My dearest goat is in the throes of giving birth as I type. This is the same goat that gave birth to her baby last year and as soon as it was delivered she walked off and left baby still in the birth sac on the ground (happy ending eventually after two weeks of hard work). So we've kept a constant vigil since she went into labour in the field yesterday. She passed a bloody mucus plug at 7pm last night, I think her waters broke at 11pm (though it could have been just wet grass but it seemed very wet), she thrashed about in the grass a bit and at 1am thankfully made her way to the goat house. I stayed up with my husband until 2am (then I went to feed our own baby!) and he sat vigil til 5am. I took over at 5. But still nothing and this is 7.45am. She has contractions once every 3-5 mins and is prepared to munch a bit of food in between. She seems tired but not distressed. I have had a feel around in the birth canal but I can't feel anything. Can a goat labour go on this long? Should I be actively getting 'right in there' and helping things along (I instinctly push against that as I'm a homebirth non-interventionist human mother - at least I *think* I'm human )
Sadly my farmer friend and I finally had to help her give birth to a stillborn. The tail was the first presented with back legs folded up towards mum's head, one front leg up towards mum's head and one leg backwards. My farmer friend who has kept many goats in the past (now a grass-based dairy cow farmer) said that he thought the kid had been dead for a couple of days. At least we saved mum. She's a bit fragile now obviously but gave a whopping amount of milk this evening. I'm feeling sad but grateful.
The rule of thumb on how long to watch a goat in labor is 45 minutes. If you don't see hooves and nose by then, there's a problem, and the goat keeper should "go in" with a very clean hand to re-position the kids.
Sorry this had a bad outcome.
We don't have time for this. We've gotta save the moon! Or check this out:
Dave Burton's Boot Adventures at Wheaton Labs and Basecamp