Breeding, Kidding and Milking
Drying Off & Pregnant Goat Care
My goats are due in early April. I want to give them the last 3 months of pregnancy off of milking. If I was doing a 305 day milk test I would just give them 2 months off, but I'm not doing that this year. I don't want a doe on grain if her weight is appropriate because I don't want babies to grow too big. So they will just be on hay and water, with Replamin once a month. I will start up grain again 4 weeks before kidding to get them ready for grain during milking (slowly working up to 1-2 cups of grain twice a day). This will get them used to the milking stand again too.
One month out from kidding I'll give selenium, and then two weeks out from kidding I'll give Replamin again. Bo-Se is also great to give 30 days out and then right after kidding. My vet said it's really not necessary, but it certainly won't hurt them! The vet can prescribe Bo-Se if you ask for it. I used Bo-Se with Klondy's first set of 5, and only 1 baby needed a bit of selenium on her tongue at birth. For her second set of 5 I used the selenium at 30 days and Replamin at two weeks and again all 5 babies were fine with a little selenium on the tongue.
The end of December is the time for me to dry off my does in milk. I use a mix of methods. For my one-year old, Windy, I milked out about half or less than half every day and then started milking every other day, and then just a few squirts to relieve pressure every other day. She was done being dried off in two weeks. She still has some milk in there but her udder is very loose and small and her body will absorb the rest. Other methods include every other day and then every two days (cutting off grain as well).
With two-year-old Cassiopea, I am milking every other day and milking all the way out without massaging the udder. I'll do this for two weeks. Then I'll milk out about half for a week every other day. I'm taking longer with her because she's still producing a 1/2 gallon each milking and she has a tight udder. This drying off also slowly gets them off of grain.
Short Birthing Checklist
Lots of towels
Hair dryer and a way to plug it in
Iodine for dipping cord
Scissors for cutting cord shorter if need be
Medical gloves (many pairs)
Bottle and nipples (Pritchard work well)
Selenium for weak kids
Cayenne pepper for weak kids
My phone (doubles as a flashlight)
Birthing Kit Checklist from Wasilla Lights Farm
~Old bath towels - to dry off baby. Let mom help if you are dam raising so she
licks and bonds with baby.
~Phone numbers to experience goat birther and vet.
~Empty feed bags - to put down to deliver kids on.
~Baby Wipes - to wipe kid butts if mama doesn't do a good job. Keep it clean!
You don't want the poop stopped up.
~Medical gloves - I also have some gloves that go to the elbows, but I haven't
used them much.
~Puppy Training Wee Wee pads - to put wet goat babies on. (clean straw/hay is fine