We try to Facebook Live every dairy goat birth that happens here on the farm. We don't always catch the births, and we don't always have somebody available to Facebook, but we film the vast majority.
It takes a lot of our time to share these births, but we do it because at heart we are educators. We homeschool our children, but we also try to help others to learn. Many people have never seen an animal be born. It's a miracle every single time and we love letting people get a glimpse.
Goats are also not very understood in our country. They're wonderful animals - very curious, friendly, and personable with healthy, nutritious, easily digestible milk. The more people who become familiar with goats, the better.
But mostly we film these births for other goat owners. There is a lack of good goat veterinarians in our country. Because of this, many goat owners must learn to care for their animals. When it comes time for goats to give birth, it can be a very intimidating experience for new (and experienced) goat owners alike.
If you watch our Facebook Live videos, there are a few themes you'll be seeing and hearing over and over again.
We assist in every delivery here on the farm. On Facebook Live, a lot of people question if this assistance is "un-natural" or harmful to Mom. What most people don't consider is that truly natural births regularly end in death and loss of either the mom, the kid(s) or both. That's why women are given lots of prenatal care before and during labor and delivery. Goats deserve the same care in our opinion. We've learned how to assist goats from some excellent vets. If you'd like to read more about this issue, you can do so here.
We don't use a vet because we don't have any goat vets in our area. If we need a vet for a c-section, we have to load the goat in the car and travel 2-3 hours away. We've delivered many hundreds of goats since 2005 and in all that time, we've only ever had to take a goat in labor to a vet twice - once for a c-section, and once to dismember a dead kid so the mother could deliver it herself.
Despite our best effort, sometimes kids don't survive. This is devastating to us as a family when it happens. If you're commenting on the videos, please be kind and recognize that it hurts to lose a kid. No accusations are necessary, I can assure you we are already questioning everything we did and wondering if different decisions could have changed the outcome. I just wanted to warn you in case you have children watching.
We bottle raise our Alpines. This means we remove the babies from their moms and raise them on bottles. They get their mom's colostrum and goat milk from our goats. We do not feed milk replacer. We do this because we believe it produces healthier, friendlier, and less stressed goats. If you'd like more information, you can read about why we bottle raise here.
Honest questions are welcome, but occasionally we have seen instances of people who get very mean on some of these Facebook Live videos. We'll do our best to educate, but please remain respectful and polite. People who can't do that, or who use inappropriate language or cursing, will be banned.
So, if you have any questions at all, don't hesitate to ask. We'll be happy to answer. Sometimes the Facebook Live comments scroll too fast for us to answer all of them, but we do our best to get them answered eventually!
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