As those who follow Goat Berries on Facebook know, Pasqualina gave birth to two healthy doelings on Monday:
If you’d like more deets, the sequence of events went a little like this:
** 2 p.m. – I did a normal afternoon check on her, and she was pacing around, bleating *way* more than usual, and generally starting to look nervous. Her back was more arched, the ligaments around her spine were pretty loose (I had noticed they were loosening the day before, and for not goatie people, this is a sure sign that labor is coming because those ligaments loosen to make it easier to push out a kid or two), and her sides were hollowing out (meaning the baby or babies were dropping into place).
All classic goat labor signs.
I stayed with her and called Paolo to let him know it was happening, and that he could find me at the pen.
The last time she gave birth, she started having contractions within a half hour or so of this kind of behavior, so I wasn’t about to go anywhere.
** Between 3 p.m. and 5:35 p.m – I stayed with her most of the time as she got up and laid back down, got up and laid back down, paced back and forth, looked glassy-eyed on and off and also had slightly bloodshot eyes, pawed at the ground a few times, and started talking in her mamma voice, quieter than a bleat and more like mumbling toward her belly.
Again, more classic goat labor signs, and they were intensifying, so I knew it must be getting closer, although I’m not going to lie — I did wonder how long these types of symptoms could go on before there was a problem. I know that if a goat is actively pushing and nothing is happening for 20 to 30 minutes, there could be issues, but I wasn’t able to find information on how long the signs of labor could go on before active labor began — apparently it’s at least three to four hours.
I kind of got the feeling like she didn’t want or need me there this time — a strong contrast to last time when she literally called me into the pen to sit with her. I wasn’t offended, and I took a couple breaks from the pen over the course of those hours, probably ten minutes at a time.
Paolo had come home in the meantime and sat with us both at the pen for a bit; then we decided we were hungry so he went to get some provisions at the store.
** 5:35 p.m. – Paolo brought me back a sandwich, and although normally I would have just eaten it there at the pen, something told me to go to the house.
I told Pasqualina before I left, “If you’re not going to need my help, please go ahead and do this on your own to save your ma some stress — but if you’re going to need my help, please wait until I get back.”
She didn’t need my help.
** 6:00 p.m. – I returned to the pen to this scene:
When they say goat birth happens fast, that’s how fast it can happen — she hadn’t even had a contraction before I left, or if she did, she disguised it well (last birth, the contraction was unmistakeable because she *screamed* out).
The second kid was probably out for a couple minutes when I showed up as she was still behind Pasqualina and hadn’t been cleaned off at all. The first placenta was already passing, and both passed within an hour.
Many of the goat sites I’ve read discuss an involved process of assisting with goat births, including “helping” the mamma clean the kids and other actions — we don’t do anything but let the mamma take care of things. We watch closely to make sure it’s all getting done, of course, but the weather was nice, so there was no fear of the babies being too cold or anything like that. The umbilical cords took care of themselves (as they have done in the previous three goat births we’ve had here), so we were just watching while the little ones got their legs.
Pasqualina laid on her side for a good long time after the births, so when she finally got up, one of the kids went for her first meal pretty quickly. The other needed some guidance, so this is an example of where we will step in if needed. She was a stubborn sucker, pun intended, but I finally got her to take the teat by opening her mouth with my hand and getting her to start sucking on my finger — from there I just transferred it to the teat, and she got her first meal in as well.
Here is Day 2, and she’s already an old pro:
They both peed to let us know they were girls and then also both passed their first sticky, tar-like poop (meconium), and we breathed a little sigh of relief. As we all know, anything can always still go wrong, but getting those babies out healthy was a *big* relief — and my sweet dam did it all herself and saved me stress in the process.
We still haven’t named them, but I joked with Paolo before they were born that if they were girls, they’d be “Gem” and “Elle” — the word in Italian for twin girls is gemelle, but I’m not sure the names really fit them, so we’re still thinking about it.
Now on Day 3, both are bouncing and running around like mad little goaties — just as it should be — except when I snatch them up for cuddles.
And of course there will be more photos and video forthcoming.
34 Responses to “Pasqualina & Her Doelings”
Leave a Reply