Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Not the best day...

This morning we found two of the babies rather stiffened in the barn, though still alive.  It's my fault we didn't catch the trouble sooner, as I've been flat out exhausted and chilled to the bone for over a week now.  I'm a big bundle of "sick" just waiting to explode here.  Between the cold spell and the rains and mud outside to deal with daily, and the goats beginning to kidd since Friday night, and all the assorted midnight barn runs I've made...in my nightgown and mudboots and chore coat no less and ice cold weather...well, having seen Kendra respond well with her new babies, walking around like life was normal, and babies nursing what I thought was very nicely, I slept last night.  Slept, I tell you.  I crashed around 10:30 pm after chatting with a dear friend, and I didn't stir so much as a pinky toe until 7:30 am this morning.

It was truly a wonderful night for me.  Of course, I woke up with my head full of cotton and my ears are a bit stuffy and my throat...ugh, I sound like I've not only eaten the frog, but I've stolen his voice as my very own.  That bundle of sick I've been hiding seems to have struck in the wee hours of the sleep-filled night.  Figures.

And then, I'm in town filling prescriptions, paying off Chris' loan in town for him and thinking I might deserve a Sonic Route 44 Dr. Pepper for my aches and troubles, I get a solemn yet slightly panicked (yeah, I know...how do you act solemn and panicked at the same time...well, dear eldest daughter was just that...you had to hear it in her voice I guess) call that the goats were dead.  Well, 2 babies were "unresponsive and stiff as a board, and well-chilled now".

They went out as I left to do barn chores and found them.  They brought them inside here and went to work.  Stiff babies were placed in hot, wet toweling to bring up body temps, then placed in a bath of warm water and rubbed/massaged like wild.  They milked out some colostrum from Kendra and heated it up and between rubbing and warming the babies, tried to get them to take some with the nursing bottle.  They even tried to sugar them with some molasses on the tongue.

Nothing.  A few bleats and a bit of movement, some slight awareness and that was pretty much it.  I got here and eldest daughter and I headed out to the Vet.  He's also our county Sheriff, and luckily was in the Vet mode today (yesterday he was in court all day when I called).  They couldn't get a response on the thermometer....the babies were hypothermic :o(  They snatched them up and took them back to the heated incubators.  They called me around 3:00 pm to let us know that the seemingly weakest of the two doelings hadn't made it. 

The children were heart-broken, and I don't feel that great either, but what do you do?  It's a farm...a homestead.  Animals don't always survive despite your efforts.  A good goat friend pointed out that while losing babies isn't a good outcome, it's better to concentrate on momma and go with the flow the best you can.  Momma is worth more in the long run, with milking and with the next breeding season.  We aren't selling babies here, it's not a business, and I suppose his thought process makes perfect sense really, but I hate the nagging thought in the back of my mind that while I enjoyed a full night of sleep, warm in house and bed, those babies were apparently struggling with nursing and simply surviving.  There's no promises I could have done anything had I made the typical 2 or 3 barn runs overnight, but still...I just don't like losses with the animals.  They're defenseless really, helpless to let you know something is up.

On the other hand, as another friend pointed out, they probably wouldn't have taken them to the Vet and incurred whatever in those costs.  Some animals simply don't make it and that's just nature's way.

So, tonight, Kendra and her single buckling are in the barn.  Abbey-Goat and her 2 bucklings are in the pen next door to her.  They have everything a comfortable barn can afford -- there are heat lamps (2, actually) in each pen, fresh deep bedding, electrolyte-spiked water, ample hay for those midnight munchies, and the pens are tarped over and around.  LOL...no, we haven't created 'the goats in the plastic bubble' or anything like that, but it was rather windy and I'm sort of in ponder-and-act mode now with the happenings.  There's a draft sometimes from the loft down through these barn extensions so we ran a tarp straight across the top of the pen run.  There's heat lamps, one on either side of each pen, so there's not a great space left without at least some heat.  And just for added measure, we ran a tarp across the gates along the front of the pens and around the one end of the run of pens.  See...they can still get plenty of fresh air and experience life outside their pens :o)

Yeah...I'll probably go out a couple times tonight just to do a well-check on everyone.  And those goat sweaters I made...those babies each have one on just for kicks.  I used Crystal's pattern from The Family Homestead, but there are a few more...Fias Co farm has one here that includes crochet, as well as knitting and machine knitting patterns...and here's one from a Boer Goat page with crochet, hand and machine knit patterns.  Keep in mind, if you don't have any goats, you've always got puppies :o)

We'll call the Vet first thing in the morning before heading out to the spring to get water and prayerfully they'll have good news for us.  And maybe tomorrow will be a much better day.


LizBeth said...

Just be sure to take good care of you, too. You have more than the goats depending on you.
Blessings, Liz

Joy Comes in the Morning said...

I understand what you mean. I don't have goats, but our family dog of thirteen years is slowly dying. I have done all I can short of putting him down. I don't like to do that. He still tries to eat and sometimes he will try to walk a little with me, but that is about it. It is so heart breaking. My hubby and I had only been dating for about two months when we got him. He has been there through so many up and downs. I know people say it is just an animal and I understand that. But some animals grow to become more than that, they also can become your good friend. Sorry I am rambling, but your post touched me and I wanted to share similar a similar situation with you. Blessings.

Sara said...

I am really learning a lot about goats from you!! We are getting 2 goats this month, and I am eager to learn everything I can from every source I can. I am sorry for the loss. So true, it is a homestead, but it is always sad to lose animals :( Thanks for sharing all the great info! It is always a blessing to my heart to see other famililes who believe and live like we do! :)


Jeremiah 6:16
Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls.

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