Pulling a Kid, Part 1
I've had some questions about pulling a kid. First off, if you have never seen it done, call a vet but if you want to, it really isn't hard when you know what way the kid is laying inside. Mom will be in labor so she will help as she will be pushing and you will be pulling. I want a doe to try by herself though. For the most part, I go by gut feeling as to whether I should pull. If the water broke and I don’t see at least one foot within 15 minutes, I go in. Rings and watch off, hands washed and a tube of K-Y jell in hand to make it easier on the doe, and me to get my hand in there. About an inch inside, if I feel a very tiny hole that only a finger can get in, she has NOT dilated enough so STOP. She needs time. No one can say how long that will be but if the water did break she should be dilated. (Normally, if she has not dilated, she won’t be pushing so the water will not break, but it can happen.)
This little doll is MilkMaidRanch NA T-Bird. Her dam is named Mercedes so I'll be naming her kids after cars. T-Bird and her twin sister, Getta, were an easy delivery for mom.
When I go in a doe, my eyes are closed so I have to rely on what I am feeling. If I feel 2 hooves good, if I feel 1 hoof, it’s not that bad. Then I’ll want to feel for the knees or hocks. The knees mean the kid is in the correct position for a normal birth. If only 1 hoof is found, I will feel for the other being over the head. If so, all I do is, move it off the head; that will be either to the right or to the left.
Normal position is both front hooves (pads of the hooves will be facing the ground), then the nose. Inside mom the legs can be bent at the knees. That will stop up the works. I can just use my pointer finger and get it behind the knee and slip the lower leg out. I will take one leg, above the hoof and gently pull it forward to bring the elbow out, giving the kid more room. Then repeat the other leg. You’d be surprised at the room it will give the head after the elbows are free. Within the next few pushes I should be able to see the nose. I DON’T clean the nose off till the head is really out. The kid will still be getting oxygen from the umbilical cord being attached.
What a wonderful little girl MilkMaidRanch AN Chardonnay is. Not only is she beautiful, she's a Polled doe. Polled means she won't grow horns. I did help with this delivery because she was a single kid and they are larger so it's harder on the mom. Her dam is fine and a great mom.
If I feel feet but no nose, then I feel deeper and if I come to a wall, this means the head is back and I’m feeling the neck. I push the front legs back in to give me room to move around to find the head. My hands are small enough to be the same size as the kids head. If I can, I’ll get my hand around the head with the nose being in my palm to guide it towards the exit sign that is facing out. Only kidding about the sign but this is a touchy subject and I wanted to lighten it up a bit.
If I let go of the head, it will go back to where it was, so when I get my hand facing the way out, I take my pointer finger and middle finger and hook them behind the ears while my thumb can be under the jaw. With my other hand I can have a hold of the legs and be pulling just enough for them to be a guide in the correct direction. If there are twins (or more) the kids will be smaller and easier to deliver. When the head is out, by all means I will clean off the nose so it can take its first breath. At this point I will let mom smell my hands and she will start cleaning my fingers, this is very good. Sometimes I let mom push the rest of the way, if it was hard on her, I do the rest and that means get the kid out. You NEVER want to pull straight out but bring the legs down towards her hocks (the elbows of her hind legs). If I feel it was stressful on the kid I will get it all the way out and take both hind feet and hang it upside down to let the fluid out of the lungs. It will be coughing and sneezing, GOOD. I will also pat the sides to help get the fluid out. Then put the kid by the mom and she’ll want to start cleaning it off. I don’t towel dry the kids as I want the mom to do her job of cleaning.
OK, everyone say, "Awww". Esther spit Becca out without a problem. This was within hours of her being born. Too cute for words really.
As we don’t know how many kids are in there before they are born, the way to tell is after the first kid is born, there will be a red sack hanging from the doe if it’s a single kid. If there is a twin or more, the red sack will not be there. Over the years we’ve had many quadruplets born and after the 3rd kid I knew there was still another because of this.
My doe’s nurse their kids for at least 8 weeks, sometimes longer depending on other things so I don’t take the kids away from the doe. Please keep in mind that some breeders bottle feed all the kids, I don’t have CAE in my herd so my doe’s will nurse their kids. CAE is passed from mom to kids in the milk. It stands for CAPRINE ARTHRITIC ENCEPHALITIS which is Arthritis. If you want to read up on it you can do a search on Google and it will come up by typing “CAE in goats”.
Don't you just love Queen's markings on her face? Nancy, mom, is a 2nd generation Mini-Alpine and Queen is a 3rd generation. Your classic Alpine color of Cou Blanc meaning white in front with black hind.
If the kid is covered with something that looks like egg yoke, this tells me the kid was stressed. The yoke is actually a bowel movement while being delivered. It is sterile so don’t have a fit over it. Just wash your hands. Again, bowel movements while in labor for the kid means the kid was stressed. This kid is held upside down for a few minutes to let whatever is in the lungs come out just like any other kid. You can also use an aspirator that is used with a human baby when it has a cold. It does the same thing for a kid goat. This does not mean the kid will have a problem if this happens. It was never an issue with any of our kids that were stressed during birth. I will give each kid 2cc’s (Oral) of Probios when born. This is in a fat tube that you can get at the feed store and costs about $6 here. It’s blue in color and no reason not to give mom a dose of it either but she gets about 10cc’s.
This says it all. It's what it's all about.
If anyone wants to e-mail me with questions about goats kidding you can at: firstname.lastname@example.org For those of you that read "Development of a Dairy Goats Udder" last week, Hawaii had a set of twins 4 days early. She had both kids out in only 6 pushes and I was stunned at his Text Book delivery. The twins are a buck and a doe and she has a great udder. For the most part you won't have to help with delivery of the kids.
Part 2 will be coming in a few days. Suzy Minck
Miniature Alpine Dairy Goats www.milkmaidranch.com