Your goat is getting bigger and bigger and bigger everyday. She looks like she is just about to pop and waddles worse than a duck. When she lays down she makes these strange little sounds because she is so full of kids, it's hard to breathe. She is obviously ready to be done with it all. Are you?
This is another take on being prepared. When you sign on to be the steward of other living things you accept the responsibilities that come with it. This is also another instance of there are just about as many ways to take care of animals as there are people.
The first time your goats kid, you will be nervous and worried. Actually, you will be a little nervous and worried every time. Isn't that encouraging?? Even when you have a proven doe that has easy births and is a great mom, you still want everything to go just right. The vast majority of the time it does. But not always. I have learned to pull kids that are not making it out on their own, usually because more than one is trying to be born at once. I really hope that doesn't happen this year, but if it does we will try to get some pictures. It is a rather busy time with all hands on deck, but maybe we can...if it happens....which I hope it doesn't.
One of the first things I always do is get out my goat books and read about kidding. Really, no kidding (sorry, I just couldn't resist). I read all of these books over and over, every year. I always find it interesting that all authors don't agree on everything. And then sometimes on some points, I don't agree with any of them. That goes back to the different ways people do things. There is always something to be learned from others, some things I don't want to do and some things are very valuable to know.
I used to take just about everything I thought I might need to the barn when I was expecting kids. Now, I take what I know I will always need. If there is something else that is needed there will be time to get it and bring it to the barn later.
Here is my tote and the extra towels I keep in the barn. They are dirty and the tote has extra stuff in it I don't need. Since One Stripe will be kidding soon, it's time to get things in order.
I brought the fly spray we use on the dog to the house so it won't freeze. We won't be needing it for a while. We also have a mixture of 1 part Betadine to 2 parts water in this old Ivory Liquid bottle. We used it on some hot spots the dog had in the summer. It could come in handy for disinfecting my hands if I need to pull any kids.
I always keep some strong 7% Iodine on hand in the barn for all kinds of things, like spraying hooves if I trim them too short. It is the type of iodine needed to put on the kid's umbilical cords shortly after birth. It is very strong and will close off the cord and prevent bacteria and germs from entering the newborn. This is not the type of iodine you use on many things. It is very strong and not appropriate for regular wounds, yet we have been known to spray it on minor cuts we get while working in the barn. It will cauterize according to the vet. Mineral oil is kept in the birthing tote in case I have to pull or rearrange the kids during birth. I use it to lubricate my hands.
We keep a few syringes and needles in marked ziplock bags in this tote. There is also a medicine dropper. It works great for dribbling colostrum into the mouths of weak newborn kids. We will need the scissors to cut the umbilical cords.
We get the vast majority of our animal supplies from Jeffer's Livestock and Pet online. They carry everything from animal wormer (dog, cats, chickens, goats, etc.), Pick No More for chickens, needles, syringes, pet vitamins, electrolytes we use for baby chicks, antibiotics and most everything you would use for pets and livestock. We have used them for a long time.
The tote itself is a dirty mess. It has a fine coating of 'barn dust', better known as pulverized goat poop on it, and needs a good washing.
Since it's a cold day outside, I chose to wash it out in the bathtub. Isn't nice, hot running water great?
There. Clean and packed with the normal necessities for a regular, run-of-the-mill birth: mineral oil, iodine, betadine solution, scissors, syringes, medicine dropper and old towels. I just hope I'm there when it happens. I really like to see the whole process. I set up my chair in the peanut gallery and talk to the does and the dog and the cats and anyone that happens to come visit. Most folks don't find sitting in a cold barn watching goats being born very exciting or entertaining, but I do. I'll keep you posted.
Until next time - Fern