Preparation for kidding here at our farm begins months in advance. Be sure to check out of “You’ve GOT to be Kidding?!” Kit information page for more details!
I use X-Ceptic extract to dip the goat kids umbilical cords. This works excellently, and is totally beneficial to use in place of iodine. The iodine burns the tissue to dry it, X-Ceptic causes the tissue to dry and shrivel, but is wholly beneficial and nourishes the kid. You can make this yourself, check this link for details! If you would rather buy it premade (that is what I do), see our “You’ve GOT to be Kidding?!” Kit information page.
I’m going to refer you to Fias Co Farm’s website to see instructions on exactly what to do for Prenatal/Kidding information. She does an good job describing things and I do not see a reason to “reinvent the wheel” if I can send you to that site. 😉 I’m going to continue on to tell you exactly what I do for my does without having to go into all the detail Molly already covered.
Doe in Labor: After I have observed the signs that Molly describes at the Fias Co Farm link I gave above – ligaments gone/almost gone, goo, etc. – I watch her very closely and let her birth in the location of her choice if the weather permits (not freezing cold), normally they all coincidentally choose the exact same stall in the Doe Barn. This (allowing them to birth in the place of their choice) speeds up the birthing process and gives them the comfort of keeping the nest that they worked hard on and being in a place that they feel safe and comfortable. I strongly believe in home births for women, why would I force my girls to do something different??
Kidding Shed: I prepare the kidding shed 1-2 weeks before the Doe’s due date, so it is ready and waiting at a moment’s notice. I DO NOT put down a thick layer of straw. I use just enough that she can use it if she needs it, but not so much that it is a distraction to her. Mine tend to “nest” forever if I do that instead of getting on with the birth. She has some hay and a bucket of water that is hung high enough that she will not accidentally birth the kid into her water bucket. That would be awful! I attend every birth at our farm, but do not interfere with her birth unless necessary. I check on them periodically in the Doe Barn (their choice place to birth their kids). I’m thinking of investing in a nice barn cam that I can access on the internet so that I do not disturb them too much. Once I see them start to push, I hang out with them and help if needed. I will immediately clean off the kid’s nose and mouth and place them on a clean towel for the momma to clean off. After all kids are born and washed off by momma, I move the new family to their “luxury suite” stall that I set up in our insulated garage. I can keep a close eye on them this way and watch for momma to pass the placenta. I set up the stall when I see her at the very beginning stage of labor – I really don’t want to move my van out if I don’t have to, I’m SPOILED by my garage! 😉
Birthing Kit: I’m going to send you over to Fias Co Farm’s website again now. But I have several things that I do differently, so I will go into detail about that here:
1. I use X-Ceptic Extract instead of the 7% Iodine.
2. I don’t bring a Martini, as I don’t drink. 😉 I like chocolate though! 😀
3. I use towels instead of paper towels. The towels work much more efficiently, in my opinion.
4. Instead of messing around trying to get my hands clean enough, I keep shoulder length surgical gloves in my Kidding Kit. You need to put a lubricant on them before you “go in” to check, your Doe will appreciate it if you make the glove as slick as possible. I make my own lubricant using Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) and Lavender essential oil (Lavender EO). 5 drops of Lavender EO to every 1 teaspoon of EVOO.
5. I use a box instead of a “baby goat hut”. Cheaper and works well. You want to place them in the box after they are born to keep them from being accidentally stepped or laid on while the Doe is birthing the next kid. I place the box under a “warming light” to make sure the kid does not get chilled – the light is ONLY used if I am present. Otherwise, it is unplugged and removed from the stall area.
6. I like to keep Black Strap Molasses in my kit. If the doe is having trouble bonding with her kids, smear that on them and she will lick them off. By the time she is done with the treat, the kids are not as scary anymore. The kids can sometimes be scary to a new momma (first freshener), as they keep trying to “attack” her (aka nurse). Just do this with the molasses and keep reassuring her and telling her that they are her babies and they are hungry and this is how she feeds them. 🙂 I have also had excellent results using Herbamins Extract (see #7) the same way.
7. I keep Herbamins Extract in the kit, in case the kids are deficient in Selenium. You can tell if a kid is deficient, as they will be “soft” in their pasterns – it appears that the tendons in their legs are too loose. In other words, they will stand on their legs more like a horse looks than a goat. Their pastern (you will think this is their wrist/ankle) will be too low to the ground.
8. Herbamins. Sometimes kids are born and they are Vitamin A/D deficient – the tendons in their legs appear to be too tight. It makes them “knuckle under” as if they were standing on their tip toes. I will be giving them Herbamins to correct this deficiency if I ever see it again this is what I would do: Give them 1/8 – 1/4 tsp of Herbamins powder 3 times per day and mix it in enough water to make it easily go through a syringe, or better yet – buy the Herbamins Extract since it is made using a 4:1 ratio (herb:liquid – a very high quality extract, much higher than we can create at home) and put a few drops in their mouth (under their tongue, if possible), which will immediately absorb to into the bloodstream for fast results. I give 1-2 drops of this tincture to all my goat kids right after they are born to give the a great start on life! This absorbs sublingually (in their mouth, specifically “under the tongue”) and I doubt if they actually swallow any due to the very small amount given. I generally give that right after I give them a 1-2 drops of the Cayenne & Lobelia Tincture (see #9). I have used a STRONG cold Infusion (that is basically a fancy herbalist word for a “strong tea”) of Vitalerbs to correct a deficiency with excellent results.
9. Cayenne & Lobelia Tincture. I orally (in mouth) administer Cayenne & Lobelia Tincture to EVERY goat kid immediately after birth – before they even nurse. I clear their nose and mouth, dry their face a bit and THEN administer 1-2 drops of Cayenne & Lobelia Tincture into their mouth. It doesn’t take much. This absorbs sublingually (in their mouth, specifically “under the tongue”) and I doubt if they actually swallow any due to the very small amount given. It peps them up, provides lots of B vitamins and Vitamin C, supports the circulatory and respiratory systems and helps with the stress of birth. You can buy the premade Cayenne Tincture and Lobelia Tincture (they are separate tinctures that will need to be combined) from my store or you can make it yourself. See this page for details.
10. I use the Nosefrida The Snotsucker Nasal Aspirator to clear the nose/mouth of the newborns. It works great, and it disassembles for complete cleaning. I don’t bother with the filters for it anymore, since they tend to fall out and I’ve never been anywhere near accidentally sucking the goo up into the tube.
11. Pritchard tip nipple and a bottle that it will fit on. The nipple can be purchased at a local farm supply store or online. I have used an old Faygo Cream Soda bottle in a pinch. I only use the Pritchard tips for our newborns. I cut part of the tip off to make the hole a bit bigger. NOTE: There is a tiny vent hole in the yellow plastic, make sure you position it up beside the kid’s mouth or it will leak while they drink (at least I’ve had that issue before).
12. Plastic Ice Cream bucket! No… not to eat. It needs to be an empty plastic ice cream bucket with a lid – you know – the cheap, bulk ice cream that you can buy in the store? THIS is something I should’ve thought of YEARS AGO. How many times have I been sitting with a doe FOREVER, and then when she starts really getting serious – nature calls for me! AH! I can’t run up to the house to go potty right then!!! SO, I use my trusty ice cream bucket! 😀 Just make sure you bring tissue!!! TMI?? Sorry!!! 😛 I was excited to think of it! LOL!
That is everything I can think of right now. If I think of more, I will add it. 🙂
I wanted to make it simple and easy for you to find these items, so I created the “You’ve GOT to be Kidding?!” Kit. Please click here to find it.
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