Dallas’ 2nd Kidding 2005

DOB: 3/10/02
Age: 3 yo
2nd Freshening
Previous Freshenings:
1st Gestation 150 days; 1 buckling, 1 doeling

Sire: N.AZ. Anatolians Keci’s Bambi is a registered American buck
SD: Az High Country Spotty is a registered American doe
SS: Ragels Ziegenhof Keci is a Purebred Nubian

Dam: The U-Say Ranch Dallas is a recorded grade doe
DD: AZ Apache Vales Thelma
DS: AZ Apache Valley Joseph
The most significant things I learned with this kidding:

* I came to the realization that a lack of pushing urge can be directly related to kid tangling. When the head engages the birth canal, this causes the doe to have the urge to push mightily. If the doe has pushed a few times, but then stops altogether, it could be that the kids are tangled up, or are not presenting properly. This is why it’s important to check to see what is going on inside once the doe has indicated she is in active labor for 30 minutes.
* Overweight and underexercised does will often have trouble kidding.

The 14th, Monday, is Dallas’ official due date. At her first kidding, she delivered on the 150th day of gestation. It is said that does tend to follow a pattern. If they kidded on the 150th day of gestation at their first kidding, they tend to deliver on that day with subsequent pregnancies. If Dallas follows this, she should deliver on Monday. [Dallas delivered on her 149th day of gestation.]

March 11, 2005 Friday

Dallas began having some discharge this morning. It was a rusty color. I read my goat books and websites I’ve bookmarked and didn’t see anything regarding this color discharge, so didn’t think too much of it. I wiped the discharge away, and she didn’t get anymore of this color. [Later I found in one of my printed out sites that rusty colored discharge can be a sign of infection and sepsis; luckily this was not the case this time.]

March 12, 2005 Saturday

Dallas is having some discharge again today. Before going to bed at 8:30pm it seems her tendons have disappeared, but I could still feel the kids moving around, so decided we won’t have kids during the night. [Most of my information indicates if you can feel kids moving around, then you have at least 12 hours to go.]

March 13, 2005 Sunday

We got up to find Dallas had kidded. NOT. Of course not… Dallas still had discharge, and was still moaning and groaning. I called one of my goat mentors and she said that she thought Dallas was still in very early labor, and would quiet down once she was in “real” labor. Around noon I checked on her again, nothing was happening, so decided to take a nap and check her in a couple hours. When I got outside around 2:30 or so, she had a very long white cord hanging from her. I wish I had taken a picture of it. I tried to remove it, but it was pretty tough, so I just left it. I’m assuming placenta membranes, but not sure. I decided to stay out with Dallas, and keep an eye on how she was doing. Finally around 3:30 she stretched her back, and did a small push. At 3:45 she had a massive contraction where she pushed her way through the barn door, out into the yard. She then proceeded to spend the next 30 minutes cleaning up every drop of fluid she had emitted from her body. No more pushes whatsoever. I called my goat mentor, and she said if it’s been 30 minutes that I should take a look inside and see what was going on.

So I scrubbed my right arm and hand, and Dallas’ backside and felt inside with my fingers. I felt feet. I went in a little further, and felt more feet, I believe 3 were trying to enter the birth canal at the same time – no heads. I had to put my arm in quite a bit in order to find a head. My goat mentor had told me that at the conventions she has been to lately, the vets are recommending that with the case of tangled kids, try to find one foreleg to match the head and don’t try to find both forelegs. I also remembered learning with Lightning’s 2004 kidding that head only presentations are okay. It is easier on the doe for the kid to present with a forearm and head, rather than just the head, but it is possible. I could not match any legs to the heads I was feeling. Finally, by putting my arm inside the doe up to my elbow, I was able to follow the neck down to find a foreleg. But once I got the foreleg and head moving in the right direction, and the doe would push, the two forelegs of the other kid would present right alongside! The doe was screaming, and finally fell onto her side with her head stretched out. I was afraid we were going to lose her, so I decided to just grab onto a head and start pulling. Easier said than done. My hands aren’t tiny, but I could barely grip the head of the kid and pull with all my might before I lost my grip and had to start again. Finally, after five hard pulls, the head was at the birth canal, but I had to keep my grip on the head in order to get it out into the world. I was afraid the kid was stillborn, because his tongue was sticking out the side of his mouth, but then he opened his eyes!

I pulled him out gently, but quickly, scrubbed up and went back in for the next kid. There seemed to be a lot of blood, I was kind of worried.

