Lessons from a Goat Kidding C-Section

| 8/28/2020 9:31:00 AM

2020 has been a challenging year for a lot of folks. Following along on Instagram, when lambs and kids started arriving, I noticed a number farms sharing posts about complications with births. I mostly dismissed the notion I’d be included in the mix of unfortunate situations, mainly because I’d had a 10-year stretch of good luck. Honestly, that’s a lot of what farming is about: luck.

Despite all our plans, planning, preparing, organizing, hoping and sometimes praying, Mother Nature is in charge. We only have to look at 2020 to get that concept. When things go awry, as they often do, mostly when we’re trying to fool her, we face challenges. Staying humble in that knowledge for me is key.

As it turns out, Mother Nature had her eye on me this year, presenting me with the biggest challenge I’ve faced since establishing Bittersweet Heritage Farm. My head milker, as it turns out, is, I am happy to say, a survivor of a horrendous kidding this year, resulting in a C-section. It was a touch-and-go battle with a post-op uterine infection — total collapse at one point — but now, after almost 12 weeks of care, she’s looking great.

Unfortunately, her kidding days are over, right in what should have been her prime, so she’ll happily assume her position as chief hay burner. And also unfortunately, her last baby girl was lost. But, we’re milking (it’s a partnership) and as a testament to this breed, after all she’s been through, she’s producing 8 pounds per day — that’s a gallon to all you non-dairy folks.

Trust Your Instincts

What lessons have I learned through this ordeal (and yes, it has been an ordeal)? The biggest one has been: Trust in your instincts. You know your animals better than anyone, including the veterinarian you call in on an emergency. I had been up every night at midnight for days around Shellie’s due date. I have an audible barn monitor in my bedroom. None of that mattered when at 5:00 am, I went to the barn to find she had been in labor for hours, without a peep of warning.

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