Updated: Mar 22, 2020
Bottom Line Up Front: Allowing our goats to give birth on pasture is a management decision, and you should decide how to manage your herd's kidding.
We found one of our does about to go in labor. You can watch the video here.
Logistically we cannot be present to pen up our girls before they give birth, so all of our kiddings have taken place in the pasture. It's a management decision we make for our herd. We believe the animals have the ability to kid without our assistance - they've been doing it long before people got involved.
I believe many of the resources and opinions out there make it seem as if you must be present to assist in the birth and to not do so assures calamity. With such proclamations, many new goat owners buy all sorts of gear and resources in preparations to deliver the baby, midwife style. That has not been necessary in our experience..
To be clear, while we make a decision to not be present for a kidding we are also making a decision to take on the risk that something could go wrong with the birth or if a kid is rejected by its mother and perishes before we find it. It's not a risk-free enterprise, but so far - for us - the possibility of something going wrong does not outweigh the financial and time investment of assisting our does in labor.
Before you begin raising goats you should determine how you want to manage kiddings for your herd. I don't think there's one right answer, and it depends on the goals for your farm, management style, and willingness to assume risk.
My grandfather always fussed about getting involved with goat births and coddling newborn kids (although admittedly it's hard not to swoop a new baby up). "All that baby needs is its mother, leave them be," he would say. So far that has worked for us. We'd like to know in the comments how you manage your kiddings and how you came to that decision. Also, we hope you'll check out the video - it's really amazing.