June 16, 2013

Preparing for babies: Getting your kidding kit.

I have finally got enough time to put together a post on getting together a kidding kit, but I know that for most people kidding season is already over. Oh well, it's better late than never! Anyway, here are some things that you'll want to get:

  • Towels - These are for drying off the babies when they come out. You'll need two per baby you're expecting, one for drying and one for wrapping her to keep her warm. You'll also want to bring a bag to take them back to the house in, they're going to get gross!
  • Flashlights - If your doe kids at night you will be grateful for a flashlight. Make sure you get two bright ones with fresh batteries to make sure that you aren't left in the dark.
  • Navel clamps or iodine - It is ultra important to make sure to dip or clamp the babies cord soon after birth, otherwise the kids umbilical cord might get infected. I prefer the clamps because they aren't as messy as iodine, they are reusable (make sure to sterilize them), and they're safer.
  • Baby nasal bulb - You have no excuse for being without this! They're cheap, easy to get, and are a must-have for sucking mucus out of a kids' nose and mouth.
  • Weak kid tube - This is for feeding kids that are too weak to drink milk. The soft tube goes directly into their stomach and thus allows you to feed them. This is not a crucial supply, but it might save your kid's life.
  • Baby Bottles - Even if you're not planing on bottle feeding, get some baby bottles just in case something happens to your doe or she rejects the kids. I really like Evenflo's classic glass 8 oz bottles, though you do have to cut a small x in the nipple so that the babies can get milk fast enough.
  • Disposable surgical gloves - These are very important to have just in case your doe has problems and somebody has to "go in". Just because people tell you that your doe probably won't have problems kidding anyway doesn't mean that you can skip these; be prepared or you'll be sorry.
  • J-Lube, OB Lube, Safe-Lube, or K-Y Jelly - This is another product that you'll need if your doe has problems kidding. A really good lubricant helps that hand slip into the doe and might be the only thing that will get the giant baby out of her. Some people say that you can use Vaseline or vegetable oil, but they simply don't work.
  • Syringes, needles and Penicillin or LA-200 - If a doe is assisted in labor she needs antibiotic shots for the next two weeks. I prefer LA-200 because you only need to give it every 70 hours, as opposed to Penicillin which is given twice a day.
  • Nutri-Drench - This is not an absolutely necessity, but I suggest getting it. It works like magic on weak kids, moms, and tired, pregnant does. When Roxy had a very difficult kidding this year a friend gave her a couple pumps of Nutri-Drench; it had her standing, eating, talking, and drinking again in only a couple of hours.
  • Calcium Drench - Again, unnecessary but a good preventative measure! Milk fever is caused by calcium deficiency. Calcium deficient does pull calcium out of their bones to put into the milk and can die from it. I didn't use any Calcium Drench this year, but I intend to get it next kidding season!

June 3, 2013

Roxy's Delivery - Part One

I admit it, a little fuller is an understatement
On Saturday June 1st, at 8:15 am, I was feeding the goats. I was, at the moment, feeding Roxy and she had just finished her grain. I was reaching for her collar to take her out of the milking stall, and thinking to myself about Roxy and what was going on inside of her.

Roxy was due June 4, but lots of goats had been kidding 4-7 days late this year - for some unknown reason. On the other hand, LaManchas are known for often kidding 3 days early. Taking those two facts into account, Roxy would probably kid on her due date. I'd already emailed Brittney (last year's 4-H goat leader) and asked if, in case of a difficult delivery, she could come over and "go into" Roxy and help out a bit. She'd said sure. My kidding kit was in the milking stall already - just in case she had the kids before the 4th, but so far she was showing none of the kidding signs. Or was she? Hadn't her udder looked a little fuller this morning? Hadn't her ligaments felt just a little softer? I bent down to check her udder.

Look at that giant belly!
Suddenly, she stopped pulling toward the grain bins, away from my grasp. She paused her breathing and gasped a little. Then she started going for the bins again. My heart jumped. Had that been contraction? I pulled her out of the stall and bent down to check her udder again. Definitely beginning to fill up.

After feeding the goats their hay, I walked back to the house to get a proper breakfast for myself, and I thought about everything. I do a lot of thinking. When Carina's dad came to milk Dicey and feed her babies, I thought, I would coolly tell him what I suspected. We'd then move Dicey's babies out of the kidding/baby pen, where they had been moved to from Carina's house a week ago, and put Roxy in. Then I would come back to the house and text Brittney, the 4-H  goat leader, Cassie, the owner of the buck Rah that Roxy was bred to, and call Carina, who was out of state visiting relatives and wouldn't be back until late Sunday night. Then I'd check on Roxy every hour or so and try to find more signs.

I finished my eggs and wondered about Roxy's babies. How many would she have? I thought three, as her belly was 17 inches wide, but she might have only two. Was today the day, really? Would the kids be boys or girls? Rah had sired mostly girls and, though I wanted girls, I didn't want to make the boys (if there were any) feel unwanted. Yes, even boys would be nice. Would the babies be white like their dad or be mostly black like Roxy? How about the ears? Would they be big or tiny like Roxy's?

Then I thought about You, reader. By the time you read the post I would write, those babies would be out and running around...

To be continued!