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You've Goat To Be Kidding Me - Part 1: Kidding Kit Essentials

baby goats Goats Goats kidding season preparing for goats

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Baby goats are arguably one of the cutest animals on the planet and I doubt I will ever tire of watching them hop and bounce around the barn doing a goat version of parkour.  When we first got our goats I was so excited about the idea of babies eventually being born at our farm.  I spent a lot of time looking into "what to expect when they're expecting." With kidding season upon us, I figured it might be helpful to make a list of the supplies we keep on hand and the signs we look for that might suggest that baby goats are soon to arrive. 

 kidding supplies

  • Kidding stall- although not necessary, this is ideal as it allows you to keep the mom separate from the herd while she labors and allows her to clean and bond with the babies without the other goats nosing around.
    • Towels, lots and lots of towels. Or rags. Or any type of clothing/blanket/cloth that you have no problem throwing out after it has wiped down a newborn goat ( because no one wants to try to wash afterbirth off a towel)
      • One of those nose bulb syringe thingys that are used to suck boogers out of human baby noses. It's used for the same purpose with baby goats.  Here's an example of one on Amazon 
        • Nitrile gloves and long arm length gloves-  Amazon actually sells ones called Breeder Sleeves which is a truly appropriate name. I prefer the Tiger Grip brand- they don't go up to my elbow but they are thicker and more durable. I don't know about you, but I want a glove I can trust when I'm poking around in the nether regions of my livestock . You can check out these awesome gloves here Tiger Grip Orange Superior Grip Disposable Nitrile Gloves 
        • Lube - this and the arm length gloves are needed if you have to assist during the birth. This isn't always necessary but it's better to have lube and not need it, than need it and not have it
        • Medical scissors or dental floss to trim the umbilical cord if it is too long. The umbilical cord usually breaks during birth but if it is too long and touches the ground when the kid is standing then it's more likely to get dirty which can lead to infection.
        • Iodine to dip the cord- this is another way to prevent infection and it helps the cord dry up.
        • Head Lamp- an absolute necessity if you don't have lights in your kidding area and, even if you do, a headlamp can be beneficial. Make sure it has fresh batteries! Here's a link to the one I use - it does the job and doesn't seem to blow through batteries at the speed of light (ha! see what I did there?)Foxelli Headlamp Flashlight
        • Molasses - I mix this with warm water and offer it to the mom as a way of keeping her hydrated and also for some increased energy- labor is hard and Nigerians often have multiples ( the record is 7!) so they often need a little pick me up. Molasses is like the Red Bull of the goat world
        • Digital Thermometer- this should be in every goat barn across the nation as it is one of the most important vital signs for goats.  Not a bad idea to write "GOATS ONLY" on it with a sharpie to avoid it getting mixed up with your human thermometer.  It's important to have one in a kidding kit because if the baby's temp is low then it needs to be warmed up prior to feeding. If the mom required assist during delivery, it is important to monitor her temp for several days as well.  I would recommend trying a  Digital Pet Thermometer
        • Disinfectant - to clean the thermometer (since it is going in the business end of the goat) as well as to clean other contaminated surfaces.
        • Hand sanitizer- a good idea to have if you don't have running water in your barn
        • Selenium Gel- a lot of areas are selenium deficient and if the baby/babies show signs of deficiency then this can come in handy.

        This is just a basic list of items that will help you be prepared during kidding season. It's a great idea to keep everything stored in an easy to grab container like a tackle box or plastic tote so that you have easy access to whatever you may need when the time comes.  This is not a comprehensive list but it's definitely a good start and will help you be prepared for most kidding situations.

        And if you are wondering when your doe may kid, a good rule of thumb is whenever you are busy with a million other things and a big storm is coming....  

        For more info on signs your doe may be in labor, check out part two of You've Goat To Be Kidding Me 

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