The best laid plans of mice and men, eh? Here we’ve been preparing for weeks for Cheesecake’s impending kidding – at first we weren’t even sure she was pregnant, then we had no idea when she was due. I’ve watched just about every goat labor and delivery video on all of the interwebs. With every new “sign” I thought I saw I rushed out and grabbed something else I thought I might need in my kidding kit. Said kidding kit has been standing at the ready by the door for almost 3 weeks now!
I was ready for action at the first signs of labor… of course it didn’t happen that way!
Just yesterday I posted about the contents of my kidding kit. Yesterday in the late afternoon my niece went to go and visit Oreo and discovered that Cheesecake had JUST given birth! Two new, wet faces stared back at her from the pen.
We were on our way out for feeding time and RAN to the goat pen. One was already walking around and trying to drink. He was pretty much clean and much dryer than the other. Bailey was still very wet and sticky and Cheesecake was trying to clean her.
We sprang into action trying to dry them up a bit with diapers from the kit. It was COLD here yesterday, of course! I am told that goats will always pick the worst weather to kid in and Cheesecake handled that like a pro. Next, we checked umbilical cords – they were long and touching the ground so we sprayed them well with iodine to sanitize them. I cannot tell you how happy I was to have those doggie sweaters in my kit! We popped them on quickly, as both were starting to shiver, and tucked their cords up inside.
Then of course the whole colostrum panic began. We had already seen Vanilla Bean drinking – he had to get down on his front knees to get under there. These kids are Nigerian X Nigerian-Nubian and Cheesecake is small even for a Nigerian. Unfortunately Bailey was really having a hard time with the cold. Her temp was a little low and she was still pretty unsteady on her feet. We took turns keeping her under our jackets to warm her up while we tried to make Cheesecake stand for Vanilla.
At last Bailey started to perk up, but still wasn’t figuring out the whole drinking thing. Roddy brought in the soda bottle because we felt that enough time had passed and Bailey needed to get colostrum in her ASAP so he milked a little from Cheesecake and we literally had to jam the bottle into Bailey’s mouth to get her to drink. She still didn’t have the whole “sucking thing” down so I had to help. Every few seconds I would “pump” on the teat just a little and wait for her to swallow. She got about 1oz in her – not much, but something – and she certainly perked up a bit after that. Trouble is, I really, REALLY didn’t want to have to bottle feed them.
Mama and the kids were looking very tired at this point, so we decided to bundle them up and leave them be for a while.
Aside from a few sneaky peeks over the side wall into the goat barn we left them undisturbed for a few hours and it was only MUCH later that I went in with more colostrum in a bottle, prepared to feed Bailey if needed. Cheesecake was up and feeding Vanilla, and Bailey as usual was all confused and looking for milk on her brother – but at least she was looking! A good sign. I figured I’d help her out a little and placed her under Cheesecake on her knees and voila! she did it! Not much, but she did it.
At a little after 2am I went to bed and (optimistically) set my alarm for 5am to go and check. Apparently I slept through that alarm because I woke at 8!! Ran over to the barn to find Bailey, shirtless and checking out her surroundings, and Vanilla Bean – where else – nursing. Today I really want to see Bailey more intentionally drinking and sucking with more strength than she has been. I am also hoping that the weather man is correct, and the sun comes out soon so we can warm these little guys up a bit more.
So that’s it folks… my first kidding. I had expected to be writing this nail-biting tail of birth from start to finish, but honestly I am glad it worked out this way. Two healthy babies, one healthy mama, one relaxed goat keeper.