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Monday, March 17, 2014

State of the Homestead

Lucy's baby girl
It all started with a bunny foundling...and ended with baby goats.

I don't even know what day it is (this happens when you get very little sleep) but I'll try to run down what's happened in the last few days.

Thursday morning I went out to feed animals with Nana riding shotgun in the golf cart. As I made my turn, she jumped out to investigate something in the brush. When she didn't return I had to find out why. I go over there and she has this sopping wet pile of fur in her mouth. I make her give it to me and it turns out to be a wild baby rabbit.

Bad Nana!

I feared for the baby's life so I took it in determined to nurse him back to health. My internet search said that domesticated orphans can drink kitten replacement milk, but wild bunnies should only drink goat's milk. Lucky me. I happened to have two goats with udders full of milk.

I make him a nice warm bed and go off to finish my chores and get a teaspoon of milk from one of the goats.

That's when I found Heidi going into labor. I led her to the birthing stall and gathered my supplies. Hard labor lasted two hours but that kid wouldn't budge. I slathered Heidi in KY jelly. In the next contraction the head finally pushed out.

Seconds later, the rest of the baby came out. Whew!

video


I barely had time to clean him off when I started hearing a grunting noise in the outside pen. Now Lucy was in labor! No time to get her in the shed. She was having her baby NOW. 

Lucy was amazing! That birth was pure textbook delivery. The first baby barely wobbled on its legs when the second one decided to come out.

Meanwhile, Heidi was not doing well. I scoured the internet and contacted my experts on the goat forum. A shot of penicillin and Vitamin B and she started to feel better. But baby had not improved. 

I trust my gut when it comes to animals. That newborn just wasn't right. He  should've lifted his head and followed his mama but he didn't. That could mean one of two things. If it was a selenium deficiency his muscle tone would be impaired, but the other prognosis floored me.

He was blind. 

My friends on the goat forum assured me that it was possible it could be temporary if it was caused by trauma in the delivery. In the meantime, I have to help him nurse every couple of hours. He's maintaining but still not as active as his cousins.

By the time this post airs I'll be at a vet's office to see if they can sell me a drug I couldn't get elsewhere. It's next to impossible to find a vet who treats goats, but I'm going to try the equine vet down the road.

Da Dogs: Tank has been having a bad few weeks. He's lived far longer than we expected, but some days aren't as good as others. It breaks my heart when he's not feeling well. I am not going to take his death well.

Me: I'd been sick for a while, recovered, got sick again, recovered.... I'm well now, but in dire need of a good night's sleep. I've been on call around the clock with the goats since Thursday.

Orphan Bunny: More web surfing informed me that wild baby bunnies are often left alone almost all day by the mother. She only comes back to feed them at night. I waited until dusk to return him to his nest. When I did, one of his litter mates made a run for it. Good thing Nana wasn't with me. 

I also learned that it's a myth that a mother will reject a bunny if it has human scent. I feel relatively secure that the bunny will be fine--as long as he stays out of Nana-radar.

The Homestead/Casa South: On top of everything else, my main water line leading to the animal pens blew out. There was water EVERYWHERE. So now I'm hauling water to everyone.

Casa South should've been put on the market by now, but we've had endless delays. I need to be at both places at once. I am way past stressed about the other house. It haunts me even in my sleep.

The Husband: And where was hubby when disaster after disaster kept crashing down on my head? Not here, that's where. I'm resourceful, but sometimes what you really need is another pair of hands. Try giving an injection to a goat who doesn't like needles.

Despite all my woes, lots of things went right. We had good weather when the girls went into labor. The bunny returned to his mates. Lucy has two healthy babies (1 girl and 1 boy). Tank still gives me kisses every time he sees me. And although I'm exhausted, I survived all by myself.

Believe it or not, this was only the tip of the iceberg when it came to crises. If I listed any more I'd have to break down and start crying. It's been a bad few weeks.

Hopefully Greg will be back next week. I could use a break.


46 comments:

Angela Brown said...

