preparing for kiddingAs the days lengthen, our thoughts are turning to the imminent arrival of goat babies.   It is a good idea to be prepared in advance so that, when the kidding starts, there isn’t too much unnecessary running around to do and you can focus on the job in hand.

If you are approaching your first kidding, and are feeling a little apprehensive, then a little preparation can help a lot.

The first thing you need is a something to keep all your supplies in.  A plastic storage box is fine, or an old fashioned cabin trunk if you have one.  The main thing is that it will hold all your supplies, and keep them dry.

Write it down

Make a list of phone numbers – your vet (and a back up emergency vet if there is one).  If you have any goaty friends or contacts, add them to the list – maybe the number of the person you bought your goats from.  If you have no knowledgeable goat people nearby, a farmer or shepherd will be used to dealing with any problem deliveries and will sometimes help out in an emergency.  Try to make these contacts before you need them, and put their numbers on your list.  Now, laminate the list (or put it in a plastic sleeve) and tape it to the inside of the lid of your box.

This one simple thing has given your goats a better chance of surviving any complications – you can get experienced help for them with absolutely no delays.

Basic supplies

Next gather some basic supplies.

Find some old towels (jumble sales are good for this if you don’t have any) and cut them up into a variety of sizes.  It helps to have a variety – some “wiping hands” size and some large enough to wrap a kid in to towel him dry.

Iodine (or similar) to treat the cord with.

Molasses – if you don’t keep this in your feed room, it is worth having some on hand.  All my nannies love a drink of molassed water after kidding as it gives them a little boost.

Write yourself a checklist in advance of things to look for/danger signs.  If you think you will forget to dip the cord – write it down.  If you are worried you won’t know when to call for help, write down a list of what could go wrong and what the symptoms are.  Don’t forget though – you are better calling for help and not needing it, than leaving it too late and losing mum or baby.

A torch and some spare batteries.

A blanket.

Chocolate or, if you’re a healthy sort, cereal bars.  Sometimes goats can keep you in suspense and chocolate makes the wait a little shorter 🙂

You now have pretty much everything you need to get through the majority of deliveries.  Remember most deliveries will be perfectly easy natural ones.

preparing for kidding

What about when thing go wrong?

What about breach births? And all the other complications you’ve read about. Well, the first thing to remember is that, while complications aren’t rare as such they are less common than perfectly normal births. So you shouldn’t expect problems. However there are some things you should add to your box “just in case”.

Nail clippers

Soap, hibiscrub or similar


Lubricant – Ky jelly or something similar

Lambing rope

These items are pretty self explanatory.  Even if you do not intend to be “going in” yourself, have these in your box as the person you call for help  may well need them.

Please remember – if for any reason you have to “go in” then your goat will need anti-biotics afterwards as a precaution.

Colostrum – frozen or dried, you need this in your supplies.  If you should lose your nanny, the kid(s) will need colostrum as soon as possible and trying to source it at 2am on a Sunday morning is only going to delay things.

Bottle and teats – again a must really.  Even if you intend for the kids to be raised on their mum, you need to have at least a couple of bottles “just in case”.

Rubber bands and an applicator.  This is not strictly speaking for kidding, but billy kids should be banded from 4 days (unless they are prize pedigree kids and going to be breeding billys of course 🙂 ) so having this ready with your kidding supplies ensures that you have it when it is needed.

This list is by no means exhaustive – and many experienced goat-keepers will have all sorts of extras and prescription meds etc in their stock. But if it is your first time around, I would suggest that if you need those things you will also need a vet and he will supply what is needed.

Finally – remember

Be prepared, but don’t expect problems.  Goats have been having babies for a long time and you may well find that your goat will deliver easily and all by herself and you will arrive at feeding time to find the kids already on the ground.  If this happens, just enjoy !!!

preparing for kidding

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