EIGHT baby goats!!!
Three of our goats had babies within six days of each other, the first giving birth to quadruplets and the last two had triplets (unfortunately, we lost two of them.) Here are the stories….
Suduko’s was my favorite birth so far! Three of the kids ended up needed assistance and it was me and the kids, working together to get them out and get them breathing. It was the first birth we’ve had that was a real team effort and it was really nice to work with the kids that way.
Suduko lost her ligaments on May 20th, so we set her up in a birthing pen with another goat (we always hate to leave them by themselves unless they’re really making it clear that they don’t want anyone around,) and kept a close eye on her, but by the end of the day it became obvious that nothing was going to happen, so we turned the baby monitor on to listen for her through the night.
The next morning, the boys came running into the house shouting that there was a kid on the ground! We never heard a THING! We all ran to the pen, saw a little girl standing up and looking perfectly normal, so we stayed close and waited to see if there would be any more kids. Sure enough, within a few minutes we saw two little hoofs – back hoofs! It was a little girl and she was born backwards, in the caul. I took the caul off of her quickly, wiped her mouth and nose and since she still wasn’t breathing on her own, handed her to Bunchkin to start swinging her (this helps get the mucus out of her mouth and nose.) She did, and then gave her to Bundle for drying off, because another little guy started making his way into the world – upside down! I had NO idea what to do, so I did what I normally do in these kinds of situations… panic! Bunchkin reached inside of her to see if she could flip him around (she couldn’t) and so we tried to assist Suduko by pulling on him during each contraction. He eventually came out with no major complications and was also born in the caul so Bunchkin again swung him and then went to work getting him dry. To our amazement, Suduko settled in and started pushing again! This one, thankfully, was born head first with two little feet tucked under her exactly as they should have been and also came out in the caul. The three girls worked on drying them off and then we worked to get them nursing. One little boy continued to show no interest and on checking his mouth, we realized that he was still cold (if they’re body temperature is low, their mouths will be cold to the touch and they won’t even try to nurse.) We worked on getting his body temperature back up and in the end, we got them all nursing and ended up with two healthy does and two bucklings!
I was gone when Mini Colors gave birth the day after Suduko… none of us suspected she’d go into labor so soon! Unfortunately, a fluke kept us from checking her ligaments that morning and although Jon and the kids were home and had been outside almost the entire day, they happened to be inside when she went into labor and it wasn’t until Jon went back outside that he heard the bleating of a newborn. He ran into the pen to find one live buckling and two dead babies (one girl and one boy.) We’re still not sure exactly what happened, but if I’ve learned anything from this and from experiences I’ve read about online and heard from other breeders of Nigerians, it is VITALLY important that we be here for every birth. It’s another tough lesson learned and one we’ll be keeping close in mind as we continue the kidding season. Thankfully, the little boy is healthy and we already have a home lined up for him!
I’m pretty sure Scotch’s birth was Bunchkin’s favorite, so far, for reasons you’ll understand once you’ve read the story! Scotch is the goat we’ve been most concerned about this season. At her past home, she has consistently given birth to quadruplets, and they have all been dead upon delivery. Neither the vet or her breeder had any idea why, and that’s actually how we ended up with such an excellent goat – her breeder didn’t feel comfortable selling her, and asked if we’d be interested in taking her (for free!) since she’s an excellent milker. We’d been praying about her birth since we got her, but if God hadn’t intervened with a set of seemingly random circumstances, we might have missed it!
Not knowing exactly when Scotch would give birth, we were randomly checking her ligaments and monitoring her udder, but she didn’t seem very close to birth at all so we weren’t keeping a very close eye on her. A few days before she gave birth, I “happened” to notice that the goats needed their nails trimmed, so I worked on a few of them and left the others for the next day, but never got to them. Finally on Tuesday I got back around to it, and Scotch was the last goat on the list. When I had her on the milk stand, Bitty noticed that her udder was full so I halfheartedly felt for her ligaments as I was doing other things. And then checked them again. And then had Bunchkin check them. Were they gone?! Bunchkin verified that they were gone and so we immediately took her to the birthing pen. Since she wasn’t having visible contractions, we kept an eye on her and worked to get our nightly chores done so that if she did go into labor, everything would be caught up. Around 6 or 7 that night, we noticed that she was finally starting to have contractions so we got out our birthing kit and sat with her.
About an hour later, I called her breeder, Kathy Sullivan, to ask if there was anything in particular we should be doing. She suggested that I check her cervix and that was, without a doubt, one of the most horrible things I’ve ever had to do with an animal on our farm. Here I was, with my hand inside of her, up to my forearm, feeling for who-even-knows-what, who-even-knows-where. She’s screaming and I’m freaking out, when water started gushing out of her! I got my hand out of there in a hurry, let me tell you! Thankfully, she started to really push after that and shortly after, we had our first baby – and he was perfectly healthy!!! I handed him over to Bunchkin because immediately after, she started pushing again and we saw another little nose and a little pink tongue! Without any problems, she delivered her second buckling and a few minutes later, delivered a third! They all needed some help breathing, but once we got them going they were perfectly fine! The girls set to work drying them off and we continued to wait to see if any others would be born. After a while, Scotch was still not getting up (typically a sign that there is another kid) and Kathy suggested I check inside to see if there was another baby. So I reluctantly got my glove on, lubed up and started to put my hand in and then stopped.
“You know what, Kathy?” I told her. “I’m going to put my daughter on the phone and let her do this, because she’s a lot more level-headed than I am, and she’ll do a better job!”
With that, I handed Bunchkin the phone, the lubricant, and another glove and sat praying while her hand, and then her arm, disappeared inside of our doe! She followed Kathy’s instructions perfectly with a perfectly clear head (I had no idea until later that she was even nervous!) and couldn’t feel any more kids. Almost an hour later, Scotch delivered the afterbirth and the kids were nursing perfectly!
So our little Bunchkin got to play goat midwife, and Scotch gets to raise kids for the very first time! What an awesome ending to a crazy birthing marathon! Three down, five to go!