This year I had two does due to kid on the same day. I would prefer does kid as close together as possible. Although it makes it a busier, more hectic time, it gets it all done with, AND if you are raising bottle kids they have friends to be with. As usual, although I had a due date in mind, once we get within 7 days I start to make extra checks on the gals. Usually just morning and evening check unless something seems off. I mainly use ligaments as a guide to when a doe will kid. Once you know where ligaments are it is a sure fire way to pinpoint kidding. Does cannot be without ligaments for more than 24 hours. It's crucial to their structure.
During evening chores on April 24 I felt for Lucy's ligaments. They were there, but softer and more sunken than previously. Her udder also looked a bit larger. I figured she wouldn't kid overnight, but tomorrow could definitely be the day. Lucy goes last on the stanchion in the morning, but she was hesitant to jump up, and when she did there were no ligaments to be found. I always really feel thoroughly. Some goats are fatter and therefore are harder to feel the ligaments on. There was nothing, her udder was quite firm, so it was official! Babies are coming!
I have probably been too involved in kiddings previously. Well, it really depends on the goat. Last year Lucy seemed to want some distance, and ended up kidding without anyone present. That is not a problem unless you plan to pull a kid. This year I knew pulling a doeling was something I planned to do, but I also wanted to give her space. I made the difficult, executive decision to leave, go back home, and give her some time to progress. I planned to go back at about noon, which ended up being perfect. When I got back, she was alone in the barn while everyone was out in the field. She was laying down, making some noises, and was quite gooey. That's always an exciting moment because you know it's happening soon!
She got up when I got there and I opened the kidding pen to see if she would be happy there. She was absolutely thrilled, and went right in. She displayed a lot of classic kidding symptoms. Laying down, standing up, re-positioning, pawing and making a nest. All normal and classic. I sat with her some, but didn't want to make her feel off or uncomfortable. I had brought a book, and went to the stanchion and just read. Within an hour or an hour and a half, she started making the noises. If you've been around a laboring goat, you know what I'm talking about! The screaming, grunting, groaning means we're down to pushing kids out.
I went and sat with her. I use puppy pads to place kids on and help dry them off. They are disposable and fairly absorbent. I do not really assist with kidding at all unless there seems to be a problem. The big thing to note here, is once pushing starts, a kid should be pushed out within 30 minutes. Any longer than that and there is some type of problem. Thankfully the kid presented perfectly, and slid out quickly. Lucy started cleaning it up, and the second one was born within a minute or two. There were two surprises, one, it seems as though Buddy was the sire, and secondly, they were both bucklings! I had so, so hoped for a Lucy/Buddy doeling! Next year?
Just like last year, Lucy is a wonderful, tentative mom. Along with that, her udder is exceptional, her production is wonderful, and she has a lovely disposition (only slightly sassy!). She cleaned and dried the kids quickly. The only issue I had was she nipped the umbilical cord on one boy so short he started bleeding quite a bit. I re-dipped it in iodine quite a few times, and also had to use blood stop powder and vet wrap to give it enough compression for the bleeding to stop. Lucy and the boys, named Starsky and Hutch, are doing great. They are beautiful!
Last weekend I just knew was "the weekend" for Juniper! She was large, slow, cranky...and, well...large...
