Monday, October 1, 2012

Lions and Tigers and Bears...Oh My!

Goats, actually.  We have goats coming out of our ears.  Last week we had a kid born.  Then on Saturday, after coming back from the goat symposium, two were born.  Yesterday morning, yet another pair was born.  By the time we were ready to head out to a concert, four more kids had entered the word.  For a grand total of nine new baby goats - one single and four sets of twins!  But wait, there's more - we still have a few more pregnant goats so who knows how many we'll have when all is said and done.

The real story, though, is the little goat pictured in this post.  Her name is Miracle and she is quietly resting at my feet (she looks uncomfortable but is actually very content).  Early yesterday morning, when Bill was doing morning farm chores, I was busy with my morning routine in the house.  I looked out and saw him returning from the pasture, carrying something in his arms.  I assumed (rightly) that a goat had been born.  What I learned a few minutes later was that he found twin kids but the one he held was on death's door.  She was wet, cold, filthy, and was limp as a rag doll.  We quickly got her into the house, bundled her into some towels, and started rubbing her and blowing warm air on her with a hair dryer.  

At one point, Bill was pretty sure she had died since we couldn't detect a breath but we continued ministering to her.  Some quick research revealed that she was most likely suffering from "birth chill" - hypothermia.  We ran warm water in the laundry sink and submersed the goat's body in it, holding her head and gently wiping away the dirt while massaging her body and legs.  When we felt she was as warm as she could get from the water, we began drying her off with towels and the hair dryer.  We also administered some molasses through a syringe.  This process took hours but we wondered if it was a lost cause.

Slowly Miracle revived and began to get enough strength to gently suck our fingers.  While our daughter and a friend continued to care for her, we went to the pasture to milk colostrum from her mother to ensure Mircale would get the nutrients and antibodies necessary for good health should she survive.  (There is a very small window of time where mother goats produce colostrum before they give milk and another small window where the kids can actually absorb the antibodies and other good stuff from the colostrum.)  We didn't get much but we hoped it was enough.  Again, using a syringe, we gradually feed her some of the colostrum.  

By the time we left for the concert, the baby goat was alert, drinking milk, and briefly standing on wobbly legs.  I had already decided upon the name Miracle should she make it to this point and named her when we returned home.  We're not out of the woods yet as she still has to get strength in her legs and show that she has no health issues that would prevent her from growing into a happy goat.

Unfortunately, we also have two kids (not ones that were born this week) suffering from coccidiosis, a parasitic disease that is often fatal.  We've started them both on some medication that we hope will help them pull through.

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