Well, I wanted to share Polka’s delivery since this was MY first time going through goat kidding, and hopefully it might be helpful to someone who may be in the same boat one day… or just FYI for the curious. 😉 As I said there are no gory pics this time around. Ha! I make no promises for the future however. There were 2 issues with taking photos of the actual birth. 1) It was dark, yup. And 2) I was too busy being a freaked out goat mid-wife to take photos and Stuart was holding down the fort in the house. 😉
Anyway, on Sunday Jan 26. I went up to the LRB to “check” on the goats as I have been doing for the past 4ish weeks. The thing I noticed right away was Polka’s behavior. She wasn’t “doing” anything that screamed “I’M GOING TO HAVE KIDS, HELP!” but she was acting different. Of our 2 goats, Polka has been more “stand offish.” Not unfriendly or difficult in any way, but more like she’s above begging for affection like Polly does. 🙂 Kinda like a cat, if you think about it. Tolerating petting and such, but not really needing it.
So when I went into the pen and she started “talking” to me a bit and wanting to be right next to me, I suspected something was up. And even though I thought it would probably be “awhile” I stayed with her for most of the rest of the day. Here’s how it went.
We sat outside in the sun, we sat in the barn on and off, and she chewed and chewed and chewed and chewed her cud till I thought I might just go bonkers!
She’d lie down and kinda grunt a bit, then get up and move around some. Always chewing!
I got so cold just from being outside for so long, I finally came in for awhile to warm up and have some lunch at one point. She liked to have me near her though so I didn’t want her to feel too stressed out. So I spent most of the afternoon in the barn. She’d get up and lie down and get up and paw at the straw. Lotsa pawing going on.
And this was an issue for me because we’ve got a bit of a deep litter method going on with the goat’s bedding. That means I use a stall freshener on it and put down layers of clean straw to keep things dry and comfy on top. On bottom, however, is an entirely different story, and when Polka decided to dig to China while trying to have her kids, the smell that it was creating was about to choke me! Ugh!! And then I’d think about those poor little babies being born in the icky straw and it just grossed me out. So during one of her “up” bits, I grabbed a bunch of clean straw and threw it all over her nest. It helped a bit.
I have to say that I did feel so sorry for the poor thing. She’d grunt and grunt and kind of stretch her neck out, then try to rest, but have to shift positions and it just seemed like it was taking FOREVER, and I was frozen!!
I came inside for a bathroom break and an extra pair of socks and then went out to watch it grow darker through the barn door as I sat by the grunting, shifting goat. It was at this point she decided to get up again. She sauntered over to the hay and started EATING!! What?! Then she moseyed over to the door and stood there for awhile looking out on the evening as if nothing was going on!! I was about to tell her that I was sick and tired of being cold and if she was going to decide to play that game then I was going in! But she came back over to her “nest” and things started progressing from there.
She started pushing every so often I noticed, but nothing much was happening as far as I could tell. I’d been watching youtube videos and reading other people’s blogs and this just didn’t seem like any of it. I finally sat right next to her and petted her neck and spoke softly to her. She’d push again and then started to actually bleat. I thought maybe she was one of those quiet birthing goats, but most of them will “yell” a bit I’d imagine. Her water “broke” without me ever seeing a “bubble” that sometimes shows up. I was glad I wasn’t too close when that happened. The whole thing was gross enough without getting drenched by goat… whatever. And I will freely admit that the birthing process grosses me out! I was not that into the gory details with my own children and really didn’t even want to touch them till they’d been de-slimed so doing all of this for a goat was for sure out of my comfort zone! But I was prepared (I think) to do what was necessary to get raw milk for my family! 🙂
Finally after much pushing (and I was SOOO happy that I did not have to go fishing in there for the baby!) I spied two little hooves showing up. I could tell by their position that this baby was coming out back feet first. Which is probably why Polka was having to push a bit more. Once enough of the feet showed up, I grabbed those and gently pulled to help this backwards baby! I had puppy pads for it to land on and it came out kicking! I had towels for drying them off, and in pretty short order I handed the baby over to Polka, who being an experienced mom, knew just what to do. She licked and licked that baby!
I called Stuart then and asked him to heat up the rice bag that I’d prepared to help keep the kids warm, and in the time it took him to do that, the second baby came out with a perfect presentation, and much much easier!
I got their cords dipped, suctioned noses and mouths and dried them off as best I could then “checked” and was SOOO thrilled to see that they were both doelings!!! That was a double blessing! We were really hoping to get our herd off on the right hooves with good milking lines through Polka and the buck she was bred to! Yay!!!
When Stuart got there with the rice bag, he was just as excited as me about the babies, and the kids (our kids) all got to come see the new arrivals pretty soon too!
Over all, the experience was good. I was a little on the icked-out side for awhile after the fact, but still happy with the outcome. Now that I’ve been through it once I don’t think I’ll have to spend all day out in the cold barn the next go round. We’ll see how Polly does hopefully in March!! 🙂