Are You Ready for Baby Goat Season?
On our farm springtime means it’s kidding season (baby goat season) and time to prepare for the arrival of our new additions. Getting ready for this time of year means cleaning pens and making sure our kidding kit is stocked with supplies. If breeding goats is something that you would like to include in your country life, knowing how to be prepared for kidding season is a must.
Baby Goat Season Prep
Clean Pens & Bedding
We like to clean and sanitize our pens right before spring if possible. Clean out the old straw bedding and spray the pen to prevent mites and lice. (During the winter months mites can become a problem if not properly anticipated.) Place the new straw bedding in the clean pen and it is ready to go.
Some move their does to kidding pens when they are starting to show signs of labor, we keep our goats together unless there is a visible problem with one of them. Goats are herd animals and it is natural for them to be together. Being with the others provides comfort for some and separating them can cause unnecessary stress.
Once your pens have been cleaned and prepped it is time to make sure you have all the necessary kidding supplies on hand and available.
Kidding Kit List
- Tool Organizer Box or Carrier
Keep everything together and in its specific space so when the time comes all you need to do is grab your organized kit and head out the door. I like to keep mine by the back door rather then in the barn. Spring can sometimes have cold nights here, and I like everything to be room temperature.
This is used in emergency where the kid may need help during labor. You will need to apply lubricant before trying to re-position the kid.
There are two different types of gloves that can be bought, short medical gloves and to the elbow OB gloves. The short medical gloves are for general kidding use and the OB gloves are helpful if there is a situation where a kid needs to be re-positioned or helped along during birth.
- Clean Rags & Towels
These are always good to have on hand to keep the birthing area clean. In some cases you may have to help wipe down and dry your baby goat (especially when it is still a bit cold out).
- Cell Phone
It is always good to keep your phone with you; in case of an emergency you want to be able to call the vet without having to run back to the house.
You will want a good flashlight that can be hung up to leave your hands free. The flashlight will add extra lighting in a dimly lit barn or goat pen.
- Umbilical Cord Clamp
Having clamps isn’t usually something that you will need the umbilical cord should break off on its own, but in the off chance that something happens it is better to have a few packed away in your tools kit. Better to be safe than sorry.
- Bulb Syringe – Aspirator
You will need this in case you are needed to help remove mucus or after birth if the kids’ nose is being blocked. It is just like one that you can buy for infants and toddlers when they are to young to blow their noses themselves. This would work just the same.
- Pritchard Nipple
This is a bottle nipple made to screw on to the top of a pop bottle. This will be helpful to have if the mother can’t or won’t allow the kid to nurse right away.
- Pop Bottle
Keep a few bottles around the time of your kidding season. This along with the Pritchard Nipple will be what you use to feed your kids if the doe can’t or rejects the kids.
Colostrum is the first milk that the kid usually gets from the doe’s udder, it is full antibodies and helps protect the kid until its immune system is strong enough. If the kid has trouble nursing or the doe has trouble it is important to have a secondary form of colostrum on hand.
- Molasses or Sugar Water
Warm water mixed with molasses or boiled down sugar can help perk a doe up after delivery and the sweets mixed with water gives her a little incentive to drink water.
- 7% Iodine
Once the umbilical cord has been clipped you will dip it in the iodine to help prevent bacteria and help the umbilical cord dry up faster.
Kidding season usually goes as planned with little surprises. It is always better to have everything you might need so you are prepared for anything. If breeding your own goats for babies and milk is going to be a part of your country life, make sure to be prepared. Have a clean space and a well-stocked kidding kit ready to go. Enjoy your kidding season and new baby goats!