I didn't think this story would get written. I don't like to write sad stories and I didn't think this was gonna end well....
Ten days ago Miss Ivy had her babies. Twin girls that came just a bit earlier than expected. Sadly, one baby did not make it. I don't think she even took a breath. But one tiny, precious thing was alive. She was the oddest color for a goat. In the sunshine she almost looked pink with a black stripe down her back. Immediately I knew her name was "Tulip".
|Tulip's first hour of life.|
I reached out to a network of Farmgirls for advice and information. I also read on the internet about "goiters" in goats and how they are caused by the mom not getting enough iodine. It said the Boer breed is particularly susceptible to being iodine deficient and Tulip's daddy is a Boer goat. The prognosis was not good. But I am a "never say die" kinda girl. While I know that losing animals is a part of ranching, I refuse to just accept that. I'm stubborn and I hate it when any kind of critter in my care dies.
So I tucked tiny Tulip into my lap on my 4-wheeler and led her momma across the farm to a warmer place in my main barn. Then I fashioned a make-do goat pen inside the feed room, moved the feed to a safe spot, bedded it deep with straw and hung a heat lamp from the rafters. I used two different ropes to secure the heat lamp because hate those things and the risk of fire associated with them. But they are a necessary evil. After getting the heat lamp to just the right height, I grabbed a 5 gallon bucket for a chair and sat with tiny Tulip on my lap, soaking up the heat. After an hour or two, I milked some colostrum from Ivy and fed Tulip, one drop at a time from a syringe. She still had no desire to suck and would not even try a bottle. The swollen thyroid gland made it difficult for her to swallow. I wanted to cry....
Finally, late that night she had an almost normal body temperature so I tucked her into the straw, said a silent prayer and left her and Ivy to themselves. I really didn't think she'd last the night, but to my surprise she was still hanging in there in the morning. She ate a bit more from the syringe, protested the iodized salt I mixed into the colostrum, forgave me when I rubbed molasses on her gums.... the day went by and she was still here.
On day three she started to come to life! She even gave a few half hearted sucks on a bottle! More syringe feeding, lots of time under the heat lamp but she was ok.
Day four she finally nursed on her own!! Just a little bit, but she did it. She started with just tiny sips and still needed the syringe but she was getting stronger and her swollen thyroid was shrinking! I started to allow myself to have hope that she'd live. I finally allowed my little boys to see her and pet her. Up to that point I hadn't because I didn't want their hearts to break when she died. She did start to develop a slight fever and raspy breath sounds so I began an antibiotic treatment right away.
Today, I am pleased to tell you that after 4 days of doubt, 5 days of antibiotics and Prairie Granny and I watching her like a hawk, Tulip is thriving!
Her swollen thyroid continues to shrink. The pneumonia symptoms are completely gone and she is a happy little goat!
There is nothing cuter than a happy, baby goat! I think they are even cuter than puppies!
I'm kinda glad I'm stubborn.... and I'm really glad Tulip is too. Stubborn enough to live against the odds.
Bye for now,