Sunday, April 12, 2015

WARNING GRAPHIC POST: Dystocia During Kidding

While Sean worked on more spring clean-out in the barn, I fed and watered all the animals. We wanted to have time this afternoon to cuddle up and watch a movie together. With team work, the plan was to call it a day by 4 pm. Salome had other ideas.

We knew that she was due to kid any day and have been keeping a close eye on her. This afternoon, she started calling. Meme is a quiet goat, rarely calling. Sean gave her a good look over. Her kid had very clearly dropped, her udder had engorged, and her ligaments were gone. We predicted she would kid today.

Labor began with hard contractions, but no real "mucus show". Meme became very cuddly; licking Sean's hands and face between contractions. We washed up, grabbed our kidding kit, and settled in to wait. It was at this point that I clicked a couple images with my phone and posted to facebook. With five kiddings past this year and all with excellent results, I was certain this one would be textbook as well...

Contractions started. This was all the warning we had before Salome was straining hard under them. In our experience, this is the beginning stage of labor. When things get really started, usually we see a larger discharge and often a bubble forms and protrudes.

Not this time. This happened and then Meme immediately began straining to push. She did not even appear to be dilated before the hard contractions gripped her. Within a minute or two, a soft black nose and pink tongue presented. Worrisome, but last year, Haddie had a very similar presentation. The hooves appeared under Amos' chin. Sean easily maneuvered them into the right position and Amos was born. We watched for a couple contractions to see if the hooves would appear under the chin.

They didn't.

Within a couple contractions, the head was delivered with no "bubble" or amniotic sac and very little discharge. Worse, we could not see hooves. Meme was calling pitifully and straining with no progress. We had to check for how the hooves were presenting inside. Sean washed his hands and carefully slipped his fingers inside. He could feel the hooves, but the kid's legs were turned backwards and he was unable to grasp the  front hooves or ease them into the birth canal.

We made an immediate call to our Veterinary's office. Jen from Ridge Runner was in the office having just come from another emergency call. Over the phone, she explained that we needed to push the kid's head back inside and very quickly grab the front legs and pull them into the right position. The instructions were very clear, but we felt we needed help in person.

I was relieved when Jen arrived. It took 20 minutes, but it seemed like so much longer. We monitored Meme and the kid while we waited. Sean was ready to attempt the procedure if Meme or the kid seemed in distress. Since I had already announced the kid was coming, I tried to update what was happening on our facebook page. People from all over the United States commented their concern and I wanted to ease your fears along with my own.

Jen carefully eased the kids head back inside and slipped her hand completely inside along the left side of the kid's body. She hooked a leg and eased it forward. Then, she quickly repeated the process on the other side, pointing the leg forward. A solid grip on the kids head and one leg, she eased the kid out amidst Meme's cries of distress. Within seconds, the kid was born.

Sean was busy holding Meme still, so he missed the details of what happened, but my excited cry of "Oh God!" caused him to turn in time to see the kid flop onto the hay. Jen quickly helped towel off the kid to dry her and help stimulate her to respond. She did immediately. And, in true Motherly fashion, Meme seemed to forget the ordeal and turned all her attention to her new kid, licking her clean, calling to her softly, and loving her offspring. Some people would call it instinct and I am sure some of that is involved. But, watching Meme respond to her young after enduring what she did, is so much closer to what I call unselfish love. ♥

Jen checked to see if another kid was coming. I was very happy to have one healthy, living kid and content to leave it at that. Jen gave Meme a dose of Banamine to ease her pain and sore muscles and a shot of antibiotic as a precaution. She left us with some Oxytocin in case Meme retained her placenta and instructions on how to use it. We did not need to. Meme seems to have rallied back to normal and both she and her kid are doing just great.

This Vet visit ended up costing us $250. In a time when we are already worried about finances, this is a bill we cannot easily afford. And, looking at it from a strictly financial position, I can understand why many commercial farmers might choose to euthanize a doe in this situation. The reality is, this doe kid will sell for about $125. Salome would sell for about the same, if we planned to sell her. Many folk would consider that a bad investment. We don't. That bill will add stress to our budget. But, what value does life have? We have two live does. And that is worth every penny.

We could not be more pleased to introduce the birth of Miss Baby Ruth. (She'll be matched with young Boaz as a pair.) She weighed in at just over 6 pounds. She is pure black and has her Mother's ears. Miss Ruthie's father is Lamancha; her mother is Oberhausli. She should grow to be as good a milker as she is beautiful. And, if she is anything like her parents, she'll be a friendly sweet-heart. ♥

Thanks for following along with us today, friends. It was so comforting to know you were there cheering us on and praying with us. Thank you.

~Sean and Sonja ♥

More information about Goat Kid Dystocia is available HERE.


  1. I'm glad they are both ok. Glad you guys were out there when Meme went into Labor.

  2. Oh my, I was crying as I read this. I am SOOOO happy you have a healthy baby and Momma. Another black beauty at that!!!!!