Getting ready for the KIDS!

Getting ready for the KIDS!

We are in the crazy final days of prep before our first kidding. I haven’t been this beside myself since I cranked out my own kids! I’ve dreamt goat births for the last three nights, with last night being the best – a perfectly beautiful Nubian doe (weird that I am dreaming the wrong breed) stepped out of her mother and into my lap, ready to play. If only.

In an effort to offset my fears, I’ve decided to do what I do best – rely on my inner nerd and do some research. A lot of reading, and asking questions, and then more reading.

The best resources I’ve found:

  • My goat breeder and vet. I’m so lucky to have gotten these goats from Lil Bleats, and a breeder who is so willing to share her knowledge. I’m equally lucky that our vet doesn’t mind working a goat lesson into every visit. 
  • The Fias Co Farm website. This is the absolute best source of information on the web, and I encourage you to donate to the site if you find it as useful as I have. 
  • Real books. From the store. Books you can read, mark up, and then have on hand during the kidding, even if all you can do is hug them to your chest and feel more capable by way of osmosis. “Raising Goats Naturally” by Deborah Niemann is my favorite text, along with “Storey’s Guide to Raising Diary Goats.” Brad Kessler’s “Goat Song” is a moving memoir about embarking on a life with goats – such beautiful, candid writing; it made me love my own goats even more.
Speaking of my own goats, let’s get to the nitty gritty here at Pare Down.

This is our pretty Ella before she lost that girlish figure. She’s still a little wild, but has reached the point of tolerating us and will love us soon enough. She was bred on 9/2 and 9/9, so with a standard 145-day gestation for miniature goats, she is due 1/25 or 2/1. I’m pretty sure that this will be our first and last winter kidding – everything is harder in the snow.

(Side note: After sliding around our icy, hilly property for a few weeks I just discovered YakTrax for my muck boots. How did I not know about these? Google them if you don’t already own a pair!)

Next, I needed to assemble my own Goat Kidding Kit for the big day.

We have the following on hand:

  • Surgical soap wash for hands and instruments, if needed
  • Iodine replacement spray for sterilizing (haven’t decided yet if we are dipping the navels)
  • Old bulb syringe from my babies, in case we need to clear noses of birth gunk (it’s a technical term)
  • Surgical scissors (please, dear sweet baby universe, don’t make me have to use these for anything)
  • Emergency tubing and colostrum replacer (ibid)
  • Old feed bags and pee pads to catch the goo (things are getting real now!)
  • Clean towels, paper towels and tiny hairdryer (to help mama clean and dry these babies in the bitter cold) 
  • Kid coats made of second-hand sweatshirt sleeves
I’ll have warm water with molasses and grain on hand for the Ella when she’s done, and a shot of something stronger for Gabe and myself.

Now, where to kid? 

Our goat shed is small, with most of the space being taken up by hay bales for winter insulation, so Ella will be kidding in the milking barn (formerly known as “the garage”). We’ve set up a pen using a dog exercise kennel and fresh hay. 

This is the cleanest it will ever look. We’ve also tricked it out with a small space heater for super cold nights. No need for a baby monitor – we’ll be able to hear Ella AOK, as our bed is directly above the garage…which is equipped with excellent acoustics.

Scout and Rascal are looking forward to having a visitor to keep them company at night – Ella is their favorite goat since she’s the least likely to head butt them when they want to hang out.

So…Ella will start sleeping here this weekend to make sure that she’s used to it. It’s tricky, having 3 goats. If she can’t stand being by herself, we may bring little Tess up as a sleeping companion and leave Lucy alone in the shed.

Nothing to do now but wait. This will get easier each time. Um, right?

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