Sunday, June 28, 2009

Birth of Goat - Part 2

So much for twins! Just one good size, sturdy boy.

It was a bit of a rough birth. There's was lots of goo (sorry Sharon) and then a foot, more goo, then a second foot. Troy was at her head, comforting and encouraging from that end. I tugged out one foot, then another, and then we got stuck for a bit. Finally a tongue, nose, big push and pull, and we had the head out. The rest of the body slides right out after that.

Sorry no pictures during this phase; we were kinda preoccupied! We hung the baby upside down to encourage draining of the amniotic fluid from it's mouth and nose, then onto the pad in front of mom. We helped mom clean up the baby, so that she spent less time cleaning and more time bonding. Also, if it were a cold day (and not over 100°F), this would minimize chilling time while wet.

The little guy was quick. Not even ten minutes and he was nuzzling for a teat. It took a bit of trying on his part - fingers, my pant cuffs, everything seemed like a good place to nuzzle, including my own dairy case. Sorry guy, no milk there. Up and standing and nursing within twenty minutes is excellent.

It's been an hour. The afterbirth is delivered, baby is dry, mom's had a treat, baby and has nursed and mom and baby are having some quiet time now. They are quietly talking to each other. It's really cute. The baby has the same white spot and lip markings as mamma.

The Birth of a Goat - Part 1

We're on baby goat watch today. Dharma has been showing all the early signs of labor today. Typically goat births are uncomplicated, but it's always best to be on hand. Even if everything goes smoothly, you can assist by helping to clean off the baby, ensuring less clean up time and more bonding time for mom and kid(s). Also, making sure the kid(s) successfully nurse within the first hour is very important. All that aside, it also means that humans are part of the kid(s)' very first experience in this world.

Don't know much about goats? Well, the doe (female goat) has a five month gestation, with typically a five day variance from the day of conception for when she'll typically birth. Unfotunately, Dharma had been living with a buck several months prior to her coming to live with us, so we didn't know her exact date of conception, and have had to rely on her general condition (and girth) to indicate when she was due. All the signs pointed to the end of June, and we've been preparing since the middle of the month.

As each doe and birth is different, she could show all, some or none of the signs. Thank goodness for us we are getting some warning. This morning we had several indicators that suggest that she'll give birth today. Her tail ligaments are softening, resulting in a limp tail, though that has since disappeared since this morning. Her udder, which has been developing for the last several weeks, now has colostrum which I was able to squeeze out this morning, a very strong signal that birth is imminent. She also had some amber colored goo oozing from her vulva, which is amniotic fluid. They can leak a whitish fluid for several weeks prior to birth, but amber is another imminent signal.

Knowing the wait could be many hours, we set up a comfortable station where we can sit adjacent to the pen, and turned the other goats into the nearby pasture. She mews if either of us leaves the area. I'm sitting here with laptop, camera and knitting, being a constant presence. We go in the pen periodically to take a closer look or just provide comfort during this strange time.

We had one contraction at 2:00pm, and some more goo (sorry Sharon), but we're still waiting. Did I mention Dharma's a first timer? We could be here a while. At least it's a condusive situation for knitting.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

World Wide Knit in Public Day

Saturday is World Wide Knit in Public Day!
In Grass Valley there is an opportunity to knit at the Growers Market at the Fair Grounds from 8-noon.
Does anyone want to go to this knit in, or try to stage our own at the Auburn Saturday morning market?
Check out this link for more info and to find a WWKiP event near you. I know there are two in Sacramento!