People who knew me in my youth would have never guessed I would have babies of any species born on our property let alone assist with the births. I never had a strong stomach for blood or body fluids.
About 7 years ago a friend from college was buying pygmy goats at the same time I was and she talked me into sharing a buck and starting a breeding program. I had originally planned to just buy a couple of wethers to serve as pets. It has been an adventure ever since.
As all livestock caregivers find out eventually, there are many things you need to learn to do yourself. I love my vets but there are only a few of them in the county that handle large animals, and it seems that usually when I have a kidding emergency, they are all out on other emergency calls.
A few years ago, a group of goat friends and I started our own little maternity group. We would go to each other’s barns and assist with deliveries that didn’t go so well. I have seen plenty of bad things and death, but I have learned many good things as well, and we did save the lives of many does and kids.
Over the years, my husband Mark and I developed our own method of delivering goats. I’m in charge of the delivery itself, and he dries the babies and gets them moving after their birth. I have to judge whether or not to assist as each birth progresses.
Most of the time, everything goes OK, but occasionally, I end up with a fat, out of shape doe or a big headed kid or just a really big kid. I try to always be around for deliveries and if in doubt, I help the doe. I’ve seen too many babies die in the birth canal because their mothers were not assisted quickly enough.
My methods seem to have worked well so far. At our place, we have had few does die, and we only lost one kid once we started handling the birth situations ourselves.
Enjoy the video on this page of our latest goat delivery on Feb. 22. Be aware that it is a real birth so you may want to proceed with caution, though there is nothing out of the ordinary for a birthing video.
I did decide to assist the doe because she had been in labor for a long time, and she was not progressing. She was just fat and out of shape, which was my fault.
Only one birth made the video as Mark had to hold the doe and I had to go in after the second kid because his mom was tired and taking too long. I was worried he had been in the birth canal too long and it was after 10 p.m. and I was tired of waiting! We didn’t have anyone to hold the camera and record the second birth, as we were both busy.
The doe and both of her kids are doing fine. We have two more does to kid in mid March.