"United we bargain, divided we beg."

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Triplet Trifecta

Flopsy and the "twins"

Bad presentation: Head alone, feet back. I had to pull this kid, but she's fine now.

Mama goat love. Flopsy is a good mama.

Flopsy gave birth this afternoon- about an hour ago. This morning when Homero and I went out to milk and feed, I knew it would be today. It's funny - you just develop an eye after a while. Her belly had dropped about four inches toward the floor, and her udder was suddenly bigger and tighter. After dropping the girls off at school and running a few errands, I came back home and went straight out to the barn to take a look.

All the other goats were out grazing, but Flopsy was in the barn, standing still and looking preoccupied. That was enough for me - I hustled her into the mama barn and sat down to wait. Within a few minutes, the string of goo appeared. The string of goo is your A-1 indication that labor has not just started, but is progressing. You want to see kids on the ground within a half hour of the first appearance of the string of goo.

Unfortunately, what shortly appeared at Flopsy's backside was not the normal nose-on-two-hooves presentation, but a head alone. That means the legs were back - not a terrible presentation (like last year: http://newtofarmlife.blogspot.com/2010/03/scary-sad-and-happy.html), but not something you like to see, either. The kid was stuck with her head sticking out for a few minutes, and she looked dead - but when I touched her she rolled her eyes and flicked her tongue. Then I knew I'd have to pull her. Damn. The head was out to the shoulders - it wasn't going back in. I just had to grasp the poor little beastie gently behind the jaw - aiming downwards - and haul. I waited for a contraction (always work with the uterus, not against it) and applied a medium-serious amount of force. Maybe thirty or forty pounds? The kid slid smoothly out to the hips and dangled there for a moment, until I decided to finish the job and yank her.

As you might imagine, she was a little bit tuckered, and just lay there like a dead thing. I was nervous for a few minutes, but I didn't have much time, because Flopsy was straining again. A second bubble showed a hoof and a nose. Once again, a not-quite-normal presentation. One leg was back. Flopsy was straining hard, and I thought she might manage to push the baby out on her own, but after a minute or two she began to get much more agitated. She laid down and started to bawl, and I could see she was in distress, so I soaped up and went in. I only had to get a couple of fingers right inside the vulva to find the leg that was doubled back. As soon as I managed to unfold the leg and straighten it out, the baby slipped out in a matter of seconds. This one was a buckling. Big and strong.

All was well, I thought. Flopsy, a large, healthy doe, didn't seem to be traumatized by the births, and was happily licking her babies and encouraging them to stand up. I was delighted, seeing that they were healthy and spotted. I rubbed them down with hay and took a video.

When I noticed Flopsy was straining again, about ten minutes later, I assumed it was the placentas. But a bubble appeared; and I know there was another kid. At least this third kid was well-presented - the only one of the three that was. But the poor little thing had been inside a long time and was almost dead. It took him quite a while to start snuffling and sitting up, and Flopsy wanted to ignore him. I thought about letting him quietly slip away - Flopsy has a damaged udder from mastitis as a primipara and I doubt she can feed three kids - but I just couldn't bring myself to watch him die. I wiped him down with hay and shoved him under Flopsy's nose, and she began to take an interest and nicker and lick him.

Last thing I saw, the two early kids were up and nursing, but the last little guy was still struggling to stand. I held him up to the udder, but he didn't even really try to nurse. There was no butting reflex. I squirted some colostrum into his mouth, just so I'd know he got some, and I'll just let them all be for a while and see how they do. I won't cry if the last little buckling doesn't make it - in fact, as soon as I sign off here, I'm putting an ad on Craigslist for a free bottle baby. I'm fairly sure Flopsy won't be able to feed three, and I really don't want to watch one of the triplets slowly starve to death.

I LOVE the looks of the little doeling. She looks just like Storm Cloud, but female. I've been waiting forever for a little spotty doeling like this. I might have to keep her... risky genetics and all.


Laura said...

One leg back is easier to pull than none! Just rotate the kid/lamb, whatever, slightly sideways to pop the shoulder out, and you're golden.

Have you ever had a freemartin? Watch your doeling for underdevelopment of her teats and vulva. I have heard from a reliable goat breeding source that if her vulva has a pointy upwards tipped end, she's likely a freemartin and will be sterile.

Sorry to be such a wet blanket - the kids are gorgeous! I really like the snowflake nubians - they're really cool!

Milkweed said...

Incredible pictures and an amazing story - so good for me to read as we anticipate kidding this Spring with our Nubians - I love the coloring of your Nubians' coats - the black with moon spots is so beautiful! Our plain brown Nubians are so ordinary-looking by comparison.

Aimee said...

Laura - thank you for the tip! I saw two clean teats but I will watch for the signs you mention.

Milkweed - good luck with your kidding season!