Temperatures dropped again….and yet another doe kidded in wind chills below 10 degrees. We’ve already lost a third of our kids so far this year to the effects of bitter cold.
So today, when Studmuffin,jr, and his father went out to the barn to do chores, we weren’t particularly happy to see yet another doe showing signs of impending labor. Two hours later, they went out again to check on her progress and found that a different doe had kidded. They were already thoroughly chilled and were not responsive to warming efforts in the barn – so Junior scooped them up and carried them into the house.
This was Junior’s first experience with kidding, and he was pretty excited — and anxious — about it.
By the time he got them to the house, their eyes were at half-mast and they were not moving.
Fortunately, the Admiral was home sick from school and was able to help with the rewarming. Together, they placed the kids in a laundry basket and stacked plastic jars (with screw top lids) filled with hot water around them, separated from direct contact by the toweling. Slowly, as the kids warmed, they became more responsive and began seeking to nurse.
Shortly afterward, I came home and set to making up a fresh batch of colustrum.
How could anyone resist this?
After filling their tummies, we tucked them back in around a water bottle for a nap. Once they woke up and began searching for food again, we took them back out to their mother inside the kidding pen.
WARNING: GRAPHIC FARM INFORMATION FOLLOWS: DO NOT READ IF YOU GET ARE EASILY GROSSED OUT: The Studmuffin had saved the afterbirth and rubbed it on their heads to re-establish their scent. He and Junior released them back into the pen with their mother, who happily accepted them and began to nurse. If she had rejected them, we could have tried a few things, but would have been in danger of having to bottle feed until weaning.
Their names? Boeing and Verizon — because, today, just as the kids were being born, Junior received a job offer from Verizon, to work on a Boeing contract.
A fantastic new job, and two kids saved. It’s been a pretty good day all around.