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Whether you have goats that have freshened before or this is your first kidding season, it’s always important to make sure that you have the appropriate supplies for when the hooves are ready to hit the ground. We currently have a small herd of Nigerian Dwarf goats, and last year was our first year with a kid being born on the farm. We purchased several young doelings and a buckling last year, but we also wanted to experience a kidding at the farm with just one goat freshening before getting in to breeding the herd. Being first timers, the thought of having all of these goats going into labor at the same time was very daunting and scary. I read and researched to make sure that I was as prepared as I could be, and that alone helped alleviate some of my nerves. Although we didn’t know exactly when Mimosa’s kidding date would be since she wasn’t bred on our farm. We had a month and a half window of when the kidding could take place, so I felt the need to check her several times a day to look for signs. Now that we have a better idea when our does should freshen this year, it should be a lot less stressful. (Check out our Goats page for more information on this year’s planned kiddings.) Staying as prepared as possible is the best thing that you can do to ensure a smooth delivery process. To help you stay prepared, I’ve compiled a list of items that I personally keep in my kidding kit. Each image is a link so you can purchase for your own kidding kit.
I am not a veterinarian, and this post should not be used in lieu of professional medical advice for your animals. I’m just sharing my journey and the things I have used and learned along the way.
My kit itself is a 5 gallon bucket with a lid that I picked up at a hardware store. I’ve also seen people use rolling tool boxes for their kidding supplies. The benefit of the rolling toolbox is that it’s on wheels so it’s easy to move, and it allows for more organization. Here is a link to an affordable version that I found on Amazon.
Vet’s phone number & Mentor’s Phone Number are both very important. If you run into any emergencies or have any questions about anything, it is always a great idea to have the contact information to your vet and your mentor in easy to access places. I keep this info in with my kidding supplies, stored in my phone, and also on a page in my calendar/planner that has my kidding schedule in it.
Gloves are very important to ensure cleanliness throughout the birthing procedure. Most does will give birth on their own without needing assistance, but occasionally you may need to help pull a kid or “go in” to reposition a kid to come out. If either of these happen, you’ll want to glove up first.
Dental floss is for tying off the umbilical cord before you cut it. When my girl, Mimosa, gave birth last year, she took care of the cord on her own and chewed it pretty low before I could get to it. Sometimes nature just knows what to do without any help. Either way, it’s still good to have in case you need it. I choose to keep floss on hand that is unflavored. I just feel weird about using mint on sensitive areas since mint tends to have a cooling effect. It would probably work the same, but I still keep the unflavored type in my kidding kit.
Surgical Scissors are for cutting the umbilical cord after you’ve tied it off.
7% Iodine is to dip the umbilical cord in to prevent infection. Alternatively you can use Betadine Spray or something similar, which can also be used to sanitize your hands really quick if you need to “go in”. I have Betadine in my kidding kit
Small Bottle or cup to put iodine in to dip umbilical cord. An old plastic cup or pill bottle or something similar would work perfectly for this. Just make sure it’s cleaned out really well before putting it in your kidding kit.
Paper Towels and Baby wipes to clean up messes and wipe off your hands and instruments used. Make sure to fully wash and sanitize yourself and utensils once kids are taken care of.
Old towels to dry kids and remove any straw or bedding that sticks to them.
Puppy Pads are great to lay down in the kidding area right before the baby comes out. They’re pretty absorbent too, which makes cleanup a lot easier. Don’t leave this with your goats unattended because they could pose a choking hazard.
Garbage Bag to also make cleanup easier
Flashlight because you never know what time of day kids are going to be born. This is good to have on hand especially if you have a barn with poor lighting. Alternatively consider using a headlamp to free up your hands if needed.
Bulb Syringe to suck fluids out of newborn nostrils.
Bottle with nipple for kids that either by their choice or mom’s are unable to nurse. It’s important that they start nursing pretty soon after birth to start getting colostrum.
Lubrication (whatever your personal lubricant of choice is will work) this is to make things easier in the case that you need to “go in”. I keep a small travel size jar of Vaseline in my kidding kit.
