We have goat kids! Thursday night found Steve and I playing midwives to a goat. And thank goodness, the best word to describe the experience was ‘textbook.’ The whole process was exactly what we’d read a best case scenario would look like. Even better: I wasn’t on my own! This kidding happened in the evening after Steve was home from work. I’d been imagining for weeks that she’d go into labor on a freezing afternoon when Steve wasn’t due home until late at night. Assisting a goat delivery while trying to keep track of my own three kids was not something I was looking forward to at ALL.
We didn’t even have to worry about knowing when it would be her time – it was pretty obvious when I went out around 11 pm to set up the monitor. (Aside: we discovered the monitor was pretty much useless, as Pepper was almost silent through the whole thing. There is no way her quiet bleats would have woken us up if it was the middle of the night.) I noticed Pepper’s mucous plug had fallen out, which is a sure sign that a goat will deliver within about 8 to 12 hours. So we brought out some towels and the other things we’d need for the process and got Pepper into the kidding pen. Things moved along quickly for about 30 minutes and then after that there were no visible changes for over an hour.
About 1:10 am, we decided it would be better for one of us to get some sleep and come back out when it was time. After all, we have our own (human) kids that would need our attention in the morning! I went inside to lay down for awhile while Steve stayed out to keep Pepper company. At 1:23, Steve called and asked me to come back out to the barn because she was starting to push. At 1:45, Pepper delivered her first kid.
Steve was thrilled to see that the kid was black. He really likes color variety, and we already have a brown goat and a white goat. I had to laugh at him – Steve is normally so entirely pragmatic and sensible that to see him excited over something a bit frivolous and fun like color is a little out of character. We were, however, both disappointed when Steve checked under the kid’s tail – we had a little buckling. Bucklings don’t produce milk, and unless you have a breeding program, they don’t contribute to anything other than feed bills. This boy is destined to be wethered (neutered) and go to a pet home.
The kid was so big that we assumed he was a singleton. He was also strong, and was trying to stand up even as we were first getting him cleaned off. Pepper was extremely attentive and licked him eagerly. We were about to help the kid find where to nurse when Pepper started pushing again.
This kid was also black – yay! This kid was also a buck – boo. So now it’s up to Flora to produce a little doeling so we can bring our herd of dairy goats up to three.
Even though these little guys are both black, their markings are distinctively different. One has a badger face like their mother while the other has a star on its forehead. Steve refers them as ‘Badger Face’ and ‘The One With The Star.’ This is probably the closest we get to names for these guys, because once we name things we get attached.
The younger kid, the one with the star, seemed as though he were a little weak as he was not as sure footed as his brother nor was he as quick to nurse. It really wasn’t anything super concerning, but y’know, we do like to worry. But by mid-morning Friday he appeared to have caught right up. Steve noticed that his legs were a bit bowed, which could have been caused by his positioning in utero. It’s somewhat normal and should work itself out as he grows over the next few days and weeks.
They’re so darn cute that I just want to want to pick them up and play with them, but they’re really too young for that yet. For now, we’ll just stand back and admire. And next week – we milk!