This one is hard to write. I have been crying off and on all day. This morning, in 5-degree temps, I checked on my herd and noticed that Venus‘s udder was suddenly quite full and she had a smear of blood on her rear end. I had not been checking her ligaments because (by my notes), she was only 135 days past her breeding to Boreas. I began a search and it only took me a few minutes to find her two beautiful doelings in a nearby shelter. One was dead, and had been for several hours; the other was cold and weak. Both were dry and had dried umbilical cords – they had delivered in the middle of the night. Curiously, neither kid appeared premature. I suspect Venus had a false heat AFTER she was bred, although my notes only reflect her last breeding. This is rare, but can happen. The living baby’s temperature was only only 94 degrees, so I got her on heat and rubbed honey on her gums so she would have enough calories to raise her own temperature. Despite her critically low temp, she was making quite a bit of noise and attempting to stand, so I took that as a good sign. With close attention throughout the day, I was able to raise her temperature to 102 and reunite her with her mother. Venus took her back right away, but is unsure about nursing, so I have given the baby a couple syringe feedings and will be making frequent barn checks tonight. The loss of the second doeling has hit particularly hard in a season that has given us 2:1 ratio of bucks to does.
UPDATE: The baby needed to be re-warmed and bottle fed through the first night, but was able to successfully reunite with her dam the following day. Remarkably, they immediately recognized each other and began bonding. Venus began by sniffing and licking her all over and making maternal sounds at her. The baby was obviously relieved to be back with her mother. I had been worried because Venus is a first freshener, but her maternal instincts are strong; this is definitely a trait I love to see in my herd!