness and gloom. It's not allowed to persist in the goat pen. Nope, not even a little bit.

Liz


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