If you are new to goats, you probably have dozens of questions about kidding, which is when goats give birth to kids. Here are a few resources for you to help you understand the process and know what to expect.
First of all, you need to make sure your goat is pregnant. Forget about the pooch test, the ring test, and the bleach test, and check out this post, Is my goat pregnant? The post includes a quiz and a video, along with the latest information on pregnancy testing in goats.
Calculate Your Goat's Due Date
Once you know your goat is pregnant, you need to provide the best possible nutrition. Check out this post about figuring out exactly what your goats need — Do goats need grain during pregnancy?
When your goat goes into labor, you might be wondering if everything is happening as it should. How will you know if something is wrong? This ebook tells the stories of 17 goat births, from normal to tragic, including two c-sections: Just Kidding: Stories and Reflections on Goats Giving Birth
If you are wondering about the pros and cons of intervening in a birth, this post talks about how rare most problems are and what to consider before intervening: Goat birthing: Patience is a virtue
I discuss How Much Should You Help in a podcast episode, and if you prefer to read, a transcript is also available.
If you’re worried about whether or not things are going normally, you might be tempted to ask for advice in an online forum or group. Before you do that, you should read this post about The problem with online advice
If you live in a cold climate, this post gives you tips on making sure the mom and kids survive: Kidding in winter.
Once the kids are born, you might be wondering if they’re okay. This post explains what’s good and what’s not — Conducting a newborn check in goat kids
If your doe has triplets or quads or more, you might be wondering if she can feed all of them, especially since goats have only two teats. This post explores that question — How many kids can a doe feed?
You may have heard that goat kids won’t be as friendly if they are raised by their mother. If you are wondering about the personalities of dam-raised versus bottle-fed kids, this post explores the differences — Dam raised vs. the bottle: Socialization
If you decide to bottle feed — or if you have to bottle feed a kid or two — Basics of bottle feeding goat kids
Since 50% of goat kids will be bucks, and since most bucks will not become herd sires, you will need to learn about castration, which is covered here — Castration options for goat kids
How do you know if your goat kids are getting enough milk? Or are they getting too much? This post answers those questions — Is my goat kid fat?
Now that your does have kidded, she’s making milk! But how do you milk her? Learning to milk a goat
Kidding is the most exciting time of year on our farm, but it can cause novices to worry. However, as they say, knowledge is power. The more you know, the better prepared you’ll be to make informed choices and to handle anything challenging that pops up.
For the Love of Goats Podcast episodes on goat birthing:
- Getting Ready for Goat Birthing
- Goats Giving Birth
- Kidding in Cold Weather
- Worms During Kidding Season
8 thoughts on “Goat Birthing: A Beginner’s Guide”
The link to castration options doesn’t seem to be working. Thank you for putting everything into one post.
Thanks so much for letting us know! We fixed it the day you posted, but I just realized we had not let you know.
Thanks for sharing! It was an excellent refresher going into the kidding season!
Hi! I just wanted to let you know that it’s not possible to purchase your “Just Kidding” ebook. The link takes me to SmashBooks, I registered, and I found your book, but every time you click “buy”, it makes you log in again, and then you have to start over from the beginning again.
Thanks for letting me know. I think it may have just been a bug that day, or maybe it was having an issue with whichever browser you were using. I’ve seen other orders come through. Usually if I have trouble making something work, I switch to a different browser (Chrome, Firefox, Safari, etc). The ebook is also on Amazon — https://amzn.to/2NFToXB
I am a first time milker, my does haven’t had their kids yet but I’ve been reading and stydying and preparing lol. Anyway, you say that i can start milking right away, but my dairy farmer friend is telling me i have to wait until the babies are 12 weeks. Please tell me what to do when haha
We are both right, depending on the circumstances. I would NEVER tell anyone to start separating kids overnight from the beginning. That’s a recipe for disaster. You can start milking right away, but you cannot separate the kids overnight until they are at least two months old. That means you may get somewhere between a few drops and a few cups of milk, depending upon the breed. You can basically take whatever the kids don’t consume. If a doe has a single, you definitely need to start milking on day one. Otherwise you will have a very fat kid, and a doe with a very low milk supply because it’s all about supply and demand. You may also wind up with a doe that has a lopsided udder if the single kid decides he only wants to nurse on one side.
If you don’t get the doe accustomed to the milk stand from day one, you will have quite a rodeo on your hands if you suddenly try to milk her when her kids are 2-3 months old because she will think you’re trying to steal her babies’ milk. If you have her on the milk stand from the beginning and “milk” her, then she gets the idea that it’s okay for you and the babies to have her milk. Milking in the beginning is only for practice and to relieve any additional pressure and to let the body know that if she produces more than the kids can consume, you’ll take it. But the kids come first and can consume as much milk as they can. If you don’t take any extra that the doe is producing, her production will decrease to match their demand.
Here is more information about getting started with milking:
Thank you!!! Yes that is what i thought i read from you, i wasn’t planning on separating, was planning on co-milking lol