Margaret came in this morning from chores and said that Scandal would definitely be giving birth today. Her tail ligaments were completely gone -- so gone that the skin was sunken on each side of her spine where it was attached to her tail. That is a sign that labor is coming soon. In another hour, Scandal was walking around making little noises. Shortly after noon, Scandal's water broke, which doesn't usually happen with goats unless birth is really going to happen shortly. Katherine and I joined Margaret and Scandal in the barn. Margaret said she wanted to catch, and Katherine volunteered to be photographer. I just had the honor of watching.
Last year, Scandal birthed her babies with little more effort than what is required for walking, so when she started screaming, we were a little worried. She was pushing really hard, stretching out her legs and rolling onto her side, stretching out her neck. She'd lay her ears back, which goats only do when they are really unhappy. After a few minutes, we saw a hoof sticking out about an inch. After a couple more pushes, we saw two hooves. The best position for baby goats to be born is that the head is laying flat against the two front legs -- so it's a good thing to see two sets of hooves presenting. We started to become concerned though, because she was pushing really hard, but as soon as the contraction was over, the hooves would go back inside. After several contractions we didn't see the nose, and the hooves were not staying out, so I told Margaret to go wash her hands, because it looked like Scandal might need help. I was afraid that the baby's head was turned backwards, laying over its spine, creating a big lump of baby rather than a nice long torpedo-shaped kid. Margaret went next door to the shed to wash her hands because there's hot water in there. Just as she was returning, we finally saw a tongue on top of the hooves -- then a nose! The only thing Margaret did was grab the hooves and hold them firmly so they couldn't go back in when Scandal took a break, and in only a couple more pushes, the baby came out. We could immediately see why she had such trouble -- he was huge!
Scandal stood up immediately, causing the umbilical cord to snap, and blood squirted on my white sneakers, which I had just washed (of course). She turned around and started licking off the baby. We helped to get the big mess of mucous off of him, but Scandal was very attentive. After 15 or 20 minues, she plopped down again and gave a little push. My daughters both said something about another baby, and then it practically fell out. It was obviously much smaller than its brother. Scandal again jumped right up and started licking her second baby. We noticed the umbilical cord hanging out, which means there are no more babies. It was just time to admire the two bucklings and wait for the placenta.