I wrote a couple weeks ago about exciting farm news but I never got around to saying what it was. Well, it's kidding time again, a little later this year than in the past but still fun none the less. This year we had two girls having their kids within a week of each other so we had 4 little ones running and jumping around in the goat yard looking so cute.
Yes that is three babies trying to nurse off one momma and no she does not have 3 teats. This doe, Penny adopted an extra kid from one of our other does, Tulip who didn't seem to have enough milk for her 2 kids. So Penny took the one and seems to be doing pretty well with all three. Thankfully they did have their kids at the same time so she could do that. She probably saved his life.
(Tulip and her kid)
The sad news is that this past week Tulip started to deteriorate quickly.
We noticed that she was staying in the shed all the time and didn't want to stand up to eat or drink. Her other baby stayed right by her side at all times but we could tell it wasn't getting much milk at all and was looking really scrawny. We tried to bottle feed her but she didn't want anything to do with the bottle and gagged on it. I started taking water and food out to Tulip in an effort to hand feed her and try to get her to drink but she would take very little. Finally on Monday when it appeared that she definitely wasn't getting any better we took her to the vet. We have a great large animal vet fairly close to us and he took one look at her and knew she was in a desperate situation. She was so anemic that she couldn't even stand or walk. He gave her an iron shot and some other meds and took a stool sample assuming that it was a parasite, coccidiosis, causing the anemia. The next day however the test came back negative and it seems that she must have had some sort of internal bleeding that probably occurred soon after the birth, slowly killing her. We took her home, set her up in clean separate quarters with her kid but the next morning when I went out to check her she had died.
Thankfully the vet had also showed us how to tube feed the kid so we wouldn't have to worry about how to get milk into her so we continued feeding her that way 4 times a day.
The kitten must have known she was lonely and not feeling well so she would jump in there with her and they would nap together.
However over the next couple of days she kept getting worse and worse and we couldn't figure out why since she was getting enough to eat. What we figured out must have happened was that when Tulip died, in an effort to probably try to protect her baby, she laid nearly on top of her and most likely crushed her ribs. Her breathing had been bad ever since then and only seemed to get worse and she eventually died on Thursday night. She was weak to begin with and I am sure this just was the last straw. We were so sad because we had tried so hard to save her and she was beginning to be like a baby, being carried and rocked and coddled all the time. She wouldn't have gotten better care anywhere I am pretty sure.
So while the story ends sadly we did learn some valuable lessons. We know what to watch for in our does after they kid, we learned to make sure they have adequate copper intake to make sure their membranes are strong and don't rupture, we learned how to tube feed a weak kid so we can supplement before it is too late, and we learned how to check for anemia (pull the lower eyelid down to see if it is pink or white). The vet felt bad that he couldn't have helped her more but we were thankful for his kindness and caring in the situation. That's just the way things go with livestock sometimes. Thankfully in the 5 years that we have had them we have had very little problems. They are easy animals to keep and really make great pets.