Fatty-Fat becomes a mama

This is the first time the little female suckled successfully.

This is the first time the little female suckled successfully.

At 3:45 am this morning, I awoke to a high-pitched wail that I could not place. At first I leaped out of bed and raced to the door thinking, “Oh god, who’s being killed now?” Usually when wakened at that hour, it is because a fox has gotten into the chicken or duck pen, or a cougar is considering cabrito for breakfast. It took a couple of bleary-eyed seconds, but I finally realized the call was a clear, ‘M-u-u-u-u-u-u-u-u-u-m, M-u-u-u-u-u-u-m!” I jumped into my boots, grabbed the flashlight and headed to the barn. Sure enough, Fatty-fat was standing there with three kids on the ground, one of them bleating continuously for attention.

One was still-born (or at least dead when I hit the scene). I took him out and placed him in a bucket for later disposal and returned to the nursery. I was eager to see if they would nurse successfully or not. Once that happened, I figured all would be well in the world. Once the babies had successfully suckled, I decided to leave mama and babes alone to bond in privacy, and left the nursery, with a view of burying the dead kid. However, Tui (my dog) had a better idea. She thought that the kid would make a delectable morning snack; there she was on the lawn, munching happily on what was left of the kid. Ah, well, the cycle and recycling of life. At least I now won’t have to worry whether or not I buried it deep enough that other predators can’t smell it!

So, although I didn’t get to see the actual birth as I’d hoped to, I did get to meet and greet these newborns within minutes of them being born. Shiraz is still pregnant so there is still a chance I’ll catch her in the act, here’s hoping!

One of my concerns this morning is the fact that Fatty’s afterbirth is still hanging from her behind. I’m not sure how long to wait for the rest of it to be born and/or cleaned up to be considered ‘normal’ (living 500 kms from the nearest Vet does have its disadvantages).


Filed under Animal issues, Educational, Goats, How to..., Learning to Farm

12 responses to “Fatty-Fat becomes a mama

  1. HDR,

    I don’t have goat experience, but with cows it should pass within hours, with a long time being a day. Homeopathic Caulophyllum can be given to stimulate the uterus to pass the placenta. She is probably tired and with a stillbirth and 3 kids, she has had a difficult birthing experience. Most likely she needs a calcium boost too.

    In the future Caul given daily a week before the due date will help prepare the uterus for birth. Pregnancy, birth and lactation is pretty similar in
    all mammals. I have heard of raspberry leaf tea, and molasses water, but the homeopathic remedies are the route I have chosen for my stock. But it is up to each individual.

    Conventional method and advice you will given: Pull it out, stick something in there like an antibiotic bolus and call it good… The bad thing about the
    conventional method is that the cervix should stay open to drain, if you pull out the placenta manually, small pieces may be left behind and the cervix will close up and THEN you do have a good source for infection. Letting the body rid itself of toxins naturally, drainage etc. is not what western medicine thrives on.

    If you absolutely can’t stand to see the placenta there and feel you must do something, a tip a wise old vet gave me was: tie a towel or some kind of heavy cloth to the placenta itself, and the gentle traction will help pull it out gradually.

    Final note: Since I started giving better minerals (read free choice, and not a hard old salt block) I have not had any retained placentas in my herd. Hope she is OK – and Congratulations of your first babies!!! 🙂

  2. O. M. G. That is THE cutest thing I’ve ever seen. I want one! LOL!

    • You really should come up and see them live (not to mention hear them)! They are so cute, so soft, so pliable and so darn cuddly. I’m really not sure I’m going to be able to ‘do them in’, ever. I can easily justify keeping the gals, but the little boy…eek. Apparently, one should slaughter at 5 months old (or older) and he will be 5 months old on Dec 15th. Christmas cabrito roast anyone?

      • kim1708

        I know! Hearing and seeing brand new baby goats is the cutest! When he gets bucky, smelly and in rut… you’ll be ready… and you’ll also be saying “No inbreeding allowed includes you Bucky!” lol.

  3. kim1708

    If I were you, I’d start sleeping out in the barn, to increase the possibility of seeing the actual birth!

    Also make sure Tui doesn’t think it’s okay to eat live baby goats. The only problem I’ve seem to have with my dog and the mother goats and babies, is, the mother head butting the dog, and the dog slashing the goats udder. Then I have to apply a salve to heal the udder. Damn dog anyway. So I don’t allow the dog to be unsupervised when I have mama and baby goats. When he’s supervised, I can yell at him right away, so he doesn’t do it. So far, no one has been slashed this year. Then again, only two freshened. But still, at least none of them have been slashed.

    • IF only my barn were big enough! I say ‘barn’ but the goats really only have a small room that was actually built to hold the ride on lawn mower. Not even all the goats get to sleep in there, Malcolm stays out in a dog house.

