Homestead Animals

Countdown to Kidding: Preparing for Goat Kids

I have lost track of time this spring. Maybe because it still feels like winter; snow is predicted for a couple of days next week.

A check of the calendar noted, however, that the first goat kids are due in only five weeks!  How do I know this?  In December, my doe was bred.  Fortunately, I remembered to mark the calendar for the expected date of kidding.  Typically, a goat’s gestation is 150 days.  However, miniature goats typically deliver closer to day 145.  My does are 75% Nigerian Dwarf and 25% Lamancha, so I plan for the earlier delivery date.  Over the last two years, the does have delivered kids between day 144 and 149.   According to my calculations, day 150 is May 8; most likely, kidding will occur a few days before that.

So far (crossing fingers), kidding has been an uneventful experience at One Hour Homestead.  The process generally has been something like this:

  1. Stress out and worry that something might/could/will go wrong.
  2. Read the internet and plan for problems.
  3. Worry some more after reading about all of the possible problems during delivery.
  4. Leave home to take the kids to a baseball game, drop them off at summer camp, etc.
  5. Come home a couple of hours later to find adorable, healthy and strong kids on the ground.
  6. Congratulate myself on a job well-done.

Goat births almost always are uneventful, and require no human intervention.  However, a little preparation and some special care for the expectant does helps to assure healthy kids.  Prior to bringing home goats, and many times since, I have referred to Fiasco Farm’s site as an amazing reference for everything about raising dairy goats.  They have posted detailed instructions on everything from selecting your goats, to feeding and birthing of goats.

My plan for care of bred does nearing kidding is a simplified version of this one.

Weeks to KiddingTasks
5Trim the does hooves
3Add contents of one Vitamin E capsule to grain daily.
Begin feeding Pregnancy Herbal Tonic
2Assemble kid of birthing supplies
1Thoroughly clean the kidding stall in the barn
Daily checks for signs of imminent kidding

The goat’s hooves will be trimmed this weekend.  This is a fairly simple and quick job, but needs to be done while the goat can still jump up on the milking stand.  She is quickly losing her agility (and starting to waddle a bit when she walks).  If I waited much longer, it would be too difficult to get her in the correct position, and would cause her unneeded stress.

The Herbal Pregnancy Tonic, from Molly’s Herbals (sister site to Fiasco Farm), has been ordered and will arrive this week.  I am not sure if there is a significant benefit to feeding this, but my goats LOVE it.  And, of course, pregnant moms should be pampered and fed treats!

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