Baby Monitors are nice because they allow you to see what is going on in your barn or kidding area without having to be there disturbing mama goat. Last year when our girl Mimosa went into labor, she was showing signs of a kid coming any minute around 10:30 at night. We sat out in the barn with her until 1:00am, and finally decided to go in and try to get some sleep. I set my alarm for every hour or so to wake up and go check on her to see if she had the kid yet or if she was showing any signs of duress. She was perfectly fine all night long with nothing changing. I had last checked her at 7:00am with no baby on the ground yet and no signs of pushing or anything. I went inside to get a shower and get ready for work. I went out to the barn at 7:35 and we had hooves on the ground, and I was able to watch Brandy stumble as she stood up for the first time and took her first steps. If I would have had a baby monitor last year, I wouldn’t have had to keep going out to the barn to check on Mimosa all night long. I wouldn’t have even had to get out of bed. Having a baby monitor that can also connect to Wi-Fi is a must so I can access the app to check on mom and babies when away from home.
Thermometer to check the temp of both kids and mom if anything seems wrong. A goat’s average temperature should be around 102/103 degrees Fahrenheit.
Probiotics are good to give to goats when they’re undergoing stress, have feed changes, weather changes, etc. Birthing can be a stressful time, so I like to make sure that mom is given some probiotic gel after she’s done giving birth. After I make sure that the babies get some colostrum, I like to give them a tiny bit of probiotic gel as well. This is to give their stomach a healthy dose of good bacteria to start them off well in life. If you are unfamiliar with probiotics, they are a from or several forms of good bacteria that help to fight off any bad bacteria that may be ingested.
Kid colostrum replacement Some kids refuse mom’s teat, and some mom’s refuse kids. Sometimes this refusal only lasts a little while and they change their minds later. Other times, the kid will have to be a bottle baby. Either way, it’s important that each kid is fed colostrum or colostrum replacement shortly after birth. If they don’t get colostrum from their mom’s teat, you’ll have to supplement with this kid colostrum replacement.
Feeding tube and syringe In rare circumstances, kids can be born too weak to nurse from mom or to even attempt to take a bottle. In these cases, you may have to tube feed a kid to get nutrients into their body, so they can build up the strength to be able to nurse. Tube feeding can absolutely save lives.
Pepto-Bismol (to treat mild diarrhea)
Electrolyte gels are good for mild cases of dehydration. Goat specific electrolyte gels can be found at your local farm store.
Vitamin B can be used to give energy to weak goats. Whether mom or kids are weak after the birthing process, Vitamin B gel may need to be administered to help get them through until they can be seen by a vet.
Baking Soda is a useful digestive aid for goats. It can help reduce bloat and should be kept in your goat emergency kit at all times. Don’t give unless necessary or recommended by a vet.
Selenium/Vit E Gel is great to have on hand if you live in a selenium deficient area. If your area is only mildly deficient, you’ll probably only give a little bit of this a couple times a year.
NutriDrench provides energy support for weak or premature born newborn kids. Having it on hand can literally be a lifesaver.
Molasses when mixed with warm water is an excellent recovery drink for does after they have given birth. It’s loaded with nutrients and natural sugars that can be great for does after the strenuous activity of kidding. It may be a good idea to also keep a spoon in your kidding kit to scoop out molasses and stir into the warm water.
Luggage Scale to weigh kids. You’ll have to find a bag or bucket to put them in, zero the scale, and then weigh them. I do this every 8-12 hours for the first 5 days, then once a day for the first 2-3 weeks just to make sure that the kids are healthy and putting on weight the way they should be.
Needles & Syringes to give medications if needed. This is more for a regular goat first aid kit, but if you keep all of your stuff in one place, you might as well keep it in with your kidding supplies too.
Overall this is a solid list of some great things to have on hand in your goat kidding supplies kit. Again, I am not a veterinarian, so this should not be taken as medical advice. I’m just learning as I go and want to share my process and supplies with others. There may be additional items that I’m forgetting or that I haven’t been exposed to yet. If there’s anything that you think needs added to this list, please leave a comment, so I can update it.