Kidding season started on Monday. To date, we’ve had 14 births and 12 have survived. I’m sorry to report that the kid in the last post died — just too small to survive. It’s twin is doing well, even though he’s also pretty tiny. The second kid that didn’t make it was a stillborn single, born to a first-time mother.
Things got really exciting on Thursday, when Shaggy went into labor. We went to check on her when we saw that she was standing off by herself, and sure enough we saw a little hoof peeking out. Ideally, a kid is positioned as if it were doing a swan dive, with both front legs and then the head delivering.
An hour later, Shaggy was lying on the ground and not visibly pushing. There was no sign of a hoof either. This was not good. After a quick consult with a fellow goat farmer and our vet to confirm the decision, we brought her into the “medical ward” pen for assisted delivery.
We don’t have any pictures — it took all three of us. The Admiral held her head and gave her a leg to push against. My husband (who has also had to do this on Monday) knelt beside her and talked with me through it. I eased my fingers and then a hand into the birth canal, trying to find a leg and the head. Closing my eyes helps to visualize, but was flummoxed when I found a leg but the head appeared missing. As I described what I was feeling to Chris, we realized that the head was actually tucked down toward its belly — something like the lower left position in this illustration, but with the head down instead of to the side, and wedged under the pubic bone. I had to push the fetus back and down into the womb and then feel around for the underside of the neck down toward the head. Once I found the head, I had to push the body further back so that I could leverage the chin up past the pubic bone. At this point, my arm was buried nearly up to my elbow. Lining up the head and a foot, I delivered the kid just moments later. I was sure I had killed it, but it started breathing as soon as we cleared away the sac.
Feeling ill? You should have been there. Shaggy wasn’t too impressed either. Thank goodness Chris was there, because otherwise I think I might have lost my nerve. The second kid was born on its own. When it came time for number three, my daughter and I repeated the process on our own. This time the kid’s head was down and a leg was twisted over the head.
The brown goat is the firstborn; I’m holding the third in the next picture.
Shaggy is NOT grateful. In fact, she’d just as soon we didn’t come anywhere near her kids. She is a very good mother and is also very territorial about them. I was reminded of this when she smacked me in the face with one of those horns shortly after delivering the triplet.
So…four lives saved. Meanwhile, I have taken on an ill-advised nursing project with 4 does from another farm. We don’t really have the time or space for this right now, but I couldn’t resist. We call them the Bonsai goats because, at the age of seven months, they are significantly undersized. Three seem to be responding to treatment, but the fourth was foundered and unable to walk shortly after arrival (she’s the one on the lower right in the picture.) We capitulated to the inevitable today and euthanized her.
We have to take the bad with the good.