Goats: New Kids, Finally!

Reader Contribution by Janice Spaulding
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FINALLY! New kids have started arriving, and so far, the majority of them are boys. Last year, we had many folks waiting for boys, and we had way more girls than boys. This year everyone is waiting for girls and only one has appeared so far. Of course, we still have several does left to kid.

A few posts ago, I wrote quite a bit about actually kidding, but really didn’t have many good photos to go along with it, well, I have lots of photos thanks to my husband, Ken. Taking good photos of the actual kidding process is difficult because the girls DO NOT like to hold still and stay in one spot!Coretta, one of our beautiful American Alpines, seemed to know what we were trying to accomplish and proceeded to bless us with triplets so that we could get lots and lots of photos. What a girl!  Click here for more kidding photos.

I wish I could say that our kidding this year has been uneventful, but it hasn’t been. Our first doe to kid was Dusk, a big, black, Sable. Year after year, this girl has produced the same thing, always triplets, and always two girls and one boy. Things started out the same as usual, Dusk was obviously in labor and everything was progressing normally. The outcome, however, was not normal. The first baby she produced was a huge female, still born. She was beautiful, and I was so bummed out. Dusk’s babies are always so big and healthy, and, this one was obviously big, and well formed, but, from what we could tell, had died during delivery. Dusk was still in labor, so even though this had
happened there was still hope. The second bubble appeared and out slid a partially developed fetus. Oh man, what was going on here? Then, Dusk passed after-birth. What a downer! Not much we could do.

Dusk was milked for the first time a few hours later and produced a modest amount of colostrum. We were terribly disappointed, but onward and upward. The next day, Dusk was once again in labor!What gives? After one or two pushes, she produced yet another undeveloped fetus. We have been in the goat business for a long time and have seen an undeveloped fetus every now and then, maybe once every four or five years, but never two especially from the same doe!

If this was our first year kidding, I would have given up goats for sure; it would be so unsettling to a first timer.

 Before and after photos of Don-Key-Oty or as we call him “Donkey Boy”

Two days later, two of our girls, Coretta and Chami, both decided to go into labor at the same time! They couldn’t have done it an hour apart or anything like that; it had to be at the same time. Chami pushed out a gorgeous, fairly large, buckling we named Gargamel (he was the wizard of Smurfdom). Coretta delivered a set of triplets, boy, girl, boy. Because in sets of triplets, the babies are usually a little smaller, when we put them alongside Gargamel, he looked even more gargantuan than he actually was!

It’s been a week since their birth and the babies are growing like weeds!They are big, healthy, bouncy, strong, and so incredibly cute. Two more girls are due to kid this week, so the “big kids” will have company very shortly.

I am planning on a post about disbudding and de-horning, (two different ways of dealing with horns) but am waiting on some kids that will be ready, to be disbudded and get their pictures taken!

If you are interested in learning more about goat husbandry, come to Goat School! Two days of intensive, hands on education. Our guest speaker this spring is an expert on animal nutrition.There’s still room, sign up now for June 2nd, and 3rd!

Also available, are our two books, Goat School, the Manual and Goat School: A Master Class in Caprine Care and Cooking, click here for details.