Being My Goat’s Midwife
Guys it happened! Our goats had their babies! It was a wild ride! They are so cute!!
We have been raising Nigerian Dwarf goats for a year and a half. We got our first 3 goats in June of 2018. We found a lady here in town who was selling some 10 week old does. They were two of a set of triplets and upon meeting them we decided to also buy a 4 month old doe that was a half sister to the other girls.
We brought home Beardsley, our buck, this last June. Our girls were now over a year old and old enough to be bred. We didn’t know exactly when they would be in heat, so we just penned him up with the does and let nature do its thing.
5 months later, almost to the day, Beardsley proved himself to be a great buck! We knew that the girls were all pregnant due several factors. For the last several months they wouldn’t allow Beardsley to mount them, and they had been getting progressively fatter.
Goats are pregnant for an average of 150 days. Our girls kidded at 151 days from when Beardsley was introduced into the herd. They all had their babies within 14 hours!! It was nuts!
I had been obsessively reading up on how to tell when your goat is about to go into labor, all of the articles I read said basically the same things. That they would begin to get an udder, lose their ligaments at the base of their tails, begin pawing the ground, and become increasingly restless.
I was certain after keeping an eye on them that Oreo was going to have her babies first. She had had a large udder for several weeks and just looked more “ready” than the other two. I was thrown for a loop when Pepper was our first goat to go into labor.
When we were out doing our evening chores Friday night, she wasn’t interested in her alfalfa or grain. These goats can be glutenous and always fight each other over their grain. We knew something was up. For the next couple of hours I kept going out to check on her and at 8:30 that evening I went out to find her in the process of birthing her first baby.
I ran inside to get some towels to help clean it off, and came back out to the pasture and Pepper was up walking around, having abandoned her baby in the goat shelter. I cleaned up the baby and made sure it was breathing.
Then I tried to get Pepper to come back over to her baby. She wanted nothing to do with it! She acted scared of her own baby. I didn’t know what to do. Half an hour later, Pepper laid down in the dirt and birthed a second baby. This one she took to and began to clean it like I had expected her to do with her first baby. To try and keep the babies comfortable and warm, we penned Pepper up with her babies in a corner of the goat shelter.
When we got her in the pen she realized that there were two babies and began to take care of and clean her first baby as well. We continued to stay out with them to make sure both babies were nursing and after an hour or so we went in to leave them for the night.
The next morning we woke up to the sounds of baby goats. Dave looked out the window to see Salt, Pepper’s twin, standing in the pasture with two baby goats at her heels. She had just given birth to twins at first light Saturday morning! She was already cleaning them and taking great care of them. We penned her up in the goat shelter right next to Pepper.
At this point we were pretty surprised that two of our goats had dropped twins within 12 hours. So imagine our surprise when Oreo began acting as Pepper had been the evening before. There was one stall left in the goat shelter, so before she actually had her babies, I moved Oreo into the last stall so she could comfortably have her babies in there and not have to be wrangled in afterwards.
With this last goat birth, all of the kids were able to be there to watch and got to witness Oreo giving birth to twins. Her twins came within 10 minutes of each other. The first, a cute white buckling, was born breech and I actually had to assist in his birth and then got him cleaned up and made sure he was breathing. The second, also a buck was born without difficulty.
So by 10:30 Saturday morning we had gone from having 4 goats to having 10! There ended up being 3 does and 3 bucks born. It was exciting and somewhat stressful since this was a first time experience for all of us. The goats were first time moms and we had never been a part of a goat birth before. We are happy that all went well, and we definitely learned something new!
Now we get to enjoy these sweet baby goats and we are loving it!