Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Kidding Seaon: Chapter One

Well, our first segment of the kidding season is behind us and to say it was a bit unusual is an understatement. On our first day, we had four births in 18 hours - NOT what we had planned.

Lucinda was the first doe due, with Peggy Sue and Liberty due a full week later. Naomi was a wildcard - she was the only doe for whom we did not have a known breeding date, as she had been dried off early and was living with the Bishop for a while. Here's how it played out:

Lucinda was the size of a house. We thought she would have babies before her due date. The due date is 150 days after conception, but can happen anywhere between 145 and 155 and still be considered normal. On day 155, she still showed no sign of being ready to kid, so for the first time ever, we induced. To do this, you administer a shot of prostaglandins and they will kid within 36 hours. If they were already "starting" the process, they will often go earlier.

Next morning we go out (about 24 hours later) and she's still nowhere close. But Naomi has lined up in the kidding stall we reserved for Lucy and started to paw the ground. Labor. This day 156 for Lucinda was also day 146 for Peggy and Libby. And it looked like 150 for Naomi. Sigh.

Lucinda waddled in as we kept an eye on Naomi. Her countdown began in earnest. While Naomi engaged in the standard pre-labor activities, Liberty waltzed into the barn. I very clearly explained to her that she was not due yet and that I did not appreciate her sense of humor. Her udder was not full, so I wrote it off to her weird personality and let her stay.

When it became clear that Naomi had a couple hours to go and that Lucinda had not even begun a pre-labor, I went in the house to play on the computer a little. Twenty minutes later, I went to go check on Naomi again and Liberty had a kid on the ground. Bam! Just like that.

I scooped her up to bring her inside and noticed that Naomi had gotten serious. She kidded shortly thereafter with triplets.

A few hours later - during evening milking chores - Lucinda finally did her thing, and as she started labor, Peggy Sue came in and thought it looked fun. Her pre-labor started at about 7 pm.

Having kids is exhausting. Because we bottle feed from the get-go, we are going non-stop for about 24 hours after a single kidding. By 7pm, we had had three kiddings - with a total of six kids. And we were still going out to check on Peggy every half hour or so. As the night wore on, we spaced the checks out a little further, as she didn't seem ready to push. Finally at about 2am, Christian pulled the kids out. We needed to get some sleep.

I was actually sleeping when he left at abut 1:45 to do a check. I woke up at about 3:00 and saw he hadn't come back. I freaked out, bundled up in my puffy suit and shuffled out to the barn. C wasn't there. Peggy was. She clearly had kidded, but I saw no kids. There was a light on in the dairy, so I went there. Nothing. And in my confused sleep fog, I freaked the frack out. WHERE DID THEY GO????

I came back to the house and saw a light on in the guest room. C was calmly bottle feeding one of the eight kids born that day. I don't remember which. I just collapsed in tired relief. Longest day ever.

Ellie Mae kidded about a week later - four days ahead of schedule, and Emmy Lou followed the day after that with triplets that I needed to assist. (One breech up front gummed up the whole works.) So that brings us to 12 babies and counting.

All but five have gone on to their new homes. We still have doelings for sale if you know anyone looking and we start again any day now. Limerick and Kelly are due this weekend.

We had an issue with poor Naomi - I alluded to that in my earlier post. I will get to that in the next post. She's OK, but OK is relative on a dairy farm. More on that as soon as I can swing it. Life gets busy in the baby season.

1 comment:

Kristin said...

Unreal...hope you're finally getting a little rest!!! Love the pics of the cuties... :)