Duchess’s 2021 kidding (AKA The 2021 Kidding Season Finale)

We ALMOST pitched a perfect game, and by that I mean 100% live births/healthy kids and mamas. I couldn’t believe we had skated this far into kidding season without any mishaps or tragedies, so I ALMOST expected one from Duchess. Duchess had an uneventful pregnancy and on the 149th day after her breeding to NightHawk, I noticed she was streaming clear discharge. It was 7:30 in the morning and I was a little anxious about it because I was scheduled to get my second COVID vaccine at 11:30, and figured she would be getting ready to kid around then. Luckily, our guest house tenant, Sandy was happy to babysit Duchess while I was gone. Sandy has been my right hand for the majority of my kiddings this season; I knew I could count on her to get kids dried off if necessary.

When I returned home, Duchess was contracting regularly but didn’t seem any closer to kidding. I grabbed some lunch and did some home-learning with my son. By 2:30, I was concerned by Duchess’s lack of progress, so I check her cervix and found her to be only partially dilated; I could not identify the fetal parts through the cervix. More alarmingly, I noticed my glove had a mauve-colored discharge that I associate with dead tissue and stillbirths from my Labor and Delivery days. I decided to act aggressively and stretch her cervix over the next few contractions. I still was having a hard time identifying what I was feeling, but managed to pull a leg forward and identify it as a foreleg. I felt around and pulled the second foreleg forward. At that point, it was clear that the head was turned to the left, and what I had been feeling was the neck. I tried and failed several times to pull the head forward and down, but it kept springing back, and the left leg kept tucking back. Duchess was contracting strongly around my hand, and with each contraction, legs from the other kids were getting pushed in the way. It was stressful, but Duchess was handling it like a pro (also being comforted by Sandy). Finally, I was able to sweep the head around and keep it in place through a contraction long enough to get the kid out. Unfortunately, she was dead, and appeared to have died a couple days ago. One of her teeth was loose, her hair pulled out easily, and her eyes were severely sunken. Otherwise, she looked well-developed and pretty. She was black, moonspotted and 3.8lbs.

At this point I was anxious to get the next kid in case it was stressed from labor, or compromised by the dead sibling. I reached in and pulled out a buckling by his hind legs, followed by a doeling (also breech). Thankfully, these 2 kids were alive and vigorous. Within minutes, they were up looking for food. The boy weighs 5.2lbs, and the girl weighs 4.14lbs. I will be monitoring Duchess for fever over the next few days, but for now, she is doing quite well and seems very happy with her 2 healthy (mini me) kids. These 2 kids are reserved. Duchess will be available for purchase after weaning the kids, and is expected to earn her *P this spring.

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