RMS – List of frequently asked questions for mohair producers
Earlier this year we shared a series of frequently asked questions in our weekly newsletters regarding the Responsible Mohair Standard (RMS) and how it will impact the South African mohair industry. We have subsequently received more questions, and have compiled a list of answers after consulting the relevant role-player.

Please click on these links to view the list of FAQs in either AFRIKAANS or ENGLISH.

If you have any more questions regarding the RMS you can contact your mohair broker or email us at info@mohair.co.za.

Vet’s Corner: Difficult birth during kidding season
With intensive kidding systems pregnant ewes are checked regularly so a producer may come across a ewe that appears to be struggling to give birth.

Here is some info that may be useful in the coming kidding season as what to look out for and at what point to help a ewe that is having difficulty giving birth?

You need to provide help if you see:

  • The ewe has been straining for longer than 30 minutes .
  • The water sac is observed for longer than 1 hour
  • The ewe is showing signs of severe distress or fatigue, including bleeding or protrusion of a body part without the birth of the kid.

What to do when a ewe is having difficulty?

  • Clean the vulva, anus, and surrounding area as well as your hands and arms with soap and water.
  • Wear gloves and apply liberal amounts of a lubricant. You can never have too much lube!
  • Shape the lubed hand into a natural wedge, with the fingers tight together. Then insert the hand with gentle force into the vagina and pelvic areas. Any forward movement should be done during the breaks in the uterine contractions.
  • Determine if the kid is normal? The 3 P’s.
Normal kid (PPP):
  • Presentation: Head first (not backwards)
  • Position: on its chest (not upside down)
  • Posture: Front legs and head coming first

Delivery of a kid in NORMAL PPP :

  • Grip the kids leg by hand (or ropes can be placed) above the first joint (fetlock)
  • If the ewe is down, traction should first be placed on the kid’s lower limb. (If the mother is standing, place traction on either limb.)
  • The shoulder of this limb should be pulled through the birth canal. Traction should then be placed on the opposite leg and the shoulder pulled through the birth canal. Don’t make the mistake of pulling both legs until after the shoulders are through the canal.
  • If the kid is fairly large, it should be rotated 45-90 degrees, allowing the widest part of the kid (the hips from side-to-side) to pass more readily through the widest part of the mother’s pelvis. Rotation of the kid is accomplished by crossing the legs and applying pressure to the upper limb and body while rotating.

RULE: Never try to pull kid that is in an abnormal position.

The position of the kid must be corrected.

What to do if the kid is in an ABNORMAL PPP?

1. Kid that is coming backward
1. A large kid should be rotated 45-90 degrees before attempting to remove it.

2. Traction should be applied from directly behind the mother in a slightly upward direction (towards the tail of the mother) until the hips of the kid are out.

2. Kid with one or both front legs are retained
1. With one hand, try to cup the end of the hoof on the leg(s) that is retained. This will protect the uterus and allow the limb to be pulled towards the pelvis

2. If more space is required, one hand can be placed on the chest or head of the kid. Then while pushing the kid back into the pelvis, the other hand can be used to cup and pull the retained limb into the pelvis.

3. Two front legs are coming through the pelvis, but the head is turned back
1. The head can be turned to either side, straight behind or even down between the legs. A kid in this position is often dead or very weak.

2. Once the position of the head is identified, the head should be grasped. Often, gently placing the fingers in the eye sockets or mouth of the animal will help give some control. The head can then be manipulated into the proper position. It may also be necessary to push the body of the kid back into the uterus with one hand while positioning the head with the other. This allows that little bit of extra room that is often necessary.

4. Kid is upside down and leg(s) retained
  1. Both front legs should be identified and pulled out of the vagina.
  2. Once the legs are accessible, the kid is rotated to normal position by crossing the legs and placing pressure on the upper leg and shoulders, while rotating.
  3. The head should also be held and rotated along with the body.

Once the kid is properly positioned, it can be removed routinely.

5. Kid is backward, upside down, and both legs retained (breech)
1. Attempt to rotate the kid to an upright position. This is done by grasping one side of the kid (hock and/or front leg) and pushing down in a sweeping motion. (In some cases, it may be necessary to get the hind limbs out and use them to rotate the kid.)

2. Once the kid is right-side up, but the legs are still retained, pull the hock of one leg into a flexed position. Then force the hock upwards and forward while cupping the hoof of that leg. Pull the foot towards the middle of the kid and backwards towards the vagina.

6. Kid is backward, right-side up, but legs retained (breech)
Same as above without rotating the kid.
With multiple births, it is common to have the legs of one kid and the head of another entering the birth canal at the same time.

If front legs and a head are present in the birth canal, feel the head neck and shoulders to locate the right legs or pull gently on the legs to make sure that the legs and head are from the same kid.

If the legs and head are not from the same kid, take plenty of time to repel (push back) the head of the kid that is present and follow the legs up to the body of the other kid.

Position the legs and head of the same kid in the normal presentation, position, and posture for delivery.

Deliver one kid, and then follow the same steps to deliver the second. If the problem is simultaneous delivery of twins, repel one back into the uterus while holding the other.

Remember 4 legs in the birth canal is still potentially be a single kid. If all 4 limbs are from the same kid, deliver the hind legs first. Do this by locating the tail and then feeling the hind legs. Delivering the hind legs first will allow the head to follow naturally.

Common Mistakes:

  1. Allowing the mother to be in labour too long before giving assistance.
  2. Trying to deliver a kid that is in an abnormal position without first correcting the problem. Never apply traction to a kid with the head or leg back without first correcting the problem.
  3. Applying too much traction.

What are the causes of Dystocia (difficult birh):

  1. Failure of the cervix to completely dilate.
  2. A kid that has an extra-large head and shoulders or is just an overall large kid.
  3. Twin kids coming simultaneously.
  4. A ewe that was disturbed during the initial phases of kidding.
  5. A kid that is not in the proper presentation, position, or posture.

What is the normal birthing time line in an Angora goat?

  • The onset of labour with the ewe usually wandering off on its own and the initial signs, which may last 1-8 hours, of uneasiness, kicking, pawing the ground, lying down and getting up frequently, and sporadic urinating or attempts at urination.
  • The second stage of labour including the appearance of the water sac and evidence of a foot exiting the birth canal. This stage last about 1-2 hours (15-30 minutes per kid).
  • Stage 3 involves the placenta being passed about 15 minutes after the kid is born.

It is important to know what is normal in order to recognise a problem during parturition.

You are also welcome to bring a ewe to the SAMGA vet if help is required.

SA Mohair Growers’ Association
127 Fordyce Road, Port Elizabeth
South Africa