All births are attended by me and Don so that we can be sure each baby gets dried off, treated as needed, and is observed nursing to get colostrum which is only absorbed by the kid during the first few hours of life. When they arrive in three's, it can be a very busy time for us and the new goat moms. I hate to jinx my luck, but last year all kids were born healthy and during the daytime. They also managed to pick the sunny mild afternoons that were sandwiched in between some pretty nasty weather. The does were very considerate. I hope it is the same this year.
Many of the supplies are stored in a tote that comes to the barn with me and it contains the followingitems:
- puppy-training pads to catch the kids as they are born so they don't touch the bedding until navel cords are treated with iodine,
- towels to dry off the kid, especially important when it is cold,
- dental floss to tie off umbilical cords,
- iodine to dip the navel cord to prevent bacterial infections,
- a film container to put iodine in,
- A bottle of BO-SE (selenium supplement). If a kid appears weak and unable to stand it is often due to a selenium deficiency so an injection of this supplement is given to the newborn.
Emergency supplies, are always with me in case the doe needs assistance with her delivery. These include a lubricant and sterile gloves in case I have to physically go in and assist positioning kids into the birth canal. I also have a kid puller which is basically a rubber "snare" in case I can't find and turn the kids with my fingers.
The doe also needs a pick-me-up after all that hard work. If she is just tired but still active then she gets hot bucket of water that contains molassas and karo syrup with salt and soda added. Does will often drink up to 1/2 gallon of this immediately after kidding to restore their depleted energy reserves. We also have treatments on hand in case she develops a metabolic imbalance due to the stresses of pregnancy and kidding.
Although most kids come along just fine and they immediately start nursing, there may be an occasional kid that may be too weak to nurse. If they don't respond quickly to a BO-SE injection and appear to have no sucking reflex then the kid must be tube fed colostrum immediately. I keep a feeding tube handy along with dried colostrum in case I can't manage to milk colostrum the mother for some reason. Very occasionally a doe kids and develops an udder later. Use of a feeding tube will usually save a kid that might otherwise die.
Fortunately if the does are well cared for, most births proceed easily. Just like having insurance, I prefer to be prepared for the worst, all the while hoping that most of the supplies that I have on hand will never be needed.