Every experienced homesteader knows that this time of year is one of the busiest times on
the homestead but for new homesteaders this can often be an overwhelming time of year.
What happens this time of year that separates it from other times of the year? It's garden, farming and kidding time of year. A lot of homesteaders will breed their goats and other livestock to kid during the spring to prevent their livestock from having to kid in the dead of winter or in the heat of the summer. It helps improve the health of the moms and the kids. So while we anxiously await the arrival of all the new ones on the homestead we prepare the gardens, start the seeds and gather the compost.
This year was going pretty typical in all aspects of the homestead. We had the seed started, the beds being turned, root veggies already in the ground and anxiously awaiting the arrival of kids from several of our mamma goats. So what was different this time? This spring we had a first time kidder that was also exceptionally small in frame. You guessed it Malia was due to kid. All mammas looked healthy and seemed to be in good spirits.
The first to kid was Tsarina. She kids first every years because she is the boss of the bunch and will not be out done by any others. She also makes sure that she has the most kids every year.
Second to kid was supposed to be Buckets but I had said she seemed rather standoffish during breeding season so I suspected she was at least several weeks behind the others. Sure enough I was right. Malia went into labor next. As soon as I saw the signs of labor I took up residence in the goat house with her to keep an eye on her. I was glad I did. The other girls had always kidded within an hour of beginning but things weren't working out that way with Malia. She had been pushing and moving for several hours and I was continually checking to see if I could see or feel a nose or hoof....Nothing....At first I suspected maybe it was just taking her a little more time because she was a first-time mother and also very small, even for the breed but after a couple hours and still no progress I was afraid we had a breech birth or other complications.
I called the vet and even though it was after hours he said to bring her immediately. As soon as we arrived he inspected her and found that the kid was not breech but just could not fit through the birth canal. It was going to require an emergency c-section. I was beside myself with worry. While Malia is quite the little prankster in the yard she is also very special to us. Our friends refer to her as the lap goat because she thinks her place is in your lap if she can get to it. The vet said she was still strong and healthy and the kids was still alive at that point so off she was rushed for surgery. One and a half hours later we were notified that Malia had come though surgery wonderfully but the kid had died 20 minutes after being delivered. It was a sad moment as we knew she had worked so hard. The vet tried to save the kid with stimulation and such but he just couldn't make it.
I asked if Malia would ever be able to kid due to her size and the vet said she possibly could but the circumstances on this birth were stacked against her. The kid was large because it was a single birth and then on top of that it was a male. Both of those together make for a larger kid. Had their been twins or even just a single female things could have been quite different. The problem is we would have to worry about if it was a single birth again and a male again. We discussed having Malia sterilized to prevent any further pregnancies and are still taking that into consideration. We would hat to put though so much stress and pain again if not necessary.
We keep the bucks separate and move the females to them during breeding season but we have on occasion has a buck escape (as they are infamous for). We didn't want to make any rash decisions so we decided to wait since she was already out of surgery by the time he had thought to ask on it.
So while we are happy at the arrival of our three new kids and thankful that we have Malia and she is doing so well after her ordeal we also think about almost having lost her and the loss of her kid.
Every homestead has joy and sadness as with all of life but it is in being prepared to deal with these times that make all the difference. Remember....We Live, We Love, We Laugh, We Learn....We Homestead!