30 Days Prior To Kidding
For the Does
· Continue to monitor her general health. Put your hands on the doe and feel her ribs, hip bones and at the base of her tail to insure she is keeping a good body condition. If your doe is going to start struggling during her pregnancy, the last 30 days will usually be when she will start. It’s equally important to watch those overweight does or those carrying a big load of kids. . Watch for any signs of pregnancy toxemia or Ketosis. Early signs would include slight limping that comes and goes, reluctance to rise and walk around, poop pellets that seem to have a lot of mucus, reduced appetite, etc. Anything out of the norm should be carefully evaluated at this stage. This is where those Ketosis test strips will come in handy that I recommended you buy at 60 days prior. There are lots of resources out there talking about symptoms and treatments so spend this time to educate or remind yourself about common pregnancy related issues.
· Check her FAMACHA and do a fecal /deworm as needed.
· Start to reintroduce grain (milker quality). Start slowly with the goal to be built up to your full milker’s ration just prior to kidding.
· Booster CD&T
· Give copper bolus
· Give 2 cc Bo-Se
· Insure 24/7 access to free choice minerals, baking soda at a minimum. I also offer kelp, usually not free choice but at least once a week.
· I will usually trim up udders on FF at this point… just because I like to see those FF udders coming in. Also, any does that are getting really big, I will put on the milk stand and go ahead and do a pregnancy trim just depending on weather. It is sometimes hard for them to jump on the milk stand in late pregnancy so I’ll trim them up while they can still safely hop up there.
· Now is the time to finish up trimming hooves or go ahead and redo any that are looking a little long. As the kid load gets heavier, it’s harder for the doe to stand on 3 legs to get her feet trimmed and I like to keep the stress levels as low as possible.
· Start offering a bucket of YMPC water and/or Bluelite water every day in addition to their other water supply.
· Make sure the water and hay are on opposite sides of your pen/barn to insure some opportunity for exercise.
For the kids
· Set up kidding pens if you haven’t already. Pens should be draft proof and free of any hazards. Pens should have clean, fresh bedding.
· Inspect any heat lamps VERY, VERY CAREFULLY! This is very important. It’s not enough to just wipe them off and plug them in. I’ve had them melt around the sockets and it not be visible without a detailed inspection. Inspect any extension cords as well. Never let any part of the cord or heat lamp be accessible to the kids.
· Make sure you have ordered all your kidding supplies. These are in addition to the supplies you should have ordered at the 60 day mark.
1. Vet’s emergency number on speed dial! 95% of kiddings should go off without much intervention from you. Don’t rush the process. But, half the battle of getting live kids out of a difficult/ malpresented birth, is knowing when it’s something you can fix, or if it’s something you can’t. Don’t risk your does health or dead kids over a vet bill. By all means, go in and try to figure out what’s going on or turn/reposition kids. I will usually work for 30 minutes to an hour or so on a doe to reposition kids. But if I’m not making any progress or the doe is showing signs of going down rapidly, I call my vet or a close goat mentor to come help. I learn something new every year, or some other way to get out the kids or some other technique to turn them around. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or admit you are in over your head. It’s the only way to learn.
2. Powdered GOAT or BOVINE colostrum REPLACER (not supplement)
3. GOAT milk replacer if you are going to be using replacer. (I personally use pasteurized goat milk or in a pinch, whole cow milk. I don’t use milk replacer anymore after issues with bloating.
4. Lamb nipples (I start newborns on the soft, black ones the first few feedings then transition to the harder, gray lambar nipples, usually by 36 hours old.
5. Lambar or 20 oz pop bottles, extra tubbing, etc. (Video coming soon on how to make you own, low cost Lambar)
6. Old towels or puppy pads (lots of them)
7. Paper Towels/baby wipes
8. Kid puller/leg snare
9. Sheep or calf rope halter or someway to tie up/restrain the doe if you have to pull a kid and you are by yourself.
10. Weak kid syringe/tubing system ( stomach tube and 60cc syringe)
11. Iodine for dipping navels
12. Chlorihexidine solution
13. OB gloves
14. Plenty of syringes/needles. Especially 1cc and 3 cc syringes with 22-24 gauge needles (3/4 – 1 inch) for kid meds.
15. Paper kid collars/sharpie
16. Vet wrap
17. Empty toilet paper rolls for splints
18. Several pairs of hemostats/ sterile (these are very handy for clamping umbilical cords as kids are born) You can order them online or sometimes I find them in the toy model section at Hobby Lobby. They are only a few dollars apiece and work better than plastic umbilical clamps. In a pinch, you can use dental floss to tie off the cords but I’ve found that can be difficult with a slippery kid when you are by yourself.
