First of all, remember that the rumen is on the goat's left
side . . . and, when functioning normally, it has a combination of gurgling,
gastric, gulping sounds. The locations for finding kids' heartbeats vary,
depending on the number of kids she's carrying. I have found that if I can
catch the doe laying down (on her left side), the kids are forced farther
outward on the right side . . . by feeling around with the stethoscope you'll
find them. Sometimes it's a little frustrating and the fact that you're
listening through hair doesn't help. I try to push the hair out of the way
as much as practicable.
The following applies to TWINS:
I seem to find the best heartbeats closer to the right hip -- sort of high
(about 2/3's the distance from the lowest part of the belly to the backbone).
The kids' heartbeats are fast -- 120 [per minute] or faster -- so it's hard to confuse
them with the doe's. In a normal presentation of twins, the first kid will
be positioned with its front feet and nose toward the birth canal and rear
feet pointing toward the doe's belly -- it almost appears (in cross section
drawings) to be tiptoeing and reaching toward the birth canal. This kid is
the one who's heartbeat I can find the easiest.
The second kid is forward of the first (toward the doe's head) and laying
behind the last rib. Its arrangement is head down and rear feet up and with
rear legs parallel to the backbone and pointing toward the birth canal. Its
belly rides its twin's back. (sort of like they're spooning with their heads
at opposite ends). You ought to be able to hear number two's heartbeat by
listening right behind the doe's last rib on the right side of the body ---
about the middle of the doe's side.
Depending on whether they are correctly positioned and at what stage of
pregnancy they are, these listening positions will vary. The positions I've
described are accurate for the last 45 days of gestation and only slightly
different prior to the last 45 days. The goats are separated by a membrane,
so they don't normally rotate or swap positions. It is possible for the kids
to entangle once the membrane breaks. In the case of singles, the heartbeat would be found
almost center of her right side (between the hips and last rib).