Goat-O-Rama Kids of 2020
Recall how FAT Nubbin was in the photo taken a few days before her due date? The poor girl could hardly waddle about. You know how it looks when someone tries to push a wide, heavy table across a carpet by themselves, rocking it back and forth and lifting one leg at a time to sort of shuffle it along? That’s how Nubbin looked when she walked. Carole and I measured her that night and she was 64″ around!

Because she’d been induced, we expected labor to begin no later than Wednesday night. But Nubbin wasn’t going to be that easy. She spent a ridiculously long time in pre-labor and was unfortunately getting weaker and more exhausted by the hour. Carole and I spent the night in the barn with her. Sometime around 2:00 a.m. we were startled awake when Nubbin lumbered over and started pawing Carole’s legs. She was trying to make a nest in on Carole’s sleeping bag. I reached over to shoo Nubbin away so she shuffled off to an even better position–right on top of Carole’s head! Carole was trapped on the floor with Nubbin’s front feet tangled in her hair. I struggled out of my sleeping bag to rescue Carole before that enormous goat sat on her face!

The rest of the night passed fairly uneventfully. Nubbin got up, pawed, shuffled around, and laid back down quite a few times, and occasionally she gave a push, but it wasn’t until around 7:00 that she finally started labor. It wasn’t a very strong labor. Nubbin just didn’t have much “push” in her and I had to help deliver all of the kids.

The first little gal was a hard delivery. Nubbin pushed as hard as she was able while I pulled as hard as I dared. She wasn’t a big baby, but the lack of proper contractions meant Nubbin wasn’t as well dilated as she should have been so it was a tight fit. But we got her out and were delighted to see a pretty little chestnut!

Nubbin spent time cleaning the kid and took a 45-minute break before she was ready to deliver the second baby. This baby was upside-down at first and it scared me to death, but she was very much alive and kicking. Every time I grabbed her front legs, she pulled them right back out of my hand! She did that 3-4 times, but somewhere in all that tug-o-war she managed to flip herself over and come out the proper way. And then there were two baby girls: A pretty chestnut and a stunning bay!

The third baby made me nervous. When I reached in to get her she wasn’t moving and I told Carole I wasn’t sure if this one was still alive. But when I pulled her out she gave a couple of convulsive gasps and and showed us she’d made it. The third kid was black so now we had three different colors!

Kid number four was easy. I had to reach far down to retrieve her but she gave no trouble. She was also noticeably bigger than the other three and I was sure we had a buck. But no, it was another girl! Another beautiful bay like her mother and sister.

We took the four kidlets out into the sunshine while we heated up a bottle to feed them because Nubbin was too exhausted to stand up and nurse them. It was hot day so we laid them on the cool porch to nap.

And here they are in order. Kid #1: Doeling, 7.5#, chestnut with white markings. She might be the sweetest and friendliest.

Kid #2: Doeling, 7.25#, red bay with white markings and solid ears. She is the most vocal and is also adventuresome.

Kid #3: Doeling, 6.75#, black with white belt and one white leg. This little gal did not want to eat all day and we worried about her because she seemed weak compared to the others. Luckily she did perk up during the night and finally started eating. Phew!

Kid #4: Doeling, 8#, red bay with almost no white but with frosted ears. This is the liveliest of the bunch and the most assertive. She’s going to be bossy like her mama!

Kid #2 was my favorite. I love her deep reddish bay coat with the black accents. She’s going to be stunning when she grows up.
Poor Nubbin was so tired! 

Carole was drinking a Guinness and I had her take some out to Nubbin who looked like she needed a beer more than anyone. She slurped it right down and wanted more. I told Carole that Nubbin could have as much as she wanted. She’d earned it!

