Take a deep breath!!! YOU DID IT, SHE DID IT, EVERYONE DID IT. You got through the kidding process. Is the adrenaline still coursing through you? It’s been a few days and I still haven’t calmed down. I feel like I had a baby.
Now that everyone is settled and safe there are a few things you want to do for mama and babies.
Immediately After Birth (within the first 12 hours):
- Molasses Water- I mixed up some warm molasses water to give mama a little pick me up. Having a baby is tough work (I’ve done it 1 or 2 or 4 times so I know) and you’re tired and dehydrated. When humans give birth your given an IV of fluids and electrolytes to keep you going or if you birth at home you might brink coconut water to stay hydrated. Same concept with goats. The molasses provides a little sugar and electrolytes to give your doe some pep and the sweet taste will encourage her to drink more than she might of plain water.
- Feed- as I mentioned above, birth isn’t a cake walk no matter how smooth of a delivery you had. And I don’t know about you but after I had a baby I was ravenous I wanted to eat with unencumbered innards, no more babies squishing and kicking my stomach. So after she’s helped herself to all of the post birth “celebration dessert” (after birth) she wants, I offered her a ration of grain with a touch of molasses. (Note: that you don’t have to give both molasses water and feed but I wanted to entice her to eat)
- Iodine- after the babies have been sufficiently cleaned and dried by their mama you can dip the cord in iodine. Let’s face it, it’s nice to have an excuse to pick up the babies.
- Teats/Nursing- Did you know that mama and baby won’t always just know how to nurse? Me either! I thought it was just humans that had a steep learning curve for nursing, but not all goats can do it right away either. With our first freshener Capri she needed some help to learn. First be sure that the seal on the teat has come off so that babies can actually get the milk. There is a tiny “cork” so to speak on mama’s teat during pregnancy to keep bacteria out and before the babies can drink it has to be removed. Sometimes the mama will remove them herself, but I went ahead and squirted a little milk out of each teat to be sure they were open. Next, you want to be sure that the mama is letting her kids nurse. Capri was a little skittish with the babies under her so we just had to help her a few times and hold her still so the wee ones could get some milk. Most goats WILL be good mamas they just need to learn.
The Next Day
Dewormer- The body goes through incredible stress to bring forth life and when goats go through stress (and weakened immune system) they are more susceptible to getting a worm load. It’s a good idea to deworm your mama doe 24 hours after delivery. Repeat 10 days later!
Temperature- Just to be sure there isn’t any kind of infection brewing I checked my does temperature. You can check it over the next two days to be sure. I also took the babies temperatures for the first few days to be sure that they were warm enough and also that they didn’t have a fever.
After 48 Hours
Spa Day- ask any mom post partum and the one thing everyone will say makes you feel the best after giving birth is a SHOWER! Now I don’t recommend giving your doe a bath right now but there are a few things that you can do to make them feel “human” (goat-y?) again.
- Warm healing cloths: in a jar I mix hot water (it’ll just be warm by the time you get it to the goat). To this add a mixture of fractionated coconut oil (FCO) that’s been combined with a few drops of Melaleuca, Frankincense and a few drops of lavender (just a few drops you don’t want to irritate the skin) “mix” this (we all know oil and water don’t mix well) into the hot water by shaking the jar. Then soak a wash cloth or flour sack towel in it and apply it to the does backside. It should be soothing. Do NOT scrub her just apply warm pressure to help with soreness.
- Udder Balm- any parent who has nursed knows that chapped teats are no fun for any one. So apply an udder balm to any sore spots you see on the udder.
- Brushing- when your doe has gotten the hang of parenting and seems back to herself a nice relaxing brush might make her feel good.
- Massage- I like to give my goats a good rub down when I think they might be sore. So I took the time to give mama all sorts of scratches and rubs and lots of attention. Not only did I want to alleviate her soreness, but I wanted to increase our bond and let her know I wasn’t going to hurt her babies. I wanted her to know how proud I was of her, and gosh darn it she’s super cute and I love cuddling her.
The kidding process is scary, but once it’s over you can relax (a little) and take a deep breath. There are still times where you need to be vigilant to ensure everyone is healthy and thriving, but for the most part you can BREEEAAATHHHEEE. Now instead of running out to the barn every 5 minutes to check for labor you can run out every five minutes to check on the babies, and that’s more fun.