Kidding can be a little intimidating, but if you are prepared, you’re off to a great start of being able to enjoy it! There are many great resources online with lists similar to this, however we added a few items below that has made kidding go smoothly for us and the goats! Particularly, the supplements will help the goats recover from labor and also will help boost their milk supply.
A goat’s gestation is 145-155 days. There are definite signs of goats going into labor. If you’re anything like me, you will convince yourself they are in labor several times before they actually are. I guess I shouldn’t be all that surprised since I went in for false labor twice before actually delivering my own human child. With my nerves all wound up over what kidding will bring, one thing that I could be assured of is that I had the supply list on-hand, ready to go.
This is not an absolute must, it is modern farming at its finest. But if you’re like me and you work out of the home, being able to spy on your goats is so helpful. This will reduce barn checks throughout the night as well.
Towels & Hair Blow Dryer
We kid in late winter/early spring in Minnesota and need to dry off the kids as quickly as possible. In colder temps, it is so important that the babies are dried off immediately, or they would be in danger of frostbite or freezing. In warmer climates, you may not need as many towels as the dam will clean her babies off pretty good. But still have at least a couple on-hand to help with clearing the noses and air passages.
Along with birth, comes a lot of messy, hormonal goop. Wear gloves to protect yourself. In case you need to go in and check on the baby’s position, a pair of clean gloves will also protect your dam.
If your dam is showing any signs of stress or illness, check her temp. A goat’s temp should be between 101.3 and 105.1. If it is high, it could mean there is an infection. If it is low, it could indicate milk fever which means the goat is deficient in calcium. The Life of Heritage has a great article that you can read to learn more.
We have a very hands-off approach to kidding. If you need to help with pulling the baby, be sure to only pull during a contraction. If you need to go in and reposition the baby, apply lube generously.
If the baby is having trouble breathing, use a bulb syringe to suck the airways clean.
If the umbilical cord is longer than an inch, you can use floss to tie it off. The dam will most likely help with this, but you still don’t want it dragging on soiled hay or straw.
7% Iodine Tincture & Small Container
Once the baby is out and clean, put the Iodine in a small container. Dip the umbilical cord in the iodine (you can flip the baby over to saturate the area).
During and after labor, boost mama’s energy by treating her to a molasses tea (pour it in her water and stir, when it look like tea, that should be enough).
Have the batteries charged and ready to go, especially if you do not have electricity out in the barn.
You’re going to want video of these little squirts hopping around within minutes of being born!
Medications / Supplements
We supplement and load the babies up with colostrum. It will help them gain energy quickly. If you have more than one goat in labor, milk some colostrum and freeze it for the future births in case you need it. Baby goats need colostrum within two hours of birth.
Goats’ immune systems are suppressed after kidding, making them more prone to parasites. ProBiotics strengthens their immune system.
Goats should always have access to free-choice minerals. Because labor and nursing babies is a lot of work, they should have a bowl of vitamins at their disposal.
This is a vet prescription that is worth the time to get. In selenium deficient areas, goats can be prone to white muscle disease. If babies are born weaker, they may need a shot of BoSe. We did have a couple small doelings last year that couldn’t keep their legs under them. However, they did not need BoSe. As we monitored them, they gained their strength within six hours of birth just from the colostrum.
Yeast, Magnesium, Calcium, Potassium. Gives mama a boost of nutrition after she kids. If you have trouble finding this product at your local farm store, you can purchase it online.
This is an electrolyte drink to encourage the dam to stay hydrated, also replenishes nutrition. This will help the dam’s milk supply.
Spoil this new mama with fresh, foraged food! Chaffhaye will provide a boost of nutrition that will provide her more energy and help increase her milk supply. You can visit www.chaffhaye.com to find a supplier near you.