Nigerian Dwarf Goats Kidding Process

Although we have had 3 Nigerian Dwarf does for a couple of years now, this year was our first experience with kidding goats. In the early morning hours of February 22nd, we welcomed our first newborn doeling and buckling into our world.  We only “participated” shortly after Strawberry, the mama goat, had already delivered both. Exactly one week later on February 29th, we were blessed with our second and last batch of baby goats for this kidding season. This time two of our pregnant does began birthing within just a few minutes of each other while I was home by myself.  I had a brief “mini panic attack” because Jon was supposed to be here and I was NOT supposed to be here by myself!  I quickly called him to get home from work, gathered my wits, and proceeded.

Newborn Nigerian Dwarf Boy Goat
Mulberry (Buckling) Resting After All of the Excitement

Sadly, we did have one stillborn before I arrived on the scene.  I question if it would have survived had I been there sooner. I even contemplated not sharing that part. But it is real and these are the kinds of things that can happen on a farm.  It was not enclosed in a sac, but had not been all cleaned up by the mama.  It was clearly gone when I found her and there was nothing that I could do. It is likely the mother knew this as well and did not continue to clean her. It broke my heart, but I had to stay calm and be there for the others so we would have no more issues.  I watched and did not get involved in the actual birthing process as the mothers seemed to have everything under control. As I saw how the other newborns were being attended to by mama, I felt assured the stillborn was not due to abandonment.

Mother Goat Cleaning Newborn Kid
Blueberry Attentively Caring for Raspberry (Doeling)

Blueberry birthed triplets, two girls and one boy, of which, one girl was the stillborn. I was very surprised by the triplets as she did not seem as big as her sister, Strawberry who had twins the week before. Blueberry and Strawberry are from a set of triplets themselves. The owner we purchased them from kept the third one for showing.  All of our does were first time mom’s and having triplets may have contributed to the stillbirth as well.  Her other two kids were perfectly healthy, but the doeling was noticeably smaller than the buckling. We named the doeling Raspberry and the buckling Mulberry. Mulberry has a white letter “F” on his left side.

Pregnant Nigerian Dwarf Goat One Week Before Delivery
Pregnant Blueberry Exactly One Week Before Delivery
Mama Nigerian Dwarf Goat Nursing Newborn Kids
Blueberry Happily Nursing Doeling (Left) and Buckling (Right)

Brownie is not a sister of Blueberry and Strawberry, but is of the same age. We purchased them all from the same person.  She has always been just a little smaller than the other two does. However, looking at the size of her while carrying she seemed just a little smaller than Blueberry who had triplets, but not by much.  I would have expected a much more noticeable difference in size.

Pregnant Nigerian Dwarf Goat 1 Week Before Due
Pregnant Brownie Exactly One Week Before Delivery
Pregnant Nigerian Dwarf Goats 1 Week Before Due
Pregnant Brownie and Blueberry Exactly One Week Before Delivery

Brownie gave birth to just one buckling, but he was of good size and strong.  We named him Walnut.

Mother Goat Caring for Newborn Kid
Brownie Attentively Caring for Walnut (Buckling)

I checked each newborn’s umbilical cord. They were no longer than 3 inches and were not bleeding so I chose not to tie them off or trim them. They looked good by everything I had previously read. I sprayed them with iodine to help them dry up and to protect from infection.  I also sprayed iodine on the hooves. I read that their new hooves are very soft and the iodine would help them harden too. Each kid was able to stand wobbly and suckle on the respective mama and quickly gained strength in their legs. It amazes me that they can stand and walk so quickly after birth.  Blueberry’s doeling seemed to struggle finding the teat. She might would have found it on her own, but I guided her to make sure she found it. It is very important that all of the babies learn to nurse quickly and get the colostrum from the mother.

There was already a fair amount of hay available, but very little water left. I was amazed at how much more water than normal had been drank.  Once I was sure the remaining kids were ok, I proceeded to get lots of fresh water and sweet feed for the birthing mothers.

Both mom’s passed the placenta on their own, but Blueberry did seem to take awhile. I was beginning to wonder if she would need some help.  It seemed like Blueberry walked around a long time with a large portion of the afterbirth hanging out and tending to her babes. It still had not passed when Jon got home and he works an hour away.  However, it did eventually come all the way out that evening.  I had expected the mama’s to eat all or a portion of the afterbirth, but they did not. Brownie and Blueberry did not, nor did Strawberry the previous week. We just cleaned it up with the rest of the mess after we were sure all of the excitement was over.

Our first two kids are already 3.5 weeks old and our newest are 2.5 weeks old.  I really had intended on sharing all about them sooner, but time has just gotten away from me. We will be keeping both of the doelings and will be selling the three bucklings. We already have someone from church who will be getting Mulberry when he is weaned and the other two are still for sale.  Right now, I wish we could keep them all, but I know we do not need that many boys.

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