Ruffled Feathers and Spilled Milk

Farming with ducks and dairy goats, chickens and children.

How (Not) to Deliver a Baby Goat Properly.

Posted on | July 27, 2011 | 5 Comments

1.  Disregard your training.  Just because every goat owner you know will assist a birth if the doe doesn’t deliver within an hour of serious labor, doesn’t mean that you should.  Wait.  Wait some more.  Feel free to sit with your goat when she starts pushing at 8pm, let her push until 11pm, fall asleep in the barn, and wake up at 4 am to find her still pushing with only an intact amniotic sac partially delivered.  After all, if you ignore a bad situation long enough, sometimes it will resolve itself for the better.  If it doesn’t, just squeeze your eyes closed really tight and go to your happy place.

2.  Forget your goat anatomy.  If you are forced to break the amniotic sac and assist the doe with the delivery by reaching inside her (I know, I know, eeeeeeeeeewwwwwwww!) to reposition a baby, be sure that you have no idea what you are feeling.  Is that a hoof?  A nose?  It’s OK to think you have the baby turned right because you can feel his jawbone only to find out that was his pelvis and you are delivering him breech.  By the time you can see his buttocks and realize your mistake, he’s already halfway out anyway.  So just go with it.

3.  Never be prepared.  Yes, you have a birthing kit.  Yes, it’s missing the nasal aspirator.  Yes, you remember the kids borrowed it for a bath tub toy, never returned it, and now you have no idea where it is.   Since you’ve never needed the aspirator in a birth before, you certainly won’t need it this time either.  And if you do finally manage to deliver a breech baby goat a full 5 minutes after rupturing his amniotic sac and he is delivered with no signs of life except audible gurgles, it’s fine.  Just fine.  Clear as much goo from his face as you can while holding him upside down and rubbing him vigorously, hoping to stimulate him to clear his airways.  That or be sure to have your 9 year old livestock manager with you to say, “Hey, what if we used an empty syringe from the vaccination box to suck out all that mucus?”  Oh yeah.  I was just about to think of that.

4.  Only have 4 clean birthing towels in the barn (this is a supplement to Step #3).  No, you can’t possibly clean up a messy birth with only 4 towels.  But you can dash out of the kidding barn at 50 MPH, increase your speed to 60MPH when the aforementioned livestock manager starts yelling, “Here comes the next one, here comes the next one!”, slide into the mudroom for more clean towels, and race back to the kidding barn at 40 MPH (I’m more of an emergency sprinter than an endurance runner), dropping half of them on the way so that they are no longer clean.  Think of it as an opportunity to build cardio strength.  We can all use a little more cardio, right?

5.  Check the gender of the baby goats as soon as possible.  Don’t forget to check the gender before you start ooohing and awwwing over the incredible coat colors—the most pretty coat colors that have been born here!  That way when you discover all the stress and hard work was for 3 FREAKING BUCKLINGS, you can get all the disappointment out of the way quickly (Note to nongoat owners:  When raising dairy goats, females are much more valuable than males.  As only the females actually produce dairy.  Males just run around peeing on themselves.  Which is why God made it that an entire large dairy herd is able to function with only 1 or 2 males.  Oh, His infinite wisdom).  Breathe deep, smile through gritted teeth and murmur to the new momma, “Good work, Carmen, you just delivered 3 almost worthless, whoops, I mean, perfect babies.  Nice work, sweetie!”  Ugh.

Remember to check this blog site frequently, fellow farm enthusiasts.  Everything you need to know about how (not) to farm, is right here for your reading pleasure.  Come back soon for the exciting sequel, “How (Not) To Disbud Baby Goats.”  I can hardly wait myself.

And just in case you’re wondering, here are the new MALE (sigh) additions to the herd:

RoadBlock: the guy who was holding up the birthing show.

Chad: the second one born and only the second black and white kid born here.

Chip: the last one out of the mother ship.

P.S.  If you are curious about why we are even having baby goats born at the end of JULY (!!!!!!), please review my earlier posting on “How (Not) to Breed Your Goats Properly” (Another note to nongoat owners:  Baby goats are usually born in early spring—from February to April.  I don’t really know why.  If I knew why, or how, it happens that way I guess I’d do it then, too.  Or I’d try.  Which means it would probably happen in July anyway.).  I’m telling you this site is an endless wealth of (dis)information.


5 Responses to “How (Not) to Deliver a Baby Goat Properly.”

  1. Lisa D
    July 27th, 2011 @ 7:52 am

    I MUST come see these little guys!

  2. Diane
    July 27th, 2011 @ 6:56 pm

    You absolutely crack me uup!!!

  3. Tina
    July 28th, 2011 @ 3:34 am

    I should have never come to see them….now I want them ALL!! Oh yeah, Molly and Milly too!

  4. Lisa
    July 28th, 2011 @ 8:06 am

    Hahahaha!! They are adorable! Glad they are all healthy – congrats.

  5. Annabelle
    July 28th, 2011 @ 9:20 am

    I was wondering how the labor of the hugely pregnant doe would go. We had one this year and it was NOT pretty! Actually the three does with pregnancy toxemia type issues all had three buckling too! I was thrilled because we bred them for meat and there is no question about who stays. This was the year that I really learned to go in early.

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