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Monday Surprise – Preemies!

FirstFruits Penny 2024 kids - Frankie and Johnny

When I went to check on everyone yesterday morning, I heard an unfamiliar voice in the doe pen – looking into one of the calf huts we’re preparing for the kidding due next week, I found Penny cleaning a brand new baby! As I crawled in to check on them, I found another kid cold and barely moving, half buried in hay. Luckily, Ken was home sick, so I was able to recruit him to help bring the little guys inside and warm them up. Yeppp, little GUYS – Penny graced us with a bay and black set of twin bucklings.

They’re exactly one week early and very weak – they were unable to stand or suckle, and I had to tube feed their first dose of colostrum. Since Penny is early, I worried that there might not be enough nutrients in her colostrum, so I supplemented with replacer. Premier 1 has the highest IgG replacer that I could find, Shepherd’s Choice®. Their milk replacer is also the best I’ve seen – it has no soy and our goats do really well on it! When Swiss had bad scours (aka diarrhea) from whole cow milk as a kid, this replacer cleared her up right away and she started to thrive.

After the first dose of colostrum, a squirt of Survive!, and a shot of B Complex, our little bay-colored buckling was finally able to suckle. The black-colored one is still touch and go. Sometimes he’s willing to weakly suckle and sometimes I’ve got to tube him. They’re still very wobbly and the vet said that we’ll be lucky if both survive. But after a full day of struggling, they can both (sort of) stand now!

Penny is very confused by what happened – she’s a first freshener – but is taking to being milked surprisingly well. No wailing or flailing around like even our experienced Mini Nubians do at first. Her teats are still teeny, but her udder is buttery soft and her orifices are large enough that milk easily streams out.

It unfortunately looks like she has retained part of her placenta, though – a big chunk fell off last night, but a couple feet-worth is still hanging and I tied it in a knot to keep it from dragging on the ground. The vet said that a retained placenta is uncommon in goats, but more likely to happen if they give birth early because their hormones are wonky. He said that the latest vet studies say to just leave it alone and give penicillin daily for a week to prevent infection. So, I’ll just keep milking her every few hours and giving her CPMK or Tums to keep her calcium up – calcium helps strengthen contractions.

Let’s all pray and/or cross our fingers and/or hope that the next kiddings are less eventful!

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