My last post was a bit depressing. We did lose another chicken and the injured one is still in the basement. On a brighter note, I helped out a friend this weekend.
My friend and I have a mutual interest in animals and homegrown food. We swap chores frequently. Last weekend she had a wedding to attend, so I was on the “doing” end. She warned me before I left that her buck (goat) had jumped the fence last fall and there just might be babies due. She had one other lady who would be helping out Saturday morning so I wasn’t on duty all weekend. Friday evening I went up and all looked good. I checked the two does for bagging up or loose tail ligaments. They both seemed no where near kidding. I went home in a happy state of mind.
Saturday morning at 8a.m. I was leisurely thinking of what to have for breakfast when I got a call from “Jane” the other goat sitter. ” I see afterbirth in the pasture, but I can’t find the baby!” Uh, oh, not good. She talked to me a little while longer while she searched in the pen and checked to see who looked like they had just given birth recently. It was one of the kids from last year- a very young mother that they hadn’t meant to breed this year. I hadn’t thought to check the young does! I tried to be calm, but I felt horrible like somehow I had let my friend down. Jane took one last look around some large spools that had been left lying around for the goats to play on. The baby was underneath a spool that had been tipped on its side. It was alive! It was a bit weak but okay. Jane said she would get it to eat and all would be well.
An hour later, Jane called back. The baby wasn’t eating and she couldn’t get the mama goat on the stanchion to make it easier to milk her. I told her I would be up as soon as I could. I piled up the three girls in the van, and we were off! When we arrived Jane was holding the baby. Together we coaxed the mom on the stand. The baby was too weak to eat. I milked out the mom and used a syringe to feed the little one. Thankfully she wasn’t too weak to suck on my finger while I slowly squeezed colostrum into the corner of her mouth. I gave her all she wanted and we locked her up with her mom who was finally showing a little concern for her kid. A call to the lady coming to let the dogs in a few hours to tell her to check the goat kid, too, and we both headed home.
At evening chores I made sure the mom was watching the baby and let her nurse off her mom while she was on the milking stand. Baby was stronger. In the morning, she looked even better. She ran up to me knowing that I meant breakfast! After making sure the baby was full, I left for church. Her mom still wasn’t feeding her. The person letting the dog out was supposed to check on the baby, so I wasn’t too concerned. I would get a call if I was needed. Or so I thought.
When I got there for evening chores, the baby was NOT in the corner that it had been in the rest of the time. I peeked into the pen. The baby was flat on its side by the manger. MAJOR PANIC. I ran in and scooped up the baby hoping it was okay. It let out a weak bleat. It could barely hold its head up. Poor little one! I put the mom on the stand again, but the kid was too weak to nurse. I still had the syringe, so I gave it a small amount of colostrum to try to warm it up. Its mouth was so cold! I had Eden with me and had her hold the kid while I did chores in record time. I needed to get the kid home and warmed up or it could die, and die quickly! I shoved it in my coat for the ride home.
Once we got it home I gave it a small amount of colostrum again, not wanting to overload it when it was already weak. I set it up on a heating pad , wrapped in a towel, while my children held it. I knew she would be happier near people since she associated me with food. I wasn’t sure if she was going to make it. I called my friend to let her know the situation and that I was doing everything I could for her kid. Every so I often I would go over to check and make sure she was still breathing. After a couple hours I checked on her again and she was hungry- always a good sign! She ate heartily, but was still way below the temperature she needed to be since her mouth still felt cool inside. I wanted to make sure I was doing everything right, so I called my Mom. She is an expert on goat health.
After explaining the situation to her, she told me, ” Don’t give her any milk!” Oops, too late. She told me that when you give milk to a cold kid they can’t digest it. This makes them susceptible to enterotoxemia. She told me to give the little goat kid electrolytes in warm water with molasses. ( I put 2 T. in a qt of the electrolyte water.) When I went to feed the kid she thought it was wonderful. She perked up quite a bit after I fed her the electrolytes and molasses water! She was still cold, so I put a little sweater on her and wrapped her up in a blanket and held her. She was in seventh heaven. I swear the goat was smiling. She thought she was people. I checked her temp with a thermometer since her mouth was starting to feel warmish and not cool. Her temp was 100.4. Normal for goats is between 102 and 104. She must have been pretty cold before! Looking back I probably should have put her in warm water to get her body temperature up quicker.
I did feed her milk that evening when she had warmed up some more. ( at about 12) She woke up again at 5 to eat. When her owner came to get her at 9-ish, she looked as good as new. I gave some instructions on how often feed her and some other details, she was headed home.
The next day I got a call saying she was doing well, but her mom rejected her. She is currently living in the house and thinks she is a person.