Homestead Animals

A Goat Birth Story

The One Hour Homestead is happy to introduce our newest goat kid!  This adorable little doeling was born on May 8.  Although this was our fifth kidding, it was the first one I was able to watch–so exciting, nerve-wracking and just…amazing.  For details of the goat birth story read along below.

I was expecting Marmalade to kid between days 145-150 of gestation.  She held out until the last minute.  I began checking on her every few hours when I was home and coming home for lunch to do mid-day checks once we reached this window of expected delivery.  Finally, when the big day came, I noticed some signs of labor at a lunch time check.  She was in very early labor at that time–I was not sure if she would kid in 2 hours or 12 hours, but it was definitely going to be that day.  Luckily, I was able to take vacation time for the rest of the afternoon…because 2 hours was about the right guess.

Stage 1

According to Penn State Extension, there are three stages of labor.  The first stage is characterized by pawing the bedding, nesting, restlessness, looking back at her sides, lifting tail and becoming vocal.  When I checked at lunch time, I stood quietly and watched for a few minutes.  She made a quiet cooing call that goats reserve only for their kids.  She looked back at her belly and pawed the ground.  Bingo!  This was it.  I kept busy tidying up the barn (apparently I did the nesting!), as gradually she became increasingly vocal.  This went on for about an hour before she progressed to the next stage.

WARNING:  Graphic Photos Below!

Stage 2

Labor pains and pushing.  An uncomfortable goat.  This was the beginning of stage 2.  She began to move about very restlessly, standing up, laying down, up and down, repeatedly.  Her vocalizations became louder and urgent, more bleating than gently calling to her kid.

Early labor

Things progressed in this fashion for another 45 minutes to an hour.  She was pushing with increasing effort and frequency.  At one point, a small bubble appeared…the water bag.  With one more push, her water broke.

Her water breaks

She seemed to feel some relief at this point and took a rest for a few minutes.  I was watching the clock however, because I knew that the baby needed to be delivered within an hour or so from this point.  But, within about 5-10 minutes, she got down to business.  The kid was positioned correctly, and so, with another push, the kid’s hooves were visible.

Hooves presenting

You can see the white of the hooves just below the black fur (sorry about the poop…it happens).  Another couple of pushes, and the head was delivered.

This was just amazing!  First, I did not expect a black goat…we have had assorted colors of kids in the past, but never a black and white one.  The buck was multicolored, but mostly white.  Then, I was also surprised that the kid was already alert and starting to breathe.  She opened her eyes and looked around at the world for the first time.  One last effort:

She’s here!

Hmmm…the pine shaving bedding might not have been the best idea.  I helped a little at this point, putting the kid on a clean, dry puppy pad, and cleaning her off a bit with a towel.  Mom did a great job and quickly had the baby cleaned off and dry.

Stage 3

Although I was expecting another kid to follow, instead, Marmalade passed the afterbirth about a half hour later, signally the end of labor and delivery.  I cleaned this up and discarded it, while the doe and kid bonded.  Marmalade licked and cleaned the kid while almost continuously calling to her, imprinting her sound and smell, to solidify their bond.

Within an hour or so, the kid was up on her feet and nursing.

Mom and baby are doing great!

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