The Miracle of Birth….Goat Birth

Razzy Bleating

Warning:  Graphic (but amazing) photos of goat kidding follow.  Consider yourself warned.

We’ve been remiss in our writing here. So remiss in fact, that I found this post written from LAST YEAR!  Argh!  It’s actually quite fitting though, as we come full circle into our second round of goat births here on the homestead. Our first (of 5!) does is due in the coming weeks.  Here is the tale from last summer:

We had the blessing and beauty of six births on the farm between our three Nigerian Dwarf goat does.  As any (especially green) farmer will tell you, delivery season is one of high expectation, excitement and stress. We can attest to all of that.

Lacy and Jack

How might you know if your goat is in labor, one might ask?  Well, the gestation of our breed of goats is somewhere between 145 and 155  days.  That’s a starting point.  After that, there are slight changes in behavior and body.  In most resources you also get some variation on this theme: “It’s quite difficult to give a list of definitive signs. Each goat is different – your goats might show all of these signs– or NONE of them!” Yeah, that’s helpful.

In the end, most of our does kidded around the 150 day mark, with each labor being completely different.

Katie_and_LacyLacy:  Being our herd matriarch, she is an expert in the goat baby realm.  I was looking forward to her teaching us a few things.  She appeared to go into labor at least 6 separate occasions which created quite the stir on my end.  Each time, she would quietly go back to acting completely normal in a matter of hours.  Quite frustrating.  About 4 days later, seemingly out of the blue, I pulled up a chair near her in the barn, started to read a book, then glanced over to see a kid halfway our.  Whoa!  Out streamed three beautiful babies and that was that.

Lacy_and_LeroyRazzy:  This was Razzy’s first kidding and, by the looks of her, she had twins or triplets.  She exibited pretty standard labor signs and we were actually all prepared and ready for the grand delivery.  Greta was delivered smoothly and in perfect fashion.  We patiently waited for the next bundle of joy.  And waited.  We then realized that our little mama needed a post postpartum diet.

Greta Mouth and TongueBella:  This was also Bella’s first time at motherhood and the morning of her kidding she was in a vocal, inconsolable state.  It wasn’t until 2:30 am that the throes of labor really started in earnest. Our trusty baby monitor alerted us to her change in bleat volumes and I set up camp in the barn for the night.

About 4:30 am the actual pushing started happening and Mark was summoned to the barn for the delivery. After a stressful 40 minutes of hard labor, there were no kids in sight. We had the conversation that every livestock owner dreads: Do we call the vet? Bella was obviously starting to tire and we were worried that it was a breach delivery. Right when we were making the call to the vet, a beautiful, but very large, baby emerged. A few minutes later another little one entered the world.

Greta and RazzyWe were amazed that our smallest little doe gave birth to not one, but two huge little bucks. They easily dwarfed Razzy, our largest doe’s, single little doe kid that was born the week earlier. Bella has both earned our admiration and well as scared us of natural childbirth forever.  She’s our first doe due in a few weeks and we’re hoping for a smoother experience this time around.

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