Labor & Delivery Farm Style

Essential Delivery Supplies

Every Labor and Delivery nurse knows you must have your most needed supplies at hand as you anticipate a delivery.  It is no different here on the farm.

Here are the “Frequently Used Items” I keep with me at all times.  The clean red feed pail is loaded with these items and hooked over the fence of the pen I am working in.  I never have to go far to find what I need.  Additionally, my pockets are loaded with both kinds of gloves at all times.  I use the short gloves for whatever I may need to do but never go further than about a finger length into the goat.  Anytime I go in for any reason, I put a little Betadine scrub on the glove first. The longer gloves are used much less often, but are required anytime you go beyond the cervix.  A clean glove is ALWAYS used!  Some like J-lube or another variety of lube.  Use what you like.  I’ve had excellent outcomes with this.  The short (about 18 inches) double snap lead is also essential.  I keep one of these in my other pocket.  I am frequently alone at kidding (it happens in the middle of the night in rotten weather, right?).  With this snap I can quickly secure the doe to a fence if I need her cooperation and she feels otherwise.  All does here wear dog-type collars so ‘Snap’ is pretty easily accomplished.

The Tuck’s pads are a comfort measure if there is any tearing or excessive swelling.  Use one per doe and be sure to wipe from the inside outward.

Immediate Newborn Supplies/Gothberg Farms

Almost every delivery here is attended.  Not all are assisted, but most are witnessed.  We do not hesitate to assist if the need arises.  Not shown here is a clean feed sack.  We cut them open and kids are delivered onto the inside of a clean feed sack whenever possible.  When the kid is on the ground, the face/nostrils are quickly wiped with the clean, dry towel.  This is to remove birthing secretions we don’t want inhaled.  A quick pass is made in the mouth with a finger too.  This is probably not necessary, but old habits are hard to break.  They are towel dried a bit,  navels are dipped with Iodine, then they are placed up by Mom.   For dipping navels, we use a 35mm film canister.  I’ve recently heard of using the outer plastic coverings from some syringes.  This is an excellent idea. Since we have multiple births as a rule here, the doe is generally still down starting to push out the next one (remember we had quintuplets last year!). When she has licked them a bit, we turn the hair dryer on low, let the does sniff it for approval, then crank it up and dry the kid.  It takes about 2-3 towels per kid here.  Wet towels get cold very fast!  Kidding almost always takes place in crummy weather in nw WA.  The kid is then placed back up by the doe for more bonding.  As soon as the kid is up and the doe is up and looking for her treats, nursing commences.  We test annually for CAE here and have been negative for 6 years.  Kids would never be allowed to nurse without recent testing results.

The shirt is a newborn sized shirt from the thrift store.  If a kid is cold stressed at all, they get a clean shirt to  help hold in some heat.  This year we are also going to try some small dog blanket coats,  I’ll let you know how that goes.  Be vigilant with the shirts on!  The bucks get wet underneath from urine and need frequent changes.  Usually a few hours is all that’s needed, it at all.

See the box of multi-colored ID bands?  We use these with a Sharpie-type marker to note dam name on each kid AT BIRTH.  Our kids come out on the big side so we use the longer ones and cut to fit.  The color coding by family group really helps.

The dental floss is here just in case we had a navel cord bleeder.  Have never needed it, but faithfully keep it in the Labor and Delivery box every year.

Newborn Assistance Feeding

The kids nurse their dam for the immediate newborn period.  The does teat is cleared of the protective plug and kids are assisted to the teat as needed.  All kids get colostrum within about an hour or less.  The printed standard is within 6 hours, so be vigilant.  This is a MUST DO!  If the kid is too weak to nurse, too many kids, etc. colostrum can be milked directly into the bottle and nippled to the kid.  If they cannot suck, we have our ways!  The fresh warm colostrum is tubed into them.  Tubing can be harmful!  Be sure you know how to do this before attempting it yourself.