Here is a picture of the newborn bucklings, not yet fully dried off.

We weighed them shortly after they were born, the first kid born weighed 10 pounds. The second kid weighed 9.5 pounds.

We decided to try raising our kids differently this time. We had weighed the pros and cons of bottle feeding vs. dam raising. Up to the birth of these bucklings we were still planning to bottle feed the kids ourselves. But because the dam had a difficult delivery, my goat mentor told me that sometimes the doe has a harder time expelling the placenta. The last kidding we had where the placenta was not expelled within the “allotted time” (ranging from four hours to twelve hours depending on the book you happen to be reading) we had a terrible experience, I won’t go into it here, you can read Brooklyn’s 2004 Kidding if you are interested. All I know is I didn’t want to experience this again. My goat mentor suggested we put a kid with the dam to get her licking the kid, which would hopefully stimulate her body to expel the placenta (the hormone oxytocin is released after birth with the licking, and when the teats are stimulated by nursing.)

Since our does tested negative for CAE, I started thinking maybe it would be easier on all concerned to allow the dam to raise her own kids. In addition, we were worried that our does would not allow us to milk them, if they had kids they were nursing.

I have to say that although we had come up with these fine and in some regards “politically correct” reasons, it was totally against our better judgment mainly due to the fact that I nursed my own children, and abhorred the thought of giving my children a bottle. I have also been learning in the past few months about the great benefits of raw milk. I already knew how much better human breastmilk, straight from the breast is for baby humans. But I have been learning more about raw goat and cow’s milk, and it just doesn’t seem right to pasteurize the baby goats milk and cook all the wonderful nutrients. To learn more about how very important real milk is for humans, please visit A Campaign for Real Milk and Dr. Mercola’s site, also Fiasco Farm’s Info on Raw Milk & Pasteurization for a quick summary.

So… I talked with my family about it… putting the kids with their dam and letting her raise them. My main goal was the expulsion of that placenta, but I also was thinking it would be easier on my family to not have to do bottle feeding. Plus, we are trying to limit our attachment to the kids as we cannot keep them all as pets.

So far, so good. Within an hour the placenta was expelled. Mommy was licking and nursing her kids, being a great mom in spite of having never even known she’d had kids before. It was such a great relief to see that she had expelled her placenta.

Now for the next step of worry. Using antibiotics prophylactically when needing to “go in” is quite the controversy. I have had personal experience with the overuse of antibiotics and hate using them unless they are absolutely necessary. One of my goat mentors takes her doe’s temperature twice daily for three days after kidding, and if the doe’s temperature goes up, she starts antibiotics. Another of my goat mentors uses antibiotics if she has to “go in” no matter what. Both people lean toward natural healing as a general rule. So it’s always a big source of worry for me, whether to use antibiotics or not. I don’t want to endanger the doe’s life with a case of metritis, nor do I want to endanger her life by giving her antibiotics prophylactically.

This time I choose to take her temperature. Another time, I might choose to use antibiotics. In the interim, I did learn from a goat list I’m on some information about how to be as clean as possible. It will make me feel more comfortable to use this process for future deliveries. I have written to the author to see if she would allow me to post her suggestions on my website. Permission granted, the page for Proper Cleaning for Assisting with Difficult Kidding is ready for viewing.

One side of Dallas’ udder is congested on day 2, so we are treating her with 5cc’s injectible Vitamin C daily (SQ), rubbing the udder with peppermint oil, teatree oil and olive oil. I am being careful to not get the oil on the teats because of the kids. She does not seem to have much milk, so I am giving the kids a supplemental feeding each day. Since I did bottle feed them right after birth, they seem to be able to nurse and use the bottle. I find that the “Genuine Pritchard Valve Nipple” is the easiest nipple to get kids started on. One of the kids is even starting to come running at me when he sees me, because he knows I’ve got enough milk to give him a nice full tummy.

I have to say that the difference between bottle raising kids, and dam raising is like night and day. When we separated the kids and dams in the past, we allowed the dam to lick our arms and hands, like she would her kids. This caused her to bond to us, we were told it would make it easier to milk the dam if she thought we were her kids. But it also caused the dams to yell constantly at us – their human kids – whenever they saw us step out of the house. They would look at those little goat looking things, and then yell at us. The kids would be screaming, too, looking toward our house, looking for their next bottle.

