Monday, March 21, 2016

The highs and lows of life on a farm

The past week was nuts. Just nuts. And the weekend was sad, but I'm grateful we still have our goat Daphne...

We thought she was in labour last Wednesday or having some kind of issue, plus she was limping on her front leg. The vet came, gave her some Metacam for the pain in her leg (probably a pulled tendon) and gave her some glucose to perk her up, but said she was fine and hadn't lost her "plug" yet.

Then Saturday she went into labour. I spent a solid 14 hours in the barn with her on Saturday... everything seemed fine at first; she was just in the beginning stages and not pushing. But eventually things weren't progressing, so we called the vet in, and right before he came was when she really started pushing and nothing was happening.

Our wonderful friends Luc and Debbie were here helping us the entire day, keeping watch over Daphne. We even had a picnic lunch in the barn. When the vet arrived, he had to "go in" to see what was going on, and Luc and I restrained Daphne while he did that.

Turns out she had twins in there who were big and completely tangled up. I think the vet spent an hour trying to sort them out (and there are bloody handprints on the stall walls to prove it) before we said "How about a C-section?" It was awful seeing Daphne in such distress. At that point we knew the babies were lost. We just didn't want to lose Daphne too, and by then I was really afraid we would, although fortunately she wasn't exhausted when the vet started, because her real pushing had only just started.

So we got some hay bales and laid a sheet of plywood on top for an operating table. Debbie looked after Daphne's head, Luc held her back legs, Gordon stood by, and I gloved up to be the vet's assistant. After he made the incision and gently pulled our her uterus, I held it up for him for the entire operation while he worked. While it was awful having my goat go through this, the surgery itself was fascinating.

He pulled out two bucklings, already dead. They were so big, he had a hard time getting them out even with the C-section. They were all tangled up and had died at some point during the day. It seems like doing a C-section earlier in the day wouldn't even have helped.

So Daphne is all sewn back up and on two sets of antibiotics plus pain meds, and we are hopeful she will make a full recovery. The main thing we need to watch for is infection. I was very pleased when she finally stood up and started eating hay yesterday afternoon.

She was calling for her babies a bit yesterday, which was very sad. In the morning I had to hand-feed her tiny bits of apple to get her to eat, then I got the brilliant idea of bringing in Rosie the goat kid to perk her up. When she saw Rosie eating some tasty food, she joined in!

By the afternoon, she was standing up and eating hay. Such a relief! She has a coat on to help keep her warm.

So I am just hoping she makes a full recovery. I just need to keep a close eye on her to make sure infection doesn't set in. I am giving her shots of Borgal and Penicillin every day and today I am giving her another shot of Metacam for her pain. She's a lovely goat and I am so glad we didn't lose her on Saturday.

Now last Wednesday, THAT was a better day...

Meet little Debbie!

On Wednesday morning, Gordon let Genny out as he was leaving for work. I asked him to check that she wasn't about to give birth. He assured me she wasn't.

Less than an hour later, I was leaving for an appointment when I heard baby goats. Baby goats crying outside. Wait a minute, all my baby goats are down in the lower barn!

Meet Hawkeye.

Sure enough, Genny had gone out and dropped her babies right in the mud! Fortunately Wednesday was a warm sunny day! I went out there to see Genny with her newly-born twins, surrounded by a bunch of pigs and goats all staring at the commotion.

So I grabbed the babies (covering myself and my iPhone in afterbirth) and got them back in the kidding stall along with Mama. And I cancelled my appointment.

Debbie in front, Hawkeye in back.

Unlike Penny, Genny has LOTS of milk and is feeding her twins just fine, so no bottles this time. She is an excellent mother and had clearly done this before.

We couldn't get over how big the twins were compared to Penny's triplets, but Penny was pregnant when she arrived here and in worse shape than the others, plus three babies take up more space than two!


So while we are sad about Daphne and her loss, it's a joy to go see these little cuties every morning. My goats give me so much happiness!

Meanwhile this little guy... growing up fast! Luc is now almost 50 lbs in weight and is being neutered surgically this Thursday, so please think good thoughts for him. He's such a handsome boy!

And for you cat lovers...

Buttercup apparently can't just drink from a cat water bowl like the other barn kitties! Keaton is watching and learning, I suspect.

He is the cuddliest cat EVER.

And here's Geoff enjoying a pine branch I dragged back from the woodlot.

And here...

... is Bambi, our last preggo goat. Given what happened Saturday, I am now extra-anxious over here. She has definitely had babies before, so I am just hoping she's like Genny and has a smooth and easy delivery. This is the last time any of the goats here will be having babies!!

If only should could tell me when she is ready!

Have a great week.


  1. What a busy week! Thanks for the very interesting play-by-play.

  2. I am just fascinated by the goats and their babies. So sorry for the loss of Daphne's twins but glad that she is OK. Gosh the babes are so cute!! thanks for sharing your barn life with us.

  3. Natalie, so sorry you lost the twins. So sad. Glad everything went well with Genny.
    Thanks for posting all your latest news.

  4. Oh that is sad. But glad to hear Daphne is OK so far. The babies are just too gorgeous!

  5. The ups and downs of farm living. Remember to wear your seat belt for the emotional roller coaster. Kiss the goats for me.

  6. Poor Daphne! Let her go near Genny's babies. She'll think they are hers, and that'll make her happy.

  7. That was a close call for Daphne. I'm so relieved she is ok. I hope she can become a nanna for some other little goats as I'm sure she will be going in for that 'special' surgery at some point. Those cats of yours...they could write a book.

  8. Sending prayers for Daphne, so sad about the babies. That WAS brilliant to bring the kid in....brilliant! (((hugs))) catchatwithcarenandcody

  9. You are an amazing blogger and photographer AND animal lover. You had all of this going on and you still found time to take pictures and write about it. Prayers for Daphne, sorrow for her babies, joy for Genny and her babies. I don't know enough about goats to know if they can "share" babies and mothering.

  10. When looking after animals there will sometimes be great sadness.And then there are fun times little goats are wild!

  11. Aw, that is so sad about the Daphne's little ones. I hope she heals well and is easily distracted by the other little ones. They are truly adorable.

    Keaton looks so content, amazing that just a short while ago he wasn't part of the crew.

  12. I'm sure it was all very emotional, but I'm glad Daphne is doing okay. This new kids are adorable and I know you'll enjoy seeing them grow up. You do have a busy life, my friend, XOXO

  13. WOW! You've had an intense few days!

  14. Oh boy you have had a hard few days. The little ones are very cute.

  15. I'm so sorry about the twins. I had a mother cat that had a similar experience once.. it isn't easy.

    Glad all of the other kidding has gone well, and purrs that the last one does as well.

  16. Wow, a lot of drama. That is so sad about the twins, but hopefully Daphne will recover completely and thrive. The new kids are adorable! Hopefully the next batch will have smooth sailing.


Thank you for all your comments, which I love to read!