I was checking on her 4 times a day, determined to be there for the birth. Our temperatures were below freezing, and I didn't want to risk kids dying or getting frostbitten. Monday at about 4:30 PM, she started having some goo, and acting uncomfortable. I put her in a kidding stall, and sat with her, hoping for things to progress. It was chilly enough in the kidding stall that I moved her to the hoop house. Having put the hoop house in the goat shed has been a HUGE help. It was the best place for labor and new babies. Draft free and secluded, perfect! I called my niece over, and we sat, talked, and watched Juniper until about 8:30 PM. During this time she was walking, sleeping, yawning, and had lots of goo. We saw lots of contractions, but that was it. I was fairly worried, Lucy had acted completely normal and had a baby by herself in about 2 and a half hours. Juniper was going on 5 hours and no signs labor was imminent. I decided to go home, and come back at midnight to do another check. My husband got off work and dropped by with doughnuts and coffee. Juniper also appreciated having a little nibble of our doughnuts! We left after about 30 minutes, and went home. We stayed awake until 3:30 AM, and went back to check on her. Juniper seemed to be having more regular contractions, but no pushing. I went back home and decided to come back at 6. I got to the farm at about 6:25, and heard Juniper yelling. I knew babies were here, or close to being here! I got into the hoop house and Juniper was pushing. At first I was concerned as I didn't know how long she had been pushing. It was soon clear that babies were on their way! As I think is common, she struggled pushing that very first kid out. It finally slid out, and I grabbed it, pulling the membrane away and starting to rub it. It was completely limp. I rubbed it's face, and swung it upside down, but there was no hint at life. Before I even had a moment to work more, another water bubble appeared. That one came out and I started clearing the membrane, wiping it's face and nose, and trying to get it as alert as possible. I hardly did anything to it when another bubble appear and out slid a little white kid. I repeated the cleaning process, while Juniper laid there. She was obviously exhausted, and to be honest not very responsive to the little baby cries. I am very glad I was there, because I got them fairly clean and drug them up to her face. She smelled them so intently, like she was completely unsure about what they were. But once she took one lick, she lost it! She started talking to them, and aggressively cleaning them up!
I went and got more towels, warm water, and a big pan full of grain and alfalfa for Juniper. I made sure everyone knew how to nurse, and that mom seemed to be caring for them, and headed home. I was hoping not to be unexpectedly pulled over on the way home. I had blood streaked hands and arms, and had to have looked a bit ragged. The kids seemed much smaller than Buckwheat, but have thrived very well. I think I may name them Peter and Piper, or even Dottie for the girl (due to her little black dot on her back!). So nothing offical yet.
Although Juniper was rough with Buckwheat at first, and although she is herd queen, she has taken to being a mother very well. Quite attentive, and when they cry she runs to them where ever they are! She is quite thin, now that she's kidded, but I'm hoping with extra feed, and spring coming she will fatten up. I was having to milk her, as the kids were only nursing on one side. That quickly escalated to her having udder edema/udder congestion on one side. It seems to be clearing up, and I hope it'll be gone soon. I'll end things with this cute picture...
This past Saturday something magical happened on the farm.
Something I've dreamt of since 2012.
Something I was skeptical would ever happen.
Our very first goat kid was born on the farm!
Friday morning I had a feeling kids were coming. I'm not totally sure why, but I just felt weird. I started checking her frequently, and as of about 3:30 AM, Lucy's udder was full and her ligaments gone, so I knew kids would be here soon! I hung around the farm all day, all the while Lucy acting fit as a fiddle. Eventually, my mom asked if I wanted to head to the thrift store and then grab lunch and I reluctantly said yes. I knew I'd probably miss something, but I was desperate for something to happen! By the time we were on our way back to the farm I knew I was missing something. I got my husband, got to the farm, and knew something was happening because Lucy wasn't at the gate to greet us. When we got to the goat barn, I walked around the hoop house and was immediately in shock! Not because there was a wet kid curled in a ball, but because it was a white kid! I figured it would look like Lucy, but instead he must have taken after his daddy.
For some reason, perhaps his light reddish brown coloring, I started calling him Buckwheat. He is thriving well, and Lucy is being an absolutely amazing mama. She is quite attentive and always has an eye on him. She has kept him warm, despite cold temperatures along with being well fed. In fact, that's one of the only issues we are having right now...
As you can see, Lucy is producing more than enough milk for the little booger! One side in particular, has been a bit more swollen as Buckwheat prefers one side more than the other. I've been milking out just enough to take the swelling out, but plan to start milking her out completely once a day. Hopefully that will keep her more comfortable and prevent any problems. Ironically, as excited as I was about milking I wasn't planning on doing it so soon! Thankfully milking hasn't been too difficult, and I've already decided to freeze what I do milk out to keep on hand for emergencies.
Yesterday was a nice enough we were able to go for our first big outing and spend a few hours outdoors. Buckwheat had an absolute blast and kept Lucy on her toes! He loves to just go bouncing off, and Lucy frantically tries to keep up. He wondered of to a few different places where Lucy couldn't see him and she started calling frantically, looking to me and pacing. So needless to say, he is ornery, she is attentive!
My name is Monica, I'm passionate about farming, food, and the humane treatment of livestock.