Meet Nibblet! One of our new LaMancha baby goats.
Our goats have begun to deliver their babies. We had 3 arrive yesterday alone. Sort of tiring! I have posted a Flickr slideshow below for your viewing pleasure.
To get rid of the tiny thumbnails along the bottom of that slideshow, just pass your cursor over the display.
If you can not see that, click here to go to that flickr set.
When kidding goes easily, its all fun and games. Problem is, there are always possibilities for things to go terribly wrong. If you have read this blog in the past you might have seen that we lost one of our does last year, see this post: RIP Wheatie, our sweet goat girl.
Well, this year, we had another trying time. You may remember Felicity, who we treated aggressively to save her life from a nasty illness. For details on that see: Listeriosis.
She healed well with a lingering twist to her head. That went away as she exercised and romped so that you cant tell from looking at her that she experienced these challenges.
She is a small doe, so is her sister Calliope. Calliope didnt get pregnant this year but Felicity did.
We could tell by the development of her udders that she was indeed pregnant.
One day I went out in the morning to check on the goats for babies and I find Felicity licking a baby that had been stillborn, definitely premature. It was very small and had almost no hair but was perfectly formed.
I took the baby away and all seemed well with Felicity other than her calling out and looking around. That maternal instinct is so strong!
The next morning my oldest daughter went to check and then flew back into the house telling me that Felicity has prolapsed.
Indeed, Felicity had suffered a prolapsed vagina and cervix. You can see what that looks like below.
I had read about how this could happen but I was worried that this mean that Felicity still had a baby inside, stuck.
As you might also know, we have been un- and under- employed for some time so we cant just call the vet, just not an option.
I do not recommend that you be the same way. You have to be really intrepid and have guts of steel to wing it. You have to always be ready to put the animal down if things go badly so that the animal does not suffer. I can not abide by suffering. We are all animals and I feel their pain like I do that of my human kids.
I knew that one can stitch the vaginal opening closed but I was worried about the possibility that:
- she could still have babies inside and stitches would be catastrophic if I wasnt there when she went to push them out
- i had not done this stitching before and I didnt have time to get trained by my goat mentor who was busy with her large herd and some 14 new babies being born A DAY
I also knew that sheep have a tendency to prolapse and that there was such a thing as a ewespoon – a device (shown below) that you use to reposition the vaginal tissues and then it is held in place until:
- the babies are born in which case the ewespoon is pushed out
- or the vaginal muscles retain the tissues well enough to remove this support
I thought it might be of use to show images of all this for those of you considering homesteading with dairy goats so that you can see the realities of these animals and the birthing process.
The following set of images might be disturbing to some. Please note that Felicity didnt seem to be in great pain (even tho it might look like it “should”). There are not many nerve endings in the vaginal canal and none in the cervix really. Same goes for us.
MOST importantly, Felicity healed and is quite back to her normal self now!