The morning jobs were the same as the evening jobs apart from the male goats across the road only get fed cake once a day. On completion, I spent time with the newborns to see if they were able to suck (and to cuddle them). I removed the afterbirth from the pens once the does had cleansed, as any that retained the placenta would require an oxytocin injection. Oxytocin stimulates the contraction of the uterus, I learned in the homeostasis module of A-level biology that it is controlled by positive feedback. The effector (contractions) increases the change (oxytocin production in the hypothalamus, secreted by the pituitary gland) causing a further movement away from the normal point.
By hooking my finger in the kids’ mouths and wiping away membranes from their nose, I checked that their airways were clear before presenting them in front of their mother to be licked clean. As a first timer, the doeling did not know what she was doing, so I towel dried the kids. Supporting the kids’ heads to enable them to latch onto the mother’s teats to ingest colostrum also stimulates lactation as oxytocin is released. To be on the safe side, I bottle fed each of the kids 100ml of day 0 colostrum.
I quickly learned the signs of goat labour. Goats in the first stage of labour were restless and the foetus seemed to be readjusting by stretching. I learned that the ‘mucus plug’ is a result of the cervical plug dissolving, from the book ‘Diseases of the goat’. The hormone relaxin causes the pelvic ligaments to loosen, I felt this by running my fingers along the top of the goat’s tail. This is when the cervix dilates.
During the second stage of labour, there was a clear difference between the quiet, and over-dramatic vocal mothers (Edelweiss would later top them all). Allantochorion is the name for the water bag that appears before the kid and amniotic sac.