Well, kidding season is over for another year at Iron Oak Farm. We had some challenges, but overall I would consider it a very successful year. All the dams and kids are doing great and I’m glad to have the worry of birthing behind us.
Esther, our Alpine gave birth to triplets almost a month after our other three does. I was alone when she went into labor, and things got a little complicated. The first baby was breach. I could see the bubble, but no head inside…only a tail. She seemed to be having a hard time, and really scared me when she laid down and started flailing her legs out in thrusts. I decided that it was time for me to help her.
I grabbed the rubber gloves from our birthing kit that we keep close at hand during this time of the year, sanitized my hands and lubed up. I broke the bubble, which seemed to give her some relief and she gave a good push and the kid’s bottom came out a bit. But Esther gave a great holler and I was really worried. So I reached inside and found a leg. I gently pulled the leg out and at the same time Esther gave another push and the baby delivered one leg forward and one leg back. I removed the mucus from around the nose and mouth and pulled the baby around under mom’s nose so she could meet her new little one.
Esther immediately started licking her new baby…this is my favorite part. I love to see the moms bonding with their kids. The long wait, and all the uncomfortable months… it’s a wonderful moment.
But Esther wasn’t done. She kept “maaing” and hunching and rocking. Soon she stood up and started pushing again. This time two bubbles were trying to come out at the same time. She was trying to deliver two babies simultaneously. (Oh Lord!)
So I stripped off the gloves I was wearing, grabbed a clean pair, sanitized and lubed up again. I popped both bubbles and was relieved to see two sets of hooves rather than a rear end. I carefully reached inside her and pushed the one baby back while pulling the second baby gently out and down with her next push. It took 3 or 4 pushes with me carefully pulling for the baby to deliver. It delivered backwards with back legs first. The next baby, Esther delivered quickly and without my assistance and was in the normal position.
Mom cleaned her new little ones and I brought her some warm molasses water which she guzzled. The next hour or so Esther cleaned her babies and encouraged them to stand and nurse. Such a good mom!
After it was all over and Mom and the babies were settling in, suddenly I realized that my adrenaline must have been in overdrive. A great relief washed over me and I was instantly exhausted. When Zach got home I broke down slightly, tears of joy and release of nerves. I was proud of myself for being able to make quick decisions and act without second guessing myself. And I can’t help feeling a closer bond with Esther.
Our bottle fed babies that our other does delivered are doing great as well. Growing like crazy and demanding bottles with more and more persistence. They are eating grain now and hay in addition to all the milk that their mothers produce. To read their story visit my post Goat Kids Galore.
We are very blessed.
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