Saturday, February 4, 2012

Gettin' Ready for Babies

January was was an unusually mild month here in WV.  It allowed us to work outside on a variety of projects that generally must be postponed until spring.  The end of January also signals that it is time to get ready for the impending arrival of our Nigerian Dwarf goat babies in early March.  A fact of life is that the does need to have babies if we are to have milk.  Goats are pregnant for 5 months and are now in their last month of pregnancy.  This is a critical time in the does life as well as ours.

 The kids grow very rapidly during the last month of gestation therefore, the health and nutritional needs of the doe must be attended to.  Feed rations that were reduced when the does were dried off (from milk) in December are gradually increased during this last month of pregnancy. The does get additional loose minerals and kelp to meet their increased need for trace elements.  It is also important to maintain proper calcium ratios so that the doe's calcium reserves are sufficient for her needs as well as that of her rapidly gowing babies.  I vaccinated each doe this week (approximately 30 days before birth) to maximize immunity passed from dam to kid via colostrum. They are vaccinated for Enterotoxemia (a deadly infection of the intestinal tract especially for young kids) and for Tetanus.  I trimmed feet so that during the last month when the does are extremely heavy, their feet can support their weight preventing undue strain on other parts of the body.  I avoid trimming feet much later than this because it is difficult for them to stand on three legs easily.

Goats commonly have multiple kids and I'm predicting that we will have at least two sets of triplets again this year. It is easy to feel the kids moving around now and the does are resting more.  It is also time to check on kidding supplies and order any items that are needed well ahead of the expected kidding times.  I hang an inexpensive baby monitor in the barn a few weeks before kidding so that I can monitor the herd at night in case there is a night birth.  I make sure I have a large tote filled with old towels and puppy-training pads to catch the babies as they arrive.  I also have emergency birthing supplies on hand in case a doe has difficulties.  BO-SE (an injectable selenium supplement) is on hand so I can administer it to any babies that appear weak.  

If all goes well this next month, then we'll have lots of  cute kids screaming their way into this world the first week of March.

Also check out Gettin' Ready for Babies - Part 2:


  1. Actually we have 8 that are expecting...5 in early March and 3 in April.

  2. Well, at least you aren't into double digits.