Saturday, April 16, 2011

Sneaky Kidder

My best guess last fall about the goatgirls' due date was today. I suggested to PC last week that he schedule the monthly AMRG training for the farm, so I could possibly participate in training while on birthwatch.

Yesterday I put the girls in the birthing stall and checked for signs of imminent kidding. Edina lost her mucus plug (I know, lovely image, eh?), but that can happen days or a week before labor starts. I felt their tailheads and pelvic tendons; Patsy's was looser. First in line.

Last night Cole and I slept on a cot in the barn, with barn kitty Smeagol. Other than the discovery that ducks never sleep, and a closer-than-normal experience of Son of Domingo's 0330 daily crow, it was a quiet night.

This morning it was clear that Patsy was imminent. Her udder was "strutted" -- not just bagged up, but shiny, tight, and with her teats pointing outwards.

Patsy, left -- strutted. Edina, right -- not yet strutted.

All day long I hung around the barn while teammates and their human kids came and went, sure that earnest labor was going to start any minute. Zilch. No hard contractions, water hadn't broken.

Around six, we zipped out to our favorite local little rib joint, just up the road, because clearly nothing was going to happen in the next few hours.

One hour later I came home to a very smug Patsy. Despite the fact that she had spent the day bleating and complaining whenever I left her stall, she vanted to be alone.

The yellowish-tannish-white kid is a buck. The pure white one is, finally, a little doe. Both have had a nice drink of colostrum and are doing well. She's accepted them both and, contrary to a common pattern, seems to be favoring the doeling a bit. I was particularly anxious to monitor Patsy's kidding because last year, her first kids, she would have rejected her second-born if not forced. No problems this year.

Cleaned up the placentas, tied off the kids' umbilicals and dipped 'em in iodine, made sure everybody was dry, gave Mom a bucket of grain, made some introductions

And put the little family to bed.

Now the Edina vigil begins.


  1. So glad everything went smoothly and well! Adorable, and a doe!! Guess this is kind of the "watched pot never boils type of thing" Congratulations!

  2. Hoping you can get some sleep soon.

  3. awwww! so sweet! hoping Edina does as well, and hoping there's also time for sleep!

    and a city-ish-girl question... i would have thought they can have babies, and deal with placentas and umbilical cords all on their own. but maybe not...? what happens if people aren't around?

  4. They pretty much will deal with umbilicals. But it's a good precaution to tie off, cut a little shorter, and do an iodine dip. Remember, they aren't living on some mountainside somewhere, but in confinement where there is bound to be more pathogen build-up.

    In nature the placentas and goo lie on the ground and the family moves away from the predator-attractant smell of it. I'd rather not have them rotting on the stall floor, though. Also, as with any birth, you want to know that Mom has passed the correct number of placentas and isn't retaining any funkies.

    Also, the dogs eat the placentas whether I want them to or not. So I rinse it off and split it up for their dinner.

    I have a pet theory that it gives them a bolus of oxytocin and makes them sweeter with the new babies.

  5. What kind of goats are these? Patsy's udder looks very dairy-goatish to my amateur eye. I hope Edina's delivery goes as smoothly as Patsy's did.

    You are much more fastidious about dealing with placentas than I have been! I just toss them over the fence - and they magically disappear. I do try to avoid hitting the dogs when I toss them. After seeing what other "stuff" my dogs eat, I couldn't get excited about spending time cleaning them off.

    Kris H

  6. Patsy and Edina are 3/4 Saanen and 1/4 Nubian. The kids' sire is an Oberhasli. The does are very productive milkers.

    I don't have enough placentas for everyone to get one, so I split them up at dinnertime and serve over rice. No kidding. It prevents the runs later. Rosie was miffed that I wouldn't let her have one while it was still attached to Patsy.

    By the way, for those who wonder about such things, one large goat placenta weighs about a pound.

  7. I have a friend with a nice birthing stall with camera in stall and TV in the office. She spent two nights in the barn waiting for her horse to foal. She had to run out for a doctor's appointment. Came back and the foal was on the ground. I think prey animals don't want anyone around when they deliver. It's safer that way.

  8. Congrats on the new additions. Glad everything went smoothly.

  9. Interesting process. I hadn't thought that "all" mom's bits would start to show signs of imminent birth. And no more ribs - order take out next time ;)


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