INNOCENT FIRST TIME KIDDERS
Connie S. Reynolds
First time kidders are always interesting. You never know how they will react to kidding. You wonder when the contractions start, what will they do? Take it patiently or scream every time a pain hits? Then, when they kid, will they accept their kids? Will they know to immediately clean the kidís head? Will they let the kids nurse? And, a bunch of other questions. But, mainly you know you had better be around when that first time kidder does kid, just because of all the uncertainties.
I was reminded again about the uncertainties of first time kidders just the other day. I had two yearling does due to kid. So far they had been waddling around just fine, not a care in the world. Then the biggest of the two sisters started kidding. She seemed quiet about it. Just accepting the mucous hanging out, the pain every now and then. When the pains got closer, she calmly laid down and waited. Then it got serious. Soon a little foot and nose appeared and after a couple of pushes, she had the kid out. But, she just wasnít sure what to do then.
She kept reaching back in the general area of the kid, even lifted a hind leg in trying to get back to the kid, but why? You could tell she was perplexed about it. I cleaned the kidís nose so she could breathe and then gently dragged her to about half the length of the does body for her to reach the kid and lick. I didnít want to break the cord yet attaching the kid to the mother until it had turned basically white. Cut it before this and blood goes everywhere and you just think youíve killed the kid. You really havenít and they do all right if this happens, but itís a lot neater to wait until that blood drains back and the cord is white before you cut it. Or, the doe will stand up and take care of any decisions you were going to make about the cord. The cord will just break then.
This young first time kidder, presented with a squalling kid, got instantly hyper. She still laid there, but she knew that gunk had to be cleaned off the kid, but how? First she tried opening her mouth really wide and putting the kidís whole head in her mouth. She decided, no, that wasnít right, much to my great relief. And, then she settled down to lick the kid at super speed. Maybe the faster she licked she wouldnít have to taste it, I guess.
While in the process of cleaning the first kid, another kid decided to make an appearance. The young doe was completely stuck at what to do about this situation, so she continued licking the first kid, obviously agitated about what was the proper etiquette in handling a second stranger that needed licked. I pitched in and cleaned the second kidís head off and put her beside the first. The cord was white by now on the first and I simply took scissors and snipped the cord, then took the first kid, which helped the doe focus on cleaning the second kid, and trimmed the cord back to an inch from the kidís belly and then iodined it really well. Then I put the first kid in front of her while she was lying there. It focused her attention to the front and I did the same to the cord on the second kid and put it in front of the new mother.
She really was doing some super fast licking by this time and got so agitated she jumped up and started really going over the kids good. Now her kids were unusually strong. A lot of kids come out in the world and are totally stunned for a bit about the sudden change of environments, but not these kids. They were up and heading back for a meal. I quickly milked the "plugs" out of the doeís teats. These kids knew what was going on, but the doe didnít.
She insisted they stay under her neck so she could keep a good eye on them and keep them safe. They had other plans. They were hungry! Finally, I had to intercede and hold the doe by the collar and pin her against the wall with a knee so her kids could go eat. What worked best with this doe was to keep one of the kids in front of her and let the other work back to nurse. After that kid was full, I exchanged kids.
The kids were really sharp kids to be so young. This doe had some extra teats on one side and so close together that if the kid grabbed the lower teat, the kid got squirted in the eye by the upper teat. If she grabbed the upper teat, she got squirted under the chin and neck and got a good milk soaking. Both the kids figured this problem out fast. Each one simply stood back, opened their mouth wide and took both teats in their mouth and started nursing. It was interesting that both kids came to the same conclusion on how to handle this over abundance of teats and milk.
Then, after the excitement of kidding and feeding the kids was over, it was time for the mom and the two little girls to rest. All went well for an hour and I came back to make sure things were going all right in the nursing department. The smallest of the twins had settled mom down about letting her go back to nurse and mom suddenly realized she could still see the kidís rump while the kid was eating, so everything was all right.
Then the bigger of the two kids stood up from her nap and in a strong wobbly way headed towards mom. Momís eyes got big staring at the kid approaching her. Holy Moley! Who was this little stranger? She took her head and gently butted the kid aside twice. Once again I had to step in. I turned the kidís rump to mom, she took one sniff and basically said, "My long lost child! Where have you been?!" and she eagerly took the kid back. I advised each kid to always approach mom backwards until she got use to having kids around. One sniff of the rump and this particular goat mom would always know her kid.
So, this was an unusual reaction for a first time kidder? No. Some first timers act like they have been kidding all their young lives, they instantly know what to do. The rest are really naÔve about it all and youíd really better be there to fill in the parts they didnít know they were suppose to do. When they kid the second time, they are usually just fine about it.
This doeís smaller sister decided to kid that evening. I knew something was up when I found her almost trotting in place and hollering. Her reaction to the labor pains was, "Golly gee, Iím dying! What do I do now?!" I took one of my favorite sitting buckets and went in her stall and sat down. She immediately came over for a comforting petting and she stood close by me through the whole kidding. Thatís right, stood.
She stood and popped out the first kid on its head. I think the doe was in shock about this and continued standing there, like "Whew. That feels better." So, I rushed to the back of the doe and cleaned the kidís head off and laid the kid in front of the standing doe. She looked down in great surprise. "Whatís this?" was her reaction.
She took one sniff and then tentatively licked the kid slowly and then faster and faster. It clicked in. It was her baby. While standing there licking the first kid, she gave a big grunt and popped out the second kid. This kid had decided to show the world what she thought of it and came out rump first. So, at least this kid landed on its rump instead of its head. The young doe was still entranced with the first kid and didnít notice the arrival of the second. I hurried and cleaned the kidís head and set the second kid in front of her to work on. Glad thatís over, I thought. Suddenly, the doe grunted again and popped out a third kid! This kid also came out rump first. Evidently both kids and been trying to make an escape back into the safety of mom and it just hadnít worked out.
Once again the doe hadnít notice the third kid. I cleaned its head off and put it in front of mom. Then I told her thatís enough of that! No more kids! Thankfully, she listened to me. Her three small girls ended up being every bit as active as her sisterís kids. They were up like a shot and staggering back to dinner. I kept one kid to the front of mom and waited to see how she reacted to the kids nursing on her. She never batted an eye. No problems like with her sister about nursing, or for that matter remembering how many kids she had. She recognized all three kids every time.
First timers! Whew! Next year it will be easier, but Iíll also have a whole new batch of first timers kidding and the suspense will continue. How will they do? Will they know their kids? Will they let them nurse? First timers! Gotta love them.