We identify the initial labor when the doe starts labor pushes. We document the start
time for later evaluation if things are progressing ok. We watch the vulva during
the labor pushes to see if it is trying to open up and extend outward. The picture
to the right shows the vulva during a push. It is extended and opening up. There
may be a dark colored bubble, 3-5 inches in diameter, initially come out and erupt
with liquid being released. We have seen many births where no bubble comes out.
If the doe continues to have labor pushes for 1-2 hours and the vulva does not show
signs of extending and trying to open, we consider there is a problem with the kid
being able to come out properly. They may not be positioned properly or the cervix
may not have expanded sufficiently to allow the kid to enter the birth cannel. It
is likely that someone, (vet or you if you know what you are doing) may have to go
inside to help. A vet may have to do a C-section to deliver the kids.
If the streaming mucus is or turns strawberry red color, there may be problems with
the kids. We have had several does have this and the results ended up being the kids
were already dead.
Water Bubble(did not occur in the same birthing as the other pictures)
One of the first activities of kidding can be a transparent bubble protruding that
contains liquids. This does not always occur but is a normal process in the birthing.
The doe will go into labor doing pushes and groaning. This transparent bubble will
start to appear. She may get up and down during this period. Eventually it will burst
and the doe will likely drink some of this liquid. A similar bubble may come out
with the kid inside. If this is the bag with the kid inside, you will be able to
see inside the bubble and one or more hooves or a nose will be seen.
Once this water breaks, you would like to see the doe proceed into heavy labor and
showing signs of progressing to the next step within 2 hours. If several hours go
by and either heavy pushing or signs of the kid appearing have not occurred, there
may be problems. There are two possible problems:
A dead baby - The doe may have a dead baby that is not pushing to get out and therefore
the doe is not pushing.
One or more babies are not positioned properly for birthing.
In either situation, you may have to go inside the doe to try and help or get your
vet involved. This was the situation with the doe in the picture to the right. This
first water bubble occurred but no heavy labor occurred for the next 2.5 hours.
At that time another water bubble appeared and then the doe went another hour without
heavy labor. We contacted our vet and he suggested that there may be a dead kid and
we should go inside to check and see if we could remove it. We proceeded to prepare
for entry by using surgical gloves, disinfecting the gloves and the does vulva with
Betadine and applying OB lube to the hands. Entering her caused her to start pushing
and we found a bag with a kid in it. We were able to pull the first kid and it was
alive. We checked for others and felt a foot that we gently pulled towards the outside.
We could tell it was a rear leg. When we came to resistance, we felt around trying
to find the other foot but found a head. We started working with the head and pulled
another kid and it was alive. After that we pulled the third kid and it was alive
also. We believe the second kid and third kid were blocking each other and until
we started moving them around, they could not get positioned properly. We gave the
doe a shot to help shed the afterbirth and we gave the doe anti-biotic shots for
4 days because of entering her. Mother and kids are doing fine 4 days after this
First Sign of Kid(picture at 6:50 pm)
The first real sign we look for is some sign of a kid starting out the vulva. The
picture to the right shows a single hoof starting to appear. If you look closely
at the hoof, you will be able to tell if the kid will be coming out front first or
rear first. If you see the top of the hoof, it is head first. If you see the bottom
of the hoof, it is rear first. Both are ok. We want to continue to observe the progress
to ensure the kid continues to move outward. Don't try to rush in too soon to help.
Sometimes it takes a little time for the progress to occur.
No progress. We will step in to help by trying to help by carefully pulling on the
leg during labor pushes. If you doe is not tame or gentle, this may be difficult
to do. If she continues with no progress, someone (vet or you if knowledgeable) will
need to go inside to determine what is blocking the progress. It is likely that the
kid is not positioned correctly as shown to the right.
Two legs and a Mouth(picture from different doe added due to loss of original picture)
The picture to the right shows progress is being made and there are now two legs
and notice that the tip of the mouth are at the exit. We noticed that both legs are
front legs and the head is in position with the front legs to come out properly.
As the head or nose starts to protrude, we watch closely to see if the kid has started
to breathe on its own. If it has, we want to ensure that the nose area is cleared
of anything that may not allow the kid to breathe. Sometimes we have a doe kidding
and part of the head will start out and then as the doe moves around the head will
go back in. We will watch closely for continued progress. Many times you will be
able to see the kid's leg move around showing it is ok.
Once we had two legs come out but one was a front leg and the other was a rear leg.
It turned out that it was twins, with one coming head first and the other coming
rear first. One leg was from one kid and the rear leg was from the other kid. We
had to push the rear leg back in and feel around for the second front foot. We always
wear elastic gloves for doing this and have some OB lubrication.
Two front legs and no head. The head can be turned to the side and unable to come
out. You need to try and correct the position of the head.
Nearly Complete (picture at 7:10 pm)
The hardest part seems to be getting the head to come out. After the head is out,
the rest of the body should come out quickly. We step in to check the kid has nothing
in the mouth area and clear anything away from the head. We will watch for breathing
signs and look to ensure the nose area is clear. The kid may still be in the sack
and we will step in to get the kid out of the sack and breathing.
Head and feet come out but no additional progress. We have had a few kids that got
their head and feet out but could not make any additional progress. We had to call
a vet to deliver the kid. It turned out that the kid's shoulders were hunched forward
and not positioned to go through the cervix area. He had to push the kid partially
back in to position the shoulders correctly.
Cleanup(picture at 7:12 pm)
We make sure either the doe starts cleaning up the kid or we will lay the kid in
front of the doe to allow her to start cleaning up. The doe will nibble at all of
the mucus on the kid normally starting at the head. She needs to be able to clean
up her kids in order to identify with the kid. Cleanup may be interrupted by going
into labor again with more kids. We watch closely to ensure she does not lay on a
kid already born while she tries to deliver other kids.
Kid crawls away from mother while she delivers other kids. The kid may get lost for
a period and the mother does not get to clean it up. The mother may not believe it
is her kid and will reject it.
Kid gets under mom while she is delivering another kid. This can suffocate the kid.
New mother may not understand what she is expected to do. You may have to ensure
the kid's head is cleaned enough for breathing and if the weather is cold, you may
have to towel dry the kid to keep it from getting too cold.
Welcome to the World (picture at 7:40 pm)
If all goes ok, the kid should start moving around trying to stand within an hour
Kids may not find the teats and start nursing within a few hours. If they can’t find
the teats and start nursing, we will help them get the teat in their mouth. If they
don’t start nursing within a few hours with or without help, we will milk some of
the mother’s colostrum and feed it to the kids either by a syringe or bottle.
Rubber legs. We have had some kids that could not stand up on their back legs because
they were so rubbery. The will normally correct itself within a week. You need to
ensure the kid is getting the needed nutrition until they can get around on their