What to Expect When You’re Expecting–Goat Style

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Wonderful mother Daphne with Bambi Jane

Well. Let me take a few moments to exhale. Did you know that watching goats give birth can be very stressful? I thought it would be like watching my cat who gave birth on my pillow years ago. It was a very quiet affair (but maybe it’s just that cats are more refined). I invited my mother up to watch the birth, too and we all sat round waiting. And waiting. Armed with extensive knowledge and experience (haha) we had the towels and newspapers you’re supposed to use to put between the dirty ground and the babies (?). We had the mechanical looking thing for dragging the kids out if something went wrong and a pint of triodine (a substitute for 7% iodine since the real deal is now used by crystal meth heads—those druggies ruin everything!).

Exactly 12 minutes into Daphne’s contractions we panicked and called the vet because Daphne was screaming,  writhing around and banging her head. The vet laughed at us good naturedly and the babies were fine even though they didn’t land on newspaper. Immediately Daphne (the star) took to her kids and washed them up. They were nursing soon after and all was well with the world. Our goat friend thought we were crazy not to take the kids right away from the mother but after he told us how depressed the mothers get (just for a few days) when the kids are taken my mind was made up that at least for this year we’d share the milk and let the girls bond with mother.

We felt pretty professional (though tired–yes,  the husband and I snapped at each other a few times). And waited again. For days. We realized the babies needed to be kept in better than we had planned so Tim had to quickly build a partition wall. Since the goats were tense with babies and pregnancy Tim had to construct the wall up at the house and carry it on his back down to the barn. He’s a rhino, I tell you. (very manly indeed). xxxooo

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Here’s the partition–looks heavy, right?

Finally Pixie went into labor with very little drama. No moans, no writhing. The kid’s hooves came out and finally the head and he lay sputtering on the ground–forgot the newspaper again–and Pix just hated him. Bottle babies are cute though and we’re going to train him to drive a cart for fun.

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Poor little orphan Mikey

Here’s what I’ve learned so far:

Babies fed on their mother’s milk have better immunity to some of the big goat killers.

The kids are still very friendly, but not as devoted as a bottle baby.

It’s a really good thing to have a definite baby/mother area already set up in advance.

Keep the company away until after kidding. The animals will be less stressed if everything is kept normal.

Debudding the kids is disgusting to watch, but the kids are fine after 15 minutes (you should do it just after you can feel the little bumps starting to rise on their heads. You can fry their brains if you go to far with the hot poker thing (I kinda felt like swooning when our friend was demonstrating on my favorite kid).

First time milkers have small teats when their kids don’t nurse off of them. Daphne’s teats are getting bigger and she’s a delight on the stand. Pixie has to be man-handled up and her teats are small (though she is beginning to get used to the whole thing.

The milk tastes like thick, creamy cow’s milk–but a little more delicious.

Pixie is a bit down still and the vet is coming by today. I think the herbal wormer may not have been great so I dosed her with Ivormec and gave her a vitaminB shot and some glycerine and molasses—–yes, this is how first time mothers act.

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