I am a livestock producer with many years experience.
Again, I am NOT a VET, also, I am not a ‘be-all end-all’ expert.
What is posted below is what works on MY FARM.
Ok, here we go……
Exciting to think that your kidding season is coming up fast!
Here are some of the things I have on hand. Please read through the entire text and make notes accordingly. This is sort of stream of consciousness.
I get some of my supplies from Premier and most from Jeffers or Valley Vet.
Get a 30 and 60 CC' 'feeding' syringe I use these for administering CMPK or MFO solution AND if I have to add OB Lube to help a stuck kid. These are made of heavy plastic, can be disassembled for cleaning. They have a metal nozzle.
Superlube from Premier I get a 1/2 gallon and a smaller container to keep in the kidding tote.
CMPK and/or MFO If you are ordering Prescription items from Valley Vet also get some Cal-Dex. These are all given orally if the doe has had a difficult delivery or ‘stalls out’
RE Prescription items. Get your vet out to the farm for a HERD HEALTH visit unless you already have a good working relationship with them. Ask them if they will authorize an RX order for you through Valley Vet. Here are some things I always have on hand-remember though that I have a substantial herd-you probably won’t need this volume but your vet should provide dispensary bottles of these so you have them on hand. You may not have the time to run to their office to get this stuff.
- Oxytocin (shrinks the uterus and curtails capillary bleeding) DO NOT GIVE unless you are DAMN SURE the kids are in the right position to be born. This is good to administer after a difficult delivery ONLY after you have checked for any kids hiding up around the doe’s tonsils. Review use with your vet. It works fast-be aware.
- Dexamethasone 4mg/ml (emergency use to help with shock or initiate delivery) USE THIS ONLY ON THE DIRECTION OF YOUR VET.
- Antibiotic, I use Excenel ( fast take up and short duration)and Excede (Slow takeup long duration) These are very expensive but effective. For general use If you can get Biomycin buy it. It is a good broad spectrum form of Oxytetracycline-LA 200 is the same but it stings (but it could save a life).
- Epinephrine for Anaphylactic shock get dosage and use info from your vet.
- Cal-Dex for restoring calcium after difficult delivery or milk fever. Oral use.
An Ear syringe-one piece suction with long nozzle to suck goo out of throat. I don't use in nostrils very often as I use the towel to clean off the nose. (sometimes even before they make a complete exit.)
Small scissors for scraping the umbilical cord to separate.
Lightweight forceps to clamp umbilical if needed. Plastic ones work well for this. (Lightweight Mosquito Forceps from Jeffers) Don't use the navel clamps. The mom's chew them off.
Dental floss in case you need to tie off a fat umbilical. You will tie twice and separate between the tie offs. Always wait (if you can) until the cord has stopped pulsing.
Lots of puppy pads. I catch the babies on these and use to soak up as much of the birthing goo as possible. I put a clean one under mom's chin and put her baby on it after I have gotten the head cleaned off and some of the goo off. This keeps the umbilical clean until you can trim and dunk it in the iodine. Then I wrap up the wet pad, set it aside and replace with a clean one for the next kid. It keeps the bedding much cleaner and drier. The ones that aren't too slimy I leave in the pen to wrap up the afterbirth. I do NOT let the does munch the AB since it can cause a protein overload and mess up their gut.
Electrolytes like Bounce back or Electrolytes plus to give to mom in HOT tap water after kidding.
Order a small "Kelly's Kid Puller" just to have on hand. It is a snare that is very flexible and the right size. I have one, haven't used it yet but it looks like it could be handy when you have a head back kid.
Get a box of 3 CC syringes, a box of 6 CC and several 35 CC catheter tip syringes I get the Luer slip syringes AND a box of Luer Locks.(these are handy for thick meds)
The needles I use most often are 1/2" 20 gauge. Also get some short 16’s for thick stuff. It seems like a lot but you won’t have to order again for a long time and its still way cheaper than onesy twosy from the feed store.
Get several soft red rubber feeding tubes. I use one for tubing the kids that don't have a suck reflex and keep one just for giving enemas to stopped up babies. Premier is a good source for these. Get an extra since they are subject to chewing. The clear plastic ones are not soft enough. IMHO
You will also need a bucket with a lid (I use a cat litter bucket that half the lid lifts up. This is for HOT water and Betadine scrub solution. Get a bottle of Betadine Scrub AND one of Betadine Solution to have on hand.
If you can get 7% iodine that is best for drying navels. It will be an RX or available from your vet. Or you can use Triodine. I use a milk test tube, or a narrow spice bottle to keep the iodine in for dunking umbilical cords.
Lots of medium towels to wipe down faces. Hand towels are the right size. Most bath towels are too big and create way too much laundry. Let the disposable pad do most of the work. I get the bundled plain hand towels from Costco. Easy to wash and put it in a clean covered tote.
Get a good hand tote with compartments. Everything needs to be in the tote and EASILY accessible. Sometimes I will set up two if there are multiple does due at the same time.
