Our First Kidding

Is it normal to feel so raw and ragged after a goat kidding? I am exhausted, elated, and worn thin. I feel as if I've been through all the emotions of labor and delivery, but without the expected rest afterward, or the baby to sit around and nurse.

So Monday. Monday started out normal enough. We had planned a vet visit to test the goats' blood for 1 o'clock. I told them I would reschedule if we had labor and delivery going on, but Monday morning both goats were acting pretty normal. I was checking them every hour or so, just to be safe. At one of the hourly checks, I noticed that Sissy had some mucus draining out of her. But didn't think it meant labor was imminent (why not?). She was in the new room, and up, but I guess I didn't look too closely.

My Mom was taking Eowyn to her homeschool class, which is about 45 minutes away. Jeremy was at work. So I was home with Gideon (the 7 year old), Esmond (the 3 year old), and Noemi (the baby 1 year old). Can we just say, perfect time to start having goat babies?!

Anyway, the three kiddos and I went outside to get ready for the vet visit at quarter til one. We were shocked to walk in on Sissy laying down with a dark mound behind her. Yep, the first baby was already out. I plunged right in! (Well, I actually hesitated for a fraction of a second about getting my hands dirty, but then I threw caution to the wind. God is really trying to cure me of the germophobia, apparently with some shock therapy.)

Anyway, I cleaned the baby's nose off, and couldn't figure out what else was coming out of Sissy. It was this huge, red sack. I couldn't see any hooves or nose, so I thought it must be the placenta (I found out how little I know).

I realized how very unprepared I was for this.

I'd read about it, watched videos, and had the things (gloves, iodine, etc.), but I was not at all prepared. Here we go!

I locked me and the kids in the new room, to keep Pippy out, and then had to decide what the heck I was going to do. I had to keep the two littles with me, Gideon is not old enough to keep up with them. I had to stay with Sissy. Gideon would have to do some running.

So I sent Gideon inside for the phone. He came back out and I rattled off the phone numbers for him to call (I don't have a cell phone). He called my Mom first, who turned the car around and headed home, then Jeremy. Jeremy couldn't leave work yet.

Then I sent Gideon running again, for some dental floss. I'd read about tieing off the cord. So I was going to tie off the cord. It seemed logical enough.

The cord pulled apart on its own, but I tied it off anyway, and then got the baby up near Sissy's head to start cleaning him. She did, and also wanted to clean off my hands. (She's not the only one who wanted to clean off my hands, but a goat licking clean was not what I had in mind.)

Then the vet showed up, and I thought I was saved. The vet took Pippy's blood, gave them both a TB test, said Sissy looked great and left. I was like, "Don't you know I have no idea what I'm doing here?!"

My Mom showed up, and could start watching the kids, thank goodness. I knew the baby was supposed to nurse within an hour of being born, but he hadn't so I decided it was time to get him to nurse. Gideon went and got some feed for Sissy, I turned a bucket over (because oh my word my legs were killing me from squatting) and put my hands on Sissy's udders.

I couldn't get anything to come out, and I couldn't get the little buckling to nurse. (I was pretty sure he was a boy, and that was one of the few things I got right.)

And Sissy wasn't too interested in standing still long enough for me to get him latched. I did get him to suck on her a couple of times, so I knew since it was colostrum he had gotten enough for a minute. Then they both laid down, he went to sleep. Now, what?

The "placenta" (or what Gideon kept calling, 'the kidney') had gone back in, but now that she was laying down again, Sissy started pushing. She was really pushing hard. It must be a fairly big placenta. I was a little shocked that there weren't more babies. I was a little worried that there were more babies but since the placenta was being born that the babies were dead.

Sissy gave a great big push and grunt, and the red sack slid out, although I was up at her head, encouraging her. Then she gave another big push and grunt, and another dark sack slid out. I went to check on this (and took my bucket with me), the first sack had burst into another little baby, and then second sack was still together. I figured out pretty quick at that point that it was another baby, so I ripped the bag apart, and sure enough, it was another baby covered in meconium. So I cleaned off their noses and called for my dental floss again (the one thing I knew how to do) and tied off the cords.

One of the cords ripped pretty quickly, but the other's did not. I just waited it out, making sure both babies had clear noses and mouths, and putting the free one up to Sissy so she could clean it. I also would occasionally let her clean up my hands from handling the third so she was getting to bond with that one too.

Finally, that little baby started getting up and pushing and pulling and broke the cord herself. I checked those two and they were both girls, yay! Ok, now what? Well, we praised the Lord for a little bit.

Thankfully, Jeremy came home shortly after, and our wonderful goat lady also came. She showed me how to get the babies nursing, how to milk Sissy, and how to clean the cords. And she confirmed that I was right on the sexes, one boy and two girls.

After the babies had eaten, we left the new mama and her sweet babies to rest. And we came in and fell over.

Sissy is an amazing mama, though. She is great with her babies and mine. More pictures soon, we got the babies outside so I could (try to) get better pictures of the sweet babies.


  1. Yikes sounds intense! Glad all went well! I'm hoping someday we'll be able to have a mini homestead! You're an inspiration!

    1. It was something! Thanks Bre, I hope you get that homestead!

  2. Thank you for sharing this Jennifer - it is so easy to read all the wonderful goat stories, but to hear the honesty - your anxiety and uncertainty, is so refreshing, especially for those of hoping to experience raising goats someday. Looking forward to hearing more about your adventures.
    Michelle http://seekingjoyfulsimplicity.com/

    1. Thanks Michelle! I definitely feel out of my comfort zone, but it's also a wonderful place to be.

  3. How exciting!!!! My husband had to intercede on the last goat birth as the baby was stuck. I have it all on video and all I can say is that I never could of done what he did! And all was well after the intervention for mama and babies. Goat kids are just the cutest aren't they?

  4. Exciting! Our first kidding went super well, but I felt so unprepared for our second! Yay for three adorable babies!


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