Maggie kidded to two healthy kids in the wee hours of Friday morning. She gave us a beautiful black and brown doeling with white frosting on her nose and ears, and a nice looking black and brown buckling. We started watching her closely Wednesday evening and we were pretty sure she was going to kid on Thursday. About eight p.m on Thursday she was in labor. I think she would have kidded earlier but each time I left her side she would get up and start calling to me. She would watch me walk down to the house and stand on a rock staring at the house until I would return. I had a friend up helping watch the kids as Dustin was away at work but he had to leave about nine p.m.. I called my friend, April, and she came right up hoping to witness a goat kidding and to help with Noah and Avery. Once Dustin got home April came up and sat with Maggie and I. Again Maggie's labor seemed to stall. She wasn't happy that we were sitting inside (where the other does and their kids were penned up), and she wouldn't come inside with us. By midnight it was becoming aparent that it was going to be a long night. April went home and Dustin took over sitting with Maggie while I got some rest. I was hoping that he would crawl into bed and say, "two healthy kids, born without problems, nursed already and now everyone is resting". I was so exhausted and at the same time I couldn't believe I was going to bed at such an exciting and crucial time. I was so glad that I got some rest because Dustin woke me up at three a.m. telling me we needed to "GO IN".
As I trudged up the hill in the darkness I thought of all our goat labor emergencies that we've had in our short time of raising goats and wondering if I was cut out for animal husbandry after all. We watched Maggie for a few minutes and her situation did not seem desperate but we figured she had been in labor for so long we might as well go in (while we were both there) and see what was going on. Her cervix still wasn't dialated all the way and I carefully expanded it a bit and reached in further. Her water broke and amniotic fluid poured out down my arm in a brief flood. I felt two front hooves side by side facing the right way up (yeah!). So I backed out to see if she could finish on her own. It didn't take her more than ten minutes before she laid down and started pushing. Once we saw the hooves coming out I started helping by pulling the hooves first one and then the other at a downward angle. His head was pretty big and once his nose was sticking out I ran my finger around the opening helping it stretch a bit. Finally with a big push he shot out and I held him up by the back legs and worked to clear his nose and mouth of fluid.
We set the buck in front of his relieved mother, and she licked him while we dried him off. It was not long before the next kid came out and it was another large kid, just as big if not bigger than the first. Dustin and I were like "great two big bucks, just what we need". As he left to head down to the house I lifted her tail and was just thrilled to see that she was a girl. I yelled out to Dustin that it was a doeling, we were ecstatic to have a doeling out of Maggie.
So here they are, having not even nursed yet, barely dry. Doeling in front and buck behind attempting to stand.
Here is the doeling searching around for some nourishment. These kids were both healthy and vigorous from the get go. We hardly needed to guide them to their mom's teats, let alone hold them up for their first sucks.
Maggie is a protective and caring mother. She has been content to stay with her kids in a small pen, bonding and resting. We check on the does and kids at least three times a day, often more, and at each visit we let Maggie and her kids out into the larger stall. The kids jump and hop around and Maggie stands over them giving the other does and older kids the evil eye if they come near. She stands still while her kids nurse, she cleans their bottoms and she gives them lots of licks and nuzzles. Maggie is our largest strongest doe in the herd. Her son is a combination of our best genetics and would make a great buck. I was expecting him to look like her son from last year, as he had the same sire, but he doesn't look anything like him. We will have to watch the three boys over the next few weeks and decide if we will wether all three or not. We certainly do not need another buck for ourselves. For now we are thrilled to have two beautiful doelings, just need to come up with Z names, get the kids disbudded, wethered, tatooed, registered and weaned and then there will be no more goat kid related chores until next spring. Whew, glad kidding season is over for this spring...here's to no more late night kidding emergencies, cheers!