It has been COLD these last few months. Not just the normal chilly weather we come to expect in December and January, but freezing!
With temperatures so low, I tend to fret about the new babies, although with fur and feathers, they are much warmer than I am.
First, our gringa (naked neck) chicken hatched a brood of 4.
Then Caramela the Sheep had a little lamb we named Christmas. We think she was a little early because of her size, but Caramela had slipped off a rock and went into labor, so now Fuzzy, Oreo and Cookie have another little playmate.
Next Caramela the Goat had a baby. My husband was disappointed. She was an only child, though her mother had been a twin, and she was white, no distinctive markings at all. We named her Snowy.
Then our gallina de pelea (fighting hen–the breed of chicken most often used in cockfights in our area) hatched a brood of 10 chicks. Some are yellow, some are black and some look like little penguins. This particular breed isn’t known for its nesting or mothering instincts, but she seems to be doing pretty well so far. She picked a dense vegetative area up off the ground that gets full sun in the afternoon to have her chicks. I told my husband he needs to make a ramp because, in a few days, the chicks will figure out how to get down, but won’t be able to get back up. He said he’d work on that.
Then disaster struck. Last week, La Blanca, our white goat seemed to be in labor. After several hours, the labor stopped and we thought perhaps it was a false alarm or like Braxton Hicks contractions or something. A few days later, I came home from work and my husband said that her water had broken several hours earlier. This raised some red flags. She ought to have given birth soon after. She hadn’t. She labored on and off throughout the night. I didn’t hold out much hope for the baby by morning.
Once it was light enough to see, my husband gave her a check-up. She hollered in pain when he touched her tailbone. Further examination showed the baby’s head actually in the birth canal. Extraordinary measures were taken, I won’t get into that, it was horrific. Neighbors were called in to advise. Finally, the decision was made to end La Blanca’s suffering.
The baby was removed and examined. The uterus had detached and strangled the kid as well as preventing the mother from expelling it from her body. We’ve had birth complications before, but nothing like this from the 100 or so kids, lambs, and foals born here.
My husband was despondent. There was nothing that could have been done, but he feels responsible for the animals under his care. It’s really set him against goats, although I’ve pointed out that over the years, we’ve had more problems with sheep births than goats. Then again, someone has a young female Boer goat for sale that he’s interested in taking a look at it, so you never can tell.