As promised here is an update on our kidding season so far this year!
Photo by Kala Godard of Vanessa McKinnon at her Private Goat Snuggling Session
It is my hope to use this as an educational resource. I'll discuss each doe and how their kidding went and any hiccups that occurred along the way. Much can be learned from when thinks don't quite go as planned. I will never claim to know it all because assisting in the birth of goats is always changing, kids can end up too large, tangled up, in the wrong position or mom can just be too tired to get through labor. Breeding can be incredibly rewarding or completely heartbreaking at times. Each year I learn another trick to help with helping a doe in labor, so I add it to my toolbox for another day.
First I'd like to start by explaining our "plan" for kidding, this plan is extremely flexible because it's always a surprise. Does that are freshening for the 5th time might have just as much difficulty as a first freshener, you simply never know what your going to get!
To start with every kidding we prepare the same way, hot towels out of the dryer, heat lamps turned on once we join the doe in the stall and our supplies laid out. Our kidding starts in January/February so we must take the weather into consideration for our supplies.
Photo by Kala Godard of Four Hearts Farm Kidding Stalls and Nursery
Our Supply List:
Soapy hot water - Clean hands prior to assisting and must do before doing an internal exam
Gloves - hand sized or up to the shoulder size, whatever you prefer, I use hand sized
Warm towels fresh from the dryer - (If time allows, some does its over with a blink of an eye)
Stainless Steel Bandage Scissors - to cut the cord if necessary, Boil and Sanitize after use
Thermometer or 3 - Always have a thermometer near by, we have about 7 animal thermometers all over our barns so that one is nearby at all time. Normal temp for a goat is 102-103F. Kids should not nurse or be bottle fed if they are cold. They will be unable to digest. We will discuss warming a little later!
Pee Pads, lots of them - They are great for the initial "slime" that kids are coated in.
Bulb Suction - Just like humans, Suction, Dry Stimulate after birth. I really want my kids dried of quickly due to the cold, often freezing temperatures.
Hot water with Molasses - made immediately available to moms after kidding for energy and hydration. Most our moms will drink at least have a bucket as soon as its offered.
Nutridrench - To give a little boost after kidding when necessary
3cc Syringe - I use this for kids that are taking a little longer to get their sea legs, I give them a couple cc's of Colostrum while we work to get them nursing. Especially with triplets or more, they tend to be a little smaller. It also fits nicely into the end of a pritchard nipple.
Bottle with Pritchard Nipple - It is nice to have available if mom rejects a kid immediately or at disbudding (3-7 days after birth). Many breeders I have met do this to make ensure they have a good latch and are at least exposed to the bottle even if dam raising.
Tube Feeding Kit - Large syringe with a flexible tubing. If you have never used it, please get a demonstration from your vet or a valued mentor. Kids that are too weak to nurse desperately need the colostrum by whatever means necessary.