It’s been in the planning stages for two years now. Back in February 2011, I had decided I wanted to begin providing more nutritious—and less harmful—food for my family and me. I wanted to avoid, as best as possible, Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO), chemicals in the form of herbicides and pesticides and various toxins added to commercial foods, so I decided to begin raising my own food.
Our first food producers on the farm were chickens. We now enjoy fresh farm eggs every day. Extra roosters were slaughtered and eaten. I also decided to plant a wider variety of vegetables and berries and increase what I already grew. Becoming less dependent on grocery stores also required one more element: milk.
Milk means butter, ice cream, yoghurt, cream and, of course, liquid milk.
After two years of planning and twenty-one months after our first Toggenburg goat arrived, we are only days—possibly hours—away from our first birth which translates into milk production. Needless to say, it’s an exciting time on the homestead.
According to my daughter—who has read extensively on goat births and is in constant contact with a friend who has more than a dozen goats—it appears Spirit—the doe—is showing signs of labour.
Signs of Labour
Udder becoming firm (filling with milk)
Soft and squishy Ligaments
Pinch the tail bone and get fingers around it
Restlessness (walking around, laying down, walking around again)
Kid dropping to a lower position (getting lined up for the birth canal)
A discharge will appear
Puffy or swelled butt area
More defined hip bones
What we’ve observed
The udder is still somewhat soft.
The ligaments were definitely soft and squishy this morning, but can hardly be felt now (2:06 pm).
My daughter’s fingers can wrap around the tail bone easily.
Restlessness has not been observed, but she is calling out more and makes a deeper sound than usual.
The doe is on her third flake of hay today. She seems intent on filling up.
The kid shifted from the high, mid-part of the belly to the rear.
So far there has been no discharge
Spirit’s butt shows signs of swelling.
Because of the baby shifting the hips look really defined.
Basically, we’re still waiting and hoping for a healthy kid with no birthing problems. From what we’ve observed, we should have baby news soon. We’ll keep you posted.
We’re new at this, but the Prairie Homestead has experienced goat birthing for a few years. They have better explanations of signs of labour and more information, so check out their website.