We have had several births this year, our first full year of raising goats. We have a post about preparing for kidding, but we were hoping we were truly prepared. While our first two mommas gave birth during the night, the last one was a mid day affair, and it turned out to be a very good thing!
Sashimi, on the left in labor, is being attended to by her mom and her sister. It was very cool to see how they wanted to keep an eye on her and seemed to be encouraging her in the process. At this point in the deliver, I was not too worried, and feeling pretty relaxed about being a labor and delivery nurse for a goat.
When the baby started to come out, we (my bride – Mrs. Blue Barnyard) realized there was a problem. She said the head and hoof were not lined up correctly and she needed to “go in” and fix things. Ok – so now I am not feeling so good about the whole goat nurse thing. I was convinced that nature was cool and would handle it, but she said it was time to glove up and help her out! I held the goat and kept saying nice soothing things to her to calm her down, at least that was my intent.
After the intervention, things went smoothly and a little beauty was born. Momma took care of her and it was pretty amazing to witness. Later, after speaking with our vet and describing the process, he confirmed that if Jess had not intervened, we would have likely lost the mom and both of her twin babies. I was quite proud of all the research and the cool calm and collected way she handled this.
This photo shows our youngest girl, her new momma and her grandma, all in one picture. It is so neat to see them all care for each other!
Adrienne was the assistant nurse with me, and was helping care for the babies through the process.
We know that our goats are pregnant thanks to the presence of a buck in their pen for the last six months. We had the vet out and he suggested that we save our money and not do the ultrasound test since we could see by the visibly growing bellies that they appeared pregnant. The Vet laughed and said that we could pretty well guarantee a happy kidding season in our future since we choose to pasture them together. So without knowing an exact due date we proceeded to prepare for kidding season.
- Jim built beautiful stalls within a larger pen inside the barn as a start. A place where we could house everyone away from the elements was very important to me. I picked out several lovely designs from Pinterest for him to see where I was gathering inspiration. Husbands love it when we do that don’t they? Pens, gates, and kidding stalls were what I was seeking ideas for.
- After that was completed a secondary pen was built using our 10 by 10 dog kennel panels on the far side of our barn. It worked out nicely that we could take down a previously used turkey pen and assemble the panels for the goats with a section saved for our roosters. This was done with shelters and large spools within the enclosure for our buck to be separated from the Mamas. He now lives there full-time with a doe we borrowed from another farm as company. It wouldn’t be fair to leave him out there all alone.
- The official “Kidding Kit” was put together and placed near the inside pen in a tupperware container to keep everything clean. There are plenty of clean towels, a trashbag and contents for the kit inside. We left the lubricant and Betadine in the house so they wouldn’t be overly cold when they were needed.
- Many books on goats – both dairy and meat goats were read. Each author adds details sharing how to prepare for the impending birth of your goat kids. They provide diagrams, photos and lists to help the novice learn. A few of my favorites are: Storey’s Guide to Raising Dairy Goats, The Meat Goat Handbook and also many websites for goat health.
- I reviewed our paperwork ensuring that all the does and buck have the appropriate certifications to make selling and showing the kids to be a smooth process. We had our American Goat Society certifications and paperwork in hand. Throughout the investigative process I realized that it would behoove us to seek dual certification through the American Dairy Goat Association. The reason for this was the number of shows on the East Coast that I found for non-members of ADGS were smaller. Nigerian Dwarf Goats are a great milking breed so shows to share that and attempt to win awards only betters our farm reputation.
- Identitfy genetics and pedigree of our animals. Now normally I would say that this is something you should consider prior to buying your animals. We did this backwards so Jim and I began a family tree to show the pedigree of our goats. There were many templates and information found using google, however Jim ended up using PowerPoint as he is comfortable with the program and it is free. Many of the Pedigree sites had a fee. Using ADGA was interesting as I could look up the relatives of the goats we own! Through the process and reaching out to the breeders of our goats, we found out that there are champions in the pedigree so hooray for us, we lucked out.
- Physical observation – Now this comes as no surprise that observing the normal behaviors of your goats is important; touching them regularly to keep an eye on the health and wellness. For example – now that we are nearing the time of birth, it is evident that the girls go from sitting to standing, rubbing their sides on the pen walls and exhibit opposite traits than previously observed. Raindrop runs away from me where she used to be the first to greet. Whereas Sushi comes to me, practically sitting in my lap where she used to be more standoffish. Much of the symptoms of labor have been noted in this article by Fiasco Farm. https://www.pinterest.com/pin/175781191678818226/