19. Small scissors/sterile (I keep the scissors/hemostats in a Tupperware container of alcohol. You could boil them first then store in the alcohol.
20. Suction/ Nasal bulb for removing mucus
21. Heating pad or some way/plan to warm up a cold kid. I’ve brought them in the house and put them on a towel over a vent and cranked up the heat, make a tent out of a towel or blanket and hold a hair dryer under that, put them in a tub next to the woodstove, submerged in warm water… there are many ways but just be sure to always do it under close observation and never leave the kid unattended. NEVER try and feed a cold newborn. ALWAYS get a normal temperature before feeding.. even if you don’t know how long they have been without that first meal. You will do more harm than good if you feed them when they are cold.
22. Coccidea prevention meds. I use Deccox-M in their milk every day starting at around a week old and love it but whatever works for you is fine. Just be sure to have it ready to go.
23. Mineral Oil or some sort of stool softener
24. Pepto or Scour Guard (made for baby pigs)
25. You should already have these from last month but it you don’t:
Bo-Se, CD&T vaccines, Penicillin, Dexamethisone, Baytril or Nuflor, Banimine.
26. Scale to weigh kids
27. Notebook to record birth details. I like to keep a record of each doe’s pregnancy details and note any issues (or lack thereof) what day of gestation she kidded, number of kids, any abnormalities or health issues, either with her or the kids, etc. It’s very helpful to look back on the next year and get a baseline of what is “normal” for that doe. You think you will remember, but trust me, you won’t. By the time kidding season is over, it’s all a blur and you can’t remember when you showered last, nevermind how many kids that doe had last year or if she filled up her udder prior to kidding.
28. There may be other things that other people use, like Nutri-Drench, or other products designed to give new kids energy and I’ve bought them in the past but ended up never using them. A warm kid, too weak to suck, gets ½ cc of Bo-Se and tubed with warm colostrums here. Again, do what works for you, but this is what works for me.
29. And Finally, a feeding schedule. This is very important if you have multiple family members or people helping feed the kids. Every one needs to be on the same page so kids don’t get overfed or underfed. Usually it’s overfed and this leads to Floppy Kid Syndrome so it’s very, very important. Again, what works for me:
First feeding after birth. I know it’s popular to get food in the kids within the first hour. BUT. I’ve found that if you wait until the kids are able to stand on their own and are dry and “awake” more, they will suck more vigorously and be more active in general. I feel it’s important that they are mobile as that mobility leads to proper bowel function and just a stronger kid. I’m not afraid to wait 2-3 hours for that first feeding. I try and mimic nature as much as possible with the bottle babies… stimulating them by rubbing and drying them as a mother would and of course, in nature they don’t get to eat until they can stand on their own. I let them drink as much as they want that first feeding. Sometimes it’s a few ounces, I’ve had some drink 12-14… just don’t force feed.. let them do their thing. If you have the odd one that won’t suck. I put them back, give them ½ cc of Bo-Se, and give them another hour or so to “wake up” and try again. A kid doesn’t get tube fed here until they are 3-4 hours old and just aren’t coming around. The second feeding happens 3-4 hours later. Again, let them drink what they want. If they aren’t hungry (and they ate previously) don’t force it. But, don’t offer them another feeding until 6 hours. I guarantee you, they won’t pass up another bottle if they are a healthy kid. If they still won’t eat, there is something wrong. Third feeding is NO SOONER THAN 6 HOURS LATER. This is very important. Do NOT over feed the newborns. By day 2, the kids are all on as much as they can eat each feeding every 6 hours or so and no night time feedings. Yes, that’s right. I don’t get up in the night to feed them once they hit the 48 hour mark. In fact, most will get fed that first night they are born and then after that, it’s a 8-10 hour stretch at night where they don’t get fed. Are they hungry in the morning? You bet! And they suck vigorously and they get a chance to fully digest any food in their stomachs. So they might get fed at 6a.m, 1 p.m and 8 p.m. By day 4 or so they are transitioned to the lambar and get 24/7 free choice milk. And that’s it!