Over the past few months, I’ve read plenty about goat birth. I’ve watched videos on YouTube of kids being born and talked to other goat owners about kidding. I prepared myself for the day when we would experience our very first goat birth here on the farm.
Today was the day. After weeks of excited anticipation, Alice birthed twin kids this afternoon. And you know what? All the reading and video-watching in the world couldn’t have prepared me for this day. Alice’s birthing wasn’t anything like the videos.
When I left the house to deliver eggs this morning, I though something might be up. Alice was laying in the goat yard, looking very uncomfortable. I was in a hurry, and didn’t think on it too much. The day passed, I returned home, and just as I went to check on the goats, Alice gave birth.
There she was, standing in the doorway of the barn. She just stood there, and the baby fell from her, to the floor. I was stunned for a moment, then ran into the house to grab receiving blankets. Within minutes I was back outside, and Alice was birthing her second baby. Again, she just stood there, and again her baby fell to the floor.
One would expect Alice to begin nuzzling her new babies, lick at them perhaps, or mother them in some fashion. But Alice? No, Alice merely looked as though she was relieved of great discomfort, and wandered out into the goat yard, leaving her babies behind. Not even a sniff in their direction.
I cleaned those sweet babies off, and brought them to Alice. I put them right under her nose, and she ignored them. I held her still and tried to put the kids on to nurse, but Alice did not like that idea. She gave a few kicks and stepped on one of the kids.
I wish I could say that Alice just needed a bit of time to rest and recuperate, but as the afternoon slipped into evening and the kids started walking and exploring, nothing changed. By the time the sun started setting, the kids still had not nursed and I was getting worried.
Finally, Jae held Alice still and I used my Henry Milker hand pump to milk a jar of colostrum out of Alice. Boy, did that liquid gold ever flow! I brought the kids inside with me and bottle-fed each of them. They lapped it up, quick as can be.
As of now, Alice is in her freshly-bedded stall with her kids. I’m hoping that, come morning, I’ll go out to find a happy new mama nursing two sweet kids. I’m hoping that her instincts will kick in and she’ll start to care for her babies. I’m hoping that those two kids will be alive and well, and that I won’t have to bottle-feed them for the next few months. I hoping for a happy ending.
(For those who are wondering, the first kid was a pure white buckling, looks exactly like his daddy. The second kid was a solid black doeling, smaller than her brother, and sweet as can be. Male, female; white, black – in perfect harmony, those two kids. Pictures to come tomorrow if all is well.)