Keeping your doe healthy and strong during their gestation helps ensure an easy delivery and healthy kids on the ground. While taking care of those adorable, fragile new lives is important, don’t forget about your doe – she needs your support after kidding as well.
Right After Kidding
No matter how quick and easy a labor may be, it takes a lot out of a doe. Once all of the babies are out and have cared for, we immediately offer our does warm water with molasses to help replace lost fluids. This also boosts their blood sugar and provides nutrients such as potassium, magnesium and calcium to help support milk production. If you’re kidding in the hotter months, a good electrolyte drench is also a good idea. It’s very simple to make your own electrolytes for your goats as needed.
We offer grain to our does directly after kidding as well to make sure they sustain the energy needed to care for their kids. It’s really hard to get kids to nurse if all your doe wants is a nap. Not that I could blame her.
24-48 Hours After Kidding
Once your doe has kidded, it’s important to keep an eye on her to be sure she passes the placenta. The placenta should be passed within 12-18 hours. We let our does eat their placentas if they want to, and have never experienced a problem.
If your doe does not pass her placenta within a reasonable amount of time, contact a vet. A retained placenta can turn dangerous very quickly, and your doe may need intervention to get it out. If the placenta is slow to pass, just watch it it’s progress – never pull on it! You can tie a wet rag to it to add some additional weight and help gravity along if you are concerned about it’s progress.
Worm your doe within 24 hours after kidding. The stress of kidding can trigger an extreme parasite load while your doe’s resources are depleted. Worming right after kidding prevents a heavy worm load from overrunning your doe.
If you had to enter your doe to assist with delivery, it’s always recommended to treat your doe to prevent infection. You can do this with Oxytetracycline or a natural alternative such Dr. Christopher’s Infection Formula or Molly’s Herbals Immune Support Tincture. Monitor their temperature closely and make sure their appetite remains strong.
Assisted kiddings can also result in tearing of the vulva. If the tear is more than superficial, do your best to keep it clean and dry while it heals. We use Fight Bac, which is a teat spray, but we’ve found is super effective on helping out vulva tears.
This is also a time when Milk Fever can set in as milk production ramps up and calcium levels get our of whack. Pay close attention to your doe’s appetite and general mood and behavior, as these can be indicators of Milk Fever.
1-3 Weeks Post Kidding
If your doe is dam raising her kids make sure her teats aren’t getting chapped. The discomfort can cause your doe to keep from feeding her kids fully. Also ensure that the kids are nursing evenly. If you notice kids are favoring one side, milk out your doe to keep her udder even to avoid mastitis or tissue damage to the udder.
Watch your doe’s weight carefully and adjust feeding as needed. As they come into milk heavily, their weight can drop drastically. Make sure they’re getting enough healthy calories to support their production.
Your doe will continue to “clean out” for up to three weeks following kidding. This means intermittent blood and discharge. Totally normal. Just be on the look out for foul odor or large quantities of bright red blood.
Most importantly, don’t neglect your doe in favor of those adorable kids! Give that gal lots of love and attention and let her know you appreciate all of her hard work.