Reflections from Our First Goat Kidding Season, Part 2

Reader Contribution by Carrie Miller and Miller Micro Farm
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We left off Part One with some pretty high expectations and excitement over the upcoming arrival of our first baby goat(s). Sometimes in life things truly don’t go the way you build them up in your head. We had our go tote all prepared and even added a few more items along the way. As Ginger’s due date neared our anticipation grew. We watched over her hoping to catch any signs that the time was near. As her due date came and went, it was as if my emotional balloon had a slow leak. When is this baby coming? Is everything ok? The weekend brought more questions than answer with it. When no signs of labor were seen I made a call to our Veterinarian, sadly he was not taking after hour calls. Therefore, we waited impatiently through the weekend.  

The Usual Signs of goat labor:

Some become aggressive 
The doe begins to paw and build a nest
Vaginal discharge
Loose tail ligaments
Appears restless
Stares off into space
Curls upper lip
Licks and bites her sides
Sides hollow out
Bottom of the belly gets lower
Udders begin to fill
Vulva becomes flabby
Bleats and wines
Grinds Teeth
Breathes Faster
Goes off by herself
Acts uncomfortable
Loss of appetite

Such a mixed bag of symptoms. With each passing hour, I became more confused and worried. I began to think of other possible resources I could count on for guidance. 

The Internet Experts

I began to read the goat forums and converse with other goat owners who had much more knowledge than me. They all began to chime in with amazing advice and questions. The problem lied with their advice was way over my head. I was told check her ligaments. Check for what? Well after watching a bunch of YouTube videos, the ligaments feel different as they get close to labor I learned. They make it seem easy but the truth of the matter is, I had no idea what they felt like before. So, how would I know they were different? So, that theory was out the door, it just made me more confused. The next piece of advice was see if she dilated. Um No! I have no clue what a cervix is supposed to feel like dilated or not. I started thinking am I supposed to just know this stuff? Then I was asked has she bagged up? This one I could answer no, her teats seemed fuller but no bag. Is she acting different? Other than her being seemingly annoyed with me, not really. Can you feel the baby? I followed the instructions and placed my hands upon her stomach just up from her teats. I felt nothing. Did she lose the baby at some point? Did she absorb the baby? I didn’t even know that was a thing.

The Original Owner

I contacted Ginger’s previous owner and she handed me pretty much the same advice as the internet people. So, I sent pictures of Ginger and asked what she thought. She stated she really didn’t look pregnant. Then she asked me where did the baby go if she lost it. Well, it wasn’t in her stall, cause I clean that every week. Therefore, I have no clue. Feeling as though I had worn out my welcome with her I decided not to bother her anymore. The last thing I wanted to do was irritate her but the vet is not in and she is a wealth of information.

Time to Call the Doctor

Now the proud new member of the hurry up and wait club. The weekend passed with no resolution. As Monday rolled around I called Dr. Dean’s office for their advice. I was told to simply wait, it will happen when it happens. Now six days past her due date and still no signs of an impending birth I called again. I asked if we could do an ultrasound or bring her in for him to examine. Once again being reassured to just wait as long as she seems normal. What if I’m waiting on something that is never coming? What if she did somehow lose the baby? What if we wait too long and the baby becomes too big? Why does this have to be so scary? I was more nervous waiting for this baby, than I was for my own. 

Left with more questions than answers, I feel no more knowledgeable then when this journey began. And how does it all end? We are left with no baby(s), it came to light that one of two possibilities took place: a miscarriage or an absorption of the fetus. We were all so excited for this baby but in the end Ginger is healthy and happy and that’s all that matters. We have at least one more shot at a baby being born here this spring when our new bred Oberhasli joins the farm in a couple weeks. 

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