Tiger Lily and the quints
Dear reader, I hope your weekend was as wonderful as mine. We had so many good things happen this weekend that I’m unsure where to start. Let me begin with the most exciting news. We made a quick trip out to Ohio on Saturday. When we returned, four of our does were in labor. There were three babies on the ground. All were up, cleaned off, moving about, and trying to nurse, which was wonderful. However, that was not the most exciting part.
Fauna, the daughter of Boo and our little sick goat’s twin, had delivered two beautiful, healthy babies. She delivered one beautiful little boy, who may become the new herd sire, and a tiny little girl who has tone-on-tone spots. When we got home, she was passing her afterbirth. The babies were up and nursing. Fauna is an attentive, loving mom. We were very relieved and thrilled her delivery went well, and she had taken to her little ones. We sprayed the baby’s belly buttons with an iodine solution and rushed to aid the next mama in labor.
We moved on to help Boo, who was in advanced stage labor. Boo delivered two little ones without incident. I was there to help catch the babies as they came out. I love baby season!. There is always a thrill and excitement and a bit of fear and anxiety when the girls deliver. I believe the warm temperatures made everything easier for everyone involved. Boo is an attentive, loving mother, and she had her little ones up and nursing within an hour of delivery. Boo is easily one of my favorite goats. She is intelligent, calm, and gentle, with just enough sass to make her a leader in the herd. Her babies are always sweet, personable, and beautiful milkers. The twins, Flora and Fauna, are Boo’s daughters. The Bibbed Wonder says if he could clone a goat, it would be Flora, but Fauna is a close second. There was a bit of confusion over what baby belonged to which mother when we arrived in the barn. Fauna was snuggling and licking three babies, but it was clear Tiger Lily had given birth to one of the three babies. After a bit of trying each baby with Tiger Lily, we deciphered which little one belonged to her. It was a bit confusing.
Tiger Lily appeared to be aloof and irritated with her little one. She left it standing alone, so we moved her into a quiet stall away from the herd. We hoped this would help her bond with her little one, and initially, we were a bit annoyed with her behavior. We had a surprise and an education waiting for us.
I was confident she was going to have one baby and be done. On the other hand, Eric felt she had one more baby coming. It had been more than an hour since we arrived in the barn, and still, there was no second baby. I was growing concerned, so The Bibbed Wonder gave her a shot of Oxytocin to move her contractions along. Move her contractions along it did. Soon, baby number two was making his debut into the world. We no sooner had baby number two cleaned off than baby number three arrived. We felt confident she was done. Tiger Lily began pushing again as we fussed over the babies, cleaned airways, sprayed belly buttons, and dried off soft fur. Naively, we thought she was passing her afterbirth until we realized hooves were coming out again.
We scrambled for clean towels, and when she pushed, I helped guide the baby out, hopefully making it easier for Tiger Lily. Have I mentioned how much I love baby season? We were in awe she had four babies inside her. She did not appear to be exceptionally large. When Mama Boo delivered quads, she was the size of a small house. Tiger Lily looked pregnant but not unusually big. As The Bibbed Wonder lamented over the size of the goat population and the lack of effectiveness in taking six goats to the auction, a giant water bubble came out of Tiger Lily. Confident this would be the afterbirth, we anticipated a huge discharge. Again, the discharge had hooves! We were flabbergasted! A doe having five babies is not typical at all. We experienced one quad birth a few years ago, but five is a record for our farm.
Tiger Lily gave birth to five healthy, normal-sized babies. There are two boys and three girls. They have beautiful markings and are all well-formed and healthy. It was very exciting. Once she had finally passed her afterbirth, she became a loving and attentive mom. There was no more aloofness or distancing herself from her babies. She was gentle and accommodating when they began to nurse. Our fears of her rejecting them were assuaged—however, reality set in for us. If not impossible for Tiger Lily to adequately feed five babies, it would be difficult. She is a very strong milk producer, but five growing babies will be a real stressor on her body. We made the decision to try to graft the first baby onto Fauna. Fauna was licking the baby and allowing it to nurse when we arrived in the barn, so we were confident she would accept her. We quietly removed the little one and placed her with her adoptive mom. We breathed a huge sigh of relief that Fauna accepted her.
We quickly jumped into nursemaid mode and gave Tiger Lily a dose of propylene glycol, a big scoop of sweet feed, three quarts of Goat YMCP, which is electrolytes, vitamins, and a power aide for kidding does. We felt it was best to be proactive than reactive in Tiger Lily’s case. A mother goat can go into a state of ketosis with any number of kids. However, ketosis is almost certain when the mother’s body is pressed to produce milk for five kids. We learned this with Mama Boo and her quads. Tiger Lily did not enjoy the propylene glycol drench, but the extra serving of grain and sweet drink was appreciated.
We checked, double-checked, and triple-checked everyone before going to the house. Mama Boo was in the early stages of labor, but there was no discharge, and her tail ligaments were not completely relaxed. Eric felt we had until morning with Mama Boo. He, as usual, was correct. At 9:00 on Sunday morning, Mama Boo gave birth to two beautiful babies. She did a fantastic job. Anyone with what I call “The Boo lineage” is an excellent mother, a strong milk producer, and has a sweet, intelligent disposition. I love “The Boos.”
By the end of the weekend, eleven babies had been born safely with no harm to mama or kid. The Bean has a new herd of playmates and can’t be torn from the barn. Baby season is a thrilling time filled with a roller coaster ride of emotions. Tiger Lily’s quintuplets were a shocking but exciting surprise. Although my bib overall wearing buddy is shaking his head in wonder and displeasure over the massive increase in our goat population in just one day, I believe part of him is thrilled and excited as well.
I have conceded to the fact that not all my babies can stay here on the farm. I have also resolved that some of the adult goats must find new homes. It is easy to see how a herd can multiply and become out of hand when one experiences a kidding season such as this. The reality for us is that baby season is just beginning. Sigh. That’s going to be a lot of baby goats. However, I have braced myself for the fact that some will be sold. I have decided I will be selective with whom I bond and will try to view all others as lovely little visitors making a stop here for just a short amount of time.
For now, I am thankful for a healthy kidding season for my beloved girls. I am grateful for the experience of the babies and the learning process they bring. I am also appreciative that we get to experience this miracle of nature together as a family. Although tiring, it is an incredible and fun experience. If you would like to see the delivery of one of Tiger Lily’s quintuplets, check out our YouTube page. I will warn you, it is messy, but there is a beauty there that one doesn’t forget.
I am off to the barn to check on my babies. Getting any real work done will be a challenge with eleven adorable baby goats to snuggle and cuddle. Until tomorrow, dear reader, stay safe, be smart, check out the miracle of life on our YouTube channel, and of course, wash your hands.
Link to our YouTube page: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ogMcY9Xs_pc