19 Important Items to Include in Your Goat Kidding Kit


What to include in your goat kidding kit, from Oak Hill Homestead

Spring means kidding season for most goat-owners.

Usually I breed my goats in October for March kids, but a few years ago my buck was spending the summer with the does, just for company. Breeding season arrived earlier than I expected - the does came in heat and the buck was in rut - and I didn't get him moved in time.

By the way, that taught me that as soon as the summer mornings start to cool off, does will begin cycling which will bring the buck into rut - so keep an eye on the weather in the summertime.

My goats gave birth at the end of December that year, during the coldest and snowiest winter we've had since we moved to Oklahoma. I learned my lesson, and I will be more diligent in the future. From now on my does will kid no earlier than March.

Here's how I decide when to breed my goats so it fits my schedule, not theirs!


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What to include in your goat kidding kit, from Oak Hill Homestead


No matter when my does are due to kid, I keep all my kidding supplies in one place so that I always know where they are. When spring arrives I don't have to find everything; it's all in my "kidding kit".

I keep my kidding supplies in a kitty litter bucket. I have lots of these handy buckets, courtesy of our three indoor felines. The buckets pile up fast, but they are quite handy on a homestead so I put them to use in many ways.

I've written about 20 ways to re-use cat litter buckets on the homestead to give you some ideas.

Cat litter buckets are deep so they can hold tall bottles if needed, and can corral a lot of "stuff". They have a lid to keep dust and mice out, and a convenient handle too. I put a strip of masking or duct tape across the front and use a marker to label the bucket.




Cat litter buckets hold a lot so I can keep everything in this bucket. It can be a little challenging to find something small, but I've found that grouping like items in plastic zipper bags helps a bit with that.

Before kidding season arrives, I check the bucket to make sure I didn't run out of something last spring, and I launder all the towels and no-sew kid coats.

If you're a bit worried about kidding season, these kidding resources might help put you at ease.

What to keep in your goat kidding kit


1. Towels and some old t-shirts to dry newborn kids

2. Dental floss to tie the kid's umbilical cord

3. Scissors to cut the umbilical cord

4. Iodine in a small jar or an empty pill bottle to dip the navel

5. A bulb syringe to get gunk out of the kids’ mouths

6. A roll of paper towels

7. Molasses to mix in a bucket of warm water for the doe to drink after delivery. Molasses is a great energy booster and my goats love this warm drink.

8. Probios paste for ruminants for mama and kids

9. Thermometer - a regular thermometer from the local drugstore works fine and is inexpensive.

10. Paper and pen to write down any pertinent details (which kid was first, or the doe's temp, or whatever you might need to remember)


What to include in your goat kidding kit, from Oak Hill Homestead

Some extras to include

11. Hair dryer - If you have an electrical outlet in your barn or goat shed, you can include a hair dryer to dry off and warm up the kids.

12. Empty feed sacks - When kidding season approaches I save a stack of empty feed sacks in the barn. When a doe is in labor I spread them out in her stall as a clean place for new kids to "land on".

How to dip a newborn kid's navel: hold the kid with the its hind legs on the ground and its back against your legs, holding the front legs up off the ground. Place the pill bottle filled with iodine against the kid's belly with the cut-and-tied umbilical cord (the stump of cord) inside the bottle.

This will put the bottle at a 45° angle to the ground; wiggle the bottle around a bit to splash the iodine against the kid's belly.

In case the doe needs help, I also have:


14. Antibacterial soap

What to include in your goat kidding kit, from Oak Hill Homestead
Pritchard nipple

Keep these items on hand for premature or weak goat kids

15. Selenium and Vitamin E gel will help get a weak kid off to a better start, or you can give an injection of BoSe - you'll need syringes and needles if you go this route.

16. Bottles and nipples - you might be planning to let your does raise their kids, but there are several scenarios that might require bottle feeding.

The doe might reject the kid, or sadly, the doe might die. Some weak kids need to use a bottle for a few days before they are strong enough to latch on to the doe's udder, or you might need to make sure a smaller kid with a stronger sibling gets enough milk.

I like the red and yellow Pritchard teats that fit on soda pop bottles. They're more expensive but the work so much better and the kids seem to accept the nipple more easily than other types.


What to include in your goat kidding kit, from Oak Hill Homestead


17. Tube-feeding kit (Save-A-Kid syringe from Hoegger Goat Supply) - even if you hope you'll never need to tube-feed a kid, you should have a feeding kit in your kidding supplies. It's like having a $4.95 insurance policy.

I had the tube-feeding kit for several kidding seasons before I needed it. I read the instructions online, and I watched several videos (this YouTube video on tube-feeding goat kids is good), but I wasn't confident about using it and hoped I'd never have to.

Then I had a very weak buckling born, and I realized that he was going to die without my intervention, so there was no risk if I attempted to tube-feed him. There were three possible outcomes: he would die without my help, I'd kill him by tube-feeding him incorrectly, or I'd save him.

I figured the odds were heavily in my favor. I read the directions again, gathered up my nerve and did it. It wasn't hard, and he lived. I'm no expert, but that gave me the confidence to use it again when a friend had a goat kid that needed to be tube fed.


