Not the joking kind...the baby goat kind :-) We have one baby goat so far. It was a first time goat mama that was first up. She only had one kid in there, but it was a big one since it appears it was from our Nubian goat (she's a dwarf).
Here is how it all played out (oh, come on now, we all love a good birth story). It was a Friday, and that means choir for all the girls and then horses for the older two later in the day. It was also shopping day. That makes for one very busy day. Moira went out before choir to feed the goats. All was well.
After choir Moira and Flannery decided to hang out in the back yard. It wasn't too long before one of them came knocking on the window (we all know that is much easier than opening a gate and coming into the house). Moira said that Midnight (our black Nigerian dwarf female) was acting funny. For those of you who do not have goats and have never been around any, I will tell you that goats have personalities. Big time. Midnight can be summed up as a stuck up prissy goat. No, really. We have one who is so quiet and gentle, timid almost. Another who is bossy. They really are funny creatures. Anyways, during this goat's pregnancy she has not wanted to be touched. She pretty much just stayed clear of everyone. Well, on this day, just hours after acting 'normal' she was following Moira around, maaa'ing and maaa'ing, even trying to climb up in her lap!!! Clearly, clearly something was up.
That 'something' was *labor*. We kept watch over her, putting her in the goat barn to give her her own space. I was rushing around inside putting our goat birth kit together. It was on my list of to-do's and hadn't gotten around to it...yet! I finally pulled everything together and went out to see what was happening. There was Isabella, kneeling on the ground, with Midnight's front feet up on her Isabella's thighs, and Midnight's head lying over Isa's shoulders! That was a site to see. I thought Isabella did that, but it was the goat. The poor thing was scared and in pain. Not much was happening, just regular labor contractions. The older two girls were very disappointed when horse time came and they had to leave. I dropped them off, and went out to check on the goat. Two of the boys were inside, the baby was out with me, as were the younger two girls. I observed her for a bit. After a few contractions she ended up lying down, and with the next contraction she started to push. So I called all the kiddos over. Jedidiah did not want to see, so he stayed inside. It wasn't long (10 pushes or so) before we saw 'something'. Now, for a 'perfect' birth (is there such a thing?) you should see two little white things come out first. Those white things are the hooves. The baby goat should be in a diving position. As this 'something' was starting to come out I saw that it was a black something and not the white something that it should have been. Groan.
I was a bit concerned for two reasons. One, this was a first time mom, and two there was a possibility that the daddy was our larger Nubian and not our male dwarf. Sure enough, the next contraction brought a wee nose out. I have to say it was a funny site to see this little nose sticking out, with a wee little tongue trying to wipe the goo off itself. I believe the best policy in birth (human or otherwise) is to observe *first*. The idea of 'first do no harm' comes to mind. Don't try to fix something that's not broke fits too. But after a handful of contraction, with only about a 1/2 inch more of the baby protruding, and a yelling goat, I thought it was time to help. I helped by first just putting gentle pressure on the area around the baby's head, to see if I could help *during* a contraction to ease it out of the birth canal. It took much longer than I thought was acceptable. I was getting very concerned that Midnight was going to be able to pass the shoulder, which is the widest part. Aubrey was completely freaked out by the goat screaming so Saoirse brought him inside, Jonah stayed out to watch. I decided to stand back and observe a few contractions to see if she was going to be able to get this babe out on her own. Not happening. So I had to "go in". Yup, just what it sounds like. I located a leg, that was bent under (making the shoulder area even WIDER!) and took hold of it with a finger. On the next contraction I pulled as Midnight pushed. It took just a little bit of pulling and out Popped a baby goat! Phew!
With Midnight being so stuck up and prissy, we weren't entirely sure how good of a mama she would be. But she did great! She started licking off her baby right away. Let me tell you, this baby is head strong! She kept trying to walk over to all of us (by this time Saoirse, Aubrey and Jed joined us) to try to nurse! I would pick her up and put her up to her mama's side to nurse and she would fight me! The little rascal. I sent everyone inside, and I stepped out. We have half doors on our barn, so I was still able to observe. It took a little while (30 minutes or so), but she all of a sudden "got it" and has been a nursing champ ever since.
The baby is a female and she has floppy ears...just like our Nubian. Oy. Midnight is being a very attentive mama, which makes our jobs soooo much easier. We only have one more first time mama to give birth, and three others who have been through this before. I've been concerned each night since it's been so cold here. It took a bit for us to work out where all the goats should sleep so that the new mama and babe keep safe, and that the other mamas have a safe place to give birth in, should they go into labor over night.
Here are a couple of pictures of the new one, named, Muffin: