|Firefly at the hay feeder a few days before kidding.|
I apologize for the lack of photos in this post; grabbing my camera wasn't the first thing on my mind when I decided to keep an eye on Firefly yesterday.
On Monday, three days before Firefly's due date, I was ready to go to town on an errand. I put my purse and keys in the truck, opened the front gate, and was ready to take off when I realized I didn't see Firefly with the herd. I went to check on her and found her standing alone in the goat shed.
My goats are usually very polite when someone is in labor. They leave the mom-to-be alone in the shed so she can have privacy. Since goats are usually social, finding Firefly alone meant I needed to watch for a few minutes.
I didn't see contractions, but every so often her tail would stretch upward for a few seconds. In the past I've also noticed goats tighten the muscles in her face, grimace or "smile", grind her teeth, and/or grunt. Some of my Nubians pin their long ears back when they have contractions. These are pretty subtle signs that would be easy to miss.
Firefly turned around and I could see that her udder, already large, was now so large that it hung below her knees. I felt her tailhead and even though I'd thought it was loose before, the difference was now striking. How could I have thought it was "ready" before now? Yes, things were obviously happening.
I postponed my errand and decided I'd sit in the pen with her for awhile and keep watch. I found a chair and gathered my kidding supplies and headed back to the shed, where I found Firefly lying down and pushing out the first kid, which was quickly followed by its twin. In spite of my thinking that I'd sit "for awhile and keep watch," in less than twenty minutes from when I first saw her she'd delivered twins.
|Firefly after delivering twins last year.|
It's important to know your doe so that you will notice behavior that's out of the ordinary. First fresheners are more challenging because you don't have a kidding history, but standing off by herself when normally she'd be in the middle of your herd is a good indication that you need to take a second look, whether she's pregnant or not.
including Clever Chicks.
My hope is to inspire you, and to encourage your homesteading plans and your dreams of a
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