This post will share 8 essentials you need before, during, and after goat kidding!
Our very first set of goat kids were born last December, and to be honest we had no clue what we were doing. In fact, we weren’t entirely sure if Jill was even pregnant, although near then end we were pretty sure. We let her run free with her “husband”, an intact buck named Jack so we were guessing on her due date. If you are, or think your doe may be close to kidding I’ve listed some things we did to help reduce stress on us and her.
8 Essentials for Goat Kidding
Before Goat Kidding…
Just like us goats need a calm place to giving birth so you should have a birthing pen ready for your doe. It should be large enough for her to move freely around in, out of the weather, and away from any bucks. Keep in mind how tiny the kids will be and ensure there are no gaps they can squeeze and escape through.
Inside your birthing pen it is important to have clean, dry bedding for your doe. Our choice is fine wood shavings a few inches thick. Once she kids there will be a bit of a mess to clean and the shavings make it easy to scoop up.
Vets Contact Number
It is a good idea to have your vets phone number handy where your doe is kidding. When we first noticed Jill was in labour I called our vet and he talked me through what was happening. I was concerned about the umbilical cord but he assured me that it should detach naturally, if not he would walk me through the process to clamp it.
Patience and a Prayer
Once your doe goes into labour the kid(s) will be born very quickly. I read lots of articles on how to tell if your goat is in labour, none of them worked for us. Besides for being very vocal, Jill showed no signs of being in labour until we saw a head half way born! Within a few minutes two little goat kids were born and Jill was back to her docile self.
New born kids are very susceptible to the cold so if your birthing pen is near a door or opening you should find a way to block the draft. For us, we used old comforters and draped them over the gates to prevent a draft into the pen.
As stated above keeping your kids warm should be a top priority. An infrared heat lamp hanging above the birthing pen will go a long way for cold kids. One of Jills kids caught a chill right after birth within a few minutes of turning on the heat lamp she was up searching for milk.
Colostrum is the mothers first milk and full of antibodies the newborn kids required to kick start their immune and digestive systems. I cannot stress enough how important colostrum is for kids, without enough their chances of life are next to zero. I would recommend purchasing a quality powered goat colostrum to have on hand, especially if your doe is kidding for the first time like Jill was. You want to be monitoring your goats for the first few hours of life, ensure you see the babies latch and suckle the colostrum. Colostrum needs to be ingested within the first 12 hours of life however the sooner the better. For us, this was the most stressful part of goat kidding for the first time!
Selenium and Vitamin E
Our vet recommended we give the new kids a selenium and vitamin E shot within their first 24 hours of birth. To be honest I’m not sure if that is because we are in a deficient area or like colostrum, it helps give them the best possible start in life. I would consult with your vet and see what they suggest before you goat kids.
If you’ve experienced goat kidding let me know what else you would add to this list!