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Important! Please Read This Notice!
All information provided in these articles is based either on personal experience or information provided by others whose treatments and practices have been discussed fully with a vet for accuracy and effectiveness before passing them on to readers.
In all cases, it is your responsibility to obtain veterinary services and advice before using any of the information provided in these articles. We are not veterinarians. Neither nor any of the contributors to this website will be held responsible for the use of any information contained herein.
PLEASE keep in mind, just because there is a DVM after the name does not mean they have the proper answers for goat owners 'Caveat emptor'- You need to find a responsible GOAT Vet

Goat Kidding Print E-mail
Written by Administrator-GL   
Monday, 28 May 2007
Article Index
Goat Kidding
Page 2

Kids Are Coming:
Let me say one thing that is very important first: If the doe’s water has broken or she has a bag of fluids showing and has not produced a baby within 20 minutes or less-you must go in to find out why-This is not normal.. she could have a mal-positioned baby or a dead baby blocking the way for a live baby behind it... I have seen many people not know this and lose the baby or the doe or both because they saw her water had broke that morning and by that evening wondered if they should do something.. 20 minutes or less maximum!
Ok.. Now you have your doe who is pawing the ground and has a discharge, her tail ligaments are soft and you know it’s time. If she isn’t already in her special kidding place then guide her there Before her water breaks. Make sure you have all of your supplies with you. A plastic bag is great for carrying these things and you can use the handles to hang them on or tie them to the fencing to keep it off the ground.
Most of the time goats have their babies with no problems but being there as a rule is the best way I have found.. Because If they do have a problem, they will need help quick. Better to be there and not have to help than not.
The first thing you will see is the bag of fluids before the baby is born-usually.
head presented

Sometimes the first thing you will see is the baby’s front feet and nose in the birth sac.

mouth and nose cleared

I personally wait until the nose and mouth have come out of the doe and go ahead and clear the nose and mouth with a clean towel then- just in case the umbilical cord has broken inside-when the cord breaks the baby wants to take a breath.
Once the shoulders are out the rest is fast and the baby comes without a problem.
Should you have one foot and a nose you need to go in and find the other foot and carefully bring it forward so they can both come out together, making the birth easy for the doe and reducing stress on the baby.
Should you have back feet first you need to act quickly because typically the umbilical cord can break before baby is born and the baby’s head still being inside mom will create problems when he/she tries to breath.

There are as many positions for birthing babies as there are babies, almost. The rule of thumb is to get baby out of the doe with as little stress on her and the baby as possible and to act quickly and determined - yet being gentle so as not to cause injury to the delicate uterus.
When delivering baby keep in mind the position of the spine. You want to keep the tension of pulling in the curve of the baby’s spine.. Someone once said think of the baby as a banana shape and act accordingly - pulling baby with the curve slightly so as not to break the baby’s back.
Only pull while the doe is pushing - never while she is resting- this reduces the chance of tearing the uterine wall. Hold tight to the baby while mom rests without pulling then resume pulling when she starts to push. If you are confused about the baby’s body part that is showing, close your eyes and feel slowly. For some reason you can ‘see’ better with your eyes closed in a case like this.. Determine what you have and then turn baby to bring feet forward so they can come out before the rest of the baby-whether it’s back feet or front. The feet need to come first to unfold baby and make the delivery smooth as possible.


  • You can push a baby back into mom to reposition it if done gently , before the head is presented and while the doe is not pushing (having a contraction). You can turn a baby around in your cupped hand making sure nothing projects to tear the uterus. You can untangle two babies if they are trying to come out at the same time. Keep your cool and close your eyes and think carefully what you have going on in there. (The joints on the front legs both bend in one direction, the joints on the back leg bend in opposite directions- Also feet turned bottom side down the baby is facing the proper direction , bottom side up, the baby is upside down- you need to reposition baby to the normal kidding position) You can fall apart later.


  • Once babies are out and you have cleared the nose and mouth and they are breathing, set them up to mom so she can clean them and stimulate them.. She wants them on their feet before they suckle, and she will clean and stimulate them to get up and going. (She may not pay much attention to baby #1 if she is going to have a second, until baby #2 is born) Also, baby's cries stimulate mama's attention.


  • Make sure her teats are unplugged(the teats get a waxy plug in the opening that needs to come out before the babies can suckle, it sometimes is too much for baby to remove) Do this by milking a few squirts on each side and then getting baby/babies up to suckle.. there is an enzyme in the baby's saliva that helps to close the teat opening, therefore reducing chance of Mastitis after it suckles - the teat will not have this stimuli after hand milking, making it most important to use a teat-dip after milking.


