Ica Freeman

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since Jun 15, 2014
I moved to Minnesota in September, but I grew up in Florida. The plants, insects and weather here are very different to where I grew up, so it's all new to me. I have a lot of questions.
I live on a hobby farm with an organic veggie garden. We have goats, chickens and a few others. Most of the time, I have no idea what I'm doing.
Southern Minnesota
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Recent posts by Ica Freeman

The males escaped. I went on vacation with my boyfriend and we had his former housemate watch the farm for a week. This person has a lot of health issues, so his responsibilities tend to lapse. At some point while I was away, the girls' pen door wasn't closed properly and either the girls got out or the boys got in. This was about a week after 5 does gave birth and were penned separately, so only a few does were left. The herd was confused. Two does got pregnant. It wasn't ideal, but shit happens. It's unfortunate, but the situation can't be helped at this point.
I'm still in my first year of taking care of animals. I was homeless and traveling, but I wound up on a farm in MN and somehow the animals became my responsibility. I didn't want this. I'm not qualified to take care of goats. I can feed them, but when they are ill, then I can't do anything. I've read about goats and birthing and witnessed 5 flawless birthing mothers to 9 beautiful kids, but this wasn't flawless and I've been way over my head for a long time. The farm owner has had goats for 25 years and he wouldn't help me when I needed him. I had to beg him on Tuesday to go outside and look at her. He left the state on Wednesday and finally decided to call a vet on Friday. Calling the vet on Tuesday was my suggestion, but that was ignored. I love these animals, but I can't keep them from dying when they are sick.

She started moaning around 5am. She died before 6am, about 12 minutes ago.
She made it to the vet today. The vet, Dianne, saw right away that hooves where sticking out of the goat's backside. She couldn't pull the kid out, but she tried like hell. Her bare hand was inside that goat within 3 minutes of entering the office. It was too tight of a fit and she had to perform a cesarean. I held down the goat's head and front arms, so I got to see and smell everything. She was very calm and cooperative. The kid was dead and bloated. It had been dead for a few days and it's hair was falling out in clumps. This made a mess inside the goat. I did my best to comfort her during the surgery. I kept one of my gloves near her nose because she knows the glove, she doesn't know me. She got an antibiotic shots and 3 extra shots. If she doesn't get infection and survives until Monday, she'll get more shots.
About 3 weeks ago, another goat gave birth. Only 1 survived and he's a sweet little boy. I've been watching these two goats sleep together and comfort each other since the one went into labor on Tuesday, so it was only natural that I pick the little guy out to keep her company.
I have to think of a name for this goat who became such a big deal this week.
Winter births suck. I had a few escapee does who got pregnant for the first time. One of them went into labor yesterday afternoon. Her vagina is swollen beyond what I had ever seen before. This is my seventh birth. I did some searching online and found nothing that would really help me. She's been sitting inside a doghouse in the pen for the past 12 hours, barely moving. I spent a few hours watching her, because I want to be ready when she finally kids out. Every time I talk in the pen, she moves slightly to expose herself to me. I think she's trying to tell me that she needs help, I just don't know what to do. Please help.

Edit: On the morning of the 5th, I noticed her acting weird. By that evening, her backside was swollen and a string of goop came out of her. It's been more than 30 hours and she she hasn't changed. She'll adjust herself and occasionally stand up, but I haven't seen her since yesterday morning. Her vagina is still as swollen as ever.

My girls are penned in a small room in the barn. The pen has drafts and broken windows and there's nothing that I can do about that. The wind chill is -35 here. I think the goat is in survival mode and won't kid out until it's warmer and safe, so I'm considering bringing her into the house to until she kids out. My housemates think I worry too much and are against bringing the goat to the basement. How long can the kids stay inside the womb safely? If the kids die before, during or after birth...that would suck, but losing the nameless, young, whitish goat would be a tragedy.
Not normal but common, and a trait most people don't want in their gene pool. Usually not a problem for the kids, just for hand or machine milking.

Thank you. Fleshy Fork Tits turned out to be the most observant mother.
We are up to 9 kids. Mother Peace is a little itty bitty pygmy goat and her kid is huge. We have one more who might give birth soon. I hope she gives birth under the meteor shower.

Doug Mac wrote:Feed 4 times a day and put him back with the others in between so that the kid learns to be a goat.

We have one goat whose mother died giving birth, so the man caring for the farm before me bottle fed her and slept with her on the couch. Now, she sleeps on the porch with the dogs and will do whatever she can to get out of a pen. She doesn't see herself as a goat. She tries to help me herd the rest and act like a guard dog and in the morning, she's usually following the ducks and geese through the yard. She's a pain in the neck, but she's my baby and I love her. I don't want more like her though.

Doug Mac wrote:Hopefully everyone is up and running around by now. If the little one hasn't been accepted by now, you'll have to bottle feed. Feed 4 times a day and put him back with the others in between so that the kid learns to be a goat. After 3 days go to three times a day. At two weeks go to twice a day and wean at 8 weeks.

That's very good to know. Thank you.
I'm up to 8 kids now. 4 mothers are in one pen and they all gave birth pretty close together. I guess it's because of the full moon. The first mother is neglecting her kids, but the other mothers seem to be taking care of that litter. I'm checking on them every few hours and I have a dog kennel lined with hay, just in case I need to bring them inside out of the rain. Midnight gave birth to one, but she is still very big, I thought she would have more. Yellow had two and all are doing just fine. I thought that one was born lame, but it just needed an hour to stretch it's cute little legs. Milkdud is very afraid of humans and I had a heck of a time rounding her up in the pen. She has two nipples on each udder, that doesn't seem normal. They stick out like fleshy forks. I can't get close enough to check if she has milk coming out of any of them. Her kids are very lively, they jump around and scream louder than all the other goats. They were born healthy, but I can't tell if they are getting milk.
The only alternative I have to mother's milk is powdered formula. I've read on multiple sites not to give them powdered milk.

R Scott wrote:Three are touch and go. She might do fine. They will definitely do better if they get colostrum from her at the very least.

I would watch and see, I mean REALLY watch and make sure all three are getting a chance. If not, pull the runt (or the buck if you want more does) and bottle feed it. You might lose it, and it will not grow as well as the others, but it is your best shot to keep at least two of the three.

How will I know when to interfere from mama with the bottle? I checked on them after leaving them alone for a few hours and two of the three were cleaned. The one with gunk on it's fur is the one that I picked up after I found them. Would the mother reject her kid if it has my scent? What am I looking for when I watch them? The mother is skittish, so when I walk up, she runs and the kids can't always keep up. At this point, I don't know if they are all being fed.

Doug Mac wrote: I had the best luck with the homemade formula.

Can you give me a recipe?
One of our nannies gave birth to 3 adorable pygmy goats sometime today, but I only found them an hour ago. She seems to be caring for them and letting them nurse, but it's hard to tell and I want to be sure that they are getting fed well enough. I have powdered milk for them, but I've never bottle fed goats before, only kittens and pups. How soon should I start feeding them? I need all the advice I can get.