Ok, so we have been thinking a lot about goat breeding season the last few weeks. We have been working on what bucks will get bred to what does. And we have been working out our breeding schedule (when do we want the does to kid and when do we then need for them to be bred).
Breeding Goats can be so much fun, but you should also be prepared!
With all this thought about breeding season, one also has to think about kidding time. Kidding time can be exciting and stressful. Make sure you know goat kidding signs, so you know when to expect kids!
But with the right supplies and preparation, the excitement of baby goats can definitely outweigh any stress.
Here is our list of essential goat kidding supplies:
Lots and lots of towels! Kidding is not a clean thing. It is gooey and messy. And those babies will need to be dried off. (We clean their face and airways, and let their mom clean them the rest of the way for bonding time.)
You can get these pretty cheap at a yard sale or your local thrift store. Our local Goodwill had large towels for around $1 each and smaller towels for .50 each.
This is a personal preference and I guess isn’t absolutely required but, trust me, you will want these. Things will be much cleaner and you don’t have to worry about anything nasty getting in a micro cut you didn’t know you had on your hand. Plus, sometimes you will need to assist a doe and pull a baby or two.
As we mentioned above, sometimes kidding doesn’t go as easily as we would like and the doe needs some assistance. Since you already have your gloves, you will also need to use a lubrication to make things go a little more smoothly. Your doe will appreciate this item very, very much.
4) Hair Dryer
Our kidding season generally takes place during the coldest months of the year. Because of this, it is really easy for a baby’s temperature to drop minutes after being born. They are soaking wet from the birthing sack and their mom is often trying to deliver multiple kids.
We have now made it a habit of practice to immediately start blow drying a baby as soon as we have as much of the birthing goo off as we can. This ensures the baby doesn’t become hypothermic and won’t be wasting precious pre-colostrum calories on maintaining their temperature.
5) Small container
Something such as a film canister or medicine cups works great for this.
You will use it to fill with the iodine.
You will want to have this on hand to dip navels in after kids are born.
It is always good to have these on hand in case the babies have trouble latching on and nursing.
It is really important that they get colostrum right away, so having some on hand or being able to milk some from mom and syringe it to them is important.
8) Thermometer and Petroleum Jelly
We like to keep these on hand in case we think a baby is in danger of becoming hypothermic.
If we have used the blow dryer and it doesn’t seem to be helping, we get a quick read and can then decide if we need to take more advanced steps in care.
9) BOSE or Nutridrench
Depending on where you live, you may have a herd that is prone to selenium (or some other mineral/nutrient) deficiencies. Sometimes this is critical for a new baby goat to have. We always keep a bottle of BOSE (call your vet for availability) on hand and inject .25/cc IMMEDIATELY after the baby is dry enough to stay warm.
Babies can also experience a drop in their blood sugar. This is typically signaled by wobbly balance (not the cute kind, the scary kind) and a drooping head. If caught early, a quick dose of Nutridrench can help an ailing baby out immensely.
10) Large Weatherproof Tote
We use a large plastic tote to keep all of our kidding supplies in. It is weatherproof and stays in our hay loft all year long. Then when we need it, it is right there!
This is probably the most important of the goat kidding supplies (for us at least). Kidding time is sometimes a waiting game. So, having a good amount of patience while waiting to see those sweet new babies is always helpful 🙂
What goat kidding supplies do you always keep on hand?