Madelyne and Benjamin chose to come for a field trip on a VERY exciting day. Way more than exciting than any of us bargained for! But we were a good team! Today was all about Lenny. Lenny is a 5 year old Alpine goat that had just birthed two perfect kids the evening before. She had Quinn (a little dueling) and Quade (a baby buckling). They were wonderful. She was tired as all new moms are, but nursing and happy. This morning's field trip was supposed to be all about milking goats. But the morning took a drastic turn when we got to the barn!
When we walked into the barn, the first thing to do was to go say "Good morning!" to the new babies. At first glance, everything looked fine. But Madelyne noticed that the Quinn was eagerly nibbling at her Mom's face. She thought this was cute. Her little baby voice was so sweet! I thought it was a bit strange, but didn't really think much about it. Then, while we were watching all the cuteness, Lenny suddenly plopped her head in a very awkward posture against the barn wall. As we watched for a few more moments, we all decided that just didn't look right. I went to pet and move her head and it fell to the ground....just FLOPPY! No muscle support at all! I was instantly worried! Very worried!! She did rally her head up for another stressed few seconds, but she was definitely NOT well. We all left the barn and ran as fast as we could to go call the vet. I thought Lenny was dying!
After talking to the vet, he instantly diagnosed Milk Fever; a dangerously low calcium blood level. He was unavailable to come out instantly, but told me that I needed to get some calcium in her immediately. So, we all jumped in the van and drove to the vet as quickly as possible. We had to (very impatiently) wait outside and call the vet since this was the time of the Covid quarantine. It felt like it took FOREVER before he brought the medicine out. Finally we drove home as fast as we could (safely). Benjamin kept asking questions that I didn't know the answers to. He was mostly worried if this calcium would help her.
We got to the barn. We ran inside, all very nervous about what we would find. Madelyn and Benjamin were so worried that they stayed in the milking area while I went to check on Lenny. Lenny was in a coma! She was completely non-responsive. I actually thought she had passed away while we were out and I didn't know how I would tell Madelyn and Benjamin! Then I felt a heart beat!!! I quickly filled the syringe with 30ml of the calcium solution. The instructions were to give her four shots of 30ml in her four hip areas subcutaneously (just under the skin). I gave her one. Refilled. Two. Refilled. Three. Refilled. Finally at the 4th injection Lenny flinched! Then miraculously within 30 seconds she picked her head up........heard her very hungry babies' cries, stood up, and beckonned them to come nurse. AMAZING!!! Truly a miracle! I had never seen such an immediate response to anything like that before. Lenny looked so relieved! I called Benjamin and Madelyn to come in and see. They were so happy that everything was OK! We petted and watched for a while before deciding to go get an apple for Lenny. We cut up the apple and Lenny LOVED it! Yay!!! Things are going to be OK!
Ok.....so, now that the emergency was under control, I still had to get the others milked and fed. While I was running thru the chores quickly, Madelyn and Benjamin decided to play in the hay loft. They had a blast! BUT.....they also found out who has been naughty! We had noticed that someone has been breaking down the boards that block off the hay loft and getting into the hay...... Paisley! It's you!!! Busted! But you're oh, so cute!!! Gotta love a bit of sass and savvy, right? We all laughed! It was a great tension reliever!
With the milking chores done, it was time to check Lenny again and make sure these new kids are getting what they needed for their hungry bellies! They were so hungry and all new kids often benefit from a bit of assist in making sure they get everything figured out. So, we sat down and helped guide each kid to find the teats to nurse. They were so hungry that this was not hard for them. They quickly had everything figured out. Madelyn and Benjamin were super curious about all of that and I was happy to see a successful feeding. From now on, they'll manage just fine on their own.
Madelyn was the first to notice that Lenny was licking the baby butts while they nursed. Benjamin thought this was gross! And although Lenny gave this her best effort, she was still so exhausted that she wasn't really doing a great job. I explained to Madelyn and Benjamin that usually the Momma goat does an amazing job of licking all the first pooh and pee of her kids. The very first pooh is black sticky meconium (just like human babies). The next pooh is a soft mustard looking poop. Then after that it starts to pellet like the big goats. This instinctively goes back to the days of living in the wild where the Moms don't want to leave any scent where her newborns lie. The mom goat will even eat the placenta usually. Very nutritious too!!
Finally, it was time to see if Lenny was ready for a bit of grain. She ate only a little, but anything is good at this point. She was really doing very amazing considering..... All in all an amazing day! I think that Madelyn and Benjamin learned a lot! I sure did! We have never experienced Milk Fever here on the farm before, so now I know what to watch for. I also realized just how important it is to be nutritionally balanced. I had no idea that calcium had such an important role in body functioning! Our friend and neighbor who is a doctor told us that it's no different in human bodies. Calcium is what
controls all muscle contractions. That is why Lenny was basically comatose. Her heart muscle would have been the last to go. I am so very grateful to experienced and educated people who know their job! The local vet literally saved Lenny's life thru a quick diagnosis!!! He further recommended a liquid oral drench of calcium for a couple of days after. Lenny HATED it, but we got it down.
Whew! What an adventure!!!! But all are happy and healthy in the end. Thanks Madelyn and Benjamin for your moral support! I couldn't have done it without you! I hope you had a really great field trip!!!