Saturday, January 15, 2011

Ups and downs of kidding and nursing

I was at my computer writing yesterday when Mike came inside and said there was a bubble hanging from Athena's back end. Yes! This is the way I like it to happen. No false alarms. No soft ligaments at eleven o'clock at night. No sleeping in the barn. It just does not get any better than discovering a goat with a bubble in the middle of the day.

Athena's buckling on the left and doeling on the right
With an armful of towels, I went to the barn and told Mike that he should watch because our two-legged kids will all be gone in the next couple of years, so he will undoubtedly have to start playing goat midwife at some point. Athena got serious about fifteen minutes after I sat down next to her in the kidding pen, although she was very quiet. Aphrodite, her 10-month-old half sister, in the next pen was screaming her head off the whole time I was out there. I finally realized she was in heat and apparently taking after her Grandma Star who lets the whole neighborhood know when she wants a man. Talk about lousy timing. A goat goes into heat once every 21 days, and it just had to be the day Athena was giving birth, and it just had to be a very vocal doe about two feet away from me.

Athena's doeling learning to stand
Mike commented on how quiet Athena was, and I said, "Yep, that's why a baby monitor doesn't really help much with some does. They can be very stoic." The little doeling was born easily. That's obviously my perspective. Athena might describe it differently. I found it humorous that as soon as she was born, Mike and I spoke simultaneously. I said, "What a big baby!" and Mike said, "Oh! She's so skinny!" Perspective is an amazing thing, isn't it? I laughed. Yeah, they all look like skinny little drowned rats when they first pop out. It is amazing what a difference fluffy, dry hair makes!

It can take anywhere from a few seconds to half an hour for the second kid to make its appearance, so Mike went back to work on the plumbing in the barn office. Athena would give a half-hearted push every now and then. About half an hour later, she got serious, but the kid was not coming out very fast. Second kids usually fly out, so I figured it was probably breech. Not only was it butt first, but the kid had his hind legs tucked underneath him (as if he were already lounging in the pasture), so the hocks were coming out at the same time as the butt, meaning that poor Athena was trying to push out a bowling ball, rather than anything remotely pointy. But she did it.

Athena's blue-eyed buckling
The little doeling figured out how to nurse in no time, but the little buckling seemed clueless. He was on his feet and had plenty of energy though, so I figured he would get it all figured out in short order. I had a chiropractor appointment in the late afternoon, and I expected to come home and see both of them nursing like pros. Well, if there is one lesson that I keep learning over and over again, it is this -- as soon as I think I know all the answers, I am humbled.

The little buckling was not nursing by last night, so Katherine milked Athena and gave him some colostrum with a syringe. He had still not nursed by this morning, as evidenced by his sister's rounded, hard tummy and his soft, sunken belly. I managed to get him hooked up and nursing three times, but I never saw him spontaneously grab the teat and start sucking. So, for now, he has a very full tummy, and I'm hoping that when I go out there in a couple more hours, he will have it all figured out. I have never seen a big, healthy kid who couldn't get this figured out.

However, his mental state has me a little concerned. He runs to us humans when we walk in there, so I think he is connecting us with the idea of eating, just like a bottle baby does. We had a similar situation six years ago with a doeling whose mother wouldn't let her nurse. We would hold the mother while the kid nursed, and after a couple days, the kid wouldn't even try to nurse if we weren't there. So, I am wondering if the buckling even tries to nurse without us, or if he is just waiting for us to come in and feed him with a syringe or get him hooked up to mom. Who knows what goes through their little brains! If he doesn't get this figured out by the end of today, I'm thinking that we'll have a bottle baby on our hands.


Jordana said...

That would be rough. Athena looks like she has taken to motherhood in the pictures, though. Poor little guy!

LindaG said...

Sorry to hear one is going to be trouble, but congratulations on the new arrivals! :-)

Tiggeriffic said...

The gal up the road has a bunch of her boar goats birthing.. She is one busy gal..
Hope this little one shows interest in nursing from Athena.. Bottle feeding is a lot of time and work..
Have a tiggeriffic day~! and ta ta for now..

kristi said...

I have a LaMancha & a Nigerian out in the barn waiting to kid and since I have never had babies in January, I am a bit frazzled! OH is not the warmest right now! I like kids in March or April;) Hope all works out with that little buck!

Deborah @ Antiquity Oaks said...

Looks like the little guy finally got the hang of it! We had to help him less and less as the day went on, and Mike just came in to tell me that when he walked out there to check on him, the little guy was nursing! Athena has been magnificent. She's been so patient, just standing there for him and nudging him towards her back end.

NoDramaCollegeCounseling said...

Oh my gosh, how adorable they all are!


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