March’s blog is a little later than usual, I apologise for that but I have good reasons 🙂 firstly lambing/kidding was longer than I anticipated and secondly I knew you would want details and pictures. For simplicity the term ‘lambing’ in this blog post refers to both lambs and kids.
Picture library can be found on my Facebook page here
We had three mothers to be, Dora a first time Ewe, Missty and third time Nanny and Willow a first time nanny. I knew for sure Dora was tupped on be 19th October and thus would be due on or around March 13th. The goats were a little harder to pin point, I hadn’t used raddle marker so based my math on the Billy’ activity and placed Missty on 12th March and Willow somewhere around the 20th.
Us, the midwives, we are/were first timers which as you can imagine caused some anxiety. I thought kidding was about to start a couple of weeks ahead of the dates I had calculated, but these were false alarms. You can read many books, web sites, blogs etc but all the theory leads you to look for signs. Simetimes you look so hard you can see something thats not there :). Despite what turned out to be false alarms, we checked the goats/ewes every few hours around the clock. Now we’ve been through it, we can spot the signs, I don’t think we will avoid the false alarms, but with time we will get there 🙂
I note sheep are easier to spot the signs, unlike goats they loose their appetite in early labour, a trigger I spotted on Saturday 16th march at breakfast. Dora didn’t come up to the on gate for breakfast as usual, she just laid at the back of the pen glaring at me, showing the odd lip curl (a good sign in sheep). I checked on her mid morning, she was still in the same spot, looking restless and doing her Elvis impression. Just after twelve whilst I was preparing lunch I got a sense things were progressing, I asked my wife to go check on her. Several minutes later she came running back in, with her phone in hand and a picture of a black lamb. I dropped lunch and flew out to the barn to catch the second lamb, white, being born. An amazing experience to watch, Dora seemed to deliver her lambs with little stress.
Both lambs were Rams and are doing great, we’ve named them Salt and Pepper. Dora only seemed to have milk in one udder, which was a concern, and we suspected Mastitis. However I’m pleased to say the milk in her other udder kicked in after a couple of days. Salt and Pepper are now out in the small paddock with mum. The recent snow was not a concern given we have a shelter there 🙂
That Saturday evening (16/3) on the Rounds I noticed a change in Missty, she was laying down with her tail up. I noticed her Vulva seemed pinker and longer than the day before. I had been looking at goat vulvas for the past few weeks, so knew there was a difference. However night visits saw no change. At breakfast I spotted a show of mucus, I would check in an hour or so. Just before ten my daughter came in saying Missty was in labour, I was dubious, but I checked on her, and as I approached the barn I could heatMissty, not a normal noise. Well, Missty was in labour, I could just make out a nose. Within five minutes the first was born, shortly by a second and minutes later a third. Two girls and a boy, although one of the girls was a little weak. We paid close attention and administered some colostrum. Within 24 hours she was fine and you wouldn’t have known much had been wrong.
Willow was the last to kid, this past Wednesday about 8pm. She had a boy and a girl, the girl was first. The boy was slow to move, and after 5 mins I decided I should intervene. The kid was head first but only one leg, the other bent back. The kid was a way out so pushing him back to represent didn’t seem an option. I gloved up and with some pulling and twisting the little fella came out.
All kids and lambs are doing well, Willow is suffering from a case of mastitis which we are treating with antibiotics, and we’ve had to substitute some milk for the kids.
It’s been a very very tiring few weeks, but a very enjoyable and rewarding time. Our children have loved the experience and been hands on. Something I’m sure any child would love to experience 🙂
Over the next few weeks we’re focusing on hatching ducks, goslings, more chicks and finally making a start with the veg for 2013. More news on this next time, thank you for taking the time to read the blog. Until next time, take care.