March 29, 2014

Surprise's Miracle Twins

I honestly was expecting these little girls to be stillborn, but they made it alive and well. Photos first, details below.

Born between 6 & 6:30 this morning. 

Both girls!

Surprise is an excellent mama. 

They are Kikobains - half Nubian, half Kiko (sired by Hooper)

I am so relieved everything is okay.

Now comes the all important task
of learning where to find the milk.

Yesterday afternoon Surprise was just standing near the barn with the spaced-out look she gets when she's in labor. Her due date was March 26 so I figured this was it. I had to so a quick kid shuffle, put Ziggy and her crew in the larger far stall, and Surprise in the nearer kidding stall. I made sure everyone had plenty of clean bedding and then hung around to keep an eye on things.

Several hours later Surprise laid down. There was no discharge and no pushing, so we waited. And waited. The longer we waited, the more disoriented Surprise became. She became unresponsive to my voice and could not stand up. Something was clearly wrong.

The first thing I did was to shoot an email off too the Holistic goats Yahoo group asking for diagnostic and treatment help. Two hours later the message still hadn't shown up and, by that time, I had this horrible feeling that Surprise was dying. I weighed my options but since my vet doesn't do house calls and I couldn't get her into the back of my jeep by myself, I knew I was on my own. A quick internet search of "pregnant doe lethargic" got me what I was looking for.

Surprise's symptoms fit those of pregnant toxemia. The best information is at Molly's Fias Co Farm. I followed her treatment recommendations, starting with 20 cc of molasses/corn syrup every two hours by moutn ( I didn't have Karo but did have organic corn syrup). I also gave her calcium gluconate subcutaneous injections (40 cc total over 4 sites with 10 cc each location). I tried the Nutridrench too, but she really fought me on that one. The next time I went to check on her she was alert and turned her head toward me. Within a couple of hours she was back on her feet and I gave her a vitamin B-complex injection.

It was a relief she was okay but there was still no sign of labor. More research indicated that unborn kids rarely survive pregnancy toxemia so I had to prepare myself for the devastating consequences. Still, I checked on her every several hours during the night. She remained standing and shifting her weight like she does when in labor, but there was nothing more to indicate kids were imminent.

A little after 6 a.m. I got up, started the coffee, and headed back out to the goat shed. There, on the ground, was a live black and white baby! I ran to get Dan and shortly after we got back the second was born. Both doelings! A miracle and a blessing all in one.

I'll do a blog post on pregnancy toxemia soon, explaining what it is and why I think it happened to Surprise. It's something I need to research and understand fully, so I'll pass it all on to you. For now, I need to go admire some brand new baby goats. :)

UPDATE: Sept. 10, 2014 - The promised blog post, "Hypocalcemia & Pregnancy Toxemia in Goats"


Renee Nefe said...

Congrats on the new kids! Glad you were able to help her out and that everyone is doing well.

Mama Pea said...

Omigosh, Leigh! Sounds as if Surprise might have died if you didn't do all that you did for her. Or you could have lost both little kids. What a thrill that all is well. And that you have a happy mama and TWO little doelings! I definitely think it was because you acted quickly enough that you had this happy ending.

Dani said...

Surprise surprised you LOL

Bless them - they're precious.

we were advised that if either Miranda or her new born cria displayed any weak symptoms immediately after the birth, we should dip our finger in the honey jar, and give them a dab of honey on the tongue - thankfully, that wasn't necessary.

Madness, Trouble, Squish and Milkbone said...

More adorable baby goats! Glad everything went well in the end. What would we do without the internet!

Anonymous said...

Oh my they are gorgeous! I am so glad you were able to find the info you needed to help her. Well done!!

Lynda said...

Wow! Those kids are a miracle! I love Molly's site...I used it when I first started making goat cheese.

tpals said...

I can only imagine the whirlwind of emotions you've gone through. I would probably be crying with relief by the end. They are both adorable and Surprise is beautiful in maternity. :)

M.E. Masterson said...

Thank goodness she is alright! Oh those doelings are just beautiful!

Michelle said...

What a wonderful miracle to read about Sabbath morning before I head to church! My praise will be all the more heartfelt!

Carolyn said...

