Fiona must have thought I didn’t have enough excitement, because she certainly brought the drama today. Typically she’s a reliably easy kidder, and this time would have been no exception had the kids bothered to read the map.
This morning after milking, I made my rounds and checked Fiona’s ligaments. It was day 149 and she has always kidded between 147-150. Her udder was moderately full and her ligaments were gone. She was still acting pretty spunky for a short yet hugely pregnant goat, so I decided to just put her on 2-hour checks. My human kids are doing remote learning this year, and their virtual parent-teacher conferences were this morning, so after 3 fun-filled hours of Microsoft Teams and Adobe Connect, I was ready for a change of scenery. Fiona was too, because by this time she was laying awkwardly in the polydome in a manner I’ve come to associate with early labor. I moved her into the kidding stall (only recently vacated by Wicca) and started to prepare. Her lack of interest in grain further confirmed my suspicion that her labor had begun. Watching her carefully, I noticed she was contracting every 2-3 minutes because she would shake and hold her ears straight out. After an hour of this, I checked her and was concerned to find that her cervix wasn’t dilated beyond 1cm. As a fifth freshener, I expected quicker progress. After another hour, I checked her again – despite a consistent contraction pattern, she had not made any cervical change. At this point, I would have bet the farm that the presenting kid was not in a good position to provide pressure against the cervix. I decided to manually stretch her cervix, first by rotating one finger around in the cervix until it opened enough for me to work in a second finger and stretch. Fiona and I have a good relationship, and she tolerated this with her usual good humor. After several minutes of this stretching from me and pushing from her, Fiona’s water broke, and I was disheartened to see that there was quite a bit of meconium (baby poop) present. This is typically a sign that the kids are stressed. Once her water broke, though, it was easy for me to grasp a couple hooves and pull. I followed the hoof up the leg and determined that the feet were rear feet, explaining why the cervix wasn’t dilating. With another good pull, we delivered Fiona’s first kid, a black, moonspotted buckling, already with a great roman nose and long ears (Thanks, George!). Fiona and I worked on drying him off, clipping/dipping his cord and getting him weighed (5lbs, 12 oz). I noticed that Fiona had stopped contracting, so I stood her up and bumped her to check for a second kid. I felt hard parts, but it was pretty clear Fiona’s uterus has tuckered out. I decided to help her out and reached in for the second kid. It was a little confusing at first because I did not feel any feet. Eventually I figured out that I was cupping an upside-down head, so I stretched my fingers and rotated the kid into the correct position. A firm pull on the front hooves was all it took to deliver the second kid, a brown girl with very nice breed character. Since Fiona’s delivery was more complicated, I will be watching her closely for fever over the next couple of days. Currently, everyone is doing great! The boy is available as a wether, and the girl is being retained for evaluation.