Goat Birth Story

Here’s Bebe with her latest batch of kids: Lazarus and Gretel.

It was August 1, and Bebe started acting kind funny one night. My friend Trista was staying at our house, and I told her to brace herself–she had come just in time to see a goat give birth. By midnight, Bebe had bedded down on some fresh straw and the birth blanket I keep around for such occasions. Nothing. I woke up at 3am and on a hunch ran down to the goat area. Bebe had already squeezed out a tiny–tiny!–little brown and black goatling who was in a heap, not moving. I’ve never had a dead goat baby on the farm so I was extremely upset. Especially because I’m pregnant myself and often have superstitious thoughts. Bebe didn’t seem to even see it, she was just delivering her second–a big healthy white doeling with red splotches. I grabbed a towel and wiped off the little guy’s face (I checked, he was a boy). Once he got warm from the blanket, he started moving around and making pitiful bleating noises. I tried to get him to suckle on Bebe’s teat, where the little girl had already latched on and was thriving. He couldn’t even stand. Bebe didn’t even acknowledge him–he was a dead kid to her.
I carried him upstairs. “Trista,” I knocked on her door. “Want to see a baby goat?” I brought him into her room. “Don’t get attached,” I said. “He’s not going to make it.” I felt a pang in my belly where my own growing child was gestating.
We looked at him–he was really cute with speckled ears. He got very quiet.
“Can’t you save him?” Trista asked.
“Probably not, plus he’s a boy–worthless in the dairy business.”
Then I carried him into the kitchen and did everything I could to save his ass.
Trista had drank a bottle of one of those Smirnoff Ice things, so I washed it out and filled it with colostrum powder mixed with warm water. I slapped a nipple for bottle feeding onto the Smirnoff bottle and offered it to the little guy. I figured he was too weak to suck. But he took to it. He gulped it down. I could feel his energy bounding back. He was alive.
I took him down to Bebe and his sister. I gave Bebe a snack of warm beet pulp and molasses water. She and her daughter were bonding, Bebe made little nickering sounds at her and licked her butt while she nursed. She would not do the same for him. I stayed down there, in the goat birthing cave swearing at Bebe, latching him on until he could get the real stuff. He couldn’t stand on his own and kept collapsing. After an hour of sneaking him onto Bebe’s teat, he finally could stand. I went back to bed thinking he was 50/50.
After a few hours of sleep I went down to check on everyone. Bebe and Gretel were snuggled up together, Lazarus was in another corner. One of his eyes looked glazed, like it had gone blind. I carried him around, warmed him up, stuck him back on Bebe.
Called my friend Kitty who also keeps goats in Oakland. I felt terrible. I’ve never had something bad like this happen with birth before. I didn’t have any medication to give him. Kitty did and rushed it over–anti-biotics for his eye and nutra-drench and a pro-biotic to give to weak kids. I was so grateful for the help and advice. I also gave him a dose of selenium just in case. After a few days Laz started to thrive. Bebe finally recognized him as her own and let him nurse without my intervention.
Now almost two months old, Lazarus is still small but he’s healthy and adorable–kind of like a pocket goat. A friend is going to take him and raise him with his other goats. Viva Laz! And thanks Kitty!

22 responses to “Goat Birth Story

  1. Yay Novella, Kitty and Lazarus!! (wonderful name). I’m so glad you’re blogging again! Thanks for this great story.

  2. Happy ending! And now I’m subscribed to Kitty’s blog. ;) I love your goats, and I love that they are in such good care. You are a good person, Novella.

  3. I think you might enjoy this blog. It’s about life on a goat dairy told from the point of view of a goat named Millie. It’s very funny.
    http://goatcentral.blogspot.com/

  4. God I remember the bloody superstitious thing in pregnancy! (Glad the goat boy lived :))

  5. I’m so glad he’s healthy! Our first goat birth ever was very similar to your story, but switch genders. Our doeling failed to thrive and not even the vets at UC Davis could do anything for her. Her brother of course is HUGE and healthy now, but being a male, he’s unfortunately destined for the freezer.

  6. Glad mom, kits, and you are all doing well.

  7. Glad this story has a happy ending! There are few things sweeter than baby goats!

  8. Such a great story!

  9. This is practically a thriller. With a happy ending. You did good.

  10. Was so thrilled to read your news again! Lovely story, you have a good heart

  11. goat on the right has the most beautiful coloring.
    glad to see that they’re all doing well.

  12. That must have been super heart-wrenching. What a sweet story. So glad he made it with your help.

  13. So glad that you decided to keep blogging – your communication with your fans far and wide is your baby, too. And Congratulations!! Pregnancy and childbirth are amazing, transformative experiences. And you know all about it so it will be easy for you! ;-)

  14. This is the first time I have been on your blog. I think it is amazing. I am going to be reading through all the archives. We are also ordering your book. We are working and building our own urban homestead in Durban, South Africa and your blog is just inspirational. So glad to have found your blog and that you have decided to continue with it.

  15. soarswitheagles

    congrats! what a cute little goat!!! what kind are they?

  16. If your larva didn’t sense already, it probably knows now what good hands it will be coming into :)

    OT – check out Black Soldier Flies for efficiently processing non-compostables into chicken feed ;)

  17. How sweet Laz made it,that is awesome!!I read your book recently,and I loved it!!!!You got a new follower!!! =)

  18. Yea! It’s you! You’re back. Congrats on the kid thing — all the way around. And I’ll put your new book on my christmas list and make sure santa buys it for me. Hope to get up to Oakland once of these days and check out the stand. Btw, we now have two chickens! See what you started? This urban homesteading thing … it’s like a virus.

  19. I started reading your book this summer and came to look for your blog and was saddened that you had taken the summer off. Well i am glad to see that you have returned. It’s nice to hear that Lazarus made it. My neighbors use my barn for goats and they had a similar incident happen last spring where the mother goat abandoned the baby. My neighbor took the baby in and saved her. She woke up every 3 hours to feed her. Today Cocoa is alive and well and actually thinks she’s a dog. Although they thought it was fun having her in their house they realized that she needed to learn to be a goat so when she was big enough they put her back in the barn with the rest of the goats.

    You have given some good advice and next spring I will be trying my hand at raising chickens for eggs. I have already gotten the catalog from McMurray hatchery and the kids and I have already gone through and decided what kind that we want. I can’t wait to read more..Thank you!

  20. so happy the little guy is doing fine!!!

  21. stumbled on here while doing hw for nutrition class. What a cute goat! that’s so kind of you to save it!

  22. hi my name is Dudley baught a goat how can i tell if she is pregnant

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s