  • Babies may need help finding the teats. I always make sure they are up to suckle within 15 minutes of birth. They may need help getting the teat in the mouth- and they may baulk at you helping - the boys are the worst- tickle their butt and they will take the teat.. This is what mom does when she is cleaning them..and it does work..

Colostrum is the first milk they will get and it is readily absorbed and utilized by baby for the first 12 hours, the next 12 hours they are able to get some of the antibodies from it but after that, colostrum really does not absorb into their system as an antibody. Baby goats do not get antibodies from the umbilical system- it comes strictly from the colostrum. So this is vital they get colostrum right away.

  • Dip the navels with iodine and give BO-SE injections if you are in a Selenium deficient area.

Bring mom a bucket of very warm water with molasses in it for energy-(at least a gallon) she has worked hard and is tired. Many people give bran or sunflower seeds now too.. Personally, I stick with the molasses water for now.

  • What you should have now is some gorgeous babies or baby, with full bellies because you made sure they got some colostrum (BTW they may only take a suckle or two at a time), a tired but proud mom who has had her molasses water. Babies are dry and finding the teats all by themselves - you know this because you did not leave until you saw each kid find the teat twice all by itself. She is happy, you are happy and the babies are happy. You have taken pictures of all this right?.. ( An inexpensive tripod is great for kidding season-Walmart has good ones for under $20.00)

NOW you may leave for a few minutes and go have a cup of coffee or what ever it is you drink.. But come back in 30 minutes (if you can stay away that long) to make sure everyone is still doing alright. (I always double and triple check about every 30 minutes or so for the first few hours- more often in cold or extremely hot weather)

  • Mom should be delivering after birth by now.. (within 2 1/2 hours usually). You need to make sure she does - especially if you went inside her to help. Keeping her in an area free from other pets and goats will help you find the afterbirth or remnants (if she ate it while you were not looking).

Now, some people say she should not eat the placenta and some say she should. Personally.. I allow any mom who wants to eat it, do so. For one thing I believe it helps make a stronger bond with baby for another I feel it is full of good proteins and vitamins. If she does not eat it, you should remove it and throw it away - double bagged or give it to your trustworthy alpha dog (which is what I do). No, in my personal experiences.. I have never had a dog eating the afterbirth try to eat a newborn baby.. instead they seem to make a stronger protection bond with the babies.. BUT this is true for my dogs - and all dogs are different. Use your own judgment.

  • And if you did go inside- even with your gloved hands.. You will need to give her a shot of antibiotic and some probiotic paste.. I would do this for 5 days- check with your vet for dosages. (I use 1 cc/25 lbs goat weight- penicillin Procaine G a broad spectrum antibiotic).

If she had a hard delivery or a dead fetus you will give her a water-vinegar douche then the antibiotics. (I sometimes put about 1cc of Penicillin Procaine G in the douche as well.) Also, a nasal spray decongestant or a hemorrhoid cream just inside the swollen vaginal opening will help greatly reduce swelling and pain. She still needs to pass afterbirth. Nursing will help the contractions needed to produce the afterbirth. There will be a discharge from her much like a menstrual discharge that may start that day or a week later and last from 2 to 3 weeks.. As long as it isn’t brown and has no foul odor things are normal. If it has a brownish tint or has a foul odor you will want to make sure she is put on antibiotics.

A healthy baby has warm ears and mouth, stretches and urinates upon waking and then starts looking for the faucets.. Tail is up and wagging while eating.. They may either take a nap after eating or play some.
If you have a baby whose mouth is cold, tail is down or stands hunched up.. You have a problem baby.. You need to get the baby’s blood sugars up by giving it molasses, warm strong coffee, nutri-drench, glucose or whatever else you may have on hand..
Here is a quick baby goat coat

A chilled baby cannot suckle.. So you will have to use a syringe Very Carefully.. and drip it in the mouth making sure the baby swallows and does not choke- Do Not hold baby’s head tilted back to do this.. (Show me)
You don’t want to get fluids in the lungs.. (see page on tube feeding a kid goat here (Tube Feed a Baby Goat) Normal temperature is 101 to 104-taken rectally.
Once the blood sugars are up and the mouth is warm inside the baby should be able to suckle.. It is also important in this case to milk some colostrum from mom and give it to baby with the molasses and coffee..

So.. There you have it.. Easy huh?.. If you are like me your gut hurts from helping mom push and your throat hurts from breathing hard too.. It’s like having labor over and over *LOL*
Congratulations.. You just had a baby goat!

Last Updated ( Saturday, 31 December 2011 )
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