Well hello there all you who haven't had your fill of goat vagina!
Well we have. Had our fill I mean. Golly with an opener like that it must mean this season's kiddings went ultra bad with lots of intervention. Well no it wasn't really like that at all. I even made reference to it today to Emiloo about how weird it seemed to the incoming flow of kids to already be over. The truth is it seemed that way because the other herd (mom's herd) did not have kids this year. That doesn't mean there was a problem, they just weren't bred.
Since we go by the calendar and painstakingly track our does heat cycles months before we intend to breed them we pretty much know within a few days of when it will happen. This alone does seem to make it less stressful to me anyway.
So here are the haps and the numbers:
First we have Sassafrass who kidded on 3-20-12 and had 2 boys. It was pretty easy, as I said before she displayed much different behavior and was easy to tell when the time had come. Her births went pretty well for a first year, and she took very good care of both of them. Nice start.
Second we have Peach, who had 1 boy and 1 girl with no problems on the 28th. She snuck back into the barn and started having them without me. It was over quickly and she cleaned them up quickly. It took a bit to get them fed, but no more than usual. After I had tied their cords off and dipped them she promptly knawed them off. Thanks Peach, I won't put another one on.
Third was Iris who had her kids in the wee hours and had them cleaned up and taken care of by the time breakfast rolled around. Good Ole Iris, I think she had her kids last year without any help. Except for the deadliness of her horns she is a pretty good goat. (whispers) She could give more milk though.
Fourth and the same day, the 29th, Lily had 2 boys. She decided to hold off until late afternoon, perhaps even waiting for Emiloo, since Emiloo had not been able to see any births yet. As a first timer Lily did pretty good. She had decent sized kids and didn't seem to struggle that much. She got them all cleaned up and fed after some help and then it was all over.
Now is when the changeover happens from easy, carefree goat management to the darker side of the art. The calm before the storm so to speak. Next up and technically 5th is our old friend Fern, who you may remember we call 'The Enforcer' because of the 'hit first and ask no questions' attitude and who lives in the second goat compound with Iris away from the 'non-horned goats'. On the 2nd she began to seem like she was laying down and keeping to herself in the barn, but she still ate breakfast with no problems but then started hanging about after that. Nothing really happened for a bit and she seemed to progress slowly showing signs of goo coming from her birth canal which usually indicates she's almost ready. It is the releasing of what is known as the cervical plug and is the indication the cervix is starting to widen and thus that the birth spasm was about to begin. However nothing was happening, just some goo and her laying down and pawing at the ground. Throughout the afternoon and into the evening she exhibited this behavior. At some point earlier a call was placed to the vet who said we might have up to 72 hours before a kid comes. We didn't have to wait that long but we did have to wait until around 8ish before the fun would really begin. Around 8 she really started pushing and grunting and we could tell that there was something pushing on the inside rim of her vaginal canal. So birthing had begun awhile back but the kid was finally making it to the entrance. I had gloves on and kind of (squeamish alert) slipped a finger inside her vaginal entrance and peeled the skin back revealing a nose. Hmm. A nose and no hooves. The nose rides on the hooves during a good birth, this was an abnormal 'presentation' of a kid which means the legs are somewhere bent backwards and not ready to come out. It's almost worse than breach. So what we had to do was push that head back into the mommy, and then reach in and find a hoof or two and pull them forward so the kid could be delivered. That was not great, we both took turns pushing on the head and were not having any luck, and then Emiloo got it to go with one last push. Then I had to get in there and find a leg, which I did after some searching. I could get really descriptive here but will abstain for the moment. Once I found a hoof, I got it working forwards and finally freed it from the backwards orientation it had. Then it was pretty easy to get the kid out, relatively speaking.
Like normal Fern got up and started licking the kid off and cleaned him pretty well. She was still huge though and we knew there had to be more than one kid in there. After more than two hours passed another phone call was placed to the vet who told us we had to reach in there and see if there were any other kids waiting. So here is the part of the program where I get to stick my arm inside a goat and feel around for something even deeper than before. While Emiloo held Fern I entered my lubed up hand inside again for another exploratory trip. She screamed a bunch while we played goat puppet and once I reached midway between my wrist and elbow I ran into something. Something that was mooshy, but had some little hard bits, and a small wedge which if the wedge itself were bigger I would have realized that what I ran into was a underdeveloped goat. At the time we decided that it was afterbirth and she was done. She did pass that soon thereafter and confirmed our guess. At this point she seemed calmer like it was over. It wasn't.
We left her to bond with her baby and we went in to go to sleep. The next morning there was more normality and Fern ate and tended to her kid. I went back out around 9:30am and found Fern laying down pushing something out. It was a small underdeveloped fetus. It had a very small head and body and really spindly legs along with really tiny feet. So part of what I felt during the exploration the previous night was this little goat. We are not really sure what happened to this little guy but he was not getting blood and nutrients since around midway in the gestation process, and then something happened and his supplies were cut off. He wasn't necrotic but was not developed and not ok. After this she passed what looked like the afterbirth and again it was thought that she was done.
I left her alone to recover from this latest pushing episode and to have some more time with her kid. As I returned about an hour later I noticed once again she was pushing hard and starting to grunt like she was birthing something. And sure enough another kid was pushing to come out. this one was fully developed but was stillborn. Later Fern passed another afterbirth and seemed like she had stopped pushing. She spent time licking on her kid and laying with it and it was over. We started giving her shots of penicillin which occurred for the next 2 days in order to fight the possibility of infection due to all the objects that had been inside her the previous night.
During that same morning Plum had her kids. Can you guess what she had? 2 more boys. And had them by herself before breakfast as well. Then she did what she did last year and started being mean to one of her boys by butting him and kicking him away, this AFTER she cleaned them off and fed them. We do not understand this behavior but she has done it two years in a row now. We are feeding this boy now. Grr.
That's it for this year. If you were keeping count there were a total of 12 boys (including the two Fern had that were still born) and just one girl. One girl. Let me say that again, one girl. As you may know we value girls here in this herd, so what this means is Emiloo has a lot of goats to sell. But really one girl makes it tough to progress with herd goals for next year. Alas despite that we will still have a good amount of milk to process this year into cheese. And no goats were hurt in all the births so that is a good thing. The other thing it means is that we need a new buck for this coming season, which we did anyway but this punctuates that point.
I should have pictures soon and promise to post them. For now that's all I have and will return soon with cute pics of all the little boys, and one girl.
Thanks for stopping by, take care,