Goat Labor and Delivery

So I just wanted to add a couple of spots of video to show you what all of my goats contractions have looked like.  Once I know the due date is close, I will be checking the ligaments and watching the udder everyday to see and feel differences.  When the ligaments are gone they say they will kid within 12 hours, by the time most of mine were gone it was less than 12 hours for sure.  Most of mine’s udder have seemed to get at least 1/3 bigger right before they had them as well, either the night before or the day of.  I make sure to know exact due dates and that way I can be there in case they need a hand, but also it is a wander to watch life become right before your eyes and I like to help.  Most of the supplies I use and the way they are used are influence of the book The Accessible Pet, Equine and Livestock Herbal by Katherine Drovdahl. book link

  1.  I always have lots of clean towels
  2. feed sacks( to place babies on as I dry them with the towel)
  3. naval dip(from fir meadows-naval dip link)( I do not use iodine)
  4. a dropper to distribute the naval dip
  5. cayenne tincture cayenne tincture link  to get babies going quick put just one drop on their gums, and give a few drops to the dam as well for bleeding and vitamins
  6. umbilical cord clips clips link they are very easy and can be cleaned and reused ( I soak them in vinegar then spray them with hydrogen peroxide then boil them)
  7. an herb mix by Fir Meadow called Ewe-Ter-N Link for  ewe-ter-n (give this to dam right as labor starts and again after labor)
  8. unsulphured black strap molasses at about a half a cup in a half gallon really warm water directly after labor and again a few hours later)
  9. surgical scissors, cleaned with alcohol and boiled, to cut umbilical cords after the clip is in place, I put the clip about 1 1/4″off the body
  10. one cup olive oil with 25drops of therapeutic grade lavender essential oil in it in a sanitized glass jar, as a lubricant,  incase I need to go in and assist
  11. alcohol to disinfect clean washed hands or gloves ( I mix everclear with water, 2/3 alcohol with 1/3 water, I do not use regular alcohol)

Once a doe enters labor, mild labor may go on for several hours, you should preferably not see more than  a couple hours of  hard contractions, , and once you see them actually trying to push this should not go on more than 30 minutes to an hour at most.  If things are not progressing something may not be right, most likely a baby position is not correct. There may be lots of sacks.  I am including a picture, the light colored sack has the baby and the dark one underneath is just a water sack.  Sometimes your doe will pass what seems like a lot of sacks and some won’t pass but one.  They are all different.  Once babies are out, if they do not seem to breath well and have stuff in their nose you can pick them up and hold their back legs and make some room and sling them back and forth a couple times to clear their breathing, just make sure they are not slippery and hold tight.  Babies should be up and trying to nurse preferably in about 5 minutes to 15 minutes.  I am adding a video of what new born babies should be acting like if all is well and a video of a goat having contractions in labor.  This doe was a first freshener delivering as a one year old.   Once the ligaments are gone, I am watching the tail, its all in the tail.  When they have a good contraction it seems to pull inward on them opening them up.  As with a women they get stronger and closer together as the delivery gets closer.  You want your doe to deliver the afterbirth within one hour of delivery.  Don’t freak out if they do not, just watch them and make sure they do not go into shock, if you think they are give them more cayenne tincture and get a vets help if they do go into shock.  I have had a doe go for 12 hours before it passed and I actually had to help her get it out by pushing on her belly right in front of the udder with firm pressure off and on.  DO NOT PULL the cord ever!  Pushing in front of the udder under the belly helps because it seems to help their own contraction strength.  Make sure the babies get colostrum in them within an hour.  If they can not nurse because of them or the dam, milk her, and feed it in a bottle at 4 ounces every two hours until they are nursing good.  If a baby is born by 2pm or so about 3 bottles will do that day until the next day.  Then if I am bottle feeding still the next day I would simply go by the bottle feeding schedule I have on another post.  Do not let the dams udder get to tight and full, keep her milked out two or three times a day until the babies are nursing good and keeping up with milk supply.  Starting at two to three weeks most people put the babies up at night and milk the dam in morning and let the babies nurse the rest of the day.  If they only have one I will be milking once a day regardless.   The babies need to be checked often the first few days for that sticky glue like feces that will probably need some help being cleaned up after.  If they pass a little of this and it does not fall to the ground but sticks to the body they need to be cleaned with really warm water and a wash cloth and then dried with a towel, please try not to get the umbilical cord wet as that would hinder the drying up period of it.  You may need to wash them a couple times a day on the backside for about three days.  If it is just a minute bit a baby wipe will do most of the time.  The first few times will be really dark, almost black, then in a couple days it will be light yellow-orange until they start on hay and feed.  Try to keep salt and kelp where the baby can reach, I have a two day old already tasting these and nibbling hay, amazing!  I have also added a picture of a couple babies about the same age just born a day before.  The bigger one was about 9lbs and the smaller about 7lbs, it is amazing the size difference of 2lbs in baby goats.  I surely prefer the smaller one as it is much easier for the dam to deliver.  I dread the single large baby out of a first time mother and make sure to help her.  This is the reason I feed my first fresheners less during the last bit of pregnancy than I would a second freshener and up, to keep the babies from getting too large.  I will increase the first timers ration from 1lb to 2lbs in the last six weeks and then after they kid slowly increase to the 3.7lb milkers ration.  I do offer them carrots or fresh greens and lots of pregnancy herb mix(rose hips, stinging nettles, red raspberry leaf all from mountain rose herbs and coarse not powder, and  copper-selenium supplement from fir meadows) during the last part of pregnancy though.  There are a couple theories out there about when they will deliver. One, I have honestly seen to be true here every time, that the babies will come within 12 hours of the cords no longer able to be felt, usually it is much faster than 12 hours here.  The next is that if you can see or feel the babies (you do this on the right side) that the doe will not kid until they can no longer be felt, this is usually true.  However, my dear Clover proved this theory very not 100 percent true the other night.  She was in hard labor and up until one of her twins came out you could not only feel but could see the other baby on her right side as if it was showing off before being born, haha.  It was crazy indeed and this is not common but apparently it can happen.  She did also have BOTH babies trying to exit at once, that was a first for me.  I had to push one back for the other to come on out.  All went well, just glad I was able to be there to help.  She was also my only goat to come in the night, she has to be my favorite right!, or perhaps this would not be so tolerable.   Eighteen deliveries here on this farm thus far and she is the ONLY one to delivery at night time.  Most of my deliveries are about 10:30 to 12:30 in the morning, like 95 percent. DSC_0031DSC01436

1 thought on “Goat Labor and Delivery

  1. Pingback: Goat Labor and Delivery – dancingspiritfarmdotcom

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