What a great way to launch into the Christmas season, by welcoming new kids to the farm! Plum Bush B Eliza Jane, (Lizzie) gave us triplets on the evening of November 30. I mistakenly assumed that Lizzie was only carrying twins, so we were pleasantly surprised to realize that she was delivering a third kid. Unfortunately, kid 3 was presenting with his chin tucked. Both front feet presented as expected, but the cute little nose, which should have been coming along with them, was alarmingly absent. Lizzie was not making much progress so I had to examine what was going on in the birth canaI and became a bit nervous when upon feeling for a nose, I instead felt the hard top of a head, and then eye sockets!
Instead of trying to pull the kid, I knew it was best to try to gently push him back, and pull his chin up if possible. I did manage to manipulate him a bit, but as I was doing so Lizzie pushed again, and birthed the kid ears first. I have never had this happen before, but thankfully everything was fine! It was a stressful birth for the kid and there was quite a bit of meconium present in the sac, but all is well and we have 3 healthy kids on the ground!
This late November birth is the start of our fourth kidding season here on Plum Bush Farm. I am thankful that we have encountered very few kidding issues up to this point with our Nigerian Dwarf Does. I do believe Lizzie could have delivered this kid on her own eventually, but it is always best to be present when your does are giving birth if possible. The kid was obviously already stressed, as was the momma goat, so anything I could do to help her out was essential to a good outcome. There is nothing like real life experience to learn from , but here are a few things that are helpful to know as you go into the kidding season!
Tips for helping your doe have a successful birth:
- Have some essentials on hand… old towels or rags are good for helping get the kids dry, especially if it is cold out. Some suggest having a kid puller ( I’ve heard the the Kellie’s kid puller is a very good one). Other things that are recommended to have are nitrile gloves and a lubricant in case you have to reposition kids, iodine dip for dipping cords, and a hair dryer to dry kids quickly in more extreme cold.
- 99% of the time my does do not need assistance at all but I make sure the kid’s airways are clear of mucous and the momma is cleaning them.
- Take note of how long the doe has been actively pushing. A good rule of thumb is that she should deliver within 30 minutes of her first active pushes. If it goes beyond that time, it is likely she will need a little assistance.
- Try to stay calm if you realize something is going wrong, or that you are going to have to assist your doe. I think this is especially hard for us beginners. I was on the verge of tears, when I realized the kid I talked about earlier was malpositioned.
- Have a helper during kidding season even if it’s just someone you know you can call on at a moments notice. My husband was here, and that helped me think a little more clearly and be more confident.
- Have a backup plan if you don’t know what to do. Mine is to call my vet, but if that is not an option, I would call the breeder I have purchased goats from previously, or friend or neighbor who has experience with goats or at least some kind of livestock. I am also part of a facebook group that is usually able to offer advice almost instantly.