Sad Kidding Day
All of my goats kidded a month ago. At least I thought all the pregnant does were done, so imagine my surprise when I went out yesterday morning and found a thought-to-not-be-pregnant doe laboring.
It took her a long time to kid last year, which was her first kidding at the ripe old age of 5. Yesterday I went down around 9.30 am and she finally had her kids at 12.30 pm. That’s a pretty long labor for a goat. But she was pleased and doing well and the babies were whining and fussing so all was well.
So everything was just fine at first. The first little girl came and mama was vigorously cleaning her and muttering at her when the second little girl just slid right out. Infinitely easier than the the arrival of the first one; smaller too.
However, when mama goat turned to clean the second little one, something went wrong. I wasn’t paying attention, thinking any danger had passed and worrying about showing the little ones where to find their breakfast. While I was puttering around putting up wet towels, mama got too enthusiastic about her cleaning duties and damaged the small baby’s foot. Badly damaged. Mangled actually.
When I returned to finish drying the little one, her foot was a mess. I hadn’t checked her over real well when she was born so I thought it was probably a birth defect but it was so bad, it made me suck air and actually gave my stomach a lurch. I ran her in the house, cleaned it, wrapped it with gauze to keep it clean and called the vet. Acually I did that part before I ran into the house because there are some things that no matter how competent you may feel you are, you don’t tackle it alone.
I wrapped that poor little hoof three times to keep it free of dirt, straw and the blood that just kept seeping out. Baby was standing on the bandage though so I had a tiny little glimmer of hope that perhaps something could be done. She’d be lame but….she could still get by just fine out here where everyone gets along and just goes mellowly about their goat and cow business.
However, when the vet finally arrived 5 hours later we discovered there was no feasible way of cleanly healing that foot. No amount of wrapping and bandaging was going to undo what 2 minutes of licking and chewing did to a newborn hoof. So we had to put the little one to sleep. We took our fortitude and put on our grownup pants and did the best we could with a bad situation. It’s a sad day in the barn.