The Simple Farm in Scottsdale Celebrates Kidding Season with the Birth of Goats
|The Simple Farm.|
|Nancy gives birth at The Simple Farm.|
In the weeks prior to birth, each mother has a prenatal "trim" of udders, belly, and tail to help keep everything clean. The goats' hooves are trimmed and everyone on the birthing team clips their own nails short, too. In the weeks leading up to birth, a birthing kit is prepared and baby monitors are used to check on goats at night. The Ledners hand-breed in August and typically breed each doe once a year.
Ledner does a two-finger "check" on the doe, but is careful not to be too invasive. The best scenario is that within an hour of serious labor and pushing, the first kid is delivered in what can only be described as a "diving" post; front hooves and head first. Some kids are breeched but will make it out without assistance, while others miss the "diving" position and get stuck with one of their legs bent back. There are a number of less-than-desirable and dangerous positions kids can maneuver into. This is when it's critical for help to intervene, and the Ledners keep a close watch during the birthing process.
The fix for a non-preferable birthing position? You guessed it -- someone needs to reach into the mother to skillfully and safely move the kid into a better position. No one said this was easy. "The goat community of women will talk you through it," Ledner says.
From here, the team that has "scrubbed in" kicks into action, with each person having an assignment. This includes aspirating the mouth, cleaning the baby, and keeping the baby warm. "We hold the babies by their back feet and pound them . . . f there's any coughing that needs to be done."
Within the first hour, the doe is "milked out," as her milk contains colostrum, which is fed to the kids. They get 20ccs within 12 hours. "After the 12-hour period, the colostrum doesn't really work for them." It's important to get the goat in front of the mother to bond. All the kids are bottle-fed for about 12 weeks, but the Ledners want the babies to bond.
How do the Ledners decide who to keep? "It's all about genetics." All the Ledners' ladies are purebred Nubians. The health and quality of the udder dictates milk production. "I'm fortunate to have rock-star milkers," says Ledner. Their caramel business is going well and growing quickly, so they are careful about the females they choose to keep. "When we sell our kids, then the sale of the kids is budgeted into the purchasing of alfalfa."
"Every birth is different, every goat is different," says Ledner who along with husband Michael are strategic, smart, and knowledgable about their business. Kidding is just one very important part of the business that the Ledners are gracious enough to share details on their blog and with local media. And what about Nancy? She gave birth to two girls, Molly and Milly, just a few hours after our visit.