Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Goats a poppin' 2011 Kid season has begun

Hey there all you with no goat birth goo on your boots!

Welcome to another season of kid rearing on the ranch. We have already begun and have started this season with 2 little boys who have yet to have names. The Doe was Sassafrass who always seems to do her own thing. This year it was cycling differently than all the other goats so she got to have her babies days before all the others. This is also Sassy's first season and thus had her kids 4 days early which is something we have grown accustomed to, meaning we have become used to goats having kids when they see fit as opposed to the typical 150 day schedule that we have been taught. Still a first year will typically have her kids early so 4 days wasn't that big of a surprise.

To know why it was not a surprise is to know Sassafrass. She is a herd goat, and perhaps even the leader as many follow her wherever she goes through the brush. However, today after the morning breakfast when all the goats meander out of the pens to go grazing she did not retiring back into the barn to stand alone. This is not regular behavior and was key to recognizing she was getting ready to birth. After all the goats had gone I locked the outer pen so they would not come back in during the event. I retrieved the medical toolbox with the gloves, iodine, string etc and the empty food bags we had been collecting and headed back to the pen. Sheesh she had started without me! There was what looked like an umbilical cord dangling from her birth canal (it wasn't a cord but looked like one) and in the moments after that two feet emerged kind of crossed which gave me pause but not really as they were front feet pointed in the right direction. What did give me pause was that there was no little nose poised ontop of them. I shuddered to think the head was bent backwards, but after some probing I found the nose and after a big of working my fingers around the outer rim of the canal the head moved forward and the kid nearly dove out of his mother. I did manage to catch him on the feed bag to reduce the amount of dirt and crud that would get stuck to the gooey kid, but in the process did get gooed up myself. This is indeed why you should wear rubber boots to births, you would hate to soak your new fly shoes in goat birth.

Anyway, I was glad to see her immediately begin cleaning the kid off by licking the goo from him. This is always a good sign as I have seen a goat ignore the goatling that just fell out of her during past years. She cleaned and cleaned so much so that I did not have to do much at all. We do not take them off of their mothers (yet) and we are big believers in the initial bonding that must occur between goat mommy and kid. Of course to understand that statement you must understand we are doing things in some cases that are different than large goats farms, and this is one of them. To continue with the story though approximately 5 minutes after the first arrived the second began to make its way out. This one was a pretty standard presentation-nose on hooves diving outwards and came fairly quickly with little fuss. After catching him on the second feed bag I pulled it over to the first and Sass continued cleaning both of them until they were furry and dry.

As a sidebar you should know little goats need to get fed soon after they are birthed in order for the mother to pass on certain immunities to the kid by way of colostrum which is the first liquid she dispenses. Both had theirs after a bit of fumbling around but they both had full tummies before too long. Here's the pics:

So there it is one down, 5 to go. Now if we stay on schedule and that's a big if, Fern is next due on the 29th, but you may remember from last year she too was 4 days early so we might be seeing more action by the weekend. After that the flood gates open and we are expecting daily from then on so stay tuned!

Thanks for stopping by, see you soon!

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