This kidding season was the absolute worst we've ever had. If this had been our first year with goats, I would have immediately packed them up and sold them to the first person that came up the drive.
Once again, I kind'a got in over my head. I had taken on an additional two female goats last fall and then went and had them bred. Had I not sold NewNew and Olivia, I would have had a total of eight pregnant does to deal with (you know, instead of just six).
Pickles was the first to kid, and she did so a week early. I actually went out one night to check on the critters and she had had both kids, unassisted and was drying them off when I found them. Her male kid had (has) leg problems since birth and we splinted, hobbled and slung him, got him a shot of Bo-Se, medicated him for a week with Vitamin E, and took him to the vet. Pickles basically abandoned him (as we probably should have) and refuses to let him nurse. I have to hold her down so he can nurse or I let him up on the milk stand with me when I'm milking one of the other does and let him sneak a meal from them. He's on all four legs now and gets around pretty well, but there is obviously still something wrong with him. He's destined for freezer camp anyhow, but I still wonder if all the work is worth it.
Nettie had her horrible, horrible kidding the very next day. Three kids, all tangled up together, I had to go in and rearrange each one of them. One of them was born dead, the other two were males (of course). This was going to be Nettie's last kidding and I was hoping for one more doeling out of her. Of course. She was still suffering from her gored udder and subsequent infection / fever; I am amazed that she is alive. We gave away her bucklings as bottle babies as Nettie didn't have an udder for them to nurse from.
Annette kidded the day after Nettie. She had three kids; two doelings and a malformed, dead kid, sex unknown. I had to reposition the second kid to get the front feet out and I had to pull the last dead kid. Her surviving doelings are doing fine as is Annette. Nettie took over Auntie duties.
Lily kidded three days later with one buckling and one doeling, unassisted. I had put her in the kidding pen just hours earlier and when I went to check on her, she had popped 'em out and was drying them off. The male was significantly smaller than the female and a few days later we lost him to hypothermia. Her doeling is doing very well.
I had a five day kidding reprieve and then Penny kidded. I had no idea when her due date was as the lady I bought her from let the buck run with the does. I saw signs of impending kidding the day before and kept an eye on her, put her in the kidding pen and she had her single doeling pretty much unassisted. Penny was supposed to be bred to a Boer (you know, like how Penny herself was supposed to be a Boer) but her doeling looks more dairy than meat goat. She's doing well though and I'll decide if she'll be bred to a meat or dairy buck next year.
Got another reprieve, this time for a whole two & a half weeks and our final pregnant goat, MamaGoat, popped out this little girl yesterday afternoon:
MamaGoat didn't really show any of the normal "I'm going to pop" signs. Even today, her actual due date, I wasn't sure that her ligaments were really loosened up enough. She didn't really get that hollow look under her spine. She wasn't hunching up or making any noise. The only sign I had was that she was pretty much staying inside the kidding pen (which I had purposely left open) most of the day. I went out to check on her and finally caught her lying down and grunting a little. I moseyed my way into the house to take off my rings and get some clean towels, and by the time I got back to the barn she was pushing in earnest and yelling. A correctly presented kid! And I only grabbed the kid's feet at the last push to slide her out. A single doeling! Since she didn't really need help birthing, I figured we'd just help clean off the goo and then let the kid find her way to nurse. Which she did! Easiest kidding ever.
So here are the 2014 Kidding Totals:
Pickles - One doeling and one buckling
Nettie - Three bucklings, one dead
Annette - Two doelings, one dead, sex unknown
Lily - One doeling and one buckling who later died
Penny - One doeling
MamaGoat - One doeling
Twelve kids total; six doelings & six bucklings (probably).
Three dead bucklings; two bucklings dead in the womb, one died from hypothermia.
Gave away two bucklings.
Bought one buckling.
Number of kids running around the barnyard as of today: A crapload.