Sunday, April 14, 2013

Gearing up for Kidding Season and my kidding kit

This is what I'd titled the previous post and realized I'd gotten way off track, when what I'd intended to write about was how I prepare for kidding season and what goes into my kidding kit/bucket.

First I will say that I think I've had the worst kidding luck of any goat owner I know. Was it the goats? My lack of knowledge and experience? Taking on too many goats while raising toddlers in the house? Who knows, but let's just sum it up by saying that in the last six years I have not had a kidding season where I have not had to "go in". I will follow that with saying that maybe I didn't always have to go in, but when you lose some kids because you didn't go in soon enough, you tend to try and prevent that the next time.

All of my kidding catastrophes have involved the kids not being in the correct position. In six years I have had two does kid with their first two bucklings upside down with their heads turned back alongside their body. The first time this happened the bucklings also had both legs tucked against their bodies and not sticking forward. The crazy thing is that I have been present for almost every kidding. I've missed one completely. I tend to jump the gun and pull all nighters only to have the doe kid the following afternoon when I'm so exhausted I just don't care about anything other than sleep.

I'm not going to go into all the kidding positions in this post - because Molly has already done so at her Fiasco Farm Site. So if you haven't checked those diagrams out and ready everything she's already written of preparing for kidding, you should. I do however, have a few things to say on the subject. If you are a newbie to goat kidding it is extremely difficult to know when to put a glove on, lube up and go in for an exploratory search. If you are like me, you'd rather let the doe do her thing and let nature take it's course. I've erred once or twice on waiting too long, one of the times' the doe actually got to the pushing stage, but wasn't making progress and started to weaken which is when we finally went in and at the time I had no idea what I was feeling (chest/ shoulder - no head or hooves) certainly hard to picture when you've never gone in before. So, if your doe gets to the pushing stage, they say the first kid should be out in 20-30 minutes, no more than 40. If she starts to weaken, you go in.

However, what if your doe never gets to the pushing, and never seems to weaken? Most will say to let her go, take her out and move her around etc. I ignored this advice when Zinnia's labor's were not progressing, and at least the second time, was glad I'd gone in when I did, or rather, wished I'd gone in earlier. If the kids are weak or dead when you go in, you probably waited to long - unless something else was wrong.

So, getting to my super simple kidding kit in order of priority:
  1.  J Lube, a powdered lubricant that you can add to warm water and make the slipperiest lubricant ever. As much as I love the idea of olive oil with lavender essential oil - I am a fan of the J Lube results as I would have lost a doe and kid without it when olive oil didn't do the trick.  
  2.  Towels (I use old bath towels, but clean rages or paper towels if you must).
  3.  Scissors for the umbilical cord, if you don't snip it short sometimes the doe will chew on it and it can tear and bleed at the belly.
  4. Goldenseal powder or an herbal antibacterial powder for the umbilical cord, notice I don't use iodine although most do. It makes a mess, plus anything you put on the kids umbilical cord gets wicked up into their little bodies - and Iodine in that form can be harmful.
  5. Dental floss for tying kids umbilical cords - this is a common practice but I'm not sure it is necessary - I don't always do it - sometimes my fingers are too cold and numb. As long as the doe can't chew on the cord - and as long as you are there for the first few hours to keep an eye on dam and kid.
  6. Latex glove for putting on if I "go in"
  7. A lidded pint jar of vodka to sterilize my gloved hand in right before going in. I also have a betadine surgical scrub on hand but have never used it.
  8. I also keep a couple clean lidded plastic containers on hand, one for warm water for lube and one for herbal tea to administer at the beginning of kidding and to put warm molasses water in for the doe after kidding to restore vitamins and trace minerals lost during kidding.
  9. I keep cayenne powder and tincture on hand for weak kids. Rubbing the tincture into their gums and chest is supposed to help get their heart going in addition to giving them lots of vitamins.
If I have to "go in" and have a doe that had a particularly rough labor, I give some sort of immune support tincture twice to three times a day for the following three to five days. I give a hodgepodge of olive oil infused with raw garlic and cayenne along with various other herbs orally and into her uterus - or birth canal area - which gets wicked up into the uterus to prevent infection and stimulate healing and cleansing. Two drenching syringes are super helpful for this so that you don't have to wash them as much after using them on the back end. I suppose they should get washed between times anyway, but I guess I, ahem, haven't always...
That's about it, and again it is past my bedtime so I may be adding significant tidbits I've forgotten about later. As always I would love to hear about how your kidding season is going. Has anyone else noticed that there have hardly been any comments at all in a while? It is like I'm writing posts to nobody - except my blogger statistic thing says that over a hundred readers are reading my posts daily...weird.


Unknown said...

Reading! I just can't really share my own goat stories as I have none. But I like to read yours!

Rachel~At the Butterfly Ball said...

I'm reading:-) I love all of your goat info. This is my first kidding season and I only have two does, one has just had twin bucklings and the other is just about to I enjoy reading about your experiences.

Jewel said...

Hi Emily,
This is my second year of having goats. I have loved reading all of your posts and look forward to reading what you write about. You have had so many different experiences with your goats kiddings it's interesting to read about them all. They have been helpful learning experiences for me and have prepared me to go in if necessary.

2 days ago we had our third doe of the year kid, she was our beautiful Lamancha Zolena and she gave birth while I was in the middle of a large family dinner with 14 people. My husband checked in on her and she had just given birth to 2 kids, a doeling and buckling that were still wet. I ran out with my birthing basket and spent the next hour tending to them all and making sure the placenta came out. My parents, sister and children, my 5 children all came out to see the still wet kids as I dried them off, we ended up eating around 9pm, but everyone understood.

