After the 5 long(short) months of gestation, you are very nervous about the pending kids that are about to be born. You watch for the slightest sign of a contraction, the doe 'talking' mamma talk, when she pees it's just a few drops, her wanting to be by herself, her udder is full to the point you think it will burst(don't worry, it won't). She either wants to be left alone or will cry for you to stay with her. Well, here are some photo's of a Nigerian Dwarf in labor for her first freshening. After years of watching my girls, I've realized the easiest way to tell if a doe is in labor is to watch Kanga(Great Pyrenees). He knows better than I do because he follows any doe that is in labor. What a good boy! This first photo is Kanga and the doe that was in labor for these photo's.
Ciara had a single doe kid and her belly was not all that big. Kids lay on the right side of the doe so everything there needs to move over while the kids are growing which makes the left side big also. I was very pleased with her first udder for having a single kid.
A doe will lay down and get up many times during labor. The hind leg will stretch out, notice in the left photo that her tail is relaxed, she is not ready to push yet.
In the middle photo, her water broke and in the right photo, those are another doe's kids coming to check out what is going on. She is starting to push with leg out and tail up. She also
got up and laid down again.
With one foot out along with the face, this is normal, the other front leg was back but there is room for the kid to come out. If you see only one foot, don't worry. With the head out
I cleared the face and nose and the kid is now breathing. Sometimes the sack is still on their heads so if you are there, take it off so the kid can get the first breath.
My favorite things, first sight, first bath and first meal. This was a wonderful birth and my eyes always fill up when I see a doe and kid look at each other for the first time. Brings back memories. If a doe doesn't want to clean off her kid, put some sweet feed on the kid, mom will start to eat the grain and end up cleaning the kid. The first meal is very important. Within a half hour of being cleaned off the kid should be standing up and looking for the faucet. The colustrum(first milk for 3 days) can look just like milk, be yellow and thicker or be very yellow and thick like condensed milk. This is very important for the kids for it has moms antibodies. A doe usually will produce more than enough so I will milk a doe out and freeze it for some other time if a kid needs it. I won't take it from a first time doe but the older one's.
This kid is Bluebonnet and is now owned by Valerie Ciesynski at Piddlin Acres in Texas.