Finally, I am almost done with kidding season. It has spanned since the beginning of February, and I have had babies born nearly every week since that time. There are only two dairy does left to kid, and I can’t wait for those babies to hit the ground and to be done with birthing babies. I love the process, but I’m ready for it to be finished.
To date, I have had 31 live babies born on the farm. It certainly seems like a lot, but at this point is not overwhelming. The dams do a good job raising their young, and I have only had to assist with a few of the births, and only had one buckling that I had to help after birth.
This buckling was a Nubian baby, and after getting home late from work, I found him cold and struggling. The dam had tried to clean him off, but it was pretty cold and he wasn’t very responsive. I hate these situations because you never know what the outcome will be, but I knew I needed to get to work on him immediately.
The first thing that I do in this situation is to get the kid in an area where it can be warm. I took him in the house in my bathroom, and tried to get him dried off. After about 10 minutes, he still was not very responsive, so I put him in my sink, and began to run luke warm water on him, slowly raising the temperature as he adjusted. I did this for about 20 minutes until he stopped shaking, and then took him out and toweled him off and propped him in front of a space heater until he was dry.
I then took him back out to the barn to try to get him to nurse, and he still wasn’t interested. So I loaded him up in my jacket, and sat in my truck with the heater on full blast for the next half hour. He finally fell asleep, and seemed to be much more alert after some heat and sleep. When he started nibbling on my chin, I knew he was ready to try to nurse.
We then went back into the barn, and he was finally able to get milk in his belly. The colostrum they first receive from the dam is vitally important, and that first milk can make a big difference in their attitude. Within a half hour, he was up bouncing around and playing with his brother. He spent the rest of the night in the barn in their heater hut, and is just fine today.
Working with babies like this is always incredibly stressful, but is incredibly rewarding when they finally come around. I know that if I had not intervened he would have died, and it makes me proud to do what I do.
The rest of the births have gone fairly easily, save the final Boer that I had left to kid. She kidded without difficulty, but was not interested in allowing her buck kid to nurse. The day after they were born, my senior Nigerian Dwarf doe Mattie freshened early, and unfortunately all of her kids were dead. I don’t know what caused her to kid early, but I fear she may have been headbutted.
Anyway, I had a doe without kids, and I wanted to make sure to keep her in milk. I took the buckling from the Boer doe, and introduced him to Mattie. At first she was hesitant, but within a day she took him as her own and is now raising him and doing a great job. It seems sometimes things happen for a reason, good or bad, and you have to make the most of the situation you have been given.
I did add a couple of new additions, including a bred Alpine doe. I had a friend who had to sell out of her goats, and this doe was too good to pass up. She gave birth to a single doeling shortly after I brought her home, which was a huge relief. I knew she had a single, and I hoped that it would be a doe. I got my wish.
I also added a set of Boer bucklings that I purchased out of a sale in Louisiana, and they will hopefully be here in the next week or so. They come from colored genetics, so I hope to keep whichever one I like better and use them on my colored does. It will be a fun genetic experiment, because I should get some very colorful kids.
Many of the 4-H market animals have gone to their new homes, and the last remaining few will be going in the next few weeks. I will then be able to start selling the rest of the kids that I do not plan on keeping, and started developing my breeding plan for the next year.
I will also be getting ready to head to the Weld County Goat Extravaganza, which takes place in just two weeks. I will be taking many dairy goats, and a few Boer goats as well. It should be a fun show. ❖