My family has raised goats for many years. I really enjoyed having goats because I could help out more on the farm. The part I liked the most was when we were having babies.
Intact male over a year old= buck
Intact male under a year old= buckling
Castrated male of any age= wether
Female over a year old= doe
Female under a year old= doeling
Baby goat= kid
Goat giving birth= kidding
Nanny and Billy are not the correct terms to use. Goats can have 1-6 babies! Twins are ideal even for first time kidders. This is because goats have two quadrants to their udder with two teats. It can be nerve racking your first kidding season because there is so much to learn. If owners can have basic knowledge then it will help in the long run.
This is our small ruminant birthing kit at the clinic so then we are prepared for any situation. It is responsible for goat or sheep owners to make a ‘ready to go kit’ as well.
There can be many different positions that the kid(s) can be in. Most of the time owners should not need to assist with the labour. It should take 30-45 minutes of active pushing for the doe to deliver her first kid. Usually once the first kid is out it will take less time to deliver the others. First time kidders may take longer. If there is no kid after 45 minutes then you will need to wash your hands really well, put on some OB gloves (the ones that go up to your shoulders) and put regular latex gloves over top. We put them on in this order to form the shape of your hand and to get some grip. OB gloves are also one size fits no one! After that you want to put lots of lube on your hand and reach in gently. It takes practice to recognize kidding positions. Ideally the kid should present with its front feet stretched out in front with its head in between (like Superman). I recommend feeling for legs first, gently pull a leg out and hold it with your non dominant hand. With your free hand, feel up the leg and try to determine if you feel a shoulder or neck or if it’s the hind end. If it is a front leg the bottom part of the hoof will be facing the ground and it will be facing the sky if it is a back leg. When the hind end presents first it is important to find legs before pulling. Once you have found two back legs and you are confident that they belong to the closest kid you want to gently pull in a downward motion as the doe pushes. The issue that arises with hind end or breech births is that the umbilical cord can break off from the fetus while the kid’s head is still inside leading to distress.
If at any point during the labour you feel too overwhelmed be sure to call the Vet.