But this time, we let the dam lick us, and we let her lick and bond to her own kids. It is a world of difference, plus it just feels like the right thing to do. Also, because I am spending time with the kids, and giving a supplemental bottle to the kids, they are very people friendly, even though they are with their dam much of the time. Plus, it’s just more of the way nature intended things to be. We are much happier with this method. So far. We have yet to see how weaning goes, and if it is a problem. I did not come to this decision all on my own. I was first tempted by this when reading the Fiasco Farm site, where the owner describes the method she uses. If I remember correctly, she leaves the dam and kids together for two weeks, then separates the kids into a nursery area at night. In the morning she milks the does, and says the does learn to hold back enough milk for their kids. Read more about how Fiasco Farm raises kids.

We are also going to be disbudding our own kids this year. I have seen five kids disbudded, (two were our own) and I think we are ready to do our own.

I think that’s it for now.

August 2005. Dallas’ boys were banded on May 22nd. They were 7 weeks old.

Update on weaning. We began separating all the kids from their dams at two weeks of age. We milked the dams first thing in the morning, then allowed the kids in with their dams for the day. When the wethers were 8 weeks old, we just stopped letting them go in with their dam. Male kids are quite brutal when nursing. They bang and shove on the dam’s udder, and would nurse whether Dallas allowed them to, or not.

In comparison, Lightning’s doelings are very well trained. They appear to wait for her permission before nursing. If she does not want them to nurse, she backs up away from them, and they stand there, licking their little lips. They hang around her, waiting to nurse, and as if by some silent nod of approval she gives, the two doelings simultaneously dive under her. They also bang and shove, like the boys. Lightning’s back legs fly up into the air from the force of them nursing. Lightning just stands there, chewing cud. She always sniffs Zoë’s bottom when nursing the doelings. 🙂

Dallas did not seem to be very concerned about not having her boys nursing once we weaned them. The boys yelled for a couple of days, but Dallas did not seem to care, in fact, seemed to appreciate that they were not attacking her udder.

Dallas’ boys are skittish. We did work with them on having their feet touched, for hoof trims, but they do not like it when we go into their pen. They will run and hide in the barn.

Lightning’s First Kids 2004

DOB: 4/8/03
Age: 11 months
First Freshening

March 15, 2004 Day after Lightning gives birth.

Sire: Pepper is an unregistered blue-eyed silver and black Nigerian Dwarf

Dam: Lightning is a 50% recorded grade doe
DD: U-Say Ranch Dallas [DS: AZ Apache Valley Joseph DD: AZ Apache Vales Thelma]
DS: Jacobs Pride Peanut [DS: Six M Galaxy Milanis Pistachio DD: Six M Galaxy Aisha 5*M]

The 14th, Sunday, was Lightning’s official due date. Gestation is 150 days, with a week before and after being “normal”.

I went out to check on Lightning at 6am and discovered that she had yellow mucous — having been on “high alert” for kids for the past 10 days (another of our other does — Dallas — was due 5 days earlier, but ended up not being pregnant) I knew from the books that yellow mucous means business. I felt for her tendons, and they were gone, and her udder was bagging up, so I felt she would kid soon. I thought within an hour or two at most.

I got the birthing kit and brought it out with me, along with my knitting, the goat books, some ice water and a lawn chair to relax in. Our only other birth (last year) was uneventful, and all the books say that 95 out of 100 births will be uneventful, so just sit back and enjoy nature. I love birth, and have since I was a young child. I was always present while our dog and cat had their yearly batch of puppies and kittens. I am also my family’s doula, and have been present at 6 homebirths, and one hospital birth for three of my sisters. I was disappointed last year when I missed the kidding, and I wasn’t about to miss out on this one.

It was nice out, but a little on the warm side so I felt drowsy but didn’t want to sleep. Basically Lightning just kept standing in one position, then she would paw the ground, lie down for 30-75 seconds and be back up again. She would arch her back, and stretch. I offered her water, but she would have nothing to do with it. She was interested in eating unsalted peanuts in the shell so I offered her some of those every once in a while.

I went inside every couple hours to take a little break, and I was starting to feel a little worried by noon when Lightning hadn’t drank any water or eaten any food so I did a little bit of research on the ‘net to see if that was normal. I read that it isn’t necessarily a good thing, as the amount of amniotic fluid would lessen if she wasn’t getting enough fluids. I quelled my fears and just kept hoping that soon she would begin hard labor.

Finally just after 2pm she hunched over real hard while standing, this was different than anything she’d done earlier, so I figured we were finally about to have kids. David was already outside with me, and Kevin wanted to be present so I called him (used my cell to call the home phone) and he came out. David and Kevin attended Dallas’ birth last year, and as I said earlier, it was uneventful. But they were both ready with clean birthing rags and spreading out newspaper.

