Kidding season! One of my favorite times of the year. I'm a little bit of a perfectionist and I have less than perfect facilities and a slightly less than perfect life, and I must admit, I'm not quite perfect either, so this is a time of great stress for me as well as excitement! I dream of the day I have my barn done and ideal storage for all my kidding supplies where they can be perfectly organized and close at hand to deal with any situation that arises. Unfortunately, even when my barn is done and I have storage it'll still be less than organized because that's just how things here go. I do my best but, alas, it often falls short of my daydreams.
Still, it's all we can do to try, right? I have a small kidding barn right now with two 5'x9' stalls and a small area for feed and the milk stand. About 2 months before the first doe is due I strip the stalls and disinfect everything. I let it all air out for a week and then I disinfect again! Because, you never know (I did mention that perfectionist thing, right?). I give the stalls another week to air and then I bed with sawdust on the bottom and heavy with straw on top and bring the two closest does up. I try to breed does in pairs. Hopefully a dam/daughter or twins together as they tend to have close relationships. We know goats hate to be alone and bond strongly to each other. I would hate to labor with someone I didn't like sharing the room (then again, I hated everyone when I was in labor, so . . .) so I try to make sure friends get preggers together. I drastically thinned my herd last year though so I only have three does kidding this year and they all came up together. They get to have a month to get accustomed to the change of scenery and find the most comfy spots in their preferred stall. I strip the stalls once a week and then again when the does start showing signs of being close.
I have a tall cabinet in there that I keep kidding supplies in. I know some folks like to keep things in the house but I prefer to have it close at hand. Especially because I can guarantee that at 4am when one of the does is sure to kid I'll forget everything inside and my brain will turn off and I'll forget where I put the storage tote with everything in it, even as I trip over it in my rush to get inside and find it fast!
plain dental floss
towels and puppy pads
7% iodine and navel dip cup (condiment cup)
bottles and nipples
baby monitor or barn cam
I follow a basic prenatal goat care plan. About 6 weeks before the doe is due to kid she starts getting her dairy grain ration. I start at 6 weeks so that I can very slowly build her up to full ration by the time she kids. I give probiotics for 3 to 5 days any time I change feed. I never give a pregnant doe alfalfa. It's overkill and leads to a higher risk of milk fever after kidding. At 5 week till D-Day I give a selenium booster. Lots of people use Bose but I use the paste with vitamin E because I have a doe that scars with every SQ shot. At 4 weeks I give CD&T, preferably from Colorado Serum as it seems to be the cleanest and causes the least reactions. At 3 weeks I trim hooves and file all sharp edges just in case mom slips up and steps on a kid. It's a crazy time and things happen. At 2 weeks I give mom a kidding cut so she'll be easier to clean and the subtle changes in her backside will be easier to spot. I also bring alfalfa to the barn so the doe can have some after she kids.
After that I go inside and cook. I make and freeze casseroles. I'd like to say that I do this so that my family will have healthy, home cooked, nutritious meals but I really I do it so I don't drive myself insane while waiting. I have to talk myself out of checking does 9 times a day, every day, even if she has the full 2 weeks left. I try to do laundry and clean the house. Mr.Man loves it when I get like this as the house is spotless and overflowing with amazing food! It makes him more cheerful about doing the odd o'dark thirty check for me. Mostly I think I move around a whole lot and accomplish very little as I anxiously await the newest additions to our farm!
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