Tip of the Month
So --- your doe is bred. You watched her carefully, and she did not come back into heat. And after a while, she chubbed up nicely. You count up 150 days from the date when she was favored by the buck, and, by golly - the due date is coming upon you. It is a very prudent measure if, about 30 days prior to the projected due date, you vaccinate her. We at Alchemy Acres vaccinate for both tetanus and enterotoxemia (overeaters disease). Actually, the vaccinations are not so much for the doe as for the unborn kid(s). The antibodies made by the doe, will protect the kids for approximately the first month of their lives. And sometime prior to the due date, you will want to assemble a "kidding kit". This kit will contain the following items - at a minimum.
- Sterile Scissors (for cutting thick umbilical)
- Dental Floss (for tying off umbilical, if excessive bleeding)
- Clean Towels (for drying off wet kid)
- Small Jar with Iodine (for dipping navels)
- Propylene Glycol (for the least sign of ketosis in the doe)
- Clean Location or Feed Sacks (on which to place newborns)
- Hot Molasses Water or Honey Water (to replenish doe's energy)
- Jars( into which to milk some of the colostrum)
- Baby Bottles with Heat-treated Colostrum from Previous Kidding (for feeding newborns)
If the weather is particularly cold, you must keep any freezable items in the house. Also, I'm assuming you are going to hand raise your kids, so as to avoid any chance of either CAE (caprine arthritis encephalitis) or mycoplasma. In this case, you will also want to have a kid box prepared, This is merely a wooden box ( big enough to hold 3-4 kids) which has a light bulb in the lid. You can vary the amount of heat by varying the wattage of the light bulb. We usually use a 60 watt bulb, but for extremely cold nights, you might wish to use a 100 watt bulb. This should be necessary for only the first couple days after birth. The kids are usually very hardy, and its better if you tough them up as soon as possible.
So, you're now ready for the big event. How do you know the exact time the doe is going to kid? Well you don't, but there are a few helpful hints the doe might give to help you out. Of course, each doe is unique, so these are merely guidelines.
Your doe may exhibit any, all, or none of these signs. Just watch her carefully for signs of change. If you're at a complete loss, go to her stall every hour or two (yes - in the middle of the night, too) and keep a close eye on her. You're almost certain to be there at her big event. And she will remember and appreciate your good care. You will be amply rewarded, not only with healthy kids, but also with a very affectionate doe who will be much easier to handle.
- Doe may become very restless - gets up and down a lot.
- Doe may become extremely "friendly" - may lick keepers hands, for example.
- Doe may become "talkative".
- Doe may start digging around in the hay - seems like she's going to China.
- The ligaments on either side of the tail become extremely "soft" - to the point of "disappearing".
- The udder starts to swell with milk.
Next month, we will talk you through an example kidding - one of the ones we have experienced. Good luck and good kidding.
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