What to include in your goat kidding kit, from Oak Hill Homestead


Extra items that I keep in my kidding kit:

18. The bucket seemed like the best place to store my kid coats too. I wrote a tutorial on how to make these no-sew kid coats here.

19. A friend of mine had an ingenious idea when her first goat kids were due. She worried that she wouldn't be able to tell which kids belonged to which doe if they happened to kid at the same time (yes, it happens).

She bought small dog collars in sets of three in case there were triplets. When a doe kidded, all of her kids were given matching collars that were the same color as the doe's collar.

This idea came in very handy the year I had three sets of twins, all of them brown. I could tell at a glance which kids belonged to which doe.

20. I store my no-sew kid coats in the kidding kit too. Even though I might not need them right when kids are born, it's a handy and logical place to store them, and they don't take up a lot of space in the deep, lidded bucket. Learn how to make your own kid coats without sewing a stitch for just a couple dollars each - or less!

Since I always have my cell phone with me when I'm outside, I can make impromptu notes and take photos, and I can call the vet or a friend if I need advice about a situation.


If you'd like more information about raising dairy goats on the homestead, check out my resource page.


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You need to have these 19 important items on hand before your goats are due to kid.

19 items for your goat kidding kit.

What to include in your goat kidding kit

This post has been shared at some of my favorite blog hops.

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16 comments

Michelle Richardson said...

I keep kayro syrup for giving energy to weak kids..some pre-moistened wash cloths like wet wipes but bigger...disposable. Love the Pritchard nipple. I keep.Bounce Back and a small amount of powdered colostrum in the freezer.

Kathi at Oak Hill Homestead said...

Good additions, Michelle. I have Karo syrup and Bounce Back in the house. The pre-moistened washcloths would be nice for your hands as well as for the kids.

Erin Ter Beest said...

This post came at just the right time for us. We are preparing for our first ever kidding in a few weeks, and I'm a little nervous! There are a few things on this list I hadn't thought of, so I'll have to run out and get them. Thank you!

Kathi at Oak Hill Homestead said...

You're very welcome, Erin. I'm glad it helped. I hope all will go fine with your first kidding - usually it does, so don't worry too much!

Jamie (@va_grown) said...

Great reference post. We keep Lamb SURVIVE! as our energy boost of choice for lambs and any tired mommas. We also keep our tail banding supplies and alcohol in our kit.

Monica said...

I won't need a kidding kit until next year (most likely) but you've made this seem soooo simple! Sometimes the lists seem so long and complicated that I feel like I could never be prepared. This is such a great list and I'll be remembering this when I'm (finally) assembling my kidding supplies!

Kathi at Oak Hill Homestead said...

Thank you, Monica, I'm really glad it was helpful. :-)

LC said...

Thank you for posting this. We are in our first kidding season, so this could really come in handy.

Kathi at Oak Hill Homestead said...

I hope your kiddings are all easy ones, LC.

daisy g said...

I love how you have everything you need in that bucket. So organized! Thanks for sharing your outdoor post on today's Maple Hill Hop!

Kathi at Oak Hill Homestead said...

Thank you, Daisy.

Frank and Fern said...

I always make sure there is plenty of udder wash in the barn. It is a mixture of concentrated udder wash solution that contains iodine, and water. I keep it in an old dish soap jug with a large pump dispenser. If I need to intervene with a doe, I can wash up my hands quickly, and after I get the kids up and running, I can wash up then as well. It is great to have on hand for a number of things. If the weather is not too cold, I leave it in the barn. Otherwise, I carry it up when the kids are born.

Fern

Kathi at Oak Hill Homestead said...

What a great tip, Fern. I reuse containers a lot, and this is a great use for one. I like that you have it handy and that it holds a lot. Thank you for sharing.

Unknown said...

Farm babies are so exciting! Thanks for the great info and for sharing on the Homesteader Hop!

Unknown said...

Thank you Kathi for all the tips. We are new goat owners. And we ended up with two pregnant does. According to signs I’ve read about, we should be expecting kiddos in the next week or so. We don’t know when they were exposed. So, do I absolutely need to cut the umbilical or does the doe take care of that? You mentioned floss and scissors. Part of me believes this is taken care of naturally (I mean God created them) but I don’t want to be naive. Thank you!! We are so excited (my 5yr old and 2 yr old)!! But I’m nervous too. And then, I don’t know what to think about this whole milking thing.... do I have to, do the babies take care of that, some people choose to milk to use the milk, so confused?? I’ve been reading so much that I don’t know what to think. Please help! Heather

Kathi said...

Hi Heather! Congratulations on your upcoming kids! I didn't have to cut the cord very often (on occasion I did have to) but I always tied it and dipped it in iodine. Just think about the environment those kids are born in and live in, it's not hospital-sterile. Tying the cord helps keep germs out and helps prevent "navel ill."

As for milking, it's up to you for the most part. Some goat owners prefer to milk the doe and bottle feed the kids, others let the babies have all the milk, at least for awhile. BUT you may have to milk a little if the kids only nurse from one side, or if the doe produces more milk at first than they can drink.

I hope you'll go read this post Kidding Resources for New Goat Owners that links to my other kidding posts - several of them address your questions, even your question about milking. If you have any more questions I'd love to help. You can email me at kathi @ oakhillhomestead.com

Don't worry too much, most kiddings happen on their own without problems.