goats & sheep

Kidding Supplies – updated 2015

Goat Kidding Kit
by Carrie Eastman

With kidding season approaching, time to check the kidding kit.
Kidding is a time when emergency supplies mean the difference between life and death for both mom and kids, so I make sure to have these items ready.

Thermometer.  Kids must be at least 100 degrees F before nursing.

Ketone test strips.  Available at any pharmacy in diabetic supplies.  Best to have these during the pregnancy.

Homeopathic remedies, all 30C potency:
Cimicifuga – dilates cervix, for lack of progress at any stage of labor
Pulsatilla – turns kid if positioned incorrectly, no effect if kid is correct. 2 doses maximum, if it’s going to work will work within a half hour.
Arnica – helps with swelling, bruising, sore muscles after
Carbo vegetabilis – given to the kids for blue babies and difficult births
Sepia – given to does that reject kids
colocythus – to doe to encourage labor

Kid sweaters, just in case.  I made mine from old sweater sleeves.  The cuff becomes the neck hole.  Cut leg holes and hemmed up the leg holes and cut sleeve edge.  For boy babies, make the top longer and the belly shorter to make sure the penis isn’t covered by the sweater or it will be soaked.  I also buy dog sweaters on clearance in the spring.  A couple waterproof and windproof dog sweaters are especially handy.  I keep sweaters in an assortment of sizes to fit everything from preemies to large kids.
Goat milker, like EZ Milker or this homemade milker
DIY goat milker

Colostrum replacer (not supplement) & powdered milk replacer.  Very important – these are 2 different things.  Some colostrum is fairly useless.  Please read this article about colostrum quality  and make sure you have the correct kind available.  Even better, milk some colostrum from a doe and freeze it for the coming season.

An appropriately-sized tube and syringe for tube feeding.  Ask your vet or mentor for dimensions.  There are many good videos on YouTube about tube feeding.

Bottles and nipples of the correct size for your breed.

Dynamite DynaSpark for electrolytes and energy.  Mix in warm water and offer right after kidding.  Always offer plain water as well.

Get your heat lamps hooked up and tested.  No cords or bulbs within reach of goats.  Be very very careful – lamps can easily start a fire and kill your goat family if they are locked in the lamp area.  See this board on Pinterest for some kid warming ideas.  Farrowing pads are another kid warming option.  You cannot put bedding on top of farrowing pads.

Fresh straw or hay bedding in the stall, and more bedding ready to replace any wet areas after kidding.

Scissors if you need to cut any extra dangling umbilical cord.  I do not cut unless it is dragging on the ground.

An obstetric loop or leg snare.  This loop can be hooked around a slippery kid leg, or even around the lower jaw to help you help mom pass a kid.  This can be as simple as thin strong twine with a slip knot, or as fancy as the catalog versions.

Dental floss or thread to tie cord if needed, and iodine or tea tree oil to dip cord end.  I normally do not dip or tie or cut the cord.  I still have these on hand, in case I would need to for some reason.

Blood stop powder, Yunan Pao, my favorite liquid mineral, styptic powder, cayenne powder.  Have some means to stop catastrophic bleeding.  You will likely never need this.  If you ever do, seconds will count.

Cayenne powder.  Yes, I already mentioned this.  It’s that important.  You can use it as a stimulant and to stop bleeding.  Learn how to use it BEFORE kidding starts.  I highly suggest the Facebook group TotallyNaturalGoats for all things herbal.

Clean bath towels for drying kids, wiping yourself off.  Use unscented laundry detergent and no fabric softener.  Best not to add strong smells while mom is bonding with her kids.

Hand disinfectant, in case you have to go inside a doe.  K-Y jelly for the same reason.  If I do go inside a doe, I dose her with chelated colloidal silver that day, and for several days after, to prevent infection.  Coconut oil is another potential lubricant with anti bacterial properties.

A head lamp and a small flashlight.   A hands-free source of bright light in the middle of the night is invaluable.  Check your batteries.

Dynamite Relax and Release sprays.  Relax is used orally.  Release is topical.  Great around the vulva during and after birth and on the udder.

Your vet and at least 2 experienced goat mentors on speed dial, with permission to call them BEFORE kidding starts.

You may also choose to join the Facebook group Goat Vet Corner.  This is your backup, not your primary source of medical information.

Generally speaking, I’m a minimalist during kidding.  Myotonic goats are known for hardiness, good kidding and good mothering.  While I won’t stand by and watch mom or kids die, I prefer to let nature take its course as much as possible and stay hands-off.

I do lock does in a kidding stall with fresh water & hay, separate from the other does, if kidding will occur at night or in cold weather.  Otherwise, I let the doe choose her spot, and make sure there are plenty of clean areas to choose from.

I do not offer a full grain meal until the day after kidding, just hay and water and DynaSpark.  I will give a tablespoon of grain soaked with Dynamite DynaPro prebiotic after the doe is done cleaning up, or add the DynaPro to the DynaSpark water.

Finally, a gun and a very sharp knife.  May you never need either.  In the horrible situation of a totally stuck kid or a rupture or other terminal situation, no vet available, and mom suffering, have the supplies you need to put her down humanely and to retrieve the kid(s).  Always attempt to get a vet first.  Always.  And there may come a time when the worst happens and you are faced with a dying mom and dying kids.  Read this article and visit this Pinterest board BEFORE you need it , and save both links somewhere handy.


Copyright ©2015 Carrie Eastman.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration, and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Always consult your veterinarian about any changes to your goat’s health program.

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