We have two new additions to our little farm! Little kids for a little farm…how exciting! It has been interesting to observe the changes in Gert as the birth day got closer. Part of her training routine was to have her “mock milked” daily. Gert has never been milked by people before so she needed to get used to this. Over the past three weeks we have been slowly getting her used to the idea that it is good that we kneel beside her and fondle her teats as she gets treats. This was slow, but she has been steadily getting better. This has also helped us notice any changes in her physically. Because we didn’t know when she had been bred, seeing all these changes happen was very valuable. Last week she began to give milk, and last night her udder seemed very full, almost hard. This was a bit of a concern. We had read that if she had too much milk in her udder for too long that she could develop mastitis which is bad and painful for her. It also made us think that she may have her kids in the next 24 hours. If she didn’t then we would have to start milking her.
Luckily she did have her kids. They were born around 7:30 on February 23, 2011. So we are up two animals. There is a little girl and a little boy. So far so good. The little girl seems the stronger of the two. The little boy is far more reserved,but he still managed to get around. they have both had their first meal, which is also crucial to their health. We really DON’T want to have a bottle baby despite their cuteness.
Gert has given her first lot of colostrum for the freezer in case of emergencies. We do this in case it is ever needed. Colostrum, the first milk a mother gives, contains the mother’s antibodies and helps the baby’s immune system in the first 24 hours only. Getting the babies to drink is really important at this point.
We still don’t feel completely confident about the babies yet. We have learned that lesson after the piglets. Now that the birth has gone smoothly we have other hurdles to jump. First we need to make sure they are both eating, if that goes well then we have to make sure they don’t get scours (diarrhea). The little boy is a bit of a concern as he doesn’t seem to have eaten much since birth. We may be bottle feeding him a couple of times to make sure he has his strength. He gets the idea, but doesn’t seem to want to nurse. Our fingers are crossed!