March 5, 2015

Time To Check Those Kidding Supplies

Actually it's a little late to be checking kidding supplies, since Helen is rapidly approaching her due date.

Helen's due date is March 11. Kinders often kid earlier than standard
size goats, however. She's not real big so I'm thinking twins or a single.

I realized I was late in performing this chore when I looked at the bottle of sterile calcium gluconate I used on Surprise last year. The 500 ml bottle was almost empty and had expired about a year ago. Worse, it had little black thingies floating around in it. Time to throw it out. Tractor Supply Co.'s supply was all out of date as well! Hopefully I won't need it this year.

For my first kidding event several years ago I looked at all the lists of recommended kidding supplies and felt a bit overwhelmed. I bought what I thought were the basics, and have added items since. What I added was based on my kidding experiences; it's horrible to need something at 2 AM on a Saturday with no way to get what's needed. So here's my list. Hopefully others will share theirs as well.

  • Several old towels - for drying kids
  • Betadine - for umbilical cords although the moms often chew these off
  • Flashlights, lantern, or headstrap light if there is no electricity in the birthing area - in case it happens at night!
  • Bulb syringe - for clearing little mouths and noses if needed
  • chair or stool - more comfortable for watching and waiting
  • Selenium/E oral gel - for the kids, because I live in a selenium deficient area. Many folks give BoSe injections, but this is a prescription item. The gel is not.
  • Blackstrap molasses - after kidding molasses in warm water is often recommended for the doe. She'll be tired, hungry, and thirsty and drink this down. Any molasses can be used, but I like the nutrients in blackstrap
  • Lubricant - such as Vaseline or KY jelly in case the third stage of labor (pushing) takes longer than 30 to 45 minutes. If that's the case then some help may be needed. I've encountered two kids trying to be born at the same time, head first presentation with bent front knees (needed straightening out), and a frank breech (tail first). The only one I couldn't save was the breech baby.
  • Obstetric gloves (?) - I bought a package of these. They are elbow length and size large. I find them too awkward and clumsy to wear, so I just scrub up before going in.
  • Sterile, sharp scissors - for cutting an umbilical cord if necessary (usually not)
  • Chemical wormer - Holistic goat expert Irene Ramsey recommends worming the dam immediately after kidding to prevent parasites from taking advantage of the stresses of labor and delivery.
  • Pritchard nipples and a bottle they'll fit - in case there are too many kids for the mother to manage, or, unthinkably, something happens to her. I can milk colostrum directly from her to feed, but hopefully I'll have on hand - 
  • Frozen colostrum. There's a powdered cross-species mix which can be purchased, but it's not anything I would want to feed if I could help it. Extra can be milked from a plentifully producing doe and frozen in ice cube trays or muffin tins. 
  • Kid coats - if it's winter time cold
  • Camera!

For emergencies I also like to keep on hand:
  • Nutridrench - for any kid that seems weak or a bit slow starting. It contains energy and B vitamins. If that doesn't do the trick, the nasty taste always gets them going. Also good for a doe in ketosis (pregnancy toxemia).
  • CMPK drench - for prevention of milk fever (hypocalcemia). I'd give to a doe which was down, disoriented, and couldn't get up. It's oral so it's not as fast acting as an injection.
  • Calcium gluconate - injection for hypocalcemia. If the doe has had a good diet with a proper calcium and phosphorous balance, this won't be necessary. Still, I feel better having it on hand
  • Injection vitamin B complex - for any goat that seems weak or disoriented. Especially helpful for pregnancy toxemia to stimulate the doe's appetite.
  • Luer lock syringes, both 3 cc and 6 cc sizes
  • Needles - I like the 20 gauge, 3/4 inch size. It's large enough for most liquids and small enough to not be as painful as a larger gauge (the smaller the number the larger the gauge). The length is perfect for giving subcutaneous (subQ, i.e.under the skin) injections

  • scales - for weighing kids if desired

I hope I'm not forgetting something. If I have, I'll amend the list as soon as I think of it. 

Daphne's due date is three weeks after Helen's. Daphne is a bit
bigger than Helen, so I'm guessing twins or triplets (or more). 

Those of you with goats, what do you like to keep on hand at kidding season?


Farmer Barb said...

I love the picture of Daphne. I looked JUST LIKE THAT when I have birth!

Fiona from Arbordale Farm said...

Daphane looks like she is done and ready to get those kids out.

Mom at home said...

That's a lot of supplies to get ready! Daphne looks so ready!

Erika keller said...

Needed a feeding tube this year, just lucky I had one. Nice list!

Mama Pea said...

What an excellent list! Nothing like being prepared because then, most of the time, you don't need anything. But if you're unprepared . . . well, you know what happens!

