Kidding Blues

Reader Contribution by Maggie Bonham
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“Heidi is straining, but she’s not having her kid,” I said. I was looking at the blonde Lamancha with some reservations. She had her first kid this season on the ground now, a very blonde doeling, and I knew she had at least one more kid inside her. But something was wrong.

A Kidding Headache

Every year I go through playing goat wet nurse because I seem to have one or two goats who have difficulties. This year, it appeared to be Heidi’s turn in the bucket. So, I had my husband hold Heidi while I once again stuck my hand into the birth canal to feel what was going on inside there. With each year, I learn more things and I also build on the knowledge. Heidi was contracting hard on my arm, which hurt like the dickens, but I knew I had to find the kid. I found one leg.

It felt like a rear foot. So, the kid was backwards. No biggie, except I needed to find the other foot. And that’s when I ran into the grapefruit.

It’s Not Supposed to Be Like That

Grapefruit? Yes. I felt something about the size of a grapefruit attached to that leg. I scooted my hand around and found the other leg. Then, I started pulling. Only the grapefruit was keeping the kid from leaving the birth canal. I pulled and pulled. At this stage, I figured the kid was dead and I needed to save the mom. So, when the doeling came out, she had a swollen stomach and gasped as amniotic fluid poured from her.

Alive, but barely. I swung the kid, trying to get her to expel the fluid. It kept pouring out of the little one, but I still couldn’t get her to get rid of it all. In this way, I lost the doeling. Not because of anything I did, but rather what I couldn’t do, that is, get that airway cleared. This is when I learned the term meconium where the fecal material gets sucked into the lungs. Not good. And darn impossible to fix at home.


The little one who was alive we named Galadriel. She seemed okay so we cleaned her up, tied her cord, dipped it in iodine, and left her to recover with mom. The next day, she seemed a little off and she didn’t look like she ate at all, so I took her to the house and started feeding her. She wasn’t the best drinker, but I went ahead and gave her colostrum, including a store version of colostrum. That’s when she started running a fever.

If you’ve ever had a newborn critter run a fever, you know how crazy your life can get. I started her with antibiotics (that was an adventure in dosage guessing because she was smaller than my cat). I gave her yogurt mixed with water, corn syrup, and a small amount of electrolytes. Then, we had another emergency —  this one with a dog — that we had to tend to.

We lucked out and surprisingly, Galadriel pulled through. We couldn’t return her to her mom because she was too small and delicate. But her appetite picked up. I figured I won this round.

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