Ariel's first delivery (to TWINS)!
This birth had me running in circles for weeks! I was convinced that she was going to kid four weeks ago. Her udder filled up (or so I thought- it got MUCH bigger when it was truly time) and her lady parts looked very swollen to me. She also had some white discharge (mental note: the discharge is only significant when it is yellow). Since we had some cold weather coming, I decided to bring her inside at night, just in case. Little did I know that this would turn into an every night ordeal for FOUR weeks.
I have a room off of my laundry room that has a concrete floor and serves as my wonderful milking parlor. It doubles as a chick-brooding room, seed starting room, labor & delivery room and also a nursery. Since birth is messy (and so is keeping a goat inside all night) I duct taped feed bags and leftover landscaping plastic to the floor so that the concrete wouldn't have to be scrubbed when this is all done. I don't have a drain in here, so its not an easy feat to thoroughly clean it. I laid a big old oversized blanket on the floor to keep things softer (I have 2 "homesteading blankets" that I use for occasions like this. I also have a large stash of "homesteading towels" too). This room would become her nightly dwelling place for the 4 weeks leading up to delivery.
I kept a close eye on her and had many false alarms (keep in mind that the 1st kidding of the season will drive you mad every single year) but then on April 18th her udder filled up to be humongous and VERY lop sided. I was a little worried about possible mastitis with how much bigger one teat was than the other but now I know that it was just in the process of filling and one side was filling faster than the other. It all evened out within a few hours. For the days leading up to this, she had disc shaped hard lumps near her teats, which I assumed were her milk ducts kicking it into high gear. This girl comes from some serious milk lines. Her dam, Cinnamon, is an amazing milker and I am so thrilled to have one of her daughters. Her sire also comes from excellent milking lines (he is from Green Gables lines, which are known for amazing milk)!
On the morning of April 18th she some yellow colored discharge which was a change from anything she had before. It wasn't anything alarming but it was enough to notice. As the day progressed, she became very vocal. It's very common for goats to start talking to their kids before they give birth. You can usually tell a change in their tone to become soft and gentle. Then around 2:00pm my 7 year old daughter informed me that she "could see the babies near her hips and she will deliver around 9". I thought this was adorable and took it with a grain of salt but she was RIGHT! Around 6pm she stopped being interested in food and around 8:15pm she started to paw at the ground. This is a major sign that they are close!
Then at 9:57pm she started pushing while she was standing up and baby girl #1 was out quickly! She was so great at cleaning her up and making sure that she was okay. Then around 10:15pm the next set of hooves were out and after walking around a bit awkwardly with hooves hanging out, she laid down and within a few minutes she had another beautiful baby girl (at 10:27pm).
Baby #2 needed some help getting the birth gunk cleaned from her throat and mouth and was a bit cold, so I helped her out while mama worked on the 1st one. She was a bit cold (99 degrees) but I was able to use a blow dryer to get her up to 101 degrees and get some colostrum in her. Since I was trying to keep her warm in a towel, I let her suckle on my pinky and I dripped colostrum into the corner of her mouth from a syringe. Thank goodness Ariel was such a great sport about letting me get some milk from her. I think she is going to be great on the stand. I have been working with her udder area since she was just a tiny baby to try to get her used to it. The colostrum perked her up but she started to get weak again so I swiped some honey and cayenne pepper into her mouth to wake her up a bit more. I highly suggest this for any sluggish goat. They love the taste and it wakes their brain right up. I did this twice for her and she was much more alert.
I am so pleased with how this birth went. Ariel was a champ and babies came out in perfect positions (both diving positions). I didn't have to go in and reposition either of them which makes me a happy goat midwife. Oh, and these are the very 1st babies to carry The Happy Hippie Homestead name! Prior to this our farm name/herd name wasn't registered. So now their papers will reflect this. A dear friend of mine has been waiting for this birth in hopes to buy a doeling from this pairing and I think I will be retaining the other doeling. <3 So as of right now, both of these babes are spoken for.
(I am sharing several photos from the birth. Some are a little graphic.)
Look at how pronounced her loss of ligaments became!
Baby #2 was ready to be born!
Since the babies were pretty scrawny when they were born, I decided to give them a little colostrum from a bottle nipple. This worked great! I could control how fast it came out as well as see how much they each got.