Daphne looks as if she might be saying, "Does this pose make my everything look big?" :o]

Leigh said...

Barb, LOL. I know she's more comfortable sitting like a dog

Fiona, and the poor thing has about a month to go!

Mom at home, yes, that's why I think Daphne is carrying more than Helen, which is fine by me!

Erika, great suggestion. I've never needed one but it crosses my mind from time to time. I will definitely get one now.

Mama Pea, I'm afraid my preparedness has come by the seat of my pants. :)

Karen@ said...

Great timing. I woke up this morning thinking that we needed to start bringing stuff together. Brown Sugar is due in a month. We are going to turn the stall next door into a kidding pen.

Fiasco Farm has a great list...

After helping my neighbor with kidding last year I went to a store that sells things for elderly people and bought a bag of those absorbent pads(large rectangular shape) because it was nice to put under her for the babies to land on and then it makes clean up easy.

Dental floss if you have to deal with an umbilical cord that didn't break.

For me because this will be our first on our own....cell phone with the phone number of help if we need it including an emergency vet number.

Large garbage bags.

Two goat people I know (both Nigerian Dwarf Goats) both had multiple kids at just over one pound each a few weeks ago. If you stick your finger in the babies mouth you can tell if it is too cold (it should feel warm) and a great way to warm them up is putting them in about 102 degree water, while holding their head up.

At the goat conference two weeks ago the vet from UC Davis said...."if you have to choose between the life of the kid(s) or the life of the doe, you save the doe."

I need to be on the hunt for some sweatshirts from Good Will. I'll cut the arms off, cut holes for the legs and that will be a nice little "jacket" for the babies.

Great post and best of luck with kidding.

Su Ba said...

The outdated calcium gluconate is still good as long as it was stored properly, not damaged, and still sealed. The stuff lasts fine for years. If I was in our position I'd run down to Tractor Supply and buy that bottle. It's cheap insurance to have it on hand.

Leigh said...

Karen, I hope your kidding goes well! Sounds like you're prepared with a lot of information. I'm currently working on our baby goat coats, made from an old sweatshirt. Good idea about the cell phone and numbers; hopefully there is an experienced goat person in everybody's neighborhood! Your comment reminded me to add the sterile scissors to the list. They're actually in my kidding box but I seem to have forgotten to add them. Personally I would not use dental floss for the reason I mentioned, i.e. that I've had several does bite off the umbilical cord. I wouldn't a goat ingesting that!

Su Ba, good to hear from you! That's good to know about the calcium gluconate, although since I pointed it out they've probably removed it from the shelves. I figured I would try another feed store because I agree, it's cheap insurance to have on hand.

Sandy Livesay said...


Sorry, I can't add to your list or make suggestions. I don't own goats in the future were thinking about it. All I can say is good luck, and I hope the birthing on your goats go without any problems.

Unknown said...

Not being in the goat business, ive nothing really to add but best wishes and a gold star for being prepared.

Izzy said...

Can I just say OMG Daphne! That has got to hurt girlfriend! Friends of ours are raising goats and have had 4 babies born in the past several months. All went well.

Thanks for the info. Oh, and good luck to Helen too!

Gill - That British Woman said...

exciting time for all can't wait to see photos of the little ones.

Anonymous said...

LOVE that picture of Daphne! Best of luck with kidding.

Rosalyn said...

Poor Daphne, I can absolutely empathize. At least it's not long now! :)

Chris said...

Do you feel better only having to wait for two doe's to kid, instead of several? These are the only doe's you've got now, aren't they?

Leigh said...

Sandy, thanks!

Lynda, I appreciate that!

Izzy, I'm always glad to hear when things go well for folks with goats. Or any critter for that matter. :)

Gill, coming soon!

Jessie, thank you!

Rosalyn, I'm hoping they'll hold off until this latest cold snap is over!

Chris, yes, only two does kidding this year. The thing I feel better about is having exact due dates! It used to drive me crazy with a list of due dates for several does. This is much better to plan for. :)

M.E. Masterson said...

Great list! Poor Daphne looks so ready!! Look forward to pics

Susan said...

What do you do with all the goats each year?

Leigh said...

Mary, hard to imagine her getting any bigger, isn't it? But she still has close to a month to go!

Susan, I'd love to keep them all but our small acreage would soon be overgrazed and sorely abused if I did that. So I sell or trade most of them. We do eat chevon, but it ends up being the ones I can't sell that are put to that purpose. Then I put the money back into the goats. I buy (or trade) for hay, for example, or other necessities. I bought Helen and Daphne from goat sales! Also their baby daddy Randy. I bought our two pigs from goats "profits" too. I'd love to make a living with goats, but that doesn't seem to be very realistic. The best I can hope for is to break even. If the goats can support themselves, I'll feel like my goat keeping is a success.