The average gestation period for goats is 150 days, but they can go anywhere between 145-155 days, and that means you need to be prepared at least a week in advance of your estimated kidding date. Our does are set to start kidding this weekend and just as any expectant mother has her hospital bag packed by the door, I currently have my bucket packed and ready to go. What should you put in a kidding kit so that you have everything you need on the big day?
For the birth:
- Betadine surgical scrub. This is for antiseptic purposes. To dip the umbilical stump in, to sterilize any supplies and to scrub your hands in case you need to help in the birthing process.
- Paper towels or cloths. These are to help wipe off the kids’ noses and mouths and help get them clean. Though their mamas will do most of this for you.
- towels and/or puppy pads. Most likely the babies will be born in a straw-filled stall, and a wet baby and straw make for a big mess. Having them land initially on to a towel or puppy training pad will soak up some of the moisture and keep them a bit cleaner.
- A flashlight. This is handy if the birth takes place at night or in a poorly lit area. And if you need verify the position of the kid.
For the Kids:
- Floss/String/Clamp. To clamp the umbilical cord (if needed)
- Scissors. If you need to cut the umbilical cord (if needed)
- A small bowl/container. To fill with betadine to dip the cord stump in.
- Kid Colostrum Replacement. This is for just in case. Things can go wrong with any birth. The mother may not be able to nurse right away or she may reject the baby.
- A bottle and nipple. This can be special for goats or simply a human baby bottle with a large hole in the nipple. Again this is for just in case, unless you plan on bottle feeding the babies exclusively.
For the Mamas:
- Warm water with molasses added. This gives them a quick pick-me-up after a job well done.
- Grain. She’ll be hungry!
- Garbage bags. One to collect all the messy towels in and one for the afterbirths.
- Goat baby sweaters/Heat lamp. If you area is still particularly cold you will need more than just mom to keep the kids warm.
- A camera. Obviously!
And that is about it! Most of these items can be kept in a bucket or bag but some, like the grain and water, will be added last minute to keep it fresh. Now just sit back and wait, and watch for signs that kidding is near!
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