One of the most exciting times of year is kidding season. We absolutely love it. We are busy with goat kidding preparations and making sure that our does are in perfect condition to have healthy happy kids and watching closely for any signs of pending delivery. This time is the culmination of 6 months of planning and preparation.
Fall Goat Kidding Preparations
In the fall, we carefully consider the attributes of our bucks and does and make plans for which pairs will make the best babies. Sometimes, we have had a wonderful breeding that we want to repeat, and sometimes we want to pair a doe with certain characteristics with a buck with other complimentary characteristics. (For this year’s pairings, see our 2015-2016 Breeding Plan.)
By fall, we are looking at our spring calendar to make sure births do not occur during vacations and do occur when we have the ideal times for kidding. We count backward 5 months, and that is when we aim for breedings to take place.
Before that time, we make sure the does are healthy, wormed if necessary, and have their hoofs trimmed. They are all still being milked, so it is important that they are not too thin or too fat at that time of year.
In the fall of 2015, the 3 does we wanted to kid before a trip in April all cycled (became breedable and interesting to the buck) on the 15th and 16th of November. We put our buck Bramble with each of them for only about an hour each, and voila, the breedings were done, and kids were on the way.
Winter Goat Kidding Preparations
We allow our does to continue to produce milk into the beginning of winter, but by about 2-3 months before kids are due, we dry them off so that they can put their energy into growing their babies instead of making milk. For most of the winter, they eat only great quality Orchard Grass/Alfalfa hay. Then, about 1 month before they are due to kid, we introduce a small amount of grain into their diet. We also make sure that all of our goats have access to mineral all of the time so that we know they are in the best condition possible.
That is where we are now. We are just getting ready to start them on some grain.
Spring Goat Kidding Preparations
We also make sure that we have a kidding bucket with all of our supplies, ready for delivery. At a minimum, we have:
- Nitrile gloves for keeping our hands clean during delivery, and making sure that the bacteria on our hands does not affect momma or baby
- Lubricating jelly to be used on our gloved hand in case we need to assist in delivery
- Providone iodine to be used to dip umbilical cord on the kid after delivery. This helps to dry out the cord and also kills bacteria that could cause illness in the baby
- Lots of towels, cloth and paper. We need these to help dry off kids after delivery. This is especially important if it is cold outside.
- Flashlight. It always seems that goats need assistance in the middle of the night 🙂
- Scissors for cutting the cord or opening a tough bag of feed, if needed.
- Dental floss for tying off a cord, if necessary.
- Bulb syringe to help get fluids out of the mouth/throat of a kid, if necessary.
- Grain and warm water for momma after a job well done
- Trash bag to gather up all of the afterbirth and trash that seems to accumulate
- Nutri-drench. We like to give two pumps of this vitamin liquid to all kids right after birth to give them a good start.
Once we have all of our supplies ready, we wait, and wait, and wait for that wonderful day. We try our best to attend all births, but sometimes they don’t give us any notice or choose the busiest day at our day jobs to deliver, and then we pray that all goes well. Of course, most of the time it does, and for that, we are grateful.
We also have two of the best nurse maids and birth helpers that the goats could have in Ethel and Lucy, our livestock guardian dogs. They love kids and are always available to help clean up and lick a sluggish baby until they stand and move around. They are the best.
If you are interested in getting on our waiting list for spring kids, just email us – firstname.lastname@example.org – and we can talk more.