Friday, April 4, 2014

Surprise! Just kidding!

Last Saturday, March 29th, despite the complete lack of physical changes normally seen in the last two months of gestation in goats, we were pleasantly shocked to discover two beautiful kids in the stable! I had even begun telling regular milk customers that we may not have any milk products this year. The babies had already drunk the preliminary colostrum before we arrived and were resting peacefully. Chestnut seemed in good health, the placenta was completely passed, and she wasn't particularly interested in any extra electrolytes.

Say hello to adorable brown boy and sweet black girl!

We witnessed both of them stand on their own. A very important milestone within a few hours after birth.

Eating timothy grass.

Snuggled up warm.

Later that day Tim called while the girls and I were at my mom's house and said the baby goats didn't look right. I drove the seven blocks home right away was concerned enough to immediately search the internet. My heart dropped to discover they were experiencing the neurological side effects of a vitamin deficiency. Something we had never experienced before but is not that uncommon in goat babies. It was already "after hours" but I called the vet right away to get our hands on the right vitamins.

We brought them inside and began bottle feeding them right away some of their mama's milk because they were quickly loosing the ability to suckle. 

The red is from the heat lamp to keep them warm.

Three hours later, at 10pm, Tim arrived with the appropriate injectable B vitamin complex and general booster straight from the hands of the vet in Maple Valley. The kids were already pretty cold at that point which made me extremely nervous. We added hand and foot warmers from our hiking stash both underneath and above the kids in an attempt to keep their temperatures up. Unfortunately, exactly one hour later the girl quietly slipped away. These have definitely been a rough last two years for the goat herd. Many tears were shed. Since Tim had a really bad cold and I regularly take medication to treat insomnia mom volunteered to stay overnight to nurse the little thing back to health. The original plan was to set an alarm for every three hours with mom and Tim taking turns to feed him overnight. Between the hours of midnight and 2am mom heroically did everything in her power to keep his temperature up and keep him fed constantly. Come to find out a few days later she even had to restart his breathing a couple of times because he was about to give up. (Cue more tears.)

For the next two days we fed him nearly every hour during the day and every three hours at night. He got a general booster shot and a total of four doses of B vitamin injections. The picture above was, I believe, one of his short trips outside to bond with mama before being brought back inside for the next round of feedings. Both baby and mama were quite happy to be back together, even for just a short time.

Back outside with mama Chestnut and uncle Hazlenut.

Once he stabilized enough to be outside with his family we still bottle fed him a few more times until he was drinking like a champ from Chestnut. The most happy moment for me was during his second introduction to uncle Hazelnut he quickly assumed the playful headbutting posture and pranced around a bit, falling down a couple of times too. Hazelnut was interested in playing too but just held his head still waiting for the baby to instigate the physical contact. Adorable! That day Tim came up with an appropriate name for him from a fantasy trilogy he had recently read: Kelsier, also known as the "survivor of Hathsin." I had been thinking along the lines of "survivor" but hadn't come up with any viable options yet. Kelsier it is!

So, our herd has grown by one, a boy. We are already inundated with milk since we need to regularly milk one side of her udder to balance out the single kid. Tim already tried making some soft cheese but either the chemistry of new milk wasn't right or the bacterium didn't take so instead we have sour cream. Please let us know if you would like to be part of the regular milk pick up schedule. Also, please let us know ahead of time if you would like some chevre since we need about a gallon and the process takes about a day.

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