Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Orthodics for a baby goat
It's been a tough day and a half but I think little April is almost out of the woods. She still has a long way to go in terms of walking on her own- but this afternoon she was out moving in the grass with her mom and brother Stormy. She's not bucking and kicking... but she can shuffle around.

Yesterday afternoon I took her down to the Vet for a vitamin powerboost injection and to get an honest opinion from the vet if she might make it or if she had a crippling birth defect. He called her "spraddle legged" and thought she would be fine with a little extra help- so we are going to give it our best shot. He suggested that some people tie the legs together to help them get balance and control.

When we got home I threw together a stanchion with some old fenceposts so I would be able to help the baby get to the teat without getting boxed in the ear and without May circling and stomping on us all. So now this LC is working with a teat target that only moves about 4 inches forward and back. April still seems to have a good suck reflex and a strong will to live.

The first try at tying Aprils leg's together went pretty well- I padded her legs with paper towel and then wrapped the cuff with duct tape and then tied a length of yarn around. The padding and tape should prevent the yarn from cutting into her skin and the cuffs can turn a bit as she shuffles. It looked great at first and it gave her lots of stability to stand- but when she fell down her knees flipped outward till they faced backwards (as if she had no shoulderblades at all!) This is illustrated in one of the pictures. I realized that she would need a second string to keep her knees together. Now with the double support she can stand, lay down and shuffle around. She can kneel down to nurse without sinking down to her sternum.

I was up several times during the night to make sure April keeps her strength up and then I came in to my own little nursling who was fussing as we are all coming down with a cold. Today I was exhausted and along with the physical misery of this cold I was starting to have feelings of despair creeping in because we had one bad nursing session with April who seemed to have lost her will or ability to suck. Finally this afternoon April had another good nurse at the stanchion and then afterwards I got to see her really moving around on her own and I realize that it's possible that the bad session may have simply been lack of hunger! Maybe she had already nursed on her own! Let's hope!

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