I am so happy to announce that one third of our 2023 kiddings has been accomplished. Our sweet Belle gave birth very early on Easter Sunday.
It was quite an experience and one I hope never to repeat. Hopefully you will have the patience to read this long account of the births - if not, just enjoy the photos!
The births were clearly imminent on Saturday but Belle was not pushing until 11:30 PM or so, and when she did there was not the usual bubble of amniotic fluid that precedes the kid. She was clearly experiencing discomfort and nothing was happening. I did a quick internal check, felt nothing and at that point woke Kevin to help. I was also able to reach our vet by telephone who provided the instruction that I was going to have to go in deeper and find out what was going on.
This was one of the scariest things I have ever done. Eyes closed, arm inserted in my doe almost to my elbow I felt a spine and a ribcage. I had to carefully figure out which end was which and found a tail. After that I used a finger to bring a leg forward, then another and the kid was delivered backwards - it was a tiny doeling. Soon after cleaning this kid off, a second tiny doeling followed, head first, I just had to find the legs to come along with the head. We thought we were done when out came a large head and Belle delivered a third kid, a large buckling - about twice the size of the first two kids!
Belle and the kids were all pretty weak and we moved them into the milking room to get dry and warm. Poor Belle was clearly not well and we had to hoist her to her feet to try to get the kids to nurse. Kevin made a run to Garrison to get Gatorade for Belle; at this point it wasn't clear that any of them were going to survive this. We milked out colostrum for the kids and using a bottle and a large syringe we made sure everyone had something to drink. We finally got to bed around 5:00 AM.
Sadly, when we returned to the barn two hours later, one of the little doelings had died. Belle was clearly low and our vet advised more fluids. She would not drink on her own so we forced fluids into her every couple of hours and that along with a vitamin shot saved her life. We could tell when she turned the corner - a light that was missing came back into her eyes and she started taking an interest in the little ones. Such a relief!
The buckling is pretty strong although his legs are not quite straight yet.
We were not sure that the little doeling was going to make it for a while as she was weak and could not hang on to the teat on her own. She would not suck at a bottle so we ended up syringing Belle's rich colostrum into her every couple of hours until late yesterday. She is now nursing on her own and it seems like she's going to be ok.
Her name is Bluebelle.
Next up, probably Daisy from the looks of her.
We'll let you know how that goes, until then, be well friends!