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The Endless Goat Pregnancy

Captain’s Log: It’s been 4,365 days since my two goats have become pregnant. I listen to them moaning and groaning all night and every time they make a peep, go running out to the barn just in case.

It isn’t time for kidding, it’s just those last couple of weeks before it’s time and although they are the ones who are uncomfortable, I am the one who keeps getting up and going out there checking on them. The baby monitor/camera is both a blessing and a curse. With only two Does remaining in my little herd, these upcoming babies mean that I have the opportunity to keep two and I want my hands on them!

After all these years, my kidding kit has been whittled down to a few essentials.

Must have Goat Kidding Kit

*Iodine – Specifically, Gentle Iodine Wound Spray. It’s what I use to dip the newborn cords in. I do this as soon as they are born and again a few hours later.

*Iodine Hand Soap – This one was given to me by my favorite vet ever. I use this if I have to go inside the goat for any reason. It’s something I will never be without.

*Small Plastic Cups of some sort; medicine bottles work well. I have an old toothpick container and a measuring cup from my daughter’s slime kit. Try to have two in case one gets stepped on or lost in the mess that is kidding. Fill it up enough so that the entire cord fits under the iodine and then quickly flip the kid over with it pressed against their belly. This ensures that the iodine coats the entire area.

*Bath Towels – I like to have 3 or 4 of these, and use older ones. No real reason other than the shock value of goo and hay all over my newer towels is real. They do wash well but if you have some older ones, use those.

*Sweatshirt Sleeves – I cut the sleeves off a sweatshirt and trim it short enough so that the kids can still urinate from below for the bucklings, and then cut two slits where their front legs can poke through. You may even cut off the wrist band if it’s not a large sweatshirt, but their heads fit nicely through most. Once the kids are dry, if it’s cold, slip on one of these little sweatshirt sleeves and you have nice, warm babies.

That’s it! Now, to be fair, I have herbal remedies and basic meds if I need them, but in 20 years, I haven’t given my goats anything medicinal after kidding. Some like to give molasses and warm water to the does and that sounds sweet but my girls are suspicious of anything new so why upset them? After kidding, I make sure the kids get up and nurse a bit, see them walk around enough to know they are sound, and then leave the barn for an hour. Yep. I walk away and let the moms and kids figure out each other. Then, back to the barn for a check, clean the stall out of any afterbirth and mess that may not have been cleaned up by the doe, and leave them alone again for a few hours.

I do kid in winter. I prefer it. There are no flies, no worms, no heatstroke to contend with. My barn is not airtight but it is dry and mostly windproof. Plenty of warm bedding and dry kids is all that is needed.

How about you? Are you waiting around for your livestock to get on with birthing?

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