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  • Writer's pictureConstance Wilmoth

Silver Lining......

Last week was one of the most difficult that we have encountered in a very long time. It all started off late Sunday evening. We got home from our weekend of shows at WPDGA, which is exhausting in itself . We ran the raffle table, the show, showed ourselves, and cleaned up the fairgrounds and all of the pens. Mind you we are a very small group of volunteers that put that show on, about seven people total to facilitate the entire event. After arriving home and cleaning up our trailer and getting ready to wrap up for the week I got a call that would forever change the course of the evening. It was from our lovely WPDGA treasurer, who had attended the show and helped all weekend even though she had a doe due Saturday!

Her doe Pony had started kidding earlier in the afternoon, at this time it was 8:30, and had made progress where one leg was out, but the rest of the kid was not coming. I tried for about ten minutes to walk her and her daughter through what to do over the phone, and it quickly became apparent that they were not able to make any progress. So my wonderful husband who had brought me my phone while I was out in the chicken coop grabbed my kidding kit and threw it in the car, I immediately hopped in and sped towards the kidding, a good 45 minutes away. The whole time I kept them on the phone trying to coach them through the situation, after about 30 minutes of trying to reposition the kid, I told them to give Pony a break and I would be there soon enough.

I arrived in their driveway sometime after 9 PM and raced to the barn. I opened my kidding kit, gloved up, lubed up and went in to investigate the situation. The kid had one leg bent under and back, so as soon as I was able to locate the other leg I was able to pull the kid, and miraculously it was a live doe kid!!! I went back in to find the next kid readily available, and in the proper position, so only a few minutes after the first doe kid was born I was successfully able to pull another live silver doe kid! After talking with the owner, this doe has historically had quads, so I went back in to look for another kid, and found one, further back in the birth canal. I felt as soon as I encountered this kid that something was not right. Its head was down and tucked under its chest, so I worked for what felt like an eternity, but was likely no more than 10-15 minutes to pull this kid up and get it out. Sadly this little chocolate buckling was not alive when he was born. Then just to be sure I went in to check to see if there were more kids, and I could not find any, so we moved onto after care.

By this time the doe had been through a lot and was shaking, so we got her tums for calcium, and a molasses water drink along with some grain. We also used a hay bale to help prop her up and keep her sternal, because she was absolutely and utterly exhausted. We were also able to find her some meloxicam, which is for pain to help make her more comfortable. From there we moved onto processing the dry kids. We clipped and dipped both of their navels, gave them colostrum replacer supplement and selenium and Vitamin E paste. By this time the kids were hungry and actively looking for milk. So we tried for over an hour to get them to latch, but they were a little slow to catch on and Pony very exhausted, so she was only able to stand for short stretches to let them try. So we resorted to milking the doe into a small bottle and syringe feeding the babies, some colostrum. By this time it was after midnight and I was exhausted myself, so I wished Pony and the kids the best of luck along with her owners and headed home for a silent drive.

This was a very difficult experience for me, not only were the kids out of my buck Turbo, but the doe is half sisters to my doe Moots, who had been struggling for over a week at that point. We had the vet out the previous Tuesday to see her, as I had watched her collapse on more than one occasion. We made some changes to our management, and began trying to treat her differently which seemed to work for a few days, but come Thursday she had completely stopped eating, even her favorite, bananas, and was not drinking. We were trying everything we knew to do, pain medication, blood work, drenching her with formula and banana smoothies. Drenching her with water, power punch and giving her probiotics, but nothing was working. Each morning as I went out into the barn I was afraid I was going to find her dead. I knew if things did not change we were going to have to make the incredibly difficult decision to put her down. So when I was delivering her nieces and her daughter MJ's 3/4 sisters, same buck and the does are half sisters, it was absolutely bitter sweet. Here I was bringing more of her relatives into the world as her life was slowly slipping away from her despite our best efforts.

We made the decision Monday if nothing had changed we would call the vet to come to put Moots down sometime last week. Thankfully, my husband arranged everything, as I could not talk without breaking down into tears. The vet was able to fit us in Tuesday, because I was adamant I wanted her to be put to rest on as much of her terms as possible, in her comfort zone at her home. When we found out the vet was coming Tuesday, we spent all of Monday night sitting in the grass with her, loving on her and telling her how much of an impact she had on our farm and our lives. As Tuesday rolled around we spent the entire day with her, in the barn and out in the yard, letting her wander wherever she wanted to go. When the vet arrived she explained to us what she was going to do and was extremely compassionate, kind, quick and very skilled. Moot's transition from this life to the next was as peaceful as we could have ever asked for. After she was gone I laid in the grass with her, petting her, and telling her how much she would be missed. We chose to have her cremated, because I could not stand the thought of leaving her if we ever moved, so about a half hour after the vet left the funeral home came to get her, we wrapped her in a blanket and kissed her for the last time. Again they handled her with compassion and love.

Rob and I took a trip yesterday to go pick up her ashes, and it is so good to have her back home with us. We have her on a shelf in our living room with her collar, and her best in show ribbon she won as a yearling. That was the very first best in show I was ever awarded, was with her and we plan to print pictures out and frame them around her to ensure her memory lives on forever.

As I sit here crying writing this, I just think about the impact moots had on my life, my farm and my heart, it is her face that is the shilloute of my logo. I display her at every show, wear her face on my show shirts and she is on every package of fudge that I make. She will forever be missed and will never be forgotten.

I hope you all had a much less eventful week last week than I did and that your herds are all doing well. Take care and happy goating.

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