I'm glad the whole homestead is surviving so far. I must admit, I was tired and ready to take a nap after reading this. I hope you can get some much needed rest soon. That can help maintain your recovery.

Hugs to Tank and the whole house!!!

Darke Conteur said...

You've had quite the week! I hope things look up for you!

Mike Keyton said...

Come to Monmouth (voted third top town in Great Britain.) for a break. No goats. No bunnies - well at least not on the Keyton homestead. That video was magic. Keep well

Diane Carlisle said...

Wow, you certainly are the trooper! Congrats on the babies. How is the blind one coming along? Any improvements? :(

Stacy McKitrick said...

Wow! You have been busy. Hope you get a chance for that sleep soon. You've definitely earned it!

R. Mac Wheeler said...

Call it an exciting life

Not stress.

Maria Zannini said...

Angela: I would LOVE to take a nap right now.

It'll be easier in a few days when Greg gets back. I won't have to carry the whole load by myself.

Maria Zannini said...

Darke: As long as Tank is hanging on, I'll be fine. He seems perky this morning so I feel much better today.

His decline has depressed me terribly.

Maria Zannini said...

Mike: I couldn't believe the girls gifted me with having their babies in daylight and in warm temperatures. I wasn't looking forward to a midnight vigil.

Nonetheless, I was prepared if I had to spend the night in their shed.

Maria Zannini said...

Diane: The blind baby is actually doing a little better. I've been helping him nurse regularly and massaging his spine to bring back circulation.

I'm told the traumatized spine is what causes the blindness.

I might not see real improvement for up to a month so I'll keep going out there to make sure he's safe and fed.

Maria Zannini said...

Stacy: I wouldn't turn down an offer to have someone goat sit for a day while I get some rest. :)

Maria Zannini said...

Mac: Nope. It's stress. If it was exciting, I'd be having fun. LOL.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Feeling for you and Tank. The babies are adorable. Hopefully you'll get healthy, the weather warmer and everything will start looking better.

Maria Zannini said...

Susan: It's kind of ironic. I'm dealing with the end of life and the beginning of life and I feel I have to be with both of them. I'm so torn at times.

marlenedotterer said...

One step in front of the other. That's all you have to manage - one step at a time. I hope your days start to come together. I hope you get some sleep. This will be a time of your life you'll look back on with awe. And it will be such a relief to be able to look back!

Shirley Wells said...

Good grief, i'm exhausted just reading about life on the homestead right now.

Sending huge hugs to you and Tank.

Sarah Ahiers said...

ugh, it has been a rough few weeks for you.
But we're sending tank and heidi's kid all our love and kisses.

Anna Soliveres said...

Oh my goodness, Lucy's little one is so adorable! It's tough to watch the birthing, but I certainly appreciate what a miracle it is. Sounds like you've had quite an adventure as of late. Keep your spirits up and take as much rest as you can in between the hiccups. :(

Cheers,
Anna

Anne Gallagher said...

I'm saying prayers all the babies do well, and the octegenarians do well also. I'm also praying you get a goat sitter and can take a nap, or even get a good night's sleep. If I was there I'd help. But I can't be so I'm sending prayers. I hope they help.

Maria Zannini said...

Marlene: I could've used you during the delivery! LOL. I was on the fence on when or whether to intervene. I didn't want Heidi exhausting herself to death.

Maria Zannini said...

Shirley: Tank accepts all hugs and kisses. Thanks, hon.

Maria Zannini said...

Sarah: The blind baby is doing a tiny bit better today, but Tank is only holding. He's had bad episodes before so I'm hoping it'll pass.

Maria Zannini said...

Anna: I was sorry that Heidi went first. She was inexperienced and so was I. But it made me glad that Lucy's deliveries were uneventful.

Maria Zannini said...

Anne: All prayers gladly accepted, especially for poor old Tank. Thanks, Anne.

Shelley Munro said...

Maria - I was tired reading all that. I hope your hubby arrives home soon and you're able to get some much needed rest. The kids are so cute. Give Tank a cuddle from me, and I'm sending you a hug too.

