May’s 2019 Kidding

This is a tough one to write. Sometimes we have bad outcomes and we second-guess ourselves, but the reality is that these things happen and the best thing to do is to try to learn from them.

On the evening of March 15th (beware the ides of March, indeed), I examined May closely. She still had ligaments and her udder wasn’t noticeably different from the day before. I made the regrettable choice to leave her with her herd for the rest of the night. While cold, the weather would not be bitter and the sky would stay clear. I did not want to stress her unnecessarily by separating her prematurely. She was 150 days. I had been sure she would deliver earlier in the week during a blizzard that would wind up breaking several records.

The following morning, I checked on May and noticed that her udder was much larger. I was excited because I knew kidding would be soon. I inspected her rear end and my heart sank when I noticed a smear of blood. I quickly checked inside the polydome and found a large dead buckling. No attempt had been made to clean or dry him. There was no placenta and May’s U/S showed twins, so I “bumped” her belly to check for more kids. I did not feel any. I suspect she ate the placenta. I brought May into the kidding stall to give her some rest, grain, and molasses water.

In hindsight, I suspect the kid was not born alive. May is historically a good mother, with 4 successful deliveries behind her. For her to not clean off the baby at all is a sign that either something was very wrong with him or he was already dead. She does not appear to be “looking” for or missing him today. My theory at this point is that our record-breaking blizzard was just stressful enough for May to lose the baby.

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