Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Bonnie's quads

 Lil Valentine at 8 days and 2 pounds, 9 ounces!
If I was a bettin' woman, I would have lost big last week. Bonnie was the least wide of the four goats that were due to kid. She had birthed quads last year as a first freshener, but she was much bigger -- at least, that's what I remembered. So, I was pretty sure she was only going to have twins. As each day passed, and she didn't give birth, and she looked wider, I started to think maybe triplets.

Mike had made fajitas with homemade tortillas on Valentine's Day, and I had just taken the last bite of my first one when we heard a goat over the baby monitor. I gave Mike a look. I suppose I should be thankful that I had eaten one fajita and didn't have to run out there with nothing more than the aromas of delicious food lingering in my nostrils.

At least it was warm enough that I didn't have to deal with the heating pad and blow dryer. With temperatures around freezing, a heat lamp and plenty of towels would be enough. When I walked into the barn, I saw something already poking out under Bonnie's tail. I ran into the office and grabbed the whole stack of towels without bothering to count. When Mike walked in a few minutes later, I was drying off the first kid. A few minutes later, a second kid popped out. "You know, she doesn't really look any smaller," I said to Mike. "Maybe she's having triplets."

Sisters!
And then this tiny little thing shot out! Bonnie didn't seem to notice. "It's another kid!" I broke the amniotic sac and pulled it off the kid, as I said, "I think it's dead," because it wasn't moving at all. I laid it on a towel and started cleaning it up. It shook its head and sneezed. "Oh, it's alive! But it's so tiny!" My excitement over the kid was short-lived though because Bonnie let out a bleat, and I looked down to see another kid presenting. Mike was at Bonnie's head and couldn't see what I saw.

"Here, take this one! Another one is coming! Gimme a clean towel!" I handed him the tiny kid in the towel as I grabbed a dry towel from him just in time to catch kid number four. "Quads again! I can't believe it!"

Blue-eyed buckling
We sat there for awhile making sure everyone was dry and nursing. And everyone was up and bouncing around in no time except for the littlest doeling. Seeing her next to her siblings, I was curious about the weight difference, so I weighed her and the biggest buckling. She was 1.5 pounds, and her big brother was 4.1 pounds. I had a feeling that she wouldn't have a chance against her siblings when it came to getting fed. In the ultimate proof that life is not fair, goats only have two teats, yet they can have so many babies! Although she did manage to stand a few times, walking was clearly not her forte. In the meantime, the biggest buckling was getting more than his fair share of mama's colostrum. It seemed he was always on one teat, while the other doe and buck took turns on the other one.

Luckily, Giselle had just kidded with twins 24 hours earlier. Normally when a goat has a single or twins, we milk them at 24 hours and put it in the freezer for emergencies or other situations where we need more colostrum than what the mama goat is producing. Hindsight is 20/20, but if I could have turned back time, I would have milked her right away, before the big buckling had made such a piggy of himself. Although it wouldn't be a problem to have the three kids nursing practically non-stop, because they'd get a little each time, milking her for the tiny one would be useless, because we wouldn't get enough to put in a bottle. So, the decision was made to bottlefeed the baby with Giselle's milk.

Buckling weighed 4.1 pounds, and doeling was 1.5!
What a week it has been with the tiny doeling that Katherine is calling her Little Valentine. We brought her into the house so that we could give her the frequent, small feedings that she needed. She didn't usually take more than an ounce at a time for several days. On the second day she drank two ounces for a couple of feedings, and we were getting excited, but then she reverted to one ounce a day on the third day, and her little mustard poops had streaks of blood. I had never seen that before, so asked some other goat breeders. One of them who bottlefeeds all of her kids said that she had seen it a few times, and it probably was not a big deal. She called the vet, freaking out the first time, and the vet listed several reasons why it could happen, and that it was not a problem. Because most of my kids are raised by mama, I don't see every single poop, which would explain why I've never seen it before.

The whole week with her has been one step backward after every two steps forward. She took three ounces at one feeding, but then reverted back to two ounces. I finally told myself that "normal" is a subjective term. This is her normal. It really does not matter that most kids at a week are sucking down four ounces in a couple minutes. She is just a little delayed, and there is not anything that anyone can do about it. Patience has never been one of my stronger virtues, but I'm learning.

This week on Antiquity Oaks: Seven goats are due, including two la manchas that will be giving birth to mini manchas that were sired by my ND bucks. And we've started maple sugaring!

11 comments:

Susan said...

OMG, what an adorable doeling! I wonder why the difference in sizes? It sounds as if you have your hands full on Antiquity Oaks!

rachel whetzel said...

I love reading about your babies so much!! She's so pretty. Here's to her staying "normal"! (Normal is just a setting on your dryer. You do know that. Right?)

Jordana said...

Little Valentine is so sweet. If we had a large farm I would probably ask if I could have her. I love the weak ones for some reason; I guess that's why God gave me my son's and the life we have :-) Glad she is doing so well, and I can't thank you enough for how you shared about the blood in the poop! I will forever remember reading about it so I don't freak out if it happens with ours one day.

Nancy K. said...

Good luck with the little doeling! It's scary to get attached to them when they're so tiny. But pretty much impossible NOT too!

Stay strong, little Valentine!

Lisa said...

So she's a little slow. It's not as if she'd've gone to Harvard anyway.

Good luck with her!

Anonymous said...

Such a sweet little peanut! Hope she continues to do well

Donna OShaughnessy said...

Everytime we have a tiny calf or piglet, duckling or kid (goat) I tell myself "You are not getting attached " and then they come into the basement and our lives. Some live ,some do not but each time I learn a little more about giving of myself to something so small and so needy

Kate said...

Oh! So adorable! I hope she continues to get stronger. She is about the size of our latest rescue-kitten!

Katie

Deborah @ Antiquity Oaks said...

Susan, Most people say that the reason for the size difference is because one didn't get enough nourishment from the placenta for some reason. Maybe one of these days, when I have a tiny one, I'll think about looking more closely at the umbilical cord to see if it looks thinner or kinked or something.

Rachel, "Normal is just a setting on your dryer!" I love it! And I'll remember that for future reference.

Jordana, That's why I share this stuff. We can all learn so much from each other.

Donna, Loved your comment! That's beautiful!

Thanks everyone for the good wishes and chuckles! Little Valentine is napping on my lap as I write this. She sucked down three ounces today and bopped my hand looking for more. That's what I like to see!

Deborah said...

I know this is from last year, but I am curious how things turned out with little valentine. I had a goat born a few days ago just like her, and now I am seeing the little bit of blood in the poo. So I am curious about her.

Thanks,
Deborah

Deborah Niemann said...

Deborah - Lil Valentine grew up to be big and strong and especially talented about escaping from any type of fence or pen! Thanks for asking!

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