Winter kids bring special concerns as these small goats need to keep warm. This can overshadow mother goat care.
High Reaches Silk’s Drucilla is a big, healthy mother goat in the prime of her life. She doesn’t look like she needs special care. She would sneer at the notion, if she understood.
That doesn’t change a thing.
Long ago the standard advice was to deworm a doe just after she had her kids. The sequestered worms would flood her system due to the stress of kidding.
I followed this for years. Drucilla is glad I don’t now. Instead I have a waiting game. If she appears to have an overload problem, she will eat wormer, to her disgust. If her coat remains silky, her droppings normal, she gets to skip the awful stuff.
One bit of mother goat care I do follow is for milking. Yes, I let my does raise their kids. Years ago I had time for all the bottles and fussing. Now I don’t. Both my does and I are much happier.
That doesn’t mean Drucilla gets to skip milking. Being a Nubian, she would never miss a chance to eat unless she were ill. While she inhales her grain, I check her udder and milk her out every morning and every night.
The first couple of days, I don’t milk unless the doe’s udder is congested or full. I do take some of the first colostrum and freeze it for emergency use. This precious first milk is produced before the kids arrive and not after. It is important for the kids. I let them have as much as they want.
By the third day, the colostrum is diluted with milk. The kids are still too young to empty a large udder like Drucilla has. I milk the extra out. My barn cats Cloudy, Tyke and Orange Cat are delighted with the bounty.
Other mother goat care depends on the doe. Often their hooves need trimming as they were too big to do before the kids arrived. Their kids may need help learning where their meals come from.
My does are kept in a special pen for a few days. this pen is set up with places for the kids to sleep and keep warm. The doe can have extra hay. And the rest of my does are safe from overly protective mother goats.
As soon as the kids are playing, the special pen comes down. There are places for the kids to sleep in peace. And mother goat care becomes general goat care.
What do you do when your new does have kids the same day? Harriet finds out in Capri Capers.