Your does due dates are quickly approaching, but are you ready? I know I never feel like I am! So to help, I've put together some general guidelines to help you get organized and share what I do to insure I'm ready when the big day(s) arrives.
60 Days Prior to kidding:
1. Check General Health
· This would include checking eye color using FAMACHA and doing a fecal if necessary
· Trim hooves
· Check body condition carefully (it’s easy to overlook a doe that is too thin or too fat with all that winter hair. Put your hands on the doe and feel her hip bones, rib bones and make sure she is neither.)
2. Adjust Feeding as Needed
· We feed all does 2 years and older only a good quality alfalfa or alfalfa mix hay from dry off until 30 days prior to kidding. 90% maintain a body condition between 2.5 to 3.5 or better on nothing but this. If I feel the hay quality is not ideal, I will supplement with alfalfa pellets daily, approximately 2 pounds per doe/per day and adjust for body condition.
· Young does still growing (coming 2 and younger) are also fed a dairy ration pellet daily. Again, checking body condition, young does are never taken off grain (this includes last year’s kids and FF yearlings). I feed about 1-2 pounds of a dairy, 16% pelleted grain in addition to about the same of alfalfa pellets per doe/per day. Just watch the dry yearlings if they are in the same pen so they don’t get over conditioned
· Additionally, I use Bluelite in ALL water ALL YEAR LONG. I know it’s pricey but it’s very worth it! The does all drink at least 50% more water and that is very, very important. Especially in the winter to regulate body temperature through efficient rumen function.
· All does have 24/7 access to free choice minerals, baking soda and kelp.
3. Order supplies
I order my supplies from several places depending on price and availability. Some good ones are: Jeffers Pet, Santa Cruz Animal Health, Premier 1, Valley Vet, Enasco and Caprine Supply. Sometimes, money is tight so I focus on the things I will need for the does first, while they are still pregnant, things that may be needed for supportive care for a tough pregnancy first and then, worry about the kid supplies as we get closer. Some of these items are prescription and some are often backordered. Do not wait! Start gathering supplies as soon as you dry off your does if not before.
Things I insure I have on hand BEFORE they are needed (Focus on pregnancy and Labor) In no particular order:
· CMPK (Does struggling in late pregnancy with pregnancy toxemia need supportive care)
· Some sort of additional caloric supplement like “Keep it On” or “Dyne”. (same reason)
· propylene glycol (same reason)
· YMCP (great to give prekidding and post kidding as well. Highly recommend)
· Ketone Test Strips (available at Walmart in the pharmacy diabetic section)
· Thermometer (You should already have one but if you don’t, they are $1 at the Dollar Store #noexcuses)
· ToDay Mastitis Treatment
· Probiotic Paste
· Copper Bolus
· Vitamin B Complex
· Antibiotics such as Nuflor or Baytril
· C &D Anit-toxin
· CD&T Toxiod
· Bo-Se or Selinium/Vit E paste
· 50% Dextrose Solution
· Injectable Calcium
· OB Lube
· Uterine Boluses
I know the list is long. But many of these things can be gathered over the course of the year and saved. There is nothing more heartbreaking than having a doe need something at 2 a.m on a Sunday when the stores are closed and no vet will come out. Something that may have saved her life or the life of her kids.