We have a great blog post for our first 2020 kidding! First, a little bit of backstory. Terra’s gestation put her at 145 days on February 25th. It would be her first freshening but I had an very important family event to attend across the country on Feb 28-29th (it was not scheduled when I bred Terra five months earlier). I really wanted to be there for Terra for a couple reasons. It was her first freshening, and her twin brother had thrown some unusually large kids this season. Terra’s latest ultrasound showed just a single kid, and although she did not look overly large, the potential was there for a difficult kidding. I discussed the risk factors with the vet, and we decided to plan for an induction. In general, I am not in favor of induction for convenience (for goats OR people). Labor tends to be smoother when it can start naturally, and there is always the potential for a weaker/early kid when inducing. However, I was certain of Terra’s breeding date, and both my vet and I decided that the benefits of induction outweighed the risks. We decided on a 2-step approach, with the goal being to have the kid delivered by the 27th. On the afternoon of the 24th, our vet came by to drop off the medication to induce labor. We started with a 10ml subcutaneous injection of dexamethasone. Dexamethasone is a steroid that can induce labor within 48 hours. It does not ALWAYS work, but it has the added benefit of speeding lung maturity in the kid. The next morning, I followed it with a 2ml intramuscular injection of prescription prostaglandins. Prostaglandins are lipid compounds that occur naturally in the body and are present at the onset of labor. When synthetic prostaglandins are given to a goat, onset of labor can be expected in 36 hours. The vet said that for rapid intramuscular absorption, we could inject 1ml into each tricep. Terra wasn’t tolerating that, so we did her entire injection in her hindquarters. I allowed her to be with the herd during the day while putting her in the kidding stall at night. On the 25th, Terra had a nice little pre-freshening udder. By the morning of the 26th, it had easily doubled, and her attitude seemed a little cautious and distracted. I was confident that we were headed in the right direction.
I continued to check on Terra hourly through the day. Based on our timeline, I expected Terra to begin labor in the evening, and she did. She was in our indoor kidding area and I could watch her on camera as she frequently got up and down. I had May in with her to keep her company. May was also due to deliver anytime and needed to be observed closely. At about 11pm, Terra began pushing, and I headed out to help her. By the time I got to the stall, I could see one hoof presenting, and based on the angle, it seemed to be a front hoof. I removed May from the kidding stall; Terra was alert enough to protest being abandoned by her friend. I gloved up and got down next to Terra to check the positioning of the kid. I felt a nose next to the presenting hoof, but could not locate the other front hoof. I decided it must be tucked back which would make delivery more difficult but not impossible. He was advanced enough into the birth canal that I did not want to try to re-position the leg. With the next contraction, I gripped the slippery hoof with one hand and cupped behind the kid’s head with the other. I pulled hard while she pushed, and the kid came out without too much difficulty. Although he was coughing and a little shocked, he did not seem to be premature and all his expected reflexes were present. I bumped Terra to make sure she had no other kids hiding inside, and got her little buckling dried off and weighed. He was 6lbs even, which is a nice size for a single kid. After trimming and dipping his cord I got him back to his mother. She did a nice job of getting him dry and he was up looking for food in no time. During all this, I kept hearing a series of snorts from my milking area. May was over there and not impressed with the smell of Terra’s buckling. This little boy has fantastic breed character and a long, leggy build like his dam. However, he is crazily moonspotted and blue-eyed like his sire. I was able to breathe a sigh of relief after getting Terra safely delivered before my big trip. Up next, read about May’s kidding just 9 hours later!