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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Kidding


The following post has detailed kidding pictures, so consider yourself warned. (o;
I'll start out with something comical. I like to call this series of 3 funny pics, the faces of goat labor. They may be a bit blurry because I might have been laughing while trying to capture them. I very likely made similar faces during childbirth, lol.
Lots of licking...

And teeth gritting...

And yawning...

Anyway, just as I suspected when I wrote this post, Raindrop did indeed go into labor the following day (Sunday Feb. 26). I noticed she was gently talking to her babies as I was putting the girls out to pasture that morning. And when I looked at her backside, this is what I saw (I'm thinking, mucous plug)...
I kept checking on her and noticed she was keeping the other two does at a distance, yet affectionate with me, & she had been making a nest & I could see her contracting now & then. So I made the decision to move her to the kidding stall & move the other two does back into the adjoining stall to hopefully prevent Raindrop from getting too upset from the separation. Wishbone & Sweetheart were very attentive during the labor, continually poking their heads under to check in on the progress...
I stayed with her for a bit as she continued much of the same behavior. She also began laying down & getting up as she tried to get more comfortable. Here she is pawing at the ground to make a nest...
My husband came in & watched her for awhile so I could take care of a couple other things & when I returned he reported that she had just pushed out a lot of water. At that point a friend arrived to watch & help out (she also has two pregnant LaMancha does & was eager to get some experience before she deals with kidding the first time). Next thing we saw was what I would describe as an amber colored long stream of thick discharge with stripes of white.
Here's where both my friend & I started to get a little nervous. From all my research as I prepared to deal with kidding for the first time, I was expecting the long stream of white(ish) mucous followed by the amber bubble, then hopefully hooves & a nose. I'd been told that if there was blood I would need to go in because that isn't normal. Within the last couple of days I read a blog that had a goat who had the long amber stream for many hours & the kids ended up dying inside, so this of course was making me nervous. But I made the decision at this point to watch things as they progressed. Eventually, more contractions & pushing revealed the amber bubble which (look closely & you might be able to make out the veins in the upper portion)... So, now that we were seeing the amber bubble when then popped, I was starting to feel better about things, especially now that the discharge was more yellowish in color & then these adorable little hooves began appearing (but there was some blood too, so that made me a little uneasy)...
After getting excited about the hooves, they disappeared & rather than peek out again with the next contraction, another amber bubble appeared. This is where I started to wonder if perhaps two kids were fighting over who would come out first. Next thing I knew, contractions stopped completely. So, we waited & waited & waited some more. Again remember that this is my first time kidding (it was the 3rd time for my doe) so I don't have past experience to draw on here, and neither did my helper friend & other observers. I felt like a decision needed to be made once the contractions didn't resume after a period of time. Membranes had ruptered & there was a little bloody show so as much as I wanted to let things happen naturally, I was concerned waiting much longer might endanger the kids. So, I cleaned my hands with betadine & slathered them with lubricant (I'd been told by multiple people not to use gloves because it can be too hard to decipher what you are feeling) and went in while my friend held the doe steady. All of the kids were in the classic diving position which made things easier in that I didn't need to reposition any of them, but it was still difficult because there were no contractions to accompany the pulling & I was nervous about hurting the doe (and the kids were very slippery). I managed to get the first kid out, a doe, and everyone chipped in to start drying her off & introducing her to her mama.

Then it was time to go in again...

Once I had two kids out, I made a phone call to the breeder we purchased our goats from to update her & find out if I should wait to see if she delivers more. She advised me to go in to check for more since we still didn't see contractions & I'd already gone in twice anyway. Sure enough, when I went in again I felt not one, but two more kids! I worked on getting them out, but they were bigger so it was harder.
Raidrop was eager to help clean her kids off (1 little doe & 3 bucks)...

So, despite not being what I had hoped for (a kidding that didn't need intervention), I feel good about the fact that I didn't panic & managed to deliver everyone safely & without injury to my doe. There is nothing like a hands on education...I now feel confident if I have to intervene in the future, be it in my own goats or in any of my local homesteading friends'. After the fact, I started to second guess myself for maybe intervening too soon, but a friend wisely advised me to stop that since afterall the end result was a healthy mama goat & 4 healthy kids. And she is right, because the truth is I'd be really upset if not intervening had resulted in losing any of them.
More cute kid pics in the next post!

15 comments:

  1. Congratulations on the birth of your first kids! Wonderfully exciting and they were darling to see. You definitely handled it well and I'd love to have you help anytime if my goats should ever deliver kids. I'm a total novice!

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  2. This is our 3rd kidding season, but so far we have never had to help. It is something that I worry about having to do all the time. I do have a nicely stocked birthing kit for them, but pray I never have to use most of whats in it! I think my biggest fear is knowing what I'm feeling for. Was it easy to tell the nose from the feet? And how far in did you have to go for the last 2?

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    1. Thankfully since they were all in the classic diving position I was able to determine pretty quickly that I had ahold of the front feet & that the nose was right there too. I would say I probably went in to about mid-forearm for the last two...the last one was the hardest to keep ahold of because its sack was still in tact, & the umbilical cord was attached as well. I was just glad I took the time to feel around after I located #3, but before pulling him out because I never would have thought she had 4 in there! Thanks for commenting!

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  3. Oh wow. We are about to get our first goats and this is a big fear of mine-not knowing what to do. But you handled it all so well! And four kids!!!! Wow!!!!!

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    1. Read all you can in advance & you'll do fine! The vast majority of the time, nature works the way its supposed to.

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  4. Four kids! Holy cow! Congratulations! They look beautiful (yet slimy).

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    1. Thankfully they clean up real well. (o;

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  5. This was very exciting and funny to see how much alike horses are when they go into labor and give birth. I have delivered many foals over the years and mares will do the lip licking, yawning, lip curling, pawing the ground, getting up and down to help position the foal and the need to help out sometimes. Knowing that I have dilvered foals and stayed calm tells me that I will be fine when my two does kid for the first time this year. Im Susan from Grammy's House.....nice to meet ya!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by...sounds like you will be well prepared with your experience.

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  6. You did a fine job and that is a beautiful udder on your doe! Our first kidding date is 3/21!!

    Sarah
    www.beewenchfarm.com

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    1. Thanks Sarah...she does have a lovely udder & great production, but unfortunately she is a pain in the you know what on the milk stand! We are most likely going to be selling her after the kids wean & we are getting milk from another of our does. She does much better with a milking machine, but that's not in the budget for us.

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  7. What an awesome experiance!! Thanks for sharing.

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