Goats/Kidding

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Goats kid after a 150 day gestation, usually at night. Immediately before kidding, the udders become quite hard, and the doe will "nest" in part of the barn, shunning the company of the other goats and often chasing them off.

During labor, the doe makes a distinct grunting noise.

First-time dams sometimes resist nursing. If the doe refuses to let the kids nurse, try holding her and talking to calm her down. If she hasn't allowed the kids to nurse for over an hour, tie her or put her in the milkstand and put the kids under the teats while holding the back legs down. Once she starts nursing, most does will adjust quickly.

If temperatures are below freezing in the barn, be sure to dry the kids' ears, since they are the most vulnerable to freezing. In very cold weather, provide a hot water bottle, wrapped in a towel, in a sheltered spot for them to sleep. If the barn is drafty, put the water bottle in a large cardboard box: preferably large enough to accommodate the dam as well.

To check if the kids are nursing, put a finger in its mouth. If the mouth is warm or hot, the kid has nursed. If the mouth is cold, it may be necessary to milk an ounce or two from the doe and bottle feed the kid either in the house or while holding it inside your jacket to bring its body temperature up. Give any leftover milk to the dam.

Keep the dam and kids in a separate pen. The dam will let you know when she is ready for the company of the other goats. As a rule, keep the dam and kids out of the herd for at least 2 days.

Be prepared with fresh straw to renew the pack after kidding.

As soon as the kids can stand, dip the umbilical cord in iodine solution or calendula infusion to sterilize and speed drying.

If the kid(s) favor one teat, milk out the other teat to keep them even, in order to avoid mastitis. This milk will have a high colostrum content, so freeze it for use the following year if a doe is having trouble producing early milk. Label these by days from birth, and use them in that order the following year if necessary. Dispose of after 1 year.

Goats can be weaned after 10 weeks.