Wednesday, April 3, 2013

One Of These Seasons...

I don't think you can expect kidding season to be stress free but I don't think it has to be a high stress time of the year, right?!  One of these years I'm some how going to make this less stressful.  This year, it was not even close to one of those.  If you remember last year I had the "oops" kidding season, which stressed me out because 90% or my herd had kids in the middle of winter when I had planned for March.  The year before it was extremely rainy and the shelters filled with mud from too much water and goats standing in them for hours to keep dry.  In turn, I ended up with mud covered kids that did not survive.  This year we had unseasonably cold, wet, snow, windy conditions.  My kidding set up is not a "fancy" one.  I kid in the pastures and the shelters are not meant to hold a bunch of does kidding at the same time.  There are no kidding stalls,  heat lamps or heaters. This is why I kid in the spring, not winter.  Just a note: There is nothing wrong with barn kidding, it serves a purpose and the last couple of years I would have loved to have had one. We don't have a place for one and we are not set up like that. 

Less than ideal conditions.

The forecast said snow after a few does had had their kids.  I thought, "No big deal, there will be a pause in the kidding."  It seems in years past that a few does will kid and then it will be another week before the rest start to go.  It's like you just happen to catch a few does in heat when you first turn out the buck and it takes another week or two for the rest to start coming in. 

At this point I had my fingers crossed that the rest of the does would wait another week. 

As you have probably have already guessed the does didn't "pause".  They all started kidding, more and more each day.  Maybe it's because I had less goats to breed or I just put the bucks out just at the right time or maybe because that is just how goat ranching goes for me.  Things were not fun but were not too bad until the forecast said below freezing with drizzle.  Wet + freezing temps + wind = frozen kids.  It doesn't matter how good the mothers are, some conditions even the toughest goats can't overcome.  

Spanish doe with her twins - buck & a doe. 

One morning I woke up and the temp was in the low 20's.  I found one of my best does with two huge bucklings extremely chilled and their hair was icy.  I brought them in the house, put them on a towel in the bath tub with a heating pad underneath them.  I moved the does that had just kidded into our 24" stock trailer with fresh hay as bedding.  Despite the cold temps it worked well because the kids were out of the wind and wet.  When I got a moment I would check on the bucklings, slowly but surely they started to "come to life".  I gave them some water with brown sugar in it once and by that afternoon I took them back out and to my relief their dam took them.  I also had a set of twins were one twin did well and the other chilled. Later in the day I was able to reunite the one with her family.  I did have a 1/2 Kiko doe kid in the shed with a Spanish doe.  I found her new born kids that had been "lost" amongst some of the other goats that didn't make.   In the confusion it appears that she decided that one of the Spanish doe's kids was hers.  It will be interesting to see how the kid grows on the heavy milking 1/2 Kiko doe vs. it's Spanish dam.  

AKGA Purebred Kiko Doe with her PB doeling. 

Almost all of the kids have arrived and now we are having a "pause".  That figures!  Next year things will be different, right?! 

AKGA 1/2 Kiko Doe (Kiko x Spanish) with her 3/4 Kiko kids.