Thursday, March 4, 2010

I still have much to learn about goats

My first 3 goat births would have happened whether I was there or not.  They all went smoothly and and by the book for the most part.  I knew the signs of when it would happen and about how much time I had till the babies would arrive.  Today taught me not to be too confident in what I think I know about goat pregnancies.  This morning Poppy gave birth to 2 little bucklings.  One was stillborn.  Yesterday she was bouncing around and looking like a kid herself.  By 8:30 last night her ligaments by her tail had disappeared which I know means kids will arrive in the next day or so.  I got up at 2 AM to check on her.  No babies, no goo or anything.  I hung around for a while then went back to bed.  I got up at 7:00 and she was still walking around, no mucus, just crying more than usual.  I came inside for about 15 minutes around 10:00 then went back out to hear her screaming and a hoof sticking out.  I quickly called my mother-in-law who is visiting so she could watch with me.  After about 10 pushes a cute little boy entered the world.  His name is Shamus and he's adorable.  I thought she might only have one because she's so young and this was her first time.  I carried her and the baby into the barn because she had him under the chicken coop and it was kind of hard to help her (or take pictures).  After 10 minutes or so she started having more contractions.  By now I had called James and Susan and told them they were missing the births.  James was practicing piano at the cabin and thought he had more time.  I had told Susan I'd call when I thought things were getting close.  I had no idea it would happen so fast.  When they both arrived Poppy was trying to get the next baby out.  It just wasn't happening.  I put on a plastic glove and very hesitantly felt inside her to see if I could feel a baby.  I had no idea what I was feeling.  I tried for a little while but gave up and waited some more.  After about an hour I asked Susan to try and see if she could figure out which way the baby was facing.  She could feel a soft body with fur but no hooves or a head like we were hoping for.  By now Poppy was very uncomfortable and trying her hardest and I was getting worried about her.  She was getting tired too.  Feeling a little bit desperate I put a glove on again and went in.  After finding something that felt like a hip or leg I grabbed it and pulled.  I didn't know what else to do.  After several pushes Poppy delivered the stillborn buckling.  I didn't feel all that disappointed that he was dead because I just wanted to relieve her pain and get him out.  He was folded in half and that's why she was laboring so hard with no success.  Shamus and Poppy are now resting and seem to be doing well.  I forgot how tiny baby goats can be.  Two more does are due next week.  I hope things go more smoothly.  

I love this picture.
One other thing I learned today.  Never underestimate how small a goat can make herself.  Flower (Poppy's sister) was missing today.  When I called her she stuck her head out of the chicken coop.  If you remember from way back, Witty got very sick when he got in the coop and ate their food.  I made the hole smaller so that wouldn't happen again.  Well, I guess I didn't make it small enough.  Today I made it even smaller.  The chickens have to duck their heads to get in.  I saw Flower trying to fit through the hole.  So far no luck.  I don't think she got much food and she seems to be fine.  Here's a picture of the hole now.  I don't know what I'll do to keep the goats out of the turkey food once they arrive. 


  1. Poppy and Shamus look terrific. Good work today. Thanks for letting me be a part of the special occasion.

  2. A darling buckling. Congratulations. Sorry the other one didn't make it. New life, surely spring is upon us.