Kidding is just getting underway on our farm. A lot has to get done to before the baby goats arrive. It includes herd health work, preparing the barn and organizing my supplies
Preparing the does
About a month before the does are scheduled to kid, we will do a herd health day so they are ready for kidding. This includes:
As we work through each doe, we will enter notes on what we did into our herd health system, Easy Keeper, making extra notes on areas of concern to help us better monitor the health of each goat and manage our herd overall.
Much like our other herd health days, we will set up our workspace in the barn to work efficiently as possible. Each of our helpers has specific tasks to keep everything moving along, while I visually assess each goat and enter notes into my record keeping program on my iPad. Along the top of the pen wall, we set up several 5 quart rectangular fence line feeders to hold supplies, including vaccinations, dewormers, hoof trimmers and drenchers. Here are some of the supplies I use:
Preparing the barn
In the weeks leading up to kidding, we start to transition the barn from winter housing to kidding:
About 1-2 months in advance I like to assess my veterinary supplies for kidding to allow for enough time to order or purchase supplies locally. This includes ordering enough vaccines for the does, as well as for their kids (they require boosters with most vaccinations).
Here are the supplies I like to have on hand for kidding. Some of them are used, and some are for emergency situations:
Kidding process and protocols
When a doe kids, I will let her do most, if not all of the work herself. The only thing I will do is help clean off kids with an old towel to so they dry fast as possible and help clean airways. The does will typically still continue to clean their kids afterwards. By helping dry the kids, this helps reduce any chances of pneumonia or hypothermia, especially if it’s cold out.
After the doe is done kidding, I’ll bring her and the kids into a separate pen for 24-28 hours to allow for bonding and recovery. I’ll observe the kids to make sure they nurse. If a kid had a rough or slow start, I’ll help them with their first feeding.
When it comes to processing the kids, we will take weights, ear tag, and trim umbilical cords and dip them in iodine. Then the kds are placed back into the pen with their mother. This information and anything else relevant about the birth or kids behavior is entered into our animal health record system, Easy Keeper.
After 24-48 hours, the doe and kids will move to a “postpartum” group pen with other doe/kid pairs. The kids will have access to a creep/safe space, typically with some source of heat to keep them safe from other mothers and prevent them from accidently being sat on by their own mothers.
Kids are vaccinated a month after they born and then followed up with a booster based on the vaccinations given.
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I own and manage Cylon Rolling Acres in northwestern Wisconsin. On my farm I raise Boer - Kiko meat goats on pasture.
Cylon (pronounced Si-lon) is the name of our township in St. Croix County, Wisconsin. Sorry fans, our farm is not named after the robots of Battlestar Galactica.