There may be more stuff but that is what comes to mind. Sounds complicated but it really isn't.
NOTE! You only THINK you are hooked on goats now. Wait until that first little kid hits the ground. <<<grin>>> Yes, I am an enabler.
A bit of caution on the birthing suites for each mom. Be sure they aren’t too big. You don’t want a baby wandering off and getting missed by mom.
I wouldn’t go any more than 6 x 6. Most of ours are 4 X 5 or 5 X 5
You should get some bottles and Pritchard teats for the babies. The wide mouth bottles from Premier aren’t as good as the narrow mouth bottles. You may have to get the bottles from Wilco or another feed store. When you cut the PT do it vertically so the end looks like a duck’s beak Don’t cut it straight across.. There are also some excellent red rubber teats with a blue cap available from Hamby Dairy Supply. I actually prefer these to the Pritchard Teat for all but the smallest kids.
Also get one or two of the pet nursers that have multiple nipples in the package. They hold 2 to 3 ounces. The only Nipple you will use is the the same size and shape as your little finger. That is for the newborns Make an X in the end to let the milk out. Not too big an X as learning to swallow is a whole new ballgame for newborns.
I use a little funnel and milk colostrum right into the bottle and give each baby 2 or 3 ounces. That way they have some extra time to figure out the lunch counter.
Cover the baby’s head and when they start bumping your hand make the nipple accessible. Forcing it into their mouth is counterproductive. They will start out with sips and then can get quite a bit of suction going. Be patient. This is a new experience for them. If you are trying to latch them on mom fold up their legs so they are low enough and move the teat to make it accessible. A hand behind their heads will bring out their inner Godzilla and make you swear.
Once mom kids and has had a big drink of hot electrolyte water HANG that bucket UP!
Mom should be able to get her head in but it should be well above ‘baby fall in’ height. DON’T leave a water bucket in the pen when the doe is actively kidding.
AND FINALLY! If you have questions call your vet or your goat guru. (If you are one of my goat goat peeps, call me.) Better to ask than worry yourself into a mess.
What if things don’t proceed?
Be prepared mentally and with your fully stocked tote. You may have to do an internal exam or help straighten out a baby.
You may be squeamish, worried or whatever. Set that aside for later. You need to help your doe now, have your panic session later and really enjoy it.
For now, wash up, lots of lube, be gentle and don’t panic. Remember that baby will not take a breath until the umbilical cord is compressed. Shut your eyes when you are trying to figure out what you are feeling of the kid. Did you find a foot? Feet have little ankles, what way does it bend? How about the next joint? Bends the same way as the ankle it’s a front foot, if it bends the other way it’s a back foot.
Oh dear, you found a …..what? Might be a butt or a shoulder or a neck or????? Feel for ribs, or go the other way and find an ear (careful, could be a tail, feel for the other ear) If you have a back feet first baby don’t panic. That is a perfectly normal delivery. Find a back foot, cup the foot in your hand, turn the hind leg towards the belly and bring it into the birth canal. Now go back and get the other one. When helping mom get the baby out turn the kid slightly to the side, not straight up and down. There is more room through the pelvis on a diagonal. Back feet first deliveries come straight out in line with mom’s spine. Clean the nose and suction the throat before you do anything else. Checking for the right plumbing on the kid can wait.
The trickiest baby is the one with the head down or back. If you have two feet and no head out put one foot back. Fold it up cupped in your hand and move it back into the doe. Find the nose and try to get it in the birth canal. If the foot you put back is on the same side the nose is turned toward fetch that foot and use the leg to help keep the nose in the right position. You may have to put your finger in the mouth to keep the nose in the right place. When mom starts to push apply some gentle traction to keep that persistent little snout in the exit lane. Note that you may find some expletives in your vocabulary that are seldom if ever used. The babies tend to be like rubber bands that insist on going back to where they were comfortable before.
BTW, If you feel fur without a nice slippery feel to it get your feeding syringe full of OB LUBE and using your fingers as a guide (slip the nozzle between two fingers) get lots of lube on the fur. Fur causes drag on the birth canal. Grease that baby up so it slides right on out.
Be aware that one leg and a head is the easiest delivery position as it angles the shoulders. Think of Superman flying!
Have your Cal-Dex or MFO or CMPK ready for mom. If she has stopped pushing wait until you get the kid in the correct position for delivery THEN GIVE HER THE CMPK! (30 to 60CC) Once the calcium hits her system she will push. HARD
After a hard delivery you can give the calcium again in an hour. Please check with your vet whether you need to continue this and how often.
There will always be more interesting things that can confront you as your goat’s favorite Doula. Be calm, be patient, be thoughtful and always gentle. The most important thing to remember is that the vast majority of kiddings are boring, uneventful and joyful happenings. Being prepared for the alternative is peace of mind for you and your beloved goat.
Elfin Acres Nigerian Dwarf Goats