This is an example of the bottles we prefer and the simple tubing set up.

In addition to this we do a few more things:
1.  Each doe gets a bucket of warm water right after kidding along with a handful of raisins & peanuts, and a ration of grain.

2.  We keep oral CMPK on hand at all times.  We do not hesitate to use it during labor or in the immediate postpartum period if anything is “off” for any reason.

Goat Midwife Attire

Then comes the kidding attire for the midwife.  I’m sure you’ve begun to understand that kidding is a winter activity.  You have probably already understood somewhere along the way I am a Texan, born and bred.  We don’t do cold climates very well.  I have evolved a kidding wardrobe like no other!  If I am out there sleeping on a straw bale with the cat and a goat, I need all the help I can find!  Which leads to a few favorites.  The first one is the quilted Roper overalls.  I love these and own them in three colors because they are warm, last a long time, and they are long enough for a 6 ft. Texas woman.  Another great find is Bogs boots.  These are the warmest, most comfortable, cutest boots I have found in a long time.  Add to this a full assortment of long underwear of varying degrees of tolerance, a favorite coat with the pockets in the right place, and gloves & hats, you are SET.

Indispensable iPhone

Another useful tool is the iPhone.  It serves so many purposes!  In addition to the vets office and cell number (OK the MOST useful function), you can surf the web, post to your blog, twitter, Facebook, look up baby names. etc while you wait for babies.  Who would have EVER known this?

Joe Zell and kids

Opal & Her Quints

It usually turns out just fine.  Be prepared.  Do your homework.  Talk with experienced goat folks.  Feel free to ask questions.  We love your comments too.  There are so many good ways of doing things.  Please share your great finds and techniques if you wish.  We love hearing from all of you.

5 thoughts on “Labor & Delivery Farm Style”

  1. Rhonda
    Very educational post!

    1 – What is CAE?
    2 – Excellent idea with the dog jackets. I bet that will work.

    3 – Do you have a long list of names picked out or spontaneously name the kids?

    4 – I don’t have a pair (yet), but my Hubby wears Neos. They are funny looking cold weather boots that go over your regular everyday shoes. Keeps his chronically cold feed dry and warm.

    5 – When is your first kid due?

  2. Thanks Robyn! Good, thoughtful questions.
    1. CAE is a virus goats can have that is transmitted primarily via colostrum & milk, but also by blood & body secretions. It stands for Caprine Arthritis Encephalitis. Read up a bit. It is maybe my next post.
    2. Have names, make up names as I go, follow family lines. Common in the goat world is to name them with the tattoo letter of the year. Like this year is C-so all goats names start with C. I does make it easy to remember ages, who goes with who, etc. but I only do it sometimes. Prefer creativity. We have some pretty funny names.
    3. Get the boots!
    4. First kids due 2-12, so we have to be fully ready buy the 7th.

  3. Great info!

    In addition to CAE some folks are getting concerned about testing for QFever which can be transmitted to humans during kidding assist. Do your homework for local risk level.

    I would add:
    1) headlamp cuz what you need to see is inevitbly in dark corner,
    2) heating pad plugged in OUTside of kidding stall & goats’ but near for human hands/GLOVES/Tea mug or fragile kid
    3) 4x more clean towels than you think you need
    4) spray bottle of water for spot cleaning, or baby wipes but be careful cuz a dropped one can get lost & ingested
    5) a bucket or feedbag to drop afterbirth into. If the doe is crazed to eat it, I let them eat what they want/need but check with your vet for your circumstances

  4. Good points Goat Guild! We do not let them eat the placenta unless we just miss it. Yes, 4x more towels than you can ever imagine. Be sure to pick the straw and large areas of afterbirth off before washing. Your washer/dryer will thank you.
    We bring cold kids in the house sometimes too. They go into a clean rubbermaid-type tub lined with straw. Sure makes night feedings easier too.

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