Well this was a quick one! On our homestead we start "baby watch" when the mama gets to her 145th day of gestation. Since I have mini nubians, I never know if they will take after the Nigerian side and have an 145 day gestation or if they will take after the Nubian side and have an 150 day gestation.
Ariel had snuck into the pen with Phantom (our buck) on November 17th and I decided to let her be in there for a few days to ensure that she settled. Her 145th day could have been anytime between April 11- April 14th.
After checking her on April 11th, I could tell that she wasn't ready. The first thing I look at is the udder. Hers wasn't filling up yet.
Here is her progression this year:
You can definitely see a difference as time goes on! Some mom's-to-be get an even bigger and fuller udder as they go into labor. Ariel is an amazing producer and has a very capacious udder, so she doesn't end up looking like she is going to pop, like some does udders. This fact makes me very excited to see her 3rd freshening udder. This is her 2nd freshening and you can get an idea of their "normal" at their 3rd freshening. She earned her milk star last year, so she is off to a GREAT start!
On April 14th, I knew it was happening . The tell-tale "goo" started (my 8 year old VERY excitedly discovered this 🤣 and announced it to all the neighbors who happened to be outside, I'm sure). This was extra exciting because this is my youngests 6th birthday! Thank goodness it was a Wednesday and her party wasn't until Sunday.
I like to let the mama's labor outside with the herd for as long as possible. I feel that this helps them relax and progress more naturally. I keep an eye on them and make sure that they are not uncomfortable or being bothered. This is the nice part of having such a small herd. I know their dynamics very well, so I know what to watch for.
Ariel's labor was so quiet and gentle. I didn't see any pawing at the ground or teeth grinding. I did see a lot of nipping at her sides, rubbing her belly on the tires we have out for them and then eventually she wandered off on her own and I knew things were progressing nicely.
Since the overnight Temps were dropping below 40°, I decided to bring her inside to my milking parlor. She didn't want to be in the barn with the other goats and I couldn't risk her dropping the baby outside in the middle of the night.
So, I laid out my goat blankets (old bedspreads that we don't use anymore but are very machine washable) and brought my outside camera inside and meticulously decided where to mount it. It was about 11pm at this point and this mama was running out of steam after the human child's birthday celebration.
I filled a bucket with water and another bucket with feed and went out to bring her inside to give birth. I didnt see her outside so I unlatched the barn door, opened it up and Low-and-behold, she was cleaning a beautiful black baby off! I helped her get the sac off from the face and neck (it may have been the cord around its neck, it was pretty dark in the barn with only one overhead light but it wasn't restricting airflow either way).
Once I knew the baby and mama were safe and healthy, I felt underneath his legs and found some testicles 🤣 Ariel had given me her 1st little boy! Last year she had BEAUTIFUL twin doelings.
This guy looked all black and I was SHOCKED! Phantom never ever had plain babies! But once he was dry, I could see beautiful moon spots and some other pretty markings.
I was convinced Ariel had at least one more in there so I brought her inside to the milking parlor and let her labor for a bit more and nothing happened. So I decided to check inside to make sure there wasn't a baby stuck and she was empty as empty could be in there! So I dipped the baby's cord in some iodine, helped him get some colostrum and called it a night! Mama and baby were safe inside and my work was done.❤
Another successful birth on the Happy Hippe Homestead! Life is so beautiful!