January 25, 2010

Floppy Heads and AI Kids

This weekend hallmarked the 2010 kidding season, and, as always, its never dull when there are babies arriving.
Friday night, following 6 days of pounding, drenching rain, Thistle, the eldest of the Saanen does, was obviously in labor. Since it was still very, very muddy with a cold wind blowing, Rebekah and I had to devise alternate kidding locations and since it was getting dark, opted for the front of the hay shed where we could run electricity. We bedded it down, brought over a hog panel (shorter than cattle panels, but tall enough to keep a very pregnant doe in), ran an extension cord from the house, then introduced Thistle to her new "bedroom". Labor immediately stopped. After watching her for a bit, we returned to the house, bringing dinner out to the shed.
After dinner, there was still no sign of imminent birth, and while the contractions were returning, she was still restless and just not settling down to business. A quick check revealed no dilation of her cervix to speak of. Sigh. We opted to head for bed and check on progress during the night. At one in the morning, it was finally time to help things along. With much protest from the goat, it was discovered that the head of the first kid was not only back along his ribs, but flipped upside down, as proven by finding teeth of the top of the jaw instead of the expected location on the bottom of the jaw. With some help, the first kid arrived, a little buck. Moments later, sister came out on his heels. Final kid count, 1 buck, 1 doe, later named Azalea.
The next morning, as we had expected, Katie, my LaMancha 3 year old, had begun nesting in the back shed, kicking all the other does out. By 10:30, she was in active labor and less than an hour later, the first kid appeared. A doe kid, I was particularly thrilled since this was the first set of kids from last autumns attempts at AI breeding - a new addition to our repertoire of management tools. Arizona, as she soon was named, was quickly cleaned and cared for by her mother, but to me it was obvious that there was a second kid yet to be born. Coaxing by removal of Arizona produced feet, but no nose. Another fishing expedition yielded that this time, the kid's head had folded down between her front legs back toward her navel. Soon, a second squirming doe kid (Alaska) landed at her mother's feet.
A long weekend with two instances of "floppy heads", not to be confused with floppy kids, and a pair of AI twin doe kids to round it out. Oh, and more rain!

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