Congrats on the two doelings! And wow, what a great job of goat-vetting. It drives me INSANE that there are so few vets that will even TALK to me about goats and even fewer who will do a farm call(there is ONE, costly, and rarely available). It does seem that goat keepers are on their own when it comes to taking care of our herd.
Really looking forward to your next post on it, pregnancy tox. is one of those things I've been dreading of having to handle, and I'm pretty sure I don't have everything on hand to do so.

Woolly Bits said...

I don't get it - a vet, who doesn't do house calls for larger farm animals? what do you do if you had a sick cow, bring it into surgery???
anyway, I think I wouldn't be cut out for that kind of drama, but luckily all three of them came through it. is it just the photo angle or do they look quite a lot bigger than the triplets?

Nina said...

Pretty little girls for sure. Mama looks content and no worse for the experience. Congrats!

Anonymous said...

I wouldnt show the same courage, congrats on the two babies! They owe you!

Michelle said...

Congratulations! I'm so glad everyone made it through alive and healthy. Enjoy those beautiful new girls!!!

Debby Riddle said...

Wow! good job Leigh, looking forward to that post. I had my oldest doe go partially blind, and semi convulsive, when she last kidded. Pat, from the Kinder goat yahoo group, walked me through that. It was evidently a B vitamin deficiency. She improved greatly, after an injection. I will look forward to your post, congratulations on the kids!

Nadine said...

I am very glad that surprise and her two beautiful babies are ok.... I look forward to seeing more pictures of them!

Willow said...

Glad things ended up turning out well, with two little beauties !

Mom at home said...

What beautiful kids!

Sarah said...

They're so cute!!! I'm so glad that things turned out well!!!

Susan said...

Your post has to be one of the most captivating I have ever read. I'd love to have you around in a crisis. Congrats on working through the situation. Have you caught up on your sleep deficit?

Anonymous said...

So, so, so happy for you! Glad Surprise is doing great and the babies are also!

Farmer Barb said...

I've been gone all day. I am so glad to know that your friend, The Internet came in to the rescue. Bless those little doelings!

Sandy Livesay said...


Well congratulations again!!!
I know you were stressed when Surprised wasn't herself. Good thing you were able to find the information you needed on the internet.

They are adorable, and it looks like Surprise is going to be a great Mama.

Anonymous said...

Yay for the happy outcome for all concerned! That is a pair of beautiful girls.

I lost a ewe this winter to toxemia, along with the pair of premature ewe lambs. Glad you were able to have a happier ending to your tale.

Quinn said...

SO glad it all worked out, Leigh! Wow. Well done!
I hope Molly never takes that site down. It's been a great resource for a long time.
Congratulations to Surprise and her babies, and to you!

Leigh said...

Thank you to everyone for your good wishes. They're like a pat on the back after a difficult situation. Rather than list all your names with a "thanks!" after each, I'll just try to answer specific questions.

I'd also like to mention that we aren't out of the woods yet. Molly's site lists treatments but not duration. I've had to repeat the calcium injections because Surprise still needs it. And since she still hasn't gotten a good appetite back, I worry about her getting her resources up where they belong. In addition the twins had no sucking reflex initially, so I had to start by syringe feeding for the first day. #1 is a little congested, likely from inhaling a bit of colostrum while protesting having the syringe shoved into her mouth.

Dani, honey certainly sounds better than nutridrench. It contains molasses and vitamins but also propylene glycol, which I do not want to give. Syringe feeding colostrum seemed to help.

Cecilia, what would be do without the internet indeed!

Carolyn, it is frustrating, especially when our on the job training is always the result of an emergency!

Bettina, the problem is that most vets now only run a pet practice (dogs and cats). My vet does have a "barn" in back for horses and other large animals, but in general, farm vetting seems to have gone the way of the dodo.

Debby, I probably should have contacted the Kinder group instead of Holistic Goats. Pat is an amazingly helpful person and oh, so knowledgeable. I only wish my Kinder Starter Kit would have worked according to plan!

Susan, can't say I feel I'd be all that much help! I did get 6 hours last night, which helped. As I mentioned above, we're not out of the woods yet so I must remain vigilant.

Sue, I can only imagine how difficult that was. I can't believe our little miracle here, for which I'm very thankful!

Quinn, Molly does as for donations which I'm sure help. On that I have to say that I once sent her $200 but never got so much as an acknowledgement or thank you, which made me wonder how much she really needed it. My check did get cashed however, but without feedback, we'll not donate again.