|Viola's doeling his tiny elf ears because she's a mini mancha.|
I didn't get to bed until close to eleven Friday night, and then Coco woke us up screaming over the baby monitor at 5:49 Saturday morning. When I sat up, it felt like I'd been hit on the side of the head with a two-by-four. I really thought we would see a kid when we got out there, but instead, Coco was just standing there staring at us. Thus began what could possibly be the worst day of my life in terms of pain. By noon, my headache had blossomed into a full-blown migraine, and I had two does alternately screaming and talking to me until Cleo finally gave birth to twins around 4:00. Normally, when I have a migraine, I can't even stand to whisper, so being in a barn with two bleating goats was torture. Coco's weird progress was not helping my headache, because I was afraid I might be looking at another c-section. Around 6:00, I called U of I and talked to the vet, who said it sounded like Coco was just trying to rearrange her babies, and to my happy surprise, he suggested that I wait and watch. So, I went to bed and told Mike to watch Coco until Katherine got home.
I woke up at midnight when Mike walked into the bedroom, still feeling like I was half dead, and I asked if Coco had given birth. "It's complicated," he said. Bottom line is that she had quintuplet bucks, but one was born dead, and some of the others were having problems.
Sunday morning, I woke up with a headache, but nothing compared to the migraine from the day before. As Katherine headed out to church, she said I needed to check on Coco's kids. She thought one had a broken leg, and the others didn't seem to be nursing well. After breakfast and coffee, I was finally able to drag myself out there, and I felt like I'd just walked into an episode of "Goat ER." I saw a black kid spread eagle in the corner of the pen looking dead, so I picked him up and realized he was terribly cold but still alive. I plugged in the heating pad, and just as I laid him on it and covered him with a towel, I heard a long bleat from Claire's pen. She was giving birth. "I'm so sorry, little dude!" I said as I left him on the heating pad and ran to Claire, who had a head hanging out. After drying her twins with Mike's help, we went back to Coco's pen. I figured I'd splint the leg of the red and white buckling, then I'd get some colostrum into the black one that was trying to die. But as I was splinting the kid's leg, I realized he was also ice cold and would soon be in the same shape as the black one. Even with the splint on his leg, he was unable to stand. I milked Coco, who had plenty of colostrum, and I told Mike we had to bring the kids into the house.
Neither of them would suck on the bottle, and I'd read years ago that if a kid is completely depressed, it is best to use IV fluids first to get them perked up before even tube feeding them. Giving IV fluids to goats is really not that hard, because you just put it under their skin, and their body absorbs it. So, I gave each one 15 cc of fluids, which was 5% dextrose, and within minutes the black kid lifted his head, which seemed miraculous considering his condition for the past hour. I tried to give him a bottle, but he still wasn't sucking, so I gave him two ounces of colostrum via stomach tube. I did the same with the red and white buckling, because he was equally out of it. Then I put both of them on a heating pad and covered them with a towel and hoped for the best. Two hours later, I went to check on them, and both lifted their heads and then stood up. Each one took an ounce of colostrum from the bottle, so I was ready to celebrate. Then I realized that their body temps had fallen, so I put them back on the heating pad. By last night, they were doing quite well, and the little black one napped in my lap for an hour while I was online.
So, that's my side of the story for the past four days. For the rest of this week, I'll tell you the goat's individual stories of their kiddings. Katherine has agreed to write about Lizzie's and Coco's births, since she was the one who was there. It's been quite a ride bringing 20 kids into the world in only four days while also making lots of maple syrup. And in a couple weeks, we'll start again with seven more does kidding.