Don’t Know Nuthin’ About Birthin’ No (Goat) Babies

Sharon July 20th, 2010

Tomorrow we begin the obstetric countdown to goat birthing.  This is only our second time ’round with this, and while I’m less nervous than last time (way more nervous than the actual goats, though), I’m still a little worried.  Mostly about Selene, who after her bout with meningeal parasite last year has some residual weakness in her back legs.  Although she gets along great, can still jump on the stanchion, etc… and is a fine milker, I’m worried she’ll have trouble delivering. 

Still, we’re spending the week getting our ducks in a row.  The barn has to be cleaned and the kidding pen prepared.  We need to move the two bucks (Cadfael, our new little buckling arrived on Thursday) up the hill into the old stable and their new pen, so that no one gets pregnant again right off.

We have our supplies altogether, but I really need some storage space in the barn better than the cardboard box on a high but open shelf where the birthing supplies live.  Got the dental floss, for tying off umbilical cords, the antiseptic lube, the towels (birth is a gooey process, as I vaguely remember from when I did it myself).

 I’ve found this website incredibly useful when preparing for birth – I don’t do everything just the way they do, but the pictures are incomparable, so for anyone who wants goats or already has them and is scared to have babies, this is great stuff! 

There really isn’t a week’s worth of stuff to do, and I know I’m just making myself nuts, but that’s what getting ready for babies, human or goat is like.  First there’s the endless-seeming waiting, and then there’s the sleep deprivation, the constant “is that normal” worries, and finally, with all good fortune, you have a barn full of babies (or an armfull) and the good stuff begins.  Me, I can’t wait til the good stuff starts.


10 Responses to “Don’t Know Nuthin’ About Birthin’ No (Goat) Babies”

  1. Karen says:

    The one thing that got me in a dither with our birth this spring was how much was ‘enough’ colostrum for the first nursing. No one talks about volume. A couple of sucks? Ounces? I had a middle of the night panic attack about the baby not getting enough to eat. Funnily enough, I never had this problem with my children.
    I did like Fiasco Farms website and NING has a good ND group as well. I liked this site too:
    Are you planning on letting her eat the afterbirth? I didn’t because I was told they can have horrible diarrhea afterwards.

  2. Keep an eye on Mac – he may want to help dry off the babies, and if the mamas don’t want his help, it can lead to “discussions” involving horns and teeth and such. Had a couple of sheep with torn ears from dogs insisting that they were going to help, like it or not. It’s good to have the dog near the new babies, though – helps with the livestock bonding thing (although I realize your Mac is kind of a hybrid livestock & child guardian, so not as singleminded as our LGD Mackie).

    Since you’re worried about Selene, I’d make sure you’ve got some molasses and cider vinegar (I am SURE you do, you would have that in your pantry) … you can put a generous splash of both in her water after the delivery to give her a boost of energy. We do that with sheep who’ve had a rough time, it seems to perk them up. Never hurts, might help.

    Karen, on the colostrum question: with sheep, if you see the baby get a couple of sucks (and wag their tail, which tells you they’re getting some), you can be fairly sure they will be able to get more and don’t need to worry. We just check that the inside of the mouth is warm and that they are up and perky looking – if not, they’re not getting enough and might need some help, but otherwise, they are often very good at sneaking snacks when the farmer isn’t watching! Might be different with the goats, but from what I know of goats (not a lot, but some) it’s pretty similar.

    Happy kidding at Gleanings Farm! :)

  3. Oh yeah – if Mac is around – he’ll probably take care of that afterbirth in no time! Don’t think any mama sheep around here ever gets a chance to clean up after herself – the dogs help first! Don’t want the coyotes smelling the blood, after all ….


  4. rdheather says:

    One of the goats was determined to eat her afterbirth. So I just thought fine-go ahead. I’ve discovered the only thing grosser than a goat eating afterbirth is the goat GAGGING on the afterbirth. Ugh.

  5. abbie says:

    Can’t wait for news!

  6. darwinsdog says:

    Had a young doe once that couldn’t deliver her kid. Probably bred her too young but she was just naturally small. Had a single buck kid that was just too big for his head to pass thru the birth canal. He wasn’t malpresented, either, just too big to be born. So I attempted a caesarian. Knew that it’d kill the doe but thot that perhaps the kid could be saved. Had other does that had recently freshened so thot that perhaps we could give him milk thru a bottle. Didn’t work. Kid was already dead. We ate his mom. Life & death on the farm…

  7. Fatima says:

    I always loved it when the calves came at my folks’ farm. Such an exciting time. I’m looking forward to hearing more. Hope you’ll post a few pictures of the new little goats.

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