Farm life is hard some days

It was a sad day at Goat-O-Rama. Tigerlily finally went into labor this afternoon, and she couldn’t have picked a nicer day for it. It was sunny and warm with a cool breeze, and her water broke around 2:30, so I was anticipating a wonderful kidding in the outdoors on the clean grass. Unfortunately things did not go so well. This has been a terrible year of kidding for us. Everyone has needed help, and I’m going to have to review our nutrition and minerals and see if I’m doing something wrong.

Anyway, Tigerlily wasn’t making much progress. Even when she pushed, not much was moving and she would give up quickly. But she wasn’t weak or tired. She was more like Nubbin–her body knew something was wrong and labor was stalling. Her bubble burst and she kept pushing out fluid but no kid. When I reached in, she wasn’t very dilated and I couldn’t get my hand in at all. We waited about twenty minutes to see if she would dilate any more. She did, and I was finally able to get my hand in but it was a very tight squeeze. It took me only a short time to find the front legs, but the head was nowhere to be found. I had to reach in up to my elbow before I located it far away in the depths. The kid was on his side with his head on top but turned completely backwards. I was able to reach along his jaw and find his nose and I was able to bring it toward me with my fingers in his mouth, but that’s as far as I could get him. His head simply refused to come my direction.

I’d only been trying for about ten minutes when my vet friend, Kathy, drove up to check on her horses, which I’ve been boarding at my place. I flagged her down and she came over to see what she could make of it. Long story short, we both worked for a good hour and maybe more, taking turns as our arms got numb. Tigerlily had plenty of strength and “push” in her, but she was way too tight for such a large kid and neither of us could get our arms in quite far enough, and that little head simply refused to turn. Kathy finally gave up and said we needed to take Tigerlily into the emergency vet clinic for a C-section. At this point it was a matter of saving her and not the kid. I decided to try just once more.

I pushed the feet completely back in (they’d been out up to now), and I went in as far as I could for the head. It took me a while, but I finally managed to cup my hand around that big, nobby head and bring it round. The only reason was that by now Tigerlily was so exhausted that she didn’t have the strength to push my hand away, and she had finally dilated just enough to allow my elbow to fit past the opening. I got the head to the surface and then found a foot. From there I was able to pull baby out, but sadly there was no life in him by then. We sucked out his nostrils with a big syringe, slapped his ribs, rubbed vigorously, swung him back and forth, but to no avail. A lot of fluid came out of his lungs but he never gasped for air and we never felt a heartbeat.

We buried him near Nubbin’s 2014 kids at the back corner of the property. There are some pretty stones marking his grave, poor baby. He was the prettiest kid yet–red with lots of roaning, white spots on his sides, white lacing around the edges of his ears, a beautifully marked face, and black legs and dorsal stripe. He was quite big, as one might expect from a week-late delivery, but a doe as large as Tigerlily should have had enough room for him. I’m a bit mystified why she was so tight in there. She doesn’t look narrow.

One small mercy is that Tigerlily is not mourning. She was in a lot of pain and was in shock for a while after the delivery. I don’t think she knew or cared about the kid at all and probably won’t mourn like Nubbin did. I’m the one mourning the kid. He was a lovely boy. Here’s hoping things are better next year.

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