Goat Kidding Day – First Time Freshener

Goat Kidding Day

First Time Freshener

It has happened! We have a new baby Nigerian Dwarf goat…or “kid” in goat talk. Just one. He’s a dude. :) Urban farm, here we come!

Goat Kidding Day - First Time Freshener

Valley gave birth (or technically – kidded) on Sunday, January 26th.

Here is “Valley’s” story…with some helpful tips and facts.

Kidding day was “day 146″ (I think) on the time frame. Goats normally deliver anywhere from 149-150 days after breeding, give a take a few days. Our goat, Valley, was breed “standing,” meaning she was brought into the buck area in heat and stood to be breed with no argument. This is the best way to breed your animal because you know when it was done. Personally, I think it is the safest way too. You are there during the entire interaction and can step in if the buck gets crazy.

Prior to the kidding, I had become quite anxious, knowing that the time was coming near – especially after reading from Storey’s Guide to Raising Dairy Goats. There are so many things that can go wrong. My husband and I also spent hours watching YouTube videos of bad goat births. I had a feeling it was near but I wasn’t expecting any action for a few days.

I cleaned out the goat barn on Saturday just in case. Typically, goats will give certain signs when a birth is eminent but I didn’t notice anything that set off internal “flashing lights and alarms.” This is obviously partly because of inexperience on my part since this is my first time. But, I also feel this particular momma goat is very shy and was being sneaky about her birth. She did not start developing an udder until two weeks ago, which from what I’ve read, normally starts up way earlier (like 4-6 weeks). The breeder even told me she would show her udder sooner than normal because it was a first time freshening.

What is a “freshening” you might ask? Freshening = pregnancy. First time freshening is the first time a goat is pregnant.

Up until two to three weeks ago, I was questioning whether she was even pregnant. I never did get her blood drawn for a pregnancy test. If she was pregnant I would find out soon enough. No sense in wasting the money. Although she had gotten slight larger (which could have been from over feeding), it wasn’t really enough to look “pregnant.” But the main reason I felt there were no little ones coming is because every so often Valley appeared to be in heat. The time frame for this behavior was consistent with the heat session of about every 17-21 days.

Goats will behave differently at this time including mounting other goats, standing for other goats to mount them, flicking their tail, and being more obnoxious or friendly than normal. They may have drainage out of their girly area too. All of these signs were exactly what my momma goat was doing! Of course when I finally noticed the udder developing, I knew we were wrong.

Now that I’ve seen the whole process, I am able to re-evaluate Valley’s presentation a little better. As I said, she did not display typical signs of eminent delivery but there were some subtle things that I will be looking out for in the future.

There are some physical signs of eminent pregnancy. In Valley, her belly never got huge. If anything, her belly was slightly lower to the ground that last week, with Saturday being the lowest day. Near her rear end by the tail, she only very slightly had a sunken in area. I’ve read that you are supposed to check for ligament loosening in this area. But with Valley, this was very, very gradual and it was more of a hollowing on the sides of her spine by the tail.

Her vaginal area did get swollen and more colorful but, again, it was extremely gradual over a week. Normally goats will show signs of nesting. I never saw this with her. Goats will also drift away from the herd the day of kidding. A few hours before Valley’s kidding, she was standing with the other 2 goats. She seemed tense saturday but she normally is a bit on the anxious side.

The only other thing that clued me in was actually from a different goat. Our youngest, Snow, is our alarm. She is the one who stands at the corner by the gate watching our back sliding glass door. She alarms any time she sees us. This is very normal. However, on Sunday in the afternoon, she was bleating but louder than normal. It was as if she was saying, “GET OUT HERE.” I had a feeling something was happening but we had to leave before I could go out and check.

We had to get Alfalfa. So we were only gone an hour. When we came back, my husband was the first out there. And this is what we found…a tiny little creature shielded by his momma.

Goat Kidding Day - First Time Freshener

Valley did exactly what God designed her to do…exactly what I hoped would happen since the only thing I bought in preparation was iodine to dip the umbilical cord. The kid was still wet and the placenta had already been expelled.

Goat Kidding Day - First Time Freshener

 Anyone notice the lovely eggs in the back ground…apparently the chickens like this spot too. Valley even took care of cutting the umbilical cord. I didn’t have to anything except dip the cord with iodine….and sit back in awe. Valley had the baby cleaned by herself in no time at all. I have a heat lamp in there to help with heat.

Goat Kidding Day - First Time Freshener

You can see in the picture above, Valley is still licking. And all the chickens are sitting around spectating the event.

Goat Kidding Day - First Time Freshener

 As we experience this wonderful new thing, I will continue to share what we’ve learned. Feel free to ask questions in the comments!

Do you have an urban farm or wishes of one? Let me know in the comments!

Heather

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