April hath put a spirit of youth in everything. ~William Shakespeare
The days are longer and the sun is growing warmer. The trees have begun to shoot buds. The daffodils are blooming, and the grass is greening. There are signs of spring everywhere I look. My favorite thing about spring is babies, especially newborn goats!
Last week was a busy one in the maternity pens at Enchanted Acres. When I went to do chores last Tuesday morning, April 5, I saw that Gem had already birthed one baby and would likely give birth to more. I no more than got Gem situated in a pen when I saw Blondie was in labor.
Blondie delivered twin does (females) in record time, and then I noticed Gem showing signs of distress. Sadly, that kid’s head wasn’t in the proper position and it was born dead. (Words alone can’t describe the sadness that filled my heart, but I’m not going to go into detail about it here. Instead I’m going to focus on the positive.)
My main concern was – and is – Gem’s health and well-being. Our vet delivered a third kid safely. We then gave Gem antibiotics, and I’m happy to report that today she and her two offspring are doing well! I know some people have strong opinions about the use of antibiotics. If you have any questions about why we used them in this case to ward off infection after her troubled delivery, please ask me.)
Twelve hours later I returned to do chores and found Squiggles had delivered twin girls. They were still wet, although she had already licked them clean. I made sure they had nursed because it’s crucial that the newborn babies get colostrum to protect them against disease. Plus, colostrum generally contains more protein and fat than regular milk does.
The mamas and babies were kept in separate pens for a week, giving them time for mothers and babies to bond. It also made it easier for the babies to nurse and for me to monitor each of them, While many of this year's kids have been born early evening, we routinely make rounds after supper to make sure new babies are eating and doing ok. Like this group of triplets born just just a couple days ago!
The maternity pens also made it easy for me to catch the babies for tagging. Ear tags help us identify each one, so we can track when they were born and when they received vaccinations like overeating and tetanus.
Now that spring weather has returned, all of the does and kids have been turned outside. They still have access to shelter with clean bedding. It’s cute to see how they tuck themselves inside at nighttime. During the day, you’ll find them enjoying the warmth of the sun. The little ones kick up their heels and chase one another. Hopefully, I can catch their antics on video and share it with you soon.
Stay tuned for more baby news, too. We’re still eagerly awaiting for Nibbles, Snickers and Cinnamon to give birth.
Tending to Creature Comforts during Winter Weather