I had been reading over the goat books about birth during the hours of waiting, and I knew that Lightning should expel the first kid within 20-30 minutes of pushing. The books said that if the kids weren’t born by then, there could be a problem, and you should go “in” and see if there was a problem.

There are pictures of normal and abnormal presentations, normal being the two front hooves with the nose resting on the front legs. Lightning had a bubble, and David and Kevin explained once you see the bubble, it breaks and then the kid is born. Well, there was a bubble, but after two or three pushes, Lightning laid down and broke it.

She jumped up right away, and fluid came pouring out. I’m assuming amniotic fluid.

Lots and lots of fluid gushed out, and Lightning was trying to lick it up. I figured since goats eat their placenta, and she was possibly dehydrated at this point, it wouldn’t be a problem. Soon she had another bubble, and this one burst, too. By now 40 minutes had passed by and I put my finger just inside her vulva and I could feel a kid’s mouth. Then I started seeing bubbles — it seemed like the baby was trying to breathe in there. I don’t know for sure, but one of the books said the biggest problem with a breech birth is that the baby can suffocate if the sack is broken and they aren’t born soon enough.

I was really starting to worry about the kids. It seemed like maybe both sacks had broken. Plus, Lightning was going to get tired and worn out from trying. I scanned all three books again, to see if it was considered a problem for the kid to present face first. None of the books indicated this was a good or bad thing! I decided to wash my hands and arms with antibacterial hand soap, dried with paper towels and put olive oil on my index finger and I could feel the baby in there, but no hooves were coming at the same time.

I had David hold Lightning for me, and began inserting my hand inside of her. It wasn’t too difficult, until I got to the knuckles on my fingers. I can barely insert my hand into the small mouth of a Best Foods mayonnaise jar… some days I can tell I am retaining fluids because I cannot. But that is exactly how it felt putting my hand into Lightning’s birth canal. The baby’s head was right there, and poor Lightning was screaming really loud and her uterus was contracting and pushing, trying to get the baby out, while my hand was in there.

The first thing I had to do was sort out what was what in there. That is so difficult to do. I started praying out loud immediately, begging God to help me figure this out. I had my hand on the right side of the baby’s head, and I felt down the neck, and then I found the left leg. It was curled up right by his chest. I felt and felt and felt directly over with my fingers, and I could find legs, but none seemed to be his other front leg. So I took my hand and carefully, slowly — while Lightning is screaming and bearing down — up and over the buckling’s head to the right side of his body, then followed down his neck and finally found his right leg. It was folded back straight alongside his body. I gently pulled it forward, and then tried to find the left leg again, but I couldn’t locate it with my hand in that position. So I had to pull that leg out straight, then move my hand back up around his head to the left side. I managed to hook the two front feet together in my fingers this time, at least I was hoping and praying I had his two front legs! When my hand was on the right side of his body, I also discovered the doeling’s head was right there, at his neck, trying to present at the same time.

I got the two front legs positioned in the birth canal, with the head on top of the two feet. Then we all let go of Lightning for a couple of minutes, to let her rest. Soon she tried again, and she got the boy’s left hoof out, then his nose and right hoof. She seemed to be having a hard time pushing him out, so I gently grasped his two hooves and pulled downward just so slightly all the while, hearing Kevin saying, “Don’t pull, don’t pull, mom!” But I knew it was probably the right thing to do, and right away the boy slid out of Lightning. We quickly started wiping him off, drying him and wiping the glop off of his little mouth and nose. Within a minute or so, Lightning was pushing again. I washed my arm real quick again, just in case, and this time the kid was presenting with the left hoof and face, but the right hoof folded back on the chest. This was a lot easier, I just put my fingers in, got hold of the curled leg and brought it forward. As soon as the girl was in position, she took slid out.

As you can see in the photo, Lightning was looking at her babies. David and Kevin were much better at whisking the Dallas’ kids from her right away, so she never bonded to her kids. Lightning did… and it is hard to hear her crying for her kids.

Being that I am a firm believer in breastfeeding, and a member of La Leche League in the past when my children were young, it was very difficult for me to make the decision that we will bottle feed our goat kids.

