You’ve Got to be Kidding! - by S. Hazel McGuffin 2013
What to expect and what can go wrong. What to do about it.
Spotting a doe that is close to labor:
· She may become very clingy, loud and needy
· Or she may become very distant, try to leave the herd and seem nervous
· She may start to pace, lay down, get up, lay down, lay down and become very antsy and seem unable to get comfortable when lying down
· She may start to look at her stomach a lot
· Her bag will start to fill up
· She will get a cervical plug (gooey stuff) then will lose it closer to kidding
· She may ‘baby talk’
What to do once you have spotted her:
· Get her to a quieter, clean place – especially if you have dogs
· Remove all large buckets of water (so she does not accidently drown her kid)
· Give her some grass hay or something to chew on (don’t be worried if she doesn’t want any, it is mostly to reduce stress)
· She is going to be scared and stressed – try to reduce activity and loud noises in her immediate vicinity
What to do when she goes into hard labor- there are many ways that you can handle it
1. Let her work it out – keeping an eye on her but not interfering unless absolutely necessary – learning what is absolutely necessary is needed and how to do what is needed
2. Once she goes into hard labor, helping her guide the kids out - very hands on – knowing what to do and how to do it is needed
3. Go with the 30 min. rule – ‘if she is in hard labor for 30 min. and nothing happens then check, if all is well and in a good position then wait another 30 min. before interfering, if it has been 30 min. since birth of last kid then it is time to get the next one out’- from John Matthews’s book Diseases of the Goat –knowing what to do and how to do it
What to expect (the normal, good stuff that is what you want)
1. When her water breaks, it should be clear or a milky white
2. There should be little or no blood in the goo (a little bit is not a problem)
3. When the first kid comes – all feet, if any, should belong to the same kid – make sure that they trace back to the same body
4. There should only be one kid in the birth canal at one time (if there is more than one, push one back)
5. She should be actually pushing (if not it isn’t a problem per say- it just takes a lot longer)
6. Her birth canal should be as wide and loose as possible (to help with this you can massage the inside of her canal)
Kid positions and what to do (if it comes to that):
The best and most common is Nose-and-Toes were you have the front legs forward and a head, the doe can handle that all on her own
Then there is Nose- and- toe with head, and one front leg forward and the other back. Most of the time the doe can do these on their own or with a little help, but sometimes you have to push the kid back in and find the other leg.
Backwards is where you just have back legs. Backwards kids a doe can do alone but if you are there, make sure that the kid comes out fast. You don’t want them to try to breath but only get fluid.
Just head, very rare that a doe can do this one alone, you normally have to push the kid back and find a leg or two.
Breach is where you get a butt. No feet. No head. Just a tail. Does cannot birth a breach. You have to push it back and go searching for feet.
Head back is where you have front feet but the head is bent back, it is rare that a doe can do this on her own. You have to push the kid back as far as you can and try to GENTLY pull the head forward.
When the kids start to come- DRY THEM OFF! As soon as possible! Mama will want to help, that is fine it will reduce her stress but the kids get cold VERY quickly. Get them dry and warm fast! Then teach them how to suck (if you are bottle raising or not, you have to give them some idea on what to grab on to).
Also- Mama will want to eat some slime. That is fine. It won’t hurt her and it will reduce stress.
Have warm water (with molasses helps) to offer to Mama. She will have just had an awful time and a little sugar and warm water should help her not go into shock or hypocalcaemia or something evil like that.