Preparing your Doe for Kidding
In a time where many of us are looking outside and facing freezing temperatures, blowing winds, and simply unfriendly weather, I am looking toward the future and looking at my doe Stella we absolutely need to prepare her and me for kidding! She is not due until March, but judging by the way she is walking we will have kids before we know it!! Even though this is a slow time in the world of raising goats, where many of us are simply, feeding, watering and getting through the day it is important to be still thinking about how we can best take care of our herd through this cold winter season.
The first thing to consider is nutrition. This is something you should play a fine balance with. My goal in pregnancy with goats is not not get them to gain or loose weight. On one hand the doe has higher nutritional demands while pregnant because she is growing her fetus and maintaining herself. On the other hand you don't want to grow kids that are too big for the doe to pass during kidding. I also find that free choice high quality hay is essential for good health of the rumen and the does during their gestation.
Similar to women that take prenatal vitamins, another vital element to gestational care is mineral supplementation. For my entire herd, I make sure that they have at all times free choice Sweetlix Goat minerals, Kelp and baking soda. I also work to give my herd replamin gel in the fall and the spring to supplement any mirco nutrients they may be missing. Finally. I copper bolus all of my animals that are 1 year plus in age each fall to prepare them for breeding and the harsh winter ahead. These micro nutrients are key to healthy kid development along with herd health!
The next step I take is to ensure the health of the does and the kids is closer to kidding. At 30 days out I make sure all does have received their CDT booster in order to ensure passive immunity to the kids. I also take time about 6 weeks prior to kidding to trim my does hooves. Any later in their pregnancies it can be very difficult for the does to hold their legs up for hoof trimming.
Finally, it is time to prepare the kidding pen, and my kidding kit. I think a kidding pen bedded with straw , a premier 1 heat lamp and slightly away from the other does is the best way to maintain a successful kidding. Prior to kidding, make sure that you go through your kidding kit and have things on hand like towels, absorbent pads, navel dip, lubricant, gloves, a nasal bulb, CMPK, selenium and vitamin E gel or BOSE and a kid puller. In those precious minutes of kidding and delivery having the correct tools can be the difference between a successful kidding and a non successful one.
I hope you all are staying warm in this cold January, Take care and Happy Goating!