All I can say, at least it took two bottle babies to take me out. You should never under estimate the craftiness of a bottle baby. Years of bottle feeding should have taught me this, them with their big innocent eyes, and little cries of, “Me first! Me first!” It’s all so sweet looking, but it’s a ploy.
The beginning of kidding season, naturally during the first blast of artic fronts to hit the area, found us with the girls all nice and protected in their kidding stalls and one big doe losing weight before my eyes. Fast. I’d thought she was looking thinner a month earlier and had increased her grain, adding cracked corn to help her out, because she looked like she was carrying more than two kids. She and the rest could also have all the alfalfa/orchard grass hay they wanted, protein/molasses buckets were out for them, and a goat protein/mineral block was out for them to nibble on, too. Two to three weeks before she was due to kid, we gave all the girls their CD/T shot and wormed them. Yet, she couldn’t seem to hold her weight.
We put the bred girls in kidding stalls at 145 days and two days later, Sugar decided to kid. One kid had it’s head turned back and Lee got it straightened out, one came out backwards, and one slightly smaller one came out with a little help from Lee and poor Sugar was wiped out, she couldn’t get up, and she was just a rack of bones. The kids were large and they had taken everything from her. We keep a little pump bottle with dextrose and probiotics mixed together to give the new babies a little sugar hit to get them up and moving faster on cold winter kiddings. Sugar was so wiped out during the kidding, I offered her the mixture and she sucked it dry. Usually, though very good for a weak goat or sick goat, it gives them a lift to keep trying, they hate the taste. That big ol’ doe needed it to keep going on kidding.
It was 5 a.m. when she had her triplets and we left two with her for me to bottle feed because there was no way she could feed them. This was just to encourage her. She loves her babies, but she couldn’t get up, she was a rack of bones, and really, it didn’t look good for her. I gave her 10 cc of long lasting penicillin, 6 cc of Fortified B complex, and we gave her 15 cc of “Magic” (mix 1 cup of blackstrap molasses, 1 cup of Kayro syrup, ½ cup of corn oil, this will help feed a weak goat). Oh, she loved that Magic.
Sugar passed an afterbirth and at noon we gave her more Magic. At 2:30 p.m. Lee was working at the barn, blocking some drafts coming through the barn and he heard her grunting. He went and looked and a very large kid was coming out of our rack of bones doe. The doe was crying weakly and pathetically, but she got the kid out. It was a beautiful big girl. How on earth? Well, this was new to us, to have a doe kid at 5 a.m. and pass what we thought was all the afterbirth, and then kid a big kid out 9 ½ hrs. later, alive and very strong. She got another dose of Magic and I took the kid up to the house to be with her other sister.
It took two days of living on 4 feedings of 10-15 cc of Magic and a dose of probiotics to keep the rumen working before Sugar started nibbling on a little grain and hay. The penicillin and Fortified B shots were daily and would be until at least 5 days were up. She loved her Magic and we kept that up. She was still too weak to get up and Lee lifted her every day to stand a minute or two before she collapsed. On the fifth day she stood, weaving, and took a few steps to her hay.
Her two bottle kids that were with her happily shared their heat lamp with mom. And, now you wouldn’t recognize the doe. Oh, Sugar is still too skinny, but she has a spark to her eyes, she can walk, and she loves her two kids. When I come in with their bottles, she’s right there, cleaning their behinds as they eat their milk, and also very carefully checking the bottles to make sure the milk has been warmed to the proper temperature for her little darlings.
The big red buck and the little correct color doe think mom fusses too much, but, oh how they love their bottle. I come into the stall carrying my sitting bucket and my small lunch bag cooler that I carry their bottles in, and they are all over my legs, bouncing, begging to be fed immediately.
Now, usually they ignore my sitting bucket as I set it down to have a place to rest as I train them to take a bottle on their own, and, no, they don’t need to be in my lap to take a bottle. This morning I sat the bucket down the same as usual and started to sit and quicker than you could say, “What on earth?!” Those two little dickens hit that bucket hard, just as I was about to sit and knocked it across the stall.
Thump. I landed hard. Which wouldn’t have been a bad thing, except my “new” knee (remember the knee replacement this summer?) was completely folded under me and I landed on it. It hasn’t bent like that in years, and especially not after the knee replacement. I was given strict orders to not do deep knee bends, not get down on my knee, if I expected it to stay good and last any time.
The shock, pain, of it all took my breath and I hurried and moved my leg straight out as I sat on the stall floor. Two happy little kids were jumping all over me. I couldn’t use the new knee to get up, my old knee was in bad shape, and I was no where near somewhere I could pull myself up. Lee was outside somewhere, so that was good. I took out the two bottles and started feeding the kids and also started hollering at the top of my lungs, “LEE! LEE!” Now, you would have thought that would have scared all the goats in the barn, my bellowing. But, they were use to me singing at the barn, so they just thought I was trying out a new tune.
Unconcerned, the kids kept sucking their bottle, their mom stood there over me, contentedly chewing her cud, the other does in their kidding stalls ate their hay, their kids snoozing, while I continued cutting quite a ruckus.
A few minutes of this went by and the barn door flew open. I heard Lee shout, “What?! Where are you?” He’s use to seeing my head bee bopping above the stall partitions. I told him I needed help to get up. That was one shocked fellow. He swooped down and lifted me to my feet before I had a chance to grab hold of a wall partition to help drag myself up, and I’m no light weight. He made sure I could hobble around all right, and we both went back to our chores. Such is the day in the life of a goat farmer.
One thing I’ve learned, no more lazily lounging around on my sitting bucket when dealing with bottle kids. I’m at attention and ready for action for the next attack. Knocked off my feet I’m not a bit of good. Well, at least the kids thought I was tremendous fun feeding them down there and able to bounce all over me. But, if I’m expected to do more work than that, I’d better stay on my feet.
I console myself that it did take two of them to take me down. I’d been terribly mortified if only one bottle kid could do it.