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Prepping For Kidding Season

I was asked to write an article about prepping for kidding season for a breed club newsletter so thought I'd post it here too for folks to read. :)

Prepping for kidding season

While many think of prepping for kidding season as ordering supplies and putting together “kidding kits”, here my focus starts much earlier. The first thing I do to ensure a healthy kidding season is to put my attention on nutrition. Just like humans, goats need excellent nutrition throughout pregnancy. Nutrition becomes especially important in the last few months of gestation. I have often seen advice to limit nutrition in the last two months “so that kids don’t get too big”.

Limiting nutrition will result in smaller kids, that is true, but not only is limiting nutrition at that point setting the doe up for pregnancy toxemia, but its also the wrong thing to change if “kids getting too big” is a concern. Kids being big from good nutrition shouldn’t be a concern if the doe has a sufficiently wide rump structure. If kids getting big is a concern for the rump structures in your herd, then that is where to place the focus. Fix the rump structures, and then have easier overall kiddings and also no worries about kids being too big.  

Second to nutrition, one thing I never skip here is pre-kidding CD&T vaccinations for the dams so they build up their titers and pass immunity to their kids through colostrum. I know some people are very hesitant about vaccinations and I’ve seen notable breeders saying they don’t do them and don’t have issues. What I can tell you about that is – it really depends on YOUR farm. For example, I don’t have issues here with coccidiosis – at all. I have 150 babies per year going through the same nursery. I don’t do preventative, no need for treatment. Coccidiosis is just not something I contend with here. Most breeders really struggle with coccidiosis and have to stay on top of giving preventatives or they will have real problems. It really all depends on YOUR farm. One year, due to reading one notable breeder saying she doesn’t do CD&T, I thought well, maybe its not really needed then! So I didn’t vaccinate. I lost a half dozen kids under 2 weeks old that kidding season to clostridium (confirmed by necropsies). Here, clostridium is something that needs to be prevented, or deaths will result. Just like some breeders have to prevent coccidiosis – or deaths will result. It really depends on YOUR farm if you can get away with not doing these things.

Aside from those two very important things, my prep involves getting everything clean, getting my pens setup and making sure I have all my supplies. I no longer have a million things in a “kidding kit”. I found over the years, I just didn’t use all but a few items. The few things I make sure I have is hand towels to clean off kids (I pull right at birth here), birth totes clean and prepped, a hairdryer and I occasionally use a bulb syringe so I keep that within close reach. I don’t dip cords or give supplements to kids or does. I’ve had approx. 1500+ kids and not one case of joint ill. But again, this really depends on YOUR farm. If you skip it, there could be that chance that you could have a problem. I didn’t really know about dipping cords when I started, so by time I heard of people doing it, I thought to myself “well I don’t do that and haven’t had any issues”. So I figured I’d start doing it when/if I found a need. And here 1500+ kids later, I still haven’t found that need. You could have five kids though and have a need, so read that with caution. I don’t want what happened to me when I read that a respected breeder doesn't do CD&T to happen to anyone else due to what I stated works on my farm for me and my herd.

My final advice for kidding season is to relax and let the doe do her thing. Give them plenty of time when kidding and don’t intervene unless you absolutely have to. “Help” is most often not help and more often makes things more traumatic and worse for your doe. I have approx. 150 kids here per year and I go YEARS without a single assist. If you find you are assisting in any notable percentage of kiddings, something is really wrong. Its either due to your inexperience and panicking (most likely, and hey, I get it, I've been there! ha) or you need to really focus on breeding does with adequate rump structures for successful kiddings. Relax, take a step back, and give her time. Yes, sometimes that means a lot of time. Labor shouldn’t be rushed. Good luck and best wishes to everyone this kidding season!



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I live on the side of a mountain with 65 goats and 4 dogs. I make 100% of my living from my homestead. My purpose is to "Inspire, Encourage & Empower".
Read more about my story here....

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