So late yesterday I noticed that Olivia, our donkey, was lame on her front left foot. I guessed she had an abscess since she has been prone to them in the past. As we were exhausted at that point, I figured first thing in the morning I would look at it, and if I couldn’t get it to drain, I would call the vet or the farrier to look at it. I also had plans to do laundry today and take the pack llamas for a walk on our hill. Finally if I had time I was going to get some more fleeces skirted.
So what actually happened was, because I was so exhausted from planting trees, I slept in until 9 and did not get out to the barn until 10. (I did manage to start one load of laundry though!). When I got to the barn I found two kids being guarded by Clara, our old skinny Alpine goat. There was no evidence of any of the does in the barn having given birth so I thought it was remotely possible that Clara had given birth, and I as even able to milk a little out of one of her udders. I knew Cody, our buck, had escaped briefly on October 26th but thought all the does looked like they were due in 2 weeks (when they are due from their planned breedings). I found the afterbirth and next to it found a very cold floppy kid. When I picked it up, it squawked so I put it under my coat. I thought I heard another squawk from a different location and then I found yet another kid next to a post. It was cool too but had a full tummy. So I rounded up the two warm kids, put them in a pen with Clara, and brought two chilled kids into the house and placed them in the warm dryer (not rotating of course). I then ran back out, milked Clara, found a nipple and then scrounged through the recycling to find a soda bottle, rinsed it out and then attempted to feed the chilled kids. The colder of the two wouldn’t take the bottle but the other one took it well. I went back to the barn and was going to milk the other does that are due soon and get the tube feeding equipment for the cold kid. While I was feeding the pregnant does before I milked them, I noticed that Patches was quite a bit thinner than yesterday. Then I noticed the blood on her butt and figured out that she was the mother of these 4 kids. She was out eating grass when I first found them, and Clara was defending them. So then I milked Patches, moved her into the pen with the kids and brought her colostrum into and tube fed the cold kid (now starting to warm up) and bottle fed the other dryer kid. I brought this kid out to the barn pen. Patches let the two vigorous kids nurse but not the one I had in the dryer. So I rubbed some afterbirth on it, held her in my leg stanchion and got this one to nurse. Here’s Patches trying to decide if she will accept or reject this kid.
I cleaned the chicken poop out of the pen and laid down new shavings. The kids were all a little hunched over still, and it is naturally cool today, so I went to the house, warmed up a bunch of towels and brought them back to the barn placing them in an old motorcycle tire. Now these three kids are snuggled up in their tire, warm and happy.
As the fourth kid was still warming in the dryer I finally got to turn my attention to Olivia. The only good thing that happened today (other than the fact that all four kids are still alive, and I was able to find a bottle for them) was that I was able to drain Olivia’s abscess. She got a banamine shot and here she is soaking her foot in a hot Epsom salts bath.
Now I am back in the house, finally eating at quarter to 2, and the last kid is still warming in the dryer. He is standing up now and sucking on my finger so things are looking up. I called Tom, and he will pick up some goat milk on the way home since I am doubtful that Patches will nurse this one and probably will not have enough milk for him. Laundry is completely out the window now, but I may still have time to bring the llamas for a walk. Here’s the little guy in my coat waiting for the dryer to warm up again.