*** Before you scroll down I must warn you that some of the pictures below are a little graphic. They depict an actual goat birth ***
We are days away from starting our 2015 kidding season, so I thought it would be the perfect time to look back at last year’s kidding season! This year we have 4 pregnant goats, 3 of whom are due in March and another that is due in June. Last year we had two kiddings, Tina and Hillary. Hillary’s kidding, the one pictured below, was completely by the book. It went smoothly without any hiccups. Which is why we were lucky enough to document it. Tina’s kidding, however, came without any warning and required me to “go in” to help. Her kidding was not documented… for obvious reasons.
Weeks before Hillary’s kidding she was showing us signs that she was ready. Her udder was forming and her ligaments were slowly disappearing. The ligaments are about the width of a pencil and run on either side of the goat’s spine near the base of the tail. Softening ligaments is a sign that labor is near. When the ligaments completely disappear you are likely within 24 hours of labor. Hillary kept us on our toes as her ligaments were softening for almost 2 weeks before she kidded!
Saturday night I could not find Hillary’s ligaments at all. This was 3 days before her due date. We had the monitor on all night listening for signs that Hillary was in labor. The next morning when we went out to do farm chores Hillary had a thick string of mucus hanging out of her… A sign that the kidding would be starting very soon! We went inside to eat breakfast and impatiently listened to the monitor. Thirty minutes later I heard low moaning noises, so I went to check on her. I found her with the tips of hooves (a perfect birthing position) coming out. I called to Kevin over the monitor asking him to bring towels, and the rest of the kidding kit. We had created a calm, quiet environment for her to kid and everything went smoothly. For the next hour we (our children included) watched her quietly as she gave birth to two perfect kids… One buck and one doe.
According to Hillary’s ultrasound this year she is carrying at least two, potentially three kids! She is due March 28th, but will likely go at least a few days early. Sonia is the first due. Her date is March 6th. Ruth is due March 13th. Tina isn’t due until June 26th.