Flopsy and the "twins"
Bad presentation: Head alone, feet back. I had to pull this kid, but she's fine now.
Mama goat love. Flopsy is a good mama.
Flopsy gave birth this afternoon- about an hour ago. This morning when Homero and I went out to milk and feed, I knew it would be today. It's funny - you just develop an eye after a while. Her belly had dropped about four inches toward the floor, and her udder was suddenly bigger and tighter. After dropping the girls off at school and running a few errands, I came back home and went straight out to the barn to take a look.
All the other goats were out grazing, but Flopsy was in the barn, standing still and looking preoccupied. That was enough for me - I hustled her into the mama barn and sat down to wait. Within a few minutes, the string of goo appeared. The string of goo is your A-1 indication that labor has not just started, but is progressing. You want to see kids on the ground within a half hour of the first appearance of the string of goo.
Unfortunately, what shortly appeared at Flopsy's backside was not the normal nose-on-two-hooves presentation, but a head alone. That means the legs were back - not a terrible presentation (like last year: http://newtofarmlife.blogspot.com/2010/03/scary-sad-and-happy.html), but not something you like to see, either. The kid was stuck with her head sticking out for a few minutes, and she looked dead - but when I touched her she rolled her eyes and flicked her tongue. Then I knew I'd have to pull her. Damn. The head was out to the shoulders - it wasn't going back in. I just had to grasp the poor little beastie gently behind the jaw - aiming downwards - and haul. I waited for a contraction (always work with the uterus, not against it) and applied a medium-serious amount of force. Maybe thirty or forty pounds? The kid slid smoothly out to the hips and dangled there for a moment, until I decided to finish the job and yank her.
When I noticed Flopsy was straining again, about ten minutes later, I assumed it was the placentas. But a bubble appeared; and I know there was another kid. At least this third kid was well-presented - the only one of the three that was. But the poor little thing had been inside a long time and was almost dead. It took him quite a while to start snuffling and sitting up, and Flopsy wanted to ignore him. I thought about letting him quietly slip away - Flopsy has a damaged udder from mastitis as a primipara and I doubt she can feed three kids - but I just couldn't bring myself to watch him die. I wiped him down with hay and shoved him under Flopsy's nose, and she began to take an interest and nicker and lick him.
Last thing I saw, the two early kids were up and nursing, but the last little guy was still struggling to stand. I held him up to the udder, but he didn't even really try to nurse. There was no butting reflex. I squirted some colostrum into his mouth, just so I'd know he got some, and I'll just let them all be for a while and see how they do. I won't cry if the last little buckling doesn't make it - in fact, as soon as I sign off here, I'm putting an ad on Craigslist for a free bottle baby. I'm fairly sure Flopsy won't be able to feed three, and I really don't want to watch one of the triplets slowly starve to death.
I LOVE the looks of the little doeling. She looks just like Storm Cloud, but female. I've been waiting forever for a little spotty doeling like this. I might have to keep her... risky genetics and all.