      Tui was very well behaved with the live kids. She sniffed and nudged them and was very gentle. I think she knows the difference between what’s allowable ‘prey’ and what isn’t. She’s come a long way since her feral days!

  4. Congratulations! That is the cutest picture! I just got my first does this year, so I can’t wait for kids in the Spring. I’m sorry about the one that didn’t make it. Nature is hard.
    I just found your site-love it! Do you mind if I link to you?
    Good luck!

    • Link to your heart’s content Jillian! Yep, they are cute eh. I’m working on getting them used to being handled. I like the ‘imprinting’ techniques of Robert Miller DVM. His work is with horses and donkeys, but I use them on all my animals that will need handling and might have to face Vet visits.

  5. Mitch

    Congratulations HDR
    on the new arrival

    Good luck with him

  6. Wow, great news (although very sad, about the still-born kid, which I would imagine would’ve been the last out). But in some ways it’ll be easier for F-F to cope with twins; you’ll just have to keep a close eye on her udder to ensure she doesn’t contract mastitis over the next few days as her body will have geared up to producing milk for three kids. Look out for hardening & any hungry/crying kids as an indication. And also make sure that the kids are taking milk from both sides; as again if they don’t mastitis could prove a problem. But it is unusual for a female to have three kids in her first pregnancy; one is common & even in more mature goats only 18% of pregnancies on average, produce three kids. We only had one first-kidder this year, to produce triplets; & she has had a mild bout of mastitis despite my best efforts (although as these are dairy goats the kids permanently come off Mum, after a week or so).

    Whatever you do, though if she has a retained placenta – DON’T PULL OUT THE AFTERBIRTH – you could kill her. Whilst it’s easier with a cow you should NEVER tug on anything from a goat; as if it’s not cleared naturally it’s highly likely she’ll get an extremely toxic infection (metritis). And especially with pygmies – as you cannot get in there manually with even a standard-sized goat to clear out the mess, if there’s a problem. She could be a little ‘messy’ around the hindquarters, for up to six weeks after the birth whilst cleansing; so long as there’s no foul smell to the discharge, don’t worry too much about it. If she contracts metritis a discharge ranging in colour from dark brown through to yellow will be seen coming from her vulva. She’ll get quite sick & go off her food in which case she’ll certainly need antibiotic injections if there’s no vet available to irrigate the uterus (as in your case).

    Meanwhile make sure you handle the kids plenty & that F-F gets used to you doing so – will make life easier in the long run. Did you spray the newborns’ navels with iodine solution? This helps reduce the risk of infection. Not really worth doing though until Mum has finished licking them clean – otherwise she’ll just add that to the cleaning duties! Also after she’s given birth it’s a good idea to give the Mum a bucket of molassed, warm water to help her recover from the experience.

    The other thing to bear in mind, is that you NEVER encourage the kids to butt or jump up at you, even in play. It may seem very cute when a kid is tiny; but when they’re full-grown adults with horns, it can be at least annoying & at worst, downright dangerous.

    Keep a close eye on F-F, especially 3-6 weeks after the kids were born; that’s the time to look out for secondary problems such as ketosis/acetonaemia although if she’s receiving a healthy diet (roughly 18% protein in concentrate ration, plus ad-lib good hay) & has a good appetite, you shouldn’t have anything to worry about. Are you planning to milk her, BTW?

    Congratulations – what a gorgeous photo, such a pretty little kid! Now comes the most rewarding time – watching them grow. But be warned: they’re great fun at this age; but become right little hooligans in next-to-no time (remeber my post about the kids jumping on my head…?!)!


    If you need a chat about anything send me an email & we can talk through any worries you might have.

    Best wishes – Jo x

    • Thanks Jo,

      Your advice/suggestions are very reassuring! I am already working on ‘imprinting’ the goats. I don’t know if you know of Robert Miller, DVM and his ideas of ‘imprinting’ or not, but I am working on that with my goat kids. Basically, he says that you work with the animals from minutes after being born and get them used to your smell, being touched all over, and generally making yourself known to them nearly as much as their mother. Fatty-fat is completely relaxed about my being there. Both she and Shiraz are snugglers in the field and enjoy scratches, they even jockey for position if I take the grooming brushes out to them. So, this certainly helps for them letting me ‘have at’ their kids (at least I’m hoping that Shiraz will be as open to this as Fatty).
      So, I’m handling every part of them, picking up their feet, massaging their bodies, touching their ears and under their tails. I’ve even kissed their cute little noses, though that is not part of Dr. Miller’s technique!

      I’ve got the iodine at the ready and am going to put together a bit of a ‘goat first aid kit’ for next time. Any suggestions about what should be in the kit would be very welcome!



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