On Sunday May 1, our doe Chelsea went into labor. Right on time.
She didn’t want to be left alone so Hubby and I sat with her in the stall. And she pushed. And pushed. And hollered. And pushed.
Oh ya and we had an audience. Because what Mama doesn’t want a entire barn load of people when she’s giving birth for the first time.
It was her first time so I figured the kids weren’t just going to fly out of her like Phoebe’s babies did this time around. But I was starting to wonder why she was having so much trouble.
Truth be told I had had a premonition of something going wrong with Chelsea’s birth. About a week before she was due every time I thought about Chelsea giving birth I thought about having to pull the baby. I would quickly push that from my mind but that thought was still there.
And then it came to be when Chelsea’s first kid presented with just a tail. A breech birth can still go smoothly as long as the feet come first. That’s what you look for when the doe is giving birth. Where are the feet. In this case the feet were tucked underneath him, making him too wide for Chelsea’s birth canal. He was stuck, and stuck good.
I am part of an all natural goat group on Facebook and thankfully had read many different posts on how to get stuck kids out. I felt somewhat prepared, that is until I was wrist deep in goat and wasn’t making any progress.
The first thing I tried to do was push him back so I could get a hold of his legs. This didn’t work, he wasn’t going backwards. So next I tried to wiggle him and pull him through the canal by his hip bones. I made a little progress with this, but wasn’t doing it fast enough. By this time Chelsea was exhausted and was hardly pushing. She had her head down in the straw and was breathing heavily. So my Hubby took a turn at getting the kids out. While my hands are smaller and were better at getting into Chelsea, who is a teeny tiny little Nigerian Dwarf, Hubby’s hands are stronger. And we were at the point where something had to get that kid out of there.
My sister’s mother in law is a vet so I had my mother try and call her. No go. We were on our own. Hubby wiggled and pulled and twisted until finally a leg came loose. Then we had both legs. Thank you Lord! We both thought the kid was dead. When I had been working trying to get him out, pulling on his hips, his tail, and trying desperately to push him back or get my hand it beside him to loosen a leg he had been pooping in my hand. And now we had the legs, but there wasn’t any movement. It had been so long, he wasn’t in a bubble, and now we had a dead tired Mama who wasn’t pushing. All in position to pull Hubby and I chanted at Chelsea push push! Like some crazy birth coaches in a maternity ward. And finally she did. One final push, hardly anything, but it was enough. We pulled. When you pull a kid you pull down not straight out and you pull when Mama pushes. And then there he was. I still had him by his hind legs, and he kicked. He was alive.
Mama goat passed out so Hubby went to checking her and making sure she was alright as I worked to try and clear the fluid from his nostrils so he could breathe. He was so so tiny. The smallest kid I have ever seen. If he hadn’t had his legs tucked up the way he did he would have come out just fine even in the breech position.
The next part happened so fast. I was trying to get the fluid out of his nose and mouth, Hubby was rubbing Chelsea’s neck trying to get her to look at him, and then all of a sudden there was another kid. This one smaller than the first, as if that was even possible! I don’t think Chelsea even pushed for that one she just fell out. She had been right behind the first one which is probably why I couldn’t push him back to reposition the legs. I’m so thankful that she didn’t start coming over top of him.
Hubby quickly went to work at drying the second kid off. Our audience of my brother, his girlfriend and my mother, were flinging towels at us and oohing and awwing at the new lifes that had just come into the world.
Mama goat seemed to have gotten over her fainting spell at this point and was licking her second kid. I had the first one almost dry and we got him latched on right away. He was terribly weak, but he nursed as long as we held him in place.
12 hours later you wouldn’t even have known that he had such a traumatic entrance to our little farm. He was nursing on his own and starting to take his first steps. Although he was a bit behind his younger sister in development, we felt confident at that point that he was going to make it.
A Few Notes of Interest:
Always have rubber gloves in your kidding box.
Don’t loose the nose sucker thing right before a kidding is to take place. I had it with Phoebe’s kidding a few weeks earlier and somehow between then and now it has disappeared. Of course because I reeeeally needed it.
When you call the vet and she doesn’t answer be sure to actually hang up the phone, instead of leaving a voicemail of a screaming goat and muffled panicked voices.
Don’t have an audience at birthing time. Everyone wants to see the miracle of birth, but hot damn there I was with my hand up a goat’s address in front of my family. Ya’ll that’s just awkward.
Thankfully Mama and babies are all doing well now, and it’s already time to milk 2 goats in the morning. How on earth are those babies 2 weeks old already? It feels like it just happened yesterday.
They grow too fast.
Thank you Lord for trusting us with them and for blessing us with the gift of milk and provision. We may not have much, but when I’m milking the goats or collecting the eggs or watching the kids play I feel like the Queen of Sheba. Going for broke but I’m so so rich.
Goat birthing diagrams and what to do (our buck was diagram 3)
Totally Natural Goats and More on Facebook