Friday, April 13, 2012

Ginger's twins

Over-sized buckling #1

Ginger needed help.  Lots of help.  Yes, she tested my devotion and was not disappointed.  I love my Ginger-Pie.

She "lost her ligaments" late last night, meaning they got all soft and hard to palpate.  I cleaned and bedded the kidding stall and locked her in for the night amidst many complaints from both sides of the door.  Ginger and her daughter Peach are inseparable and always sleep together.  Not last night, and not tonight, either.  Ginger needs a break from Plum, who tends to pick on her, sneaking up and bashing her from behind.  Ginger is slow and clumsy and Plum is quick and agile.  Ginger needs a couple of nights of peace and rest.

Ginger was still no closer to delivering when I got up this morning, so I let her out with the girls and watched her all morning as I hung six loads of laundry.  I nervously left her under the hubster's care and took my sister to the gem show to shop for beads for making jewelry....we all need some sparkly stuff now and then.  I raced back to see Ginger give one tiny contraction.  I cancelled my appointments for the day.

 Ginger having a contraction.

Working the jaw and yawning with early contractions.


She took so long, she started looking for her babies.  Video of this here.

It took an hour for the first big, serious contraction.  Then a few more, then nothing.  After about 45 minutes I was getting nervous, so I called Kate Helms.  Kate is a goat breeder extraordinaire who helped me last year via telephone to save Peach and her triplets by talking me through untangling them.  It was rather traumatic, I must say, but I was thrilled to have saved all four goats and am so grateful to Kate for her generosity and for being completely unflappable in the face of my panic and lack of experience.  She had answered my online plea for help when I'd posted my phone number on a forum.  I've never met her in person.  This amazes me.

She gave me some guidance, and within a few minutes, Ginger delivered the first huge buckling.  He was just too big for her to manage on her own, and there was a lot of yelling, pushing, and pulling.  He was just HUGE.  She'd never have gotten him out.  Sheesh.  

Ginger is a very large goat.  Look at the size of this boy!

After another half hour, I called Kate again.  Ginger was grinding her teeth, a sign of pain, but there were no contractions.  By this time my folks had arrived to see NatGeo in my backyard.  Dad was raised on a farm, and makes a great extra set of hands.  He restrained Ginger while I explored.....and sure enough, the second buckling was positioned in an impossible position.  He was breach (backwards) but with his hind legs forward.  The babies need to be in a superman dive position, whether they come out backwards or forwards.  He was backwards, tail first, hind legs forward, and was essentially a big cork, plugging his entrance into the world.

The smaller twin finally makes his appearance....

This was the third time (or was it fourth?  I somehow blocked what happened with Peach last year.  Strange.) I'd encountered this position, and I was able to reposition this baby in seconds, and helped him into the world.  He was smaller than his slightly older sibling, but still a big boy.

 Can you believe these guys were just inside poor Ginger???

After bottle feeding both boys about 5-6 ounces of Ginger's colostrum, milked straight into the baby bottles, I put them in the kid's stall.  Yes, I separate them from their mother right away.  Yes, this is stressful for all concerned, even me.  But it is better in the long run.  It is far easier to get them to drink from a bottle before they've ever experienced the udder.  When they go to their new homes, their new owners can continue bottle feeding them and bond with them.  The stress of moving won't be compounded with the stress of weaning.   Raised by humans, they will make fantastic pets.  A little heartache now for a day or two can really make a difference in the long run.  Sigh.  I keep telling myself that when I hear Ginger calling for them.  She'll stop soon enough, and I will become her baby, as I milk her twice a day.  She will turn her affection to me.

First boy, all dry and fluffy.

Second boy.  Look at those ears!

In his pj's for the night!


  1. ohmigosh they are a scream!!! great work!!!

  2. I missed this post, as it was under the previous one about the chicks. It's really wonderful you can do the disentangling to get them born. I'm glad all 3 are doing well, and by now, I hope Ginger has started to settle down.

  3. Sorry, Pam, I meant to post it the next day but hit the wrong button and couldn't undo it. Ginger is settling down, and has started to switch her focus to me, now that I've milked her three times.

    As for disentangling....I had no choice but to learn how, as I couldn't get a vet to come out the first time Mya couldn't deliver Plum, my first impossible presentation. I lost a lot of time waiting for the vet who wasn't coming (the office staff led me to believe he was on his way) and finally got advice by going online to a forum. And that was how I found Kate the following year.

    If you have a good vet who is willing to treat goats, give them a big hug. I've been told many times, "We don't treat goats" and "if you are not a current client, we won't treat your goat." On the other hand, if I'd had success in getting a vet out here, I wouldn't know what I now know. I had to save four does and 8 babies so far. I'm not so sure what waiting an extra hour or more for a vet to arrive would have done to the odds of survival. It makes me weepy just thinking about it....I love my goats! They are fantastic pets as well as providers.

  4. There is nothing really more exciting than new baby goats

  5. I'd be interested (by private e-mail) in knowing who the vet was that didn't come. We have a good cow vet, only 1 visit in 4 years, though. Be nice to know who to avoid, if she could not come. We managed on our own last year, when we had to pull a calf.

  6. Pam, I don't know how to private e-mail you. I don't have your I? Hmmm. Confused. If you know how, then email me!

    Isaiah, hi! I read on your blog that you sold Jasper. I'll be buying a buck from the same people I got him from. He gave me wonderful does in Peach and Plum. I'll be going with a different breed so as not to inbreed. I'm hoping for Oberhasli if they get a buckling from their one doe, if not, then Toggenburg. Both come from lines with great udders.