Friday, March 30, 2012

Checking ligaments

I have the due dates on my calendar for my two pregnant goats.  Ginger is due on April 10 and Peach is due on April 17.  But they have their own ideas as to when the big days will be.  Ginger, especially, likes to torture me.
 And not just by warping my fences.
One way to determine when the big day is coming is to monitor the does' ligaments.  In order to allow the babies to pass through the pelvis, the ligaments need to be quite soft so the body releases a hormone called relaxin that causes all ligaments to soften, not just the pelvic ligaments.

There are a couple of ligaments that are easy to find and easy to palpate.  Even the bucks and wethers (boy goats with and without all their plumbing) have these ligaments, so you can learn to find them on the boys, too.  These ligaments run from the spine just forward of the tail, diagonally to the point of the buttock, actually part of the pelvis, or the bone that sticks out underneath the tail on either side.

To show you how to find these easily, I made a video and posted it on youtube.  This one shows me palpating all three does' ligaments, although Plum was not so cooperative since Peach was chasing her off camera.  Notice Plum's rusty thighs....she needs copper, and I will be giving copper to all the does this week.

For another view, I made a video of just Ginger's ligaments.  Actually, this was the first video I attempted but I accidentally turned the camera off before I could get to the other does.  It may show the ligaments a bit more clearly so I included it here.

You can also see a hollow appear between the spine and the ligaments as everything begins to soften.  Here is Ginger, who is starting to show a significant hollow:
And her smoother-coated daughter Peach, who is not softening yet:
Some does also get a little touchy as their time approaches, so condition your girls to allow ligament checks by giving treats or by spending some time scratching their favorite itchy spots.

When Ginger is within 3-4 days of delivery, she tends to get so wobbly that anything faster than a slow walk is difficult for her.  I definitely won't be seeing her help with the tree trimming chores.
Peach is still as agile as her open (non-pregnant) sister, Plum:
Spring is so exciting....I can hardly wait for baby goats!

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