Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Turkey day

My turkeys arrived at the feed store today. I ordered 10 but ended up with 12. With our large family attitude, we just shrugged and said, "what's two more?" Notice the little hornlike thing on the end of this one's beak. This is to help him peck his way out of the egg. They shed these in the first day.We put them in a box with the red heat lamp, water, thermometer and a pie plate full of food. When they are put in the box, we dip their beaks in the water to teach them to drink. Then we teach them to eat, tapping the pie plate to encourage them to peck at it. The temperature needs to be approximately 95 F for the first few days. They will stay in here for the first couple of days to stay warm. Then I will move the set up somewhere bigger.

Weird effect.
Every year we have to remind the girls to stop playing with their food!

Monday, May 30, 2011

False labour

Goats can have false labour just like humans!

Yesterday I was supposed to drive Damon and another boy to a hockey game out of town, so I got up to get ready. At about 8:30, I went out to feed the goats, Daisy wasn't coming in for grain. This is a big deal. Daisy is usually jumping up on me trying to get the grain from the scoop. I found her out in the yard alternating between stretching her back out and arching it. Then she would lie down. I checked her tail ligaments and they had changed. These are classic symptoms of a goat in labour, and everything I've read has mentioned that once labour has begun, it is usually completed within 12 hours. I was concerned that maybe she was having a stillbirth or miscarriage, because she isn't due for another 4 weeks. And I still had some prenatal supplements, vaccines and dewormers to give her before the kids arrive. I could be off on her dates by about 10 days, but that would still be more than 2 weeks early, which is not good for a goat. Her udder is not ready either. I made Matt drive the hockey players so I could stay home and get the birthing room ready (something that I had tried to get done on Friday) and keep an eye on Daisy.

With help from the 4 youngest kids, we cleaned out the old meat bird coop. The kids moved out their bikes, the apple crates they had been using as furniture and their toys. I swept it all and Campbell shovelled. Then Campbell and I flooded the floor with bleach and water and squeegeed it until it was almost dry. Then we put fresh straw, hay and water bucket in. Then I repaired the door hinge that had been broken during the kids' build-a-rabbit-hutch-indoors-and-THEN-try-to-get-it-through-the-door experiment and I even trimmed the bottom from the door, so it could finally close properly.

In the meantime, Daisy was not herself at all. She was very sedate, she's normally a friendly troublemaker. Other than her behaviour, she did not appear to be in labour, so I started to wonder if there was something else wrong with her. The girls took turns walking her around the yard, just in case she was beginning to bloat. She slowly walked with them, continuing to alternate between arching and stretching. She also spent a lot of time with her head pressed against us or a wall. This went on from 8:30 until 3:30 when I had to go out. I looked on the internet and started reading a post about goat with similar symptoms, I followed the thread for many pages before realizing that a month elapsed between the first post and when the goat finally gave birth. Phew! Maybe she's just getting the babies into position. I called a friend to see what she thought, she advised that I take her temperature to see if it is illness, and if her temperature is normal, then to just assume that it could still take some time.

I worried about her while I was in town. Patrick checked on her when he got home at about 6 and said that she was standing in the birth room with her head pressed against the corner. When I got home at 8 pm, she was out in the little turkey yard, and climbed the fence when she saw my van pull in. She was behaving completely normally again. This morning, she isn't eating any hay, but she is otherwise normal. I feel like a pregnant woman sent home from the hospital after a bout of false labour. I don't know what to expect now!