Jennifer Shirk said...

Holy smokes! You're like Dr. Quinn medicine woman for animals. Amazing!

Jenny Schwartz said...

Nana is such a good girl, letting you rescue the baby rabbit from her.

Life sounds chaotically busy for you. Ah, the joys of spring :)

Marian Perera said...

Tank sounds like a trooper. Must take after his mom that way - just hearing the story of the goats' deliveries was enough for me. Best to you and the babies, especially the blind one. A relief to hear you won't be alone for much longer.

Mason Canyon said...

Wow, you have had a rough week. I caught myself holding my breath afraid of what was going to go wrong next. Hope things go better for you and the animals this week. Also, hope Tank is feeling better. I know it's tough on you, but it's good that you're enjoying every moment you can with him. Hope you get some rest.

James Garcia Jr. said...

Oh-Em-gee, my friend! I can't believe you do all of this stuff. There will be crowns in heaven for all the care you give your animals, especially when you are running on fumes. I would take vacation and come out and assist, but there's very big snakes, scorpions and the unexpected ghost sighting to consider. :)
Seriously, take care of yourself. It won't help anyone if you run yourself down. Best of luck with all of your animals.

-Jimmy

Rebekah Loper said...

Hope you get a chance to rest soon, and that the little one's blindness is temporary!

And I'm glad you don't have to nurse a baby bunny on top of all that, too.

Maria Zannini said...

Shelley: :o) I could use that hug!
I'm grateful at least the days are warm so I don't have to tend them in the cold and they don't have to stay cooped up.

Maria Zannini said...

Jennifer:

Re: Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman
LOL! That's the funniest thing I've heard all week! I'll have to remember that.

Maria Zannini said...

Jenny: Nana would've been a better girl if she hadn't caught it.

I was afraid she might've broken bones or bit down, but no, she just slobbered on it, thank God.

Maria Zannini said...

Marian: Tank is very patient and stoic. He's so forgiving of little hurts especially if there's a cookie involved.

And there's always a cookie involved. :) He's a good boy.

Maria Zannini said...

Mason: It's been a very strenuous week. I'm starting to see some calm ahead so I hope that was the height of my disasters after several weeks of mounting troubles.

Re: Tank
I know you understand what I'm going through all too well. We do cherish every moment with him. When we can, we take him for car rides or walks by himself so no one can jostle his old bones.

Maria Zannini said...

Jimmy: LOL. I will settle for a nice mattress that won't hurt my back in Heaven. --and all my dogs, of course.

It wouldn't be heaven if my dogs (and one cat) weren't there.

Maria Zannini said...

Rebekah: I think of everyone that baby bunny made out the best. :)

The blind baby is stronger, but he's not seeing any better. My goat experts say it takes time, but I was hoping for more progress by now.

Cate Masters said...

I would NOT want to be a goat in labor! Thank goodness you did your homework. Poor little goat baby.
Yes, you need to rest up. Caregivers always forget to take care of themselves. Tell Greg to hurry up, lol

Maria Zannini said...

Cate: What made it hard on Heidi is that she only had one which meant it was bigger than the two Lucy had. That had to have hurt!

Barbara Ann Wright said...

Good grief! I hope to one day have your stamina. Congrats on the babies, I hope the blind one can pull through.

Maria Zannini said...

Barbara: I wish I had the stamina I used to have. :P

The blind baby is actually doing better, and a pound heavier than his cousins. (Probably because I encourage him to eat more.)

If we keep him I might have to call him Ray (after Ray Charles).

LD Masterson said...

I saw this post Monday on my phone and didn't view the video. That's amazing.

Maria Zannini said...

Linda: Looked painful to me. Tough mama.

raelynbarclay said...

Aw, sweetie, wow! Congrats on the babies. Cookies and kisses for Tank. ((Hugs)) and wishes for a nap or good night's sleep :)

Maria Zannini said...

Raelyn: Thanks, hon. I've been able to handle everything that was thrown at me, but I wish Tank would feel better.