Kidding Season
Well...apparently it's been a really long time since my last blog entry. I promise I'll to do better this year.

It's kidding season at Seco Creek Farm. This is the time of year that all of our does have their babies, which means we have fresh goat milk! If you follow us on facebook you've seen me post about being at the barn all day because a certain goat was in labor. I know some of you are probably thinking, "Why is she out at the barn all day? Haven't goats been having babies by themselves for thousands of years?" Let me give you a glimpse into "kidding day" at the farm.

When it is breeding time we put an individual doe in the pen with a buck and watch them closely. We usually know when they are bred, which means we have an exact due date. A doe can kid five days before or after her due date and still fall in the normal range. As time approaches her due date we begin to look for signs of approaching labor. The doe's udder will fill up, she will have loose ligaments on either side of her tail. She may even want to hang out in the barn or stay by herself when she is really close.

As part of our herd health program, we attend all births at the farm. When we start to see signs of labor we watch the doe very closely. We begin with checks every couple of hours, then move to hourly and even thirty minute checks. Once we start to see that a doe is pushing or we see the amniotic sac, we stay with her. For the most part we leave the doe alone and just monitor the birth. We note the time that she starts pushing and the time the amniotic sac breaks. If the labor seems to be taking a long time, or the doe seems to be having trouble I put on my exam glove, lube up, and check. I am checking to see if the kid is in the proper position. I want to feel two front feet and a head. If I don't I may need to reposition the kid for delivery.

Assuming everything is fine, I hang back with my towels and wait to catch kids! Twins are normal for goats but it is not uncommom to have a single or triplets. We actually had a nice set of triplets born this morning! As the kids are born I dry them off, wrap them in a towel and set them aside. Once everyone is out the doe is given some water, hay, and grain and left alone to relax a little until she passes her placenta.

While this is happening the kids are taken to the house and put in a very large rubbermaid type container. Each kid is given a temporary collar with their dam's name and their birth number. For example (Angie 1) (Angie 2) & (Angie 3). We need to know the birth order for tatooing purposes. We weigh each kid, give them a vitamin E capsule, a little dab of probias, and a BoSe (vitamin E and Selenium) injection. We also clamp their naval cord and spray the cord and their hooves with iodine. Each kid is bottle-fed their first colostrum and then they take a nap.

At this point it is time to go back out to the barn to check on the doe. We check to see if she has passed her placenta. If she doesn't do this with the first few hours after delivery we consider giving her an injection of oxytocin to speed up the process. Milking her can help move things along, so we usually milk her for the first time at this point. Once she is done we usually turn the doe back into the pen with the other does. They are more relaxed when they are with their friends.

The colostrum gets taken back to the house where it is strained and heat treated. The new kids will be bottle-fed four to five times the first day, then four times a day for the first week and a half. Keep in mind that all of this is going on while I have three year old, two year old, and three month old human boys to care for. I can only hope that kiddings happen on days that my husband will be home from work! ;)

Here are the babies from today!

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