There are several reasons, the most important one to prevent CAE (Caprine Arthritis Encephilitis) a disease that is passed on to goats primarily by the kids nursing from infected dams. We have not been able to test our small herd, although I had hoped to get that done this year it hasn’t happened. It entails taking blood from each of our goats, and sending the blood to a lab to have it tested. It is easier to find new homes for kids if you sell them as bottle babies, I have heard, that is another reason. We have goats for their milk, so we want to get the dam used to being milked by humans, not by kids. And finally, of the reasons that come to mind immediately, it’s easier to wean the kids and separate them at weaning time. I have heard people tell stories of how the kids and the dams are screaming bloody murder because they want to be with each other. It’s really one of the saddest parts of having goats — that, and not being able to keep them all. 🙁

But on with my story. So we got the babies into their own area, and we didn’t even know what we had until probably an hour after they were born, it was just too hectic. But as you know already, we had a doeling and a buckling.

The little doeling looks very much like her sire, and it looks like she has his blue eyes and Nigerian ears, plus she inherited his waddles. The little buckling is so beautiful, and has gray eyes which will turn brown like a Nubian’s should be. Some people breed Nigerians to Nubians to get what they call Mini-Nubians.

We weren’t done by any means… we still had to milk Lightning, whose teeny, tiny teats are so tiny that I can barely grasp to milk her. We had to get the colostrum, and heat treat it, hopefully not curdling it this time, like I did with Dallas’ colostrum. Well, you guessed it. It got curdled again. I had bought a bag of powdered colostrum for this very reason, just in case. With Dallas, we not only curdled the colostrum, but she was not giving us enough milk to feed her two kids.

Thankfully, Lightning drank the warm molasses water that we gave her, and then proceeded to drink and drink and drink water. I was relieved about that.

I was also very concerned because I had had to go in, there was a possibility that Lightning could end up with an infection. Some people as a matter of fact give antibiotics if they have to go in, but I hate administering antibiotics unless they are really necessary. So I got some advice from some online friends who have goats, and decided to go with the advice to take her temperature twice daily to make sure she doesn’t start running a temp, and if she does, then start giving her an antibiotic. So I went to the feedstore today, bought a thermometer (because we could not find ours and besides this was a good one for using on livestock, only $6.90) and the antibiotics, [Bio-Mycin 200] just in case.

I took Lightning’s temperature today, and at first it read 105°F! I was alarmed because that would mean a fever for a goat. But then I realized that I had not shook down the thermometer (that is the very thing I did the first time I ever took my little newborn baby Matthew’s temperature when he was very hot). Then after I shook down the thermometer and read it again, it said 102°F which is about normal.

Poor Lightning… today she is screaming and crying for her babies… but I don’t know if it’s really for the goat babies, as she licked and licked all three of us, and she probably thinks we’re her babies. At least that is how it was explained to me, the idea is you take the kids, then let the mom lick the birthing fluids off you, then she thinks *you* are her baby, and then she’s more inclined to let you milk her!

Needless to say, it was a very busy day. Earlier, around 9am, I found out that a neighbor of ours, who I had only connected with briefly, had passed away. She was only 31 years old, with heart failure, and she leaves behind a 12 year old son who does not have his father in his life. That was very sad to hear, and affected me emotionally. Then having to put my arm into Lightning, while she’s screaming and screaming, and I’m praying and trying to sort out legs… I was *messed* up last night. I ended up crying on the phone with my sister, then with my mom for a couple of hours. I was just so upset about it all. I was second guessing my decision to help the kids be born, because I do not know for sure that face only presentation is a problem, since the books don’t say one way or the other. But I’m fairly sure that I saved their lives, and Lightning’s life. If she had labored any longer without being able to get them out, she would surely have become exhausted and dehydrated and unable to push them out.

So I guess we now have 94 uneventful births to look forward to… since one was uneventful, and the second one was EVENTFUL. 🙂

June 13, 2004

Milking notes: It took nearly one full month to teach Lightning to use the milk stand for milking. At first we lifted her twice daily, and even erected a ramp for her to walk up on since it was suggested as a possibility to me that her skeletal calcium was low, and she literally could not get up on the milk stand because it was too painful for her bones.

Also, it took quite some time of milking her with only two fingers before her teats enlarged enough to use three fingers. I still milk with my index finger curled up above the teat, resting against her udder. She is now a pleasure to milk, and has delicious tasting milk. Here are some udder shots before evening milking on day 84 of her lactation:

Here is a shot after her udder is emptied.

She gave us 3# this milking. She peaked at Day 40 of her lactation with 8.1# for the day total (2x daily milkings).

Lightning was bred October 16, 2004 to our buck Bambi. She is due to kid March 16, 2005. Gestation is 150 days.