We estimate that Nubbin was carrying a total of 30 lbs. of kids and at least that much in fluids for a total 60+ lbs. of extra weight. No wonder she could hardly walk! For the last month she could not lay down comfortably and I’m sure she wasn’t sleeping well.  She should feel much better now that she’s back down to a normal weight.
Check out the Goat-O-Scope, folks!
Skeeter kidded around 4:30 this afternoon--exactly on her due date with a textbook perfect kidding. She did it all by herself and had one girl and one boy. It was a beautiful, warm, sunny day and she gave us just enough time to run and grab the kidding box. The only thing she didn't do perfectly was she set up camp in a thicket of scrub oak behind the house. She made herself a perfect, comfortable little nest in some soft dirt under the bushes, but it was almost impossible to get to her. I crawled back there just as she was gettin down to business and pushing the first kid into the passage. A large bubble was just starting to peep out from under her tail. I grabbed her collar and yanked her unceremoniously to her feet and forced her to leave her little hidey-hole. It took some doing, but I got her out and then it took everything Phil and I had to drag her across the yard and into the goat pen. Not only did I want her to be somewhere I could offer help if she needed, I didn't relish the idea of having to crawl out afterwards on my knees with a kid in each arm. We got her into the goat pen and shut the gate to keep out the dogs, who were beside themselves with excitement. Pluto was determined to attend the birth and lick the kids off himself, but that sort of thing tends to make mama goats go berserk so I locked him out. 

Mama and kids are doing great. The baby girl weight 8.5# and the boy 10#. They were up walking and nursing in no time. I'll have to post some photos tomorrow, but in the meantime check out the video camera!
Skeeter was due Sunday, May 3rd and she did not disappoint! On Sunday morning her udder was much bigger than the day before and she was restless. Skeeter and Rita had Tigerlily, our somewhat aggressive herd queen, backed against a wall. Tigerlily was on the defence as Rita and Skeeter pounded some fear into her. “We’re going to be mamas now and you need to respect us!”

On Sunday afternoon I could see that Skeeter was separating herself from the herd and pawing nests into the dirt. Around 4:00 I went outside and Finn came up to the porch and baa-aa-ed at Phil and I with an intense look on his face. I decided I’d better go look for Skeeter. The entire herd was gathered on top of the hill behind our house, staring down into the scrub oak. It was like an amphitheater. All those goats needed was a bucket of popcorn!

Skeeter had picked a hidden spot under the oak brush and her caprine audience was transfixed. Sputnik, Skeeter’s older brother, had distanced himself from the other goats and was standing watch lower down where he was closer and could see her better. Phil went to check on Skeeter while I went to fetch the kidding box. When Phil came out of the scrub oak to inform me of Skeeter’s progress, TinCup followed Phil, baa-ing worriedly as if to say, “You can’t just leave her there! She’s about to have a baby!”

TinCup was right–we couldn’t leave Skeeter there. It was a terrible place to have kids! Not only could I not help her if she needed it, but I could just envision myself crawling out of there on hands and knees with a wet kid under each arm. That wasn’t going to work. Instead I crawled in there and hauled Skeeter out by the collar while she dragged and protested the entire way. She was actually starting to push a kid out when I fetched her! Labor stalled for a few minutes while Phil pulled and I pushed all the way across the driveway to the goat pen. We shut her in the pen, much to the frustration of Skeeter, who thought she had found the perfect place, and to the dogs, who had appointed themselves unwanted midwives. Just as I slipped in through the gate with the kidding box, the first little hooves made their appearance!

First out was a little black and white (cou clair) girl! A few minutes later she was joined by a black sundgau brother–two classic Alpine goat colors. The kids were 8.5 and 10 lbs. respectively and both were active and healthy from the get-go. Skeeter went straight into mama mode and cleaned them up expertly. She also did something I haven’t seen many does do. She reached back and suckled on herself to make sure her milk was flowing. Sometimes kids have trouble getting the first milk because of the plugs blocking the ends of the teats. Skeeter wasn’t going to let that happen to her kids!


I love how these kids blend right in against mama’s black and white coat. Doesn’t she look proud!

We’re thinking of naming the little doe “Butterfly” because of the marking on her face.

First drink. These kids were up and at it in no time! I’m so proud of this beautiful, capable new mama. She did everything by herself with no fuss or nonsense and she’s attentive without being overprotective. But she learned from the best. Petunia was an outstanding mama, and Skeeter reminds me so much of her. In fact, ever since Sunday I keep slipping up and calling her Petunia and Phil keeps correcting me. “Sorry, Skeeter. Just take it as a compliment!”

Emma takes riding lessons with me and I called her mom just as the kids were being born. I was hoping they could be there in time for the birth, but Skeeter was too quick for them. She was almost too quick for me! But Emma was able to help dry the kids off.

Skeeter did not seem to mind letting a stranger handle her babies. In fact, she seemed rather proud.

Another name idea for this little gal is “Firebird.” Her face marking is taking on more of a phoenix or firebird shape now that it’s dry. We’ll try some names out over the next few days and see what sticks.

