Our goats are seasonal breeders, meaning they will only breed at certain times of the year. This is handy for us because we can place all of our goats (male and female) together without worrying that babies will show up at random times throughout the year. Our gals breed in the Fall and we know we'll have Winter/Spring kids. That being said, because our boys and girls are together 24/7, and goats go into heat once per month (for multiple months), at any point that the cycle starts, we can have kids 5 months later--usually ranging anywhere from January to April. You can get around the guessing game by closely watching to see when goats go into heat and then introduce a buck for an observed breeding session and then calculating 150 days (5 months) from that time. Both methods have pluses and minuses, you just need to find what works for you and your schedule. We're still guessing on due dates, but only for a few months out of the year. We've been pretty lucky and our gals seem to have been able to kid (give birth) unassisted, but we like to make sure we're around...just in case.
In 2021, Frosty is our first doe to kid and this was her first time, so we were nervous. As per the Doe Code*, she decided to 'release her hostages' (honestly, we thought she was imminent for at least a month!) during the largest winter storm in the last few years! It dumped 10 inches of snow and, of course, everyone had to be someplace else (i.e. work). I did a quick drive out there during my lunch break and as I was giving everyone water, saw a black and white baby in with Frosty (mom) and Princess (Frosty's mom aka grandma). I went in the house to get towels and a warm treat for Frosty and by the time I came back out, a white baby was being attended to as well.
I was pretty nervous leaving them alone for the night, but we had made a cozy place for them and added a warming barrel for the babies. The snow was coming down pretty fast and I needed to get going. The babies were dried and I had seen each of them feed, so it was time for them to sleep and hunker down to ride out the storm. Ensuring that the babies had some of mom's first milk that contains colostrum is important in their overall health. They would feed more throughout the day and night, but that first milk is vital to their success. After the storm had passed and the roads were plowed, we returned to see two happy, healthy kids and a very attentive new mom. Over the last few weeks, it's been a blast to watch them grow and venture out a bit on their own. They won't leave mom (or grandma) for too long, but they are curious about the world around them and will even climb on their humans during playtime. We've held off on naming them for now, but did determine that the black and white one is a girl and the white one is a boy.
*Doe Code: Give birth when the humans won't be around or during the worst natural disaster (winter storm, constant rain, freezing temperatures, etc) near the time of the due date.
Little gal exploring her human jungle gym. They love to jump all over and then snuggle in your lap for a little naptime.
This little boy is going to be a handful for his mama!
A warming barrel has an opening just large enough for the kids. They go in and out on their own, but they can snuggle inside without the risk of being crushed by the adults. During extremely cold temperatures, a heat lamp is hanging from the top to provide a bit of extra warmth and the floor is filled with straw.
This girl is curious and loves to play on her people. We like to make sure our goats are well socialized so they are easier to handle.
Our young man is a bit more timid than his sister (he takes after Mickey in that regard), but he's not shy about trying to climb on you if you sit still long enough. His horns are also starting to come through and he's found that his humans will scratch in places he can't reach. Looks like that'll be the way to taming this wild child.