Sunday, January 15, 2017

GRAPHIC: Live Goat Kidding: Rachel Gives Birth to Twins!

After our meeting for worship this morning and a Bible Study this afternoon, animal chores were a collective effort. Our plan for the day included Sean clearing out some of the upstairs in the barn- sorting that which still serves a purpose from that which needs to find a new home among the things that have been collecting dust (and barn swallow droppings- ew!) over the past couple years. The girls had the day to do whatever they wanted. And, I had high hopes of making a couple batches of soap, creating 100 scent tarts and painting some new eggshell jewelry in preparation for the regional trade show we just got accepted to- in February (Yikes!!!!) [I am super excited about this opportunity and will post all about our preparation for it in another post.]

Rachel had other ideas~ it was time to have those kids!

We attempted a "Go Live" Facebook feed with Abigail, but we were unable to finish it when she decided to wait several days before having her lads. Sean was in the barn working and saw Rachel go into labor. Since she has historically been an easy kidder, she was a perfect candidate to attempt a live feed of her kids' birth. You can find the video on our Lally Broch Farm Facebook Page. (<--- Click link) The birth went beautifully, though my shaky cell phone video leaves a lot to be desired. Holding a phone in one hand and attempting to dry kids, dip umbilical cords and attend to Momma goat is nearly impossible. Add to that, we live in a rural area with terrible cell phone coverage- so the video gets spotty in places. What I can say for it is this: It is real. This is what happened start to finish. We are happy to welcome you to our world. Please recognize it for what it is- and bear with us. :)

A couple people asked some questions about how we managed this kidding. Since more of you might be interested in the answers, I'll share them here, too.

Why did you allow other goats present at the birth? Each of our goat does has different preferences. Jane, Abigail, and Lily never want another goat in sight. Even their own kids from past seasons are seen as threats and driven away. Rachel and Keziah are different. When Rachel and Keziah kidded last time, Rachel stood protectively over her daughter, licking her from time to time, calling softly while Keziah was in labor. When the kids came, Rachel and Keziah shared child-rearing duties. They cleaned the new kids together and allowed the kids to nurse from either of them. With that in mind, we housed the ladies in a kidding stall together. Keziah kidded first this time and Rachel was there to help. If at any time either doe showed signs of stress, we would have separated them.

What do we use to clean the umbilical cords? We use a solution of iodine and water. Many people use iodine straight. We don't because we think that a slightly diluted mixture is less harsh on the tender skin. You should talk to your veterinarian about what they suggest and do what works best for you.

Why did you not pull on the placenta to help clean it off? The placenta should pass on its own within 24-48 hours. We'll watch closely for it to do so. As the kids nurse, the mother's uterus will contract. The mild contractions will help the placenta to pass naturally. While it may seem cleaner than allowing the membranes to drag on the stall floor or spread bloody goo across the kids' heads, pulling on it is very dangerous. It can cause Placental Abruption which can cause serious hemhorraging and lead to death. Never try to detach the placenta. If you are worried about Retained Placenta, get expert advice from your veterinarian. Also, it may look gross, but the placenta and its fluids leave scent on the kids. This helps with bonding between mother and offspring.

Why did you remove the towels with the amniotic sacks? I thought the does would eat that? Does can and will eat the amniotic membranes and placentas. They are rich in nutrients and won't harm the mothers. Because it was 15* outside when these kids were born and Rachel was more interested in cleaning up the mess than getting her kids immediately dried off, we removed the distraction. It would not have hurt to leave it all alone. Another time, we might leave things alone. It is a case by case thing.

These coats are a little large, but with easy off
velcro fasteners, they won't pose a problem if they come loose.
Why did Sean help pull on the 2nd kid? From your vantage point, you may not have been able to see clearly, but as Rachel pushed, the second kid's head was completely delivered with one hoof tucked under the chin. Rachel may very well have been able to continue pushing to deliver that kid all on her own, but it would have added to the time she was in discomfort. Or, she may have struggled since both hooves were not exactly as they should have been. Sean straightened the one hoof he could see. That relieved enough pressure that the kid delivered smoothly. Since Rachel was standing, he kept a hand on the kid to ease the kid to the ground. Kids are resilient and mothers frequently allow them to plop onto the ground at birth. Out of concern for some viewer's sensibilities, he didn't let that happen.

If you have other questions, please feel free to leave them in the comments. Though some practices are universally agreed upon, there is room for many "styles" of goat-keeping. For example, our friend, Shea disbuds her kids, we don't. (Disbudding is the practice of removing a goat's horns, usually by burning the horn buds as a kid.) Though we handle this differently, both of our choices are thoughtfully made. We agree that banding is barbaric. (Sean disagrees with the verbage, "barbaric". I, however maintain vehemently that wrapping a rubber band around a goat kid's testicles until they rot off is the very definition of a barbaric act. If you would not allow it done to your dog or cat- don't do it to your livestock.) Wethering goat kids should be done by a veterinarian under anesthesia and with pain medication administered after, too. Whether we handle a matter the same or differently, we respect each other, learn from each other, and are always willing to consider a better way of caring for our animals.

Thanks for spending time with us tonight, friends. We love your company.

~Sean and Sonja ♥

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