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I Survived! One very long rough kidding season

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It has sure been one long hard month on this poor old fat lady. Kidding started a month ago yesterday, and while we still have a few that might kid, most of it is over now, thank god! I don't know how much more I could stand! And my hosting credits slipped rapidly away, far too many hours in the goat pasture to sit at the computer. For the past 15 or so years, I have kept my goat herd down to a manageable size, usually around 15 head. They were all Alpine Dairy goats. Just enough to raise a few beef calves, and have plenty of milk for puppies, etc. But then my better half decided that we needed to start raising Boer goats. It certainly seemed like a logical thing to do at the time, the meat goat kids bring a decent price and the market is good. So a few years ago we started using Boer bucks on my dairy does. Those 50% cross goats to my way of thinking, make the best producers, they have the body weight and frame of the Boer, and milk like the dairy, which really makes a huge difference in the growth of their kids. Purebred Boers are really bad milkers. So at the beginning of this year we had nearly 50 head of goats to kid out. I knew it was going to be tough, so I did my dead level best to stay on top of them and all in all, it went pretty well. I had to make "cheat sheets." Pictures of the goats with their kids and their name or tag number so I could tell which kids belonged to which momma goat when they got seperated. Now, for your non goat people, while goats are very intelligent animals in many respects, when it comes to having babies, many of them are dumber than a box of rocks. They will have their babies and then just go off to graze, and forget where they left the kids. If you don't keep track of them, many of the kids will not survive, newborns seperated from their moms weaken quickly without milk. And the kids are not always that easy to see, our pastures were pretty grown up at the start of the season, you could be 5 ft. away from a kid laying in the grass and not see it. Some of our goats did really well, and one in particular, Aflak, ( I named her that because she looks exactly like the goat in the Aflak insurance commercial) amazingly never did loose her kids, even though she left them all over the pasture, she always went back to them. I was pretty surprised, because she would leave them quite a distance from the rest of the herd. But several of the others were not so smart. I had to jug up several does and leave them with their kids for 4-5 days until the kids got a bit more strength and the does bonded to them a little better. Many of the does we kidded out this year were first timers, and those are usually the worst. Most of the births went smoothly. But I had lulled myself into a false sense of security as they had all been kidding without complications, so I had not as yet cut off my fingernails. (usually the first thing I do at the start of the season, for when I have to pull kids.) I always hate to give them up, they are so handy for killing ticks. We were 12 days into the thick of things when late one evening I found a doe all stretched out and not moving. No straining or grunting, she was just laying there. I got a little closer and could see a little nose sticking out, so I waited awhile to see how things were going. Pretty soon I could see 2 little feet, so I figured we were ok, but for some reason, things just didn't look quite right. I kept telling myself that those feet were turned the right way, but they just didn't look right. I had to actually get ahold of them to realize that those 2 feet did not belong to the head that was out by now. She was trying to have 2 kids at the same time! (this is absolutly NOT possible) So a quick trip back to the kennel building for a lop job manicure and some dry towels. What a mess that doe was in! The head of one kid was out, and the back feet of another! I felt and felt and could not find the legs that were supposed to go with the head. I could just feel the tip of one hoof, it was on the side next to the kid comming butt first, so there was no way to grab it. The shoulders of head first were locked up with the hips of feet first. And head first had both front feet back. (unless both front feet come out at the same time, the shoulder are thrown wide and usually can't come threw the birth canal) I finally managed to get ahold of the outside leg of head first and bring it forward. Pulling him with a bit of twist, and pushing back feet first, I managed to unlock the hip and shoulder bind, and Head come flopping into this world. I had seen him breathing, but was worried about Feet, as his head was still way up inside her, but he came out pretty quick with some pulling and I upended him and got his lungs drained out and got him breathing good. Both survived the delivery. I have to say it was one of the worst tangles I have ever had to deliver. Mom is a bit worse for the wear, she just about decided that she wanted nothing to do with those 2 brats and I had to leave her locked up with them for quite awhile. And this week I decided they were not getting enough to eat, so I have been bottle feeding them once a day to make sure they do ok. Mom is taking them now, but she is not milking good enough. The only other minor mishap, was a doe that kidded right next to the pond. Too close to the pond. One of her newborns rolled off down the bank and ended up IN the pond. Things like this are why I have not been here at trap lately. You have to watch the goats almost constantly. I have been checking them 5-6 times per day. Had I not been, we would of lost that little guy, but I as there in time to save him, all he got was some yucky green mud on him, and he was the first kid of the season to earn his nickname, I named him Frog. What else would you find in the mud on the edge of the pond!So, as of today, 33 does have kidded, over 50 kids. I am dissapointed at the number of does that had singles. (goats normally have twins) Though it is fairly normal for first timers to have single kids, many of our first timers were older, as they didn't get bred last year, and I really thought that more of them would have twins. I think it was because we bought buck goats during breeding season, at the sale barn, and they were probably allready bred out. Not going to do that next year! We allready have 2 new bucks, one is a beautiful, well bred black headed buck I bought from my vetrinarian. We are going to pasture the 2 of them by themselves for some time before breeding season and fatten them up good, they should be rip roaring ready to go when breeding season starts next fall. So....hopefully life will get back to some semblance of normal again. Of course I have a lot of catching up to do with everything that got put on hold for kidding season, like planting garden and doggie hair cuts and all that jazz. We won't even talk about what my house looks like! Who knows, maybe I'll even get to go to the creek and see if I can remember how to swim!

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