Signs of Labor:
Ligaments loosen: The ligaments which run next to the spine near the tail head. Feeling the ligaments and the tail head is one of best ways to tell that kidding may happen within the next 24 hours.
The tail head is raised: You can practically put your fingers all the way around
the spine right before the tail.
Uncomfortable: The doe may continually get up and lay back down.
A long clear string of gel: A long clear string of gel may hang from the doe's vagina. If the goop is amber, it is amniotic fluid, and kidding should happen very soon. The doe may have a small amount of white discharge a day, a week or even a month before kidding.
The doe's udder in full and tight: Often a doe’s udder will “bag up” meaning that it will fill with milk before the kid is borne (My does don’t start bagging up until a few hours before kidding).
But occasionally she could not really start producing colostrum until after she kids.
The doe will start edging away from the herd.
The doe becomes more vocal: A doe who is normally quiet may start making more noise than usual
Acting different: Your doe may start acting different (e.g: If she was very “people friendly” she may start acting aloof and uninterested in people. And if your doe is usually uninterested in people she will start acting “people friendly”)
Phone Number of an experienced goat midwife (if available. The first time I birthed a goat I was unadded and I did just fine!)
Empty feed bags or towels as absorbent bedding (optional. My doe give birth on straw)
Towels for drying off the kids and cleaning the doe’s rear. You can also place the kids on the towels and wrap them up on cold days (or nights).
Use a flashlight to check that the kid is in the correct position when the birth sac first appears. We hold the flashlight behind the bubble and shine it through the bubble. This lights up the whole thing and you can see how the kid is positioned.
Plastic garbage bag to put the mess in. Note: you don’t want to put the afterbirth, birth sac, and in a worst case scenario a stillborn, next to or near the barn because it will attract predators.
Betadine Veterinary Surgical Scrub to coat your hands with if you half to reach inside. You can also use K-Y Jelly though I never have.
A bucket of warm water in case you need to wash your hands (which you will you assist in the delivery).
String to tie to umbilical cord (dental floss is best).
Iodine 7% Tincture to dip the kids navels. Do this as soon after birth as possible. Dipping the umbilical cord and naval in 7% iodine keeps out naval ill and any other bacteria that may travel up the cord.
Scissors to cut the umbilical cord.
Nipple and bottle to give the kid his first meal if he is having trouble feeding on his own but can still nurse
Weak lamb syringe to tube feed the kids if necessary (to see how to tube feed check out this link, http://www.blackbellysheep.org/about-the-sheep/articles/tube-feeding-lambs-kids/.
Hair Blow Drier (a quiet one is best!) to dry the kid off in cold weather. This item is optional.
Goat baby sweater ( this item is optional but it can be useful in cold weather).
Grain and warm molasses water as a reward for the doe after the kidding.
The Kidding: Step by step
Give the doe a haircut before she kids; preferably a week ahead of time. So it's is easier to keep her clean during and after the kidding.
Note: Most kiddings will go smoothly so there is no need to worry unnecessarily!
Step 1: The uterus contracts and dilates, forcing the unborn kid against the cervix This process usually lasts about 12 hours for goats that are kidding for the first time. She will usually be restless at this stage (wouldn’t you?) and may look at her side, like she can't figure out what is going on. She may lick herself or you.
Step 2 Her contractions get stronger and if the kid is lined up correctly, it will start moving down the birth canal. From the time the goat starts pushing until the first kid is delivered should be only 30 minutes. If it takes longer than this, the kid may be malpositioned or the doe may have another problem. Investigate whether the kid is stuck or coming out wrong. You will see thicker discharge, sometimes tinged with blood, and then a bubble at the opening of the vagina. This is the birth sac. If you look in the bubble you usually see a nose and one or two (preferable two) little hooves. Within a half hour ,if all goes well, the baby will slide out. Often kids are still in the birth sac. If the birth sac doesn't break when the kid comes out, break it and clean the fluids from the kid's mouth and nostrils. The kid should breathe, cough, or shake her head to clear excess mucus.
If the kid is not breathing after it is out this is what you do:
Hold the kid by the feet with one hand and in the area between the head and neck with the other hand.
Swing it back and forth several times with head facing out to clear the lungs.
Make sure you are in an area where you won't hit anything and be aware that the kid is slippery.
Check the kid's breathing and repeat the process if it isn't breathing.
Wrong kidding positions:
Head first with one or both legs back
Quite often gentle pulling will assist birth to a small to normal size kid in this position. If no progress is made, check that the legs and head belong to the same kid.
You may have to push the head back to get space to slip the legs up. Shield the uterus from being torn by the hoof by cupping your hand over it as you draw it up over the brim of the pelvis. When the head and two front legs are in position pull the head out. It often helps to attach snares to the head and one or two legs before they are pushed back.
With a large kid often only the swollen head is out, and the kid is dead. The head may have to be cut off (ugh!!) the kid before it is pushed back so the front legs can be found and pulled out.
Both legs out, head turned back or down
Identify the front legs (soles facing downwards) slip a noose over each and push them back to allow access to the head.
Pull the head forward with your hand or a noose around the back of the head and tightening inside the mouth. Then pull the front legs out (by means of the attached cords) and ease the kid out in the correct position.
Breech. The tail may be hanging out but the hind legs are pointed away from the pelvis opening with the kid coming backwards. Push the buttocks forward and ease one hind leg at a time up over the brim of the pelvis in a flexed position, being careful not to tear the uterus with the hoof. Then pull the kid out in a hind-first position.
Crossways with legs pointing away or through the pelvic opening
This will take a bit of figuring out, but again push the kid away and rotate it to allow delivery. If the hind legs are as convenient as the front, chose the hind legs and you won’t have to reposition the head.
Twins coming out together
There are many possibilities. The most common is the hind legs of the second twin coming with the front legs and/or head of the first twin. One twin, usually the one coming backwards, is pushed back allowing the other twin to move ahead. However, the primary rule is to deliver the one which requires the least manoeuvring first. Take your time and work carefully and slowly, so that you know what you are doing.
This page as not completed yet. I will be putting more information on this page soon.