Sugar's ligaments were definitely 100% gone this morning. However she's been quiet all day. As of now, her milk came in even more and she is occasionally arching her back - maybe contractions. I would say she's in pre-labor, and I hope she kids before night time or it will probably be a sleepless night. I'm going to take some books outside and study there to keep an eye on her.
I had really hoped Sugar would kid today (144 days) as my friend was over and wanted to see it. Now that she left (of course) her ligaments are pretty much gone and she has white discharge. She doesn't seem uncomfortable, but I'm watching her. I want to say that she'll kid in the morning, but who knows.
I'll be setting an alarm to wake up and check the barn cam a couple times, but she seems content right now. Hoping for a healthy birth and Sunday kids!
Sugar's ligaments are back from being almost gone Wednesday evening. Unless something changes suddenly I don't think she'll be kidding today (143 day). She'll probably hold out until her due date Sunday, but we'll see. There is really no predicting it. I heard someone say once that the only way to tell if a goat is about to kid is when they are pushing the baby out. I'd have to agree! There are many signs such as: being restless, change in behavior, off feed, udder filling with milk, ligaments gone, vaginal discharge, "posty" rear legs, arching back, babies "dropping" so the doe looks less pregnant, and the list goes on and on. But this can happen so fast that you might not have a chance to see many of the signs. Patience....... Not my virtue...
As you can see I'm giving her a buffet of whatever food she wants. Free choice grain, chaff, and hay. Usually you would never give a goat free choice grain (they will just eat until they are sick) but Sugar isn't a big eater and I'm trying to encourage her to have as much as she wants. She got like this last year too, but once she kidded it wasn't an issue anymore. I find she will eat if I give her very small amounts spread out through the day. I'm checking her urine for ketones once a day just to be sure she doesn't develop ketosis (a metabolic condition seen in skinny or over conditioned does in late pregnancy), but so far so good. She's very active and has no symptoms, but the way she doesn't like to eat a lot makes me be on the lookout, just to be sure.
Okay, maybe some would not consider 5 goats due over two months a true "season". For me it is a lot of goats and I'm very excited!!! Of course, one can never expect all good outcomes so I try to research and keep a decent kidding kit stocked, as well as the phone numbers of experience breeders and vets (yes plural, not only do goats tend to need help when your vet is unavailable, I also have several imaginative doomsday scenarios in my head that require having the phone numbers of vets three counties over).
I think we are as ready as we can be. Sugar is up first, due the 5/7. A Goat's gestation period is usually around 145-155 days with dwarf goats tending to kid on the earlier range. I find that my herd tends to average 144 days, but last year Sugar kidded around 147 days if I remember right.
By checking the tail head ligaments, you can (hopefully) tell if they are close to kidding. If they appear to be "gone" then they are said to be within 24-48 hours of kidding. What I look for is multiple signs of kidding, but the ligaments do mean more to me than just being listless. Sugar's tail head ligaments were almost gone last night, but back this morning. Actually, I find that they are usually softer at night than in the morning with all of my pregnant does. Whether this has to do with a hormonal day/night cycle, or just to prevent me from getting a good night's sleep, I do not know.
Her udder has been filling steadily over the past month. Last year, she didn't really form an udder until she was pushing, which isn't really a bad thing. However, being that her udder is already the size it was last year at a 10-12 hour fill before she has even kidded, I am hoping for better capacity this year. This is her second freshening, which usually brings a slightly better milking ability. Fingers crossed! I love this doe in terms of general appearance and conformation and want to see her be able to put milk in the pail as a Sr. doe.
I will be watching her on the barn cam on and off tonight but I think it's best to sleep for when things really get going. Let's hope for plenty of X chromosomes this year!!!
**Disclaimer: This page will contain descriptions of impending labor signs and birth as well as potentially graphic photos****
Does Due: (145 days)
Sugar - 05/07/17
Eleanor - 05/10/17, June?
Norah - 06/17/17
Norah'easter - 06/25/17