Monday, March 30, 2009


Sorry for the "graphic" nature of this pix but um... this is how we tell babies are comin'. There is a string of mucous from the vulva... we call it The Shoelace.

As in, we just got home from eating Mexican food at The Rio Grande restaurant and I had dos margaritas. We got home not exactly expecting kids and I had a killer buzz going.

Furry Husband says, "Honey, I think you better check on Spot cuz it looks like we are gonna have kids soon." Talk about a buzz kill!

I went to check and yes - there was a shoelace. Sigh. Instead of crashing on the couch, I grabbed the birthin' kit and sat on it in the quonset hut waiting for Spot to begin pushing.

Spot isn't feeling too good. She gets up, lays down, digs around, pushes her head against the wall, grunts, groans, makes very pathetic small bleating noises and she is EXTREMELY licky.... lick, lick, lick... licking me, the walls, my jeans, my sweatshirt... lick, lick, lick. Getting ready to lick off her babies.

The other goats are completely unconcerned. It's a particularly nice sound when they jump on top of the quonset hut and begin dancing around while Spot and I are in there. Poor Spottie.
I actually had to go in and fish out the first kid. I really, really HATE going in there. I'm afraid of hurting her, I'm afraid of introducing infection, I'm afraid I won't figure out what is what.
I read a lot and I mean a lot of James Herriott... read his books more than once. Listened to local veterinarian stories and had a couple give me some tips. Like if you have to go in? Don't be that concerned because the babies have to come out and they are as big if not bigger than your arm and hand.
Another vet told me if I have to go in, that I should think about how the legs orient on an animal. The front legs bend at the knee and go back toward the belly, the back legs bend at the hock and move forward toward the belly. When I go in I close my eyes and I have to trace the animal with my hand while picturing it with my mind. I've had to go in 2 other times before this time.
Spot was pushing and straining and after an hour there was nothing for her effort. No little hooves or a nose - nothing. I called our vet and she confirmed that I should go in and have a feel. Remove all jewelry - rings/watches etc. and wash your hands and arms up to the elbow with soap and hot water.
I did and went in.
I could feel legs, front ones and I could feel a head but the head was so big it wasn't making it through the pelvic opening. If I pulled the legs, the head would go back to the shoulders. I KNOW for a fact Spot can't fit a head PLUS shoulders through her pelvis so I had to place my hand over the kid's skull and keep it coming along with the legs.
Oh man. Every time she had a contraction, I thought my fingers were gonna break! Frickin' hurt.
Tho' I'm sure Spot was thinking about the same and much worse!
I got the kid out - he was alive. A big buck kid. Spot had a petite doe kid next on her own just fine. I'm towelling off the doe kid in this picture. She is almost like her mama - only no white spot anywhere.

Another picture of the doe kid.
Lookit that head! Hu-gong-ous! I'm thinking of that Mike Myers movie, So I Married and Axe Murderer? And the kid in the movie whose head is so huge?

Once Spot is through, I have to milk the colostrum, or the first milk full of antibodies and goodness for the kids. We heat treat it to kill any lurking CAE disease. CAE is passed from goats to goats through their milk. It doesn't affect humans, but heat treated or pasteurized milk does not have it.
Colostrum is heated to 135 degrees and placed in a thermos for an hour to hold it's temperature.

We bottle feed all our babies. The first year we did this, I felt like the most awful, big, bad carnivore... ripping babies away from their mamas.
The babies really don't seem to care a bit as long as someone feeds them. The does aren't happy for about 3 days and I really do feel bad for them. They go through all that work and there is nothing to show for it! After around 3 days, if they see those babies, they want nothing to do with them and I feel much better.
What a good doe Spot is.... having her babies at a decent hour of the day and before Furry Husband leaves for his Napa "work" trip. Did I tell you he's staying at the Ritz freaking Carlton in San Francisco?
He gets the Ritz, nice wines and incredible gourmet meals. I get to stay home and bottle feed baby goats. At least I have Cozzola's award winning pizza to help ease my pain. heh heh.


Tracy said...

Wow Shanster, you ROCK!

I have done a lot of reading about all this because we were considering goats and or sheep, but have reluctantly decided against it because we have too much going on and having to birth a kid might just put me over the edge!

Such cute kids! you'll keeping putting up pictures won't you?

Shanster said...

Thanks! Shew - glad it's over and all is well.

I know when I was milking her after, my hands were shaking(and I don't think it was from the margs -ha!) You don't realize how you keep all your muscles tense when it's "go time". Kidding is stressful for sure! The unknown ya know? And the whole going in... just freaks me out!

Oh yeah, there will be goat pictures galore! :)