I don’t know why but I almost immediately named this little guy “George.”

“Welcome to the family!”

Once Phil and I showed up, the rest of the goats quickly lost interest in the proceedings. They had more important things to do–like graze this glorious spring grass and bask in the sunshine. Skeeter picked the perfect day to bring her little family into the world. It could not have been more beautiful.
It turns out our little Butterfly is a real live wire! This gal won’t sit still for anything. She hopped over the lip of the shed this morning, which might be a new record for goats this young. Once out, she not only refused to go back in, but she refused to stay in when I put her back. Her mother was rather unhappy for most of the morning and early afternoon because Butterfly and George were separated. Butterfly flitted gleefully all over the pen while lonely little George cried for his sister. He couldn’t seem to figure out how to negotiate that ledge and he wasn’t motivated to try very hard. So George cried and Skeeter hollered while Butterfly gleefully explored her surroundings, completely oblivious to the hysteria around her.

I eventually liberated George from the shed so he and mom could calm down. It made Skeeter happy when both her kids followed her out of the pen so she could graze with her watchful eye on them. Unfortunately, this happy scene was short-lived. George quickly discovered Pluto’s doghouse and disappeared inside for a nap while Butterfly opted to continue exploring the yard and trying out her new legs.

Skeeter tried in vain to lead her wayward daughter back toward George. Instead, Skeeter had to abandon George so she could follow Butterfly all over the yard. Luckily George felt safe in the doghouse and was content to nap quietly while his sister explored.

This Butterfly is a brave one! She watched in fascination as Daisy scratched her ear. “What is this large, hairy beast?” 

She had to step in for a closer look…

“Ugh! The nasty thing kissed me!” Butterfly took one whiff of dog breath and raced back to mama. But it had been an exciting adventure!

After this I put Butterfly into the doghouse with George and by then she was tired enough to stay there so Skeeter could get a break. With both her babies napping in one spot and the dogs keeping watch, Skeeter finally settled down, stopped yelling, and went foraging with the herd for the rest of the afternoon. She’ll get the hang of these babies soon!
Rita plopped her kids out at 2:00 this morning while Phil and I were asleep. I woke up at around 3:20 and peeked at the Goat-O-Scope because I knew she was imminent when we went to bed, but we weren't going to wait up with her. I saw two new and mostly dry babies toddling around in the straw with their mama carefully licking them off and offering them a drink. Phil and I watched them for about half an hour and then went out and dunked navel cords and made sure mama had fresh water and some grain before we went back to bed. They're cuties! There's a gorgeous tri-color doeling and big, lovely two-tone chamoisee buckling with a white face. At least two people saw this kids before I did. Emma's mom happened to check just after 2:00 a.m. and saw one wet baby wriggling in the straw and thought she'd missed the show. But she stayed a bit longer and out popped another kid! She was so excited. My mom emailed me at 3:00 a.m. to say she saw two new kids on the ground. So Phil and I were late to the party on this one but Rita seemed to have a good handle on the situation and clearly didn't need our assistance. I'll post photos later.
Baby goats are cute but that young Emma is a doll herself. The look on her face is great. Thanks for the stories and great pictures. I love kidding season at your house.
Y'all say some prayers for little Butterfly. I think she got trampled this afternoon. She ended up following the herd to the horse pasture. I didn't think she'd go that far. I don't know if a horse trampled her or if the horses chased the herd and the big goats trampled her. Either way, I found her laying out there in the dirt and in shock. She couldn't use her hind legs and I feared a broken spine. I rushed her to the vet and they took x-rays. It was hard to see much with all the growth plates and tiny, soft bones, but they think broken pelvis. I brought her home and the biggest concerns were internal organ damage. But she peed tonight and hopefully she'll poo before morning. She is able to stand up on her own now but she can't walk more than a step or two and she's very wobbly. I'm hoping that with her being so young her bones will mend quickly and properly and she'll be playing again soon. In the meantime, she and George are living our basement and Skeeter is beside herself. I'd love to leave George with his mom, but both babies do much better together and Butterfly needs her brother right now. Her poor little butt is all swollen. I'm putting a bag of frozen corn on it. Hopefully I'll have good news in the next few days.
DAMN.  I'm rather upset.
I don't drink beer, but if I did, I'd prefer Dos Equis.  Stay thirsty my friends!

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