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QUESTION: My pregnant pygmy is acting funny. Im not sure of her due date but Im sure it is close. Her vulva has been swollen and puffy for about a month now. Her milk sac is about the size of a grapefruit. Her sides have sunken in for about a week now and has the shape of a pear sorta.  Im no good at checking ligs. I think I still feel them ( not sure) but they feel angeled down more or something.  As of yesterday she refused to come out of her kidding pen (to clean) and go in w/ herd at all. About 1pm I did notice a little creamy goo on vulva but not stringy. Around 5pm I fed grain and hay and she barely touched any of it (unusual for her) she just stood in the corner of her pen flanging her upper lip, gritting her teeth and making no noise, no movement. She would occasionally lift her tail which looks off a bit and strtch it straight out.  She stayed this way most of the night. I checked her at 2am and she had finally layed down but still staring off into nowhere.  This morning she seems to be a little more vocal and has gotten up. She ate a little grain and now just stands by the gate of her pen looking at me.  Im sure this is norm but about how long does this go on for?

ANSWER: Certainly sounds like she is going into labor or is in early labor.  Would keep her in the kidding stall.  Is this her first time kidding?  If so, it may take her a little more time to get going into good labor.  Once you see her start losing the string of mucous (about a foot long) and she starts pawing the ground and becoming more restless and even start pushing a little, kidding should be within about 20 to 30 minutes.  Once she is pushing hard with sometimes moaning and grunting, I advise giving her only 20 minutes to see the kid beginning to be born, or I start helping.  Hope this helps - give me a call too if you'd like at 360-742-8310.  Donna

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QUESTION: Well it has been a several days since I last spoke to you so I wanted to touch base a bit. The pregnant doe I have been speaking about is still going strong. She is back to eating everything in sight, acting normal, maybe a little bit more vocal but that is it. No discharge, no flaring lips. She hates to join the others thru the day. She would rather stay in her kidding pen or tether out for a bit and that is absolutely not norm for her at all.  Wonder how long this could go on for. She is giving me gray hair.lol   On another note I have another doe that has had 3 previous pregnancies and 3 healthy single births. She is preggo and alos not sure of date. She has a very nice size utter (larger than in past for her) her vulva is swollen and poochy but I havent noticed her sides di[pped in yet. I noticed at night she is breathing really hard  but she is pretty big for her build. She is probably the smallest one I own.  I noticed for the last few days that she had a little brownish discharge. Not alot and not dripping but enough to be stuck on her hind end.  Should I worry?

Answer
Thanks for the update.  Have you been able to feel the pelvic ligaments on the first doe?  Sounds like her hormones are starting and stopping.  Glad she is eating and acting normal though.  Sounds like the discharge she did have could have been the mucous plug which sometimes comes out up to 2 weeks prior to kidding.

Re the second one - when the sides sink in and there are no pelvic ligaments (you can literally put your forefinger and thumb around the backbone above the tailhead) that is generally then 36 to 48 hours out of starting labor.  Re the brownish discharge - this is not normal - this could be the mucous plug and she has a placental tear which bled and then healed up and so the brownish color is old blood or it could be from an intrauterine infection.  The hard breathing could just be from the kid or kids pushing on her lungs but it could also be from a fever/infection.  I might take her temp - if over 102.5 then that would point to an infection.  At that point starting her on penicillin injections would be advised - these don't hurt the kids.    If no temp, then would just watch her along as you have been.

Yup, you're right about the does getting ready to kid - they'll give you gray hairs - after 28 years of 20 to 25 kids being born every year and helping countless other folks' does with kidding no wonder they call me the crazy goat lady - ha, ha!  But we do love these little critters.  

Hang in there - thanks for keeping me posted - remember, you're more than welcome to call me anytime at 360-742-8310.  Donna

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Donna Ruelas-Semasko/Edelweiss Acres

Expertise

All goat health care, nutrition, judging questions about all goats - packgoats, dairy goats, pygmy goats, meat goats, fleece goats.

Experience

27 years health care/nutrition of all types of goats, 17 years experience in packgoats, 20 years experience in 4H goat projects as leader, superintendent and judge. 20 years experience in putting on goat care/nutrition seminars.

Organizations
NAPgA, The Evergreen Packgoat Club, 4H, ADGA.

Publications
Hobby Farm, many newspapers, 4H newsletters, Packgoat Manuals (youth and general), judging information pamphlets, seminar handouts about health care and nutrition.

Education/Credentials
4 years of college, ongoing education in goats.

Awards and Honors
Small Farm Award of Thurston County

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