Tag Archives: Pygmy goats

Retained afterbirth?

Well, it has now been more than 24 hours that Fatty-fat has not expelled all of the afterbirth. I’ve tried massaging her belly to get her uterus to shrink down some more. I’ve also hung a wet towel from the cords of the afterbirth itself which has managed to bring some more of it out but not all. I retied it this morning at 4 am (the 24 hour mark) but it still persists.

This much of her afterbirth is still attached to her this morning, 24 hours after giving birth to triplets.

This much of her afterbirth is still attached to her this morning, 24 hours after giving birth to triplets.

I tried gently (EVER SO GENTLY!) tugging on it but it won’t come that easily and I’m scared it will break off inside and I’ll have nothing left to tie the towel to. I’m going to call the vet this morning and see what he or she (depending on whose on call) says. I’m fairly certain the placenta was delivered as there was quite a mass of stuff on the ground with the kids yesterday when I found her that looked like this:

A picture of a goat placenta.

A picture of a goat placenta.

But then what is this still attached to inside her? And, is it worrisome?

On a lighter note, here are some photos of the kids:

Enjoying hanging out with mama and kids.

Enjoying hanging out with mama and kids.

Fatty's little boy.

Fatty's little boy.

I love just being with them. You can see the towel tied to Fatty's afterbirth hanging from her back end.

I love just being with them. You can see the towel tied to Fatty's afterbirth hanging from her back end.

SPECIAL NOTE: I likely need not have tied the towel to the afterbirth. In fact, I was later advised (by one of the top goat specialists in England–thank-you Dreda!!) that this might encourage infection. The towel did help pull at bit of the afterbirth out and then dropped off of its own accord before this advice came in. I didn’t ever retie it on. Instead, I sprayed the cord with Betadine solution from the pharmacy (10% povidone-iodine topical solution, 1% available iodine). The next day the rest of the afterbirth dried right up. She leaked bloody mucus for a few days but is a very contented mum. Upon reflection, I probably need not have worried about her at all, but then that is the confidence gained with experience; something I didn’t have!

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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).

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Goat due dates

My thoughtful gal Fatty-Fat.

My thoughtful gal Fatty-Fat.

According to my original calculations, the goats are due to kid any day now. Just to be on the safe side, I decided to look up the actual number of days. I had a rough idea that their gestation period was 5 months, which puts them due any time after tomorrow which is five months to the day that I let the ram in with them. During my research into the topic, lo and behold, I found a ‘Goat Gestation Calculator‘ on the web. It is as simple as punching in the date of mating and it spits out the due date. As it happens, I was spot on with my own rough guess.

Of course, it also tells you that the does can kid anywhere between 145 days and 155 days. It also advises on the symptoms of the onset of kidding which for those of us who have only bred things that hatch, is very helpful. I’m hoping to catch them in the act of kidding and get some photos of the process. Apparently, for the first time pregnancies, they are only supposed to have one kid each. I’ll be surprised if that is the case with Fatty-Fat and Shiraz as they presently need ‘wide load’ pilot cars if they get out on the highway. They groan upon rising and can no longer reach those ‘hard to reach’ places to scratch themselves.

Now, I’m on my way out to check their ‘back ends’ for symptoms of the onset of labour!

Shiraz is udderly ready for kidding.

Shiraz is udderly ready for kidding.

Fatty-Fat can no longer scratch those hard to reach spots on her own.

Fatty-Fat can no longer scratch those hard to reach spots on her own.

She's quite happy to have a helping hand with her hard to reach itches.

She's quite happy to have a helping hand with her hard to reach itches.

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Breeding a go-go

Shiraz is always happy to come for a hug and a scratch.

Shiraz is always happy to come for a hug and a scratch.

At the beginning of the month, I borrowed a buck from a neighbour. He’s one of two of the only pygmy goat bucks in the valley and, because all these little pygmy goats were brought here by the same man, I’m lucky that he’s not related to my gals.

At first I was worried he might fight with my boys, but they’ve all just accepted each other nicely. In fact, he and Malcolm were once kept on the same farm together so there was an historical familiarity between them that was noticeable.

Thus far, it seems that the little ‘rent-a-buck’ (Buddy) is a hit with the ladies. He’s made his rounds with each of them, though Shiraz remains the least interested.

The book I’ve got says to  run with the does for a month so he can ‘attend’ to each of them as they come into their  respective heats. So, Buddy will stay with us another few days and then he should have done what he came to do.

It seems he arrived just in time for Sundown’s heat at the beginning of the month. I know this because the minute he entered the paddock he went straight to her and started flirting, and within minutes she had accepted him.

In fact, she did more than just accept him–she got downright possessive! In no uncertain terms, she let Shiraz know that Buddy was hers! Yes, you could say  that, this month, I’ve learned what’s goat for “Back off b–tch, he’s mine!”

It is the only time she’s acted like a bossy bitch and stood up to Shiraz–the top ranking doe. I got a real kick out of seeing her assert herself successfully for a couple of days!

Fatty-Fat interested in becomming a mama.

Fatty-Fat interested in becoming a mama.

Goat version of flirting is, to say the least, a bit off-putting from a human perspective (think the bad trucker in Thelma and Louise and you’ll have an idea). Each morning when I enter the paddock to feed them all, Buddy does his best ‘bad trucker’ routine for me, replete with the peremptory splash of ‘cologne’ (peeing on his beard, face and tongue!).

Buddy doing his best 'come hither' routine.

Buddy doing his best 'come hither' routine.

So now I am committed. If they are in fact pregnant, then I’ve got 5 months to come to terms with the fact that I’m going to ‘eat goat’ this year and work up the nerve to kill and butcher them. I’m hoping it will be after hunting season and I’ll at least have one deer under my belt before doing in the kids. I haven’t told Gordon yet, but I am considering doing him in instead of the kids…we’ll see.

Goats milling about in paddock.

Goats milling about in paddock.

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