The two births before over the last several weeks have been my Nigerian, Joon who gave birth to triplets a week early (2 doelings and a buckling) I wasn't there for that birth and came out to feed in the morning and they were all dried off and nursing. The first doe to kid was my Nubian Jersey and I spent 7 hours with her as she gave birth in the middle of the night (a very cold night) and we had 2 bucklings, one was weak and had a hard time latching on, but eventually did. So far we're at 3 doeling and 4 bucklings, with one more Nigerian to kid around the middle of May.

I haven't had to go in yet, but was prepared to if it was needed.
Good Luck with your goats kiddings and Happy Spring!

Ginger said...

Here I am, here I am! I read your blog but don't have any experience (hence the reading :-) so thank you! I am really eager for goats this summer but I suspect it will be another year...Post pics, if you need back-up for the kids or a wing man, I'm close by!

Rose said...

My kidding season was started and over within 24 hours. I had two does go right after each other. One was my older Alpine who always hangs on until the last possible minute (day 155) and then has the biggest kids ever! Her kids are born at about a month old in terms of development. It's great for them because they are up and running within minutes. It's bad for her because she had a hard time getting her huge buck into the birth canal this year. She started labor at 12pm. She started pushing at 5pm. She didn't kid until 11pm! At 5pm she would push two times every 30 minutes or hour. By 8pm she was pushing two times every 15 minutes. I did go in at 6pm but couldn't feel anything wrong or even close to the birth canal. I went in again at 8pm and still nothing. By 11pm the buck kid could be felt one hoof and his nose forward. He was so big that I think all the trouble was in her just trying to get him in the canal. He came out fine with some pulling on my end. The next kid (a doe) shot out about 3 minutes later. Both kids are fine.

The next doe had her kids the next morning while I was at work. Two does were up and cleaned when my husband found them. But the buck was not cleaned and very sick. He had pooped and peed in his sack and my hubby said he was covered in brown/green goo. He grabbed the buck and took it in the house to give it a bath and warm it up. He revived in 3 hours and is doing okay. He's a runt with some issues so I think that is why mom didn't care for him.

5 kids in 24 hours. Not too shabby.

Emily said...

Awesome Rose, I've had two does in labor the same night - I remember we'd been watching one doe all day showing signs of labor and then when she was finally pushing kids out we noticed the other doe was right behind her - we didn't even leave the barn. Pretty convenient. I'm hoping for an easy kidding here in the next day or two. I can't feel Zinnia's ligaments tonight. So, looks like I'll be getting up or a middle of the night check.

Molly said...

Hi Emily - I just want to let you know that I LOVE your blog. We used to live in Sitka and miss it a lot. We raise goats here on Whidbey Island in Washington state, homeschool our children (8 kids but 3 grown), and our farm name is Wild Roots Homestead! We use that for our goat's milk soap and homemade jam. So lots in common. I found your blog when I was searching for info on butchering goats.

Emily said...

Hey Molly, we must have a lot in common. I spent sooo much time trying to come up with a herd name - we probably would have ended up with a more common name if I hadn't had such a hard time coming up with a herd name that wasn't already taken with the ADGA. It's good to hear from readers that enjoy my blog as I've been feeling like I'm writing to myself lately. I miss the ocean. Best wishes, Emily

Anonymous said...

Hi Emily,

I just found your blog while googling about raising dairy goats. I was reading your post about butchering them and then i read that you supplement with moose and caribou and i thought--wait, this gal has to live in Alaska--and then i saw your name and Fairbanks, Alaska and realized i know who you are (i'm good friends with Adam and Tricia) ...

Anyways, i wanted to a), introduce myself officially, (hi, my name is Rebecca :) and 2) perhaps ask you some questions about goats? I just got two goats (one dairy goat and her daughter who is half meat goat). My dairy goat looks like your black goats -- what breed are your goats? I was given both of my goats and the owner (who i think you know--miriam w.?) didnt know their breed -- im guessing alpines from my very limited research. My dairy goat is not currently in milk and i would like to breed her with a dairy goat this time (my goal is to have 2 milking does for my family) and i didnt know if you ever let others breed their goats with yours?

Anyways, i would love to even chat in person if that was possible -- i also have two toddlers so i get that that may be near impossible-- or blog comments are good for me too :)

I'm enjoying reading your blog --thanks for any info you could give me :)


Emily said...

Hey Rebecca, Do your goats have ears? My goats are Lamanchas. They are defined by their lack of ear - or rather tiny ears. They are a mid size breed and can come in any color combination. You may have Alpines if they have full size airplane ears -that stick out? Alpines also are midsize and can come in any color. I don't usually let people bring goats onto my property, unless the goats are from my herd, and don't come into contact with other goats - or at least are tested regularly for diseases. I think you'll be able to find a dairy goat buck to breed to - although most breeders who test their herd regularly may also ask you to have your goats tested if you haven't already. If you aren't already on FB goat sites, then that is a good place to find local breeders. Let me know if I can help with any other questions. Otherwise perusing the blog and searching for specifics may answer a lot of your questions. I use to write primarily about the goats and chickens - moving more into homeschooling these days. best wishes, Emily

Anonymous said...

Hey Emily,

So I just saw this response, haha. I think my goat is an alpine because she does have ears and i didnt notice that till later about your goats. I found someone to breed my goat with but it's a meat goat. I think my new plan is to just buy a second dairy goat instead raising one up myself.
Thanks for the response!