Springtime means it is kidding time. I love Spring Time. I can’t wait to get outside
and reorganize my yard and barnyard after the winter messes pile up under the snow. You know to clean up all the treasures the dog drug onto the lawn and then it snowed over the top of it.
Prepare equipment ahead of time
I like to gather the items that I might need when my goats finally start to kid. I wait patiently and anticipate all those cute floppy eared babies. I love baby goats! There is nothing cuter in the barnyard than a baby goat, or maybe a baby donkey, or a baby colt, or a baby mule, or maybe a baby chick or a piglet. All right I admit it. I just love babies of all kinds. (Especially Grandbabies!)
What I gather
I like to be prepared ahead of time. If one of my does need help I don’t want to run around trying to find these things or wait for someone to bring them to me. So I like to make a box of things I need and put them close by in the tack shed, ready to go.
- Light: A flashlight or a light on a stand, some sort that I can turn on just in case I need it. Usually, my does kid in the daytime but every once in a while one will start late in the afternoon and I will need a light.
- Towels: I always try to get the babies warmed up and dry as quickly as possible because newborn kids get cold very easily. I make sure I have dry towels to clean them up and dry them off. If it is a warm day I let the doe take care of this. But if it is cold, I try to help her out. I use the blue shop rags that are disposable. If you have two moms that have had their babies at the same time, make sure you don’t use the same rags. Some does may become confused as to which baby smells like theirs and they won’t take it. I also have a calf warmer that I put the babies in if needed. Little polar fleece covers to put on the kids if it is cold may come in handy.
- Bottle: It is important the baby gets up to nurse as soon as possible. They need that colostrum to get their stomach working and build up their immune system. If there is a problem with the baby nursing I get the bottle out and milk the doe. If the baby is cold and wet they just don’t want to nurse as easily so warm them up. I like to use a Prichard Nipple if I have to feed the kid with a bottle.
- Rubber Gloves: I usually try to let the doe do all of the work, after all, she carried these little ones for 5 months, she deserves to enjoy them. But I am there if she needs me. I do make sure when the kid is born to take the sack off of the nose so the little one can breathe. The Amniotic fluid is very drying to my hands so the gloves protect my hands and also keeps things clean for the doe and kid. Occasionally it may be necessary to step in and help the doe. Make sure your gloves are really clean so you won’t cause any infection in the doe. But don’t be too quick to jump in to help unless you really know there is a problem.
- Iodine spray: This is to spray on the navel to prevent infections getting into the kid.
- Straw: I try to make sure the doe has fresh straw to lay in while kidding. As she is kidding if the straw gets really wet I try to put some dry stuff on the top or pull the wet stuff out. Especially if it is really cold out. After she is finished kidding I pull the straw out and put new fresh dry straw into my little sheds. My does really don’t like to be moved to another shed when they are finished. That shed is their favorite and they want to stay right there.
- Hay: After my does kid they really don’t want to leave their babies and go eat with the rest of the goats so I bring a little hay to them. They are happy to stay there and eat and are usually very hungry. My other goats usually don’t bother them while they are kidding. If you are at the tail end of kidding the older kids are another story. They are very curious and like to check things out just like kids.
- Watch & Wait: Luckily I can see my does out my kitchen window so I can check on them easily. I watch them and the way they are acting I can tell when they are getting close. Here are a few more tips to see if they are getting close.
Signs to watch for
Meet EmmyLou, it is obvious she is pregnant just from the size of her belly. It is a little hard to see in this picture. She waddles when she walks.
I have an idea of when the does are due by calculating 5 months from when I put the buck in. I watch and check the does really closely a week or so before the due date.
I watch the udder of my does. Usually, they will start bagging up really tight just before they kid. Although I have had a few that haven’t bagged until immediately before kidding.
I also watch the rear end. It gets really loose as they prepare to kid. They can have a little discharge for a while before kidding but they get a lot of mucous coming out when they are really close. This is often times called a plug. But you don’t always see the plug come out so just keep a close eye on them.
I also check the tailbone. As they get closer to kidding you can feel the muscles are really loosening up and getting ready for the babies to come. You can almost touch your fingers together when squeezing the tailbone.
I also pay attention to the way the doe is carrying the babies. You can see a shift in the belly when the babies drop.
I will post more pictures when we start to kid. I hope this information helped you in getting ready to kid and knowing a few things to look for. I think the important thing is to sit back and watch your does. They know what to do, but you will be there if they have any trouble.
I hope you enjoyed my blog post. Feel free to share it with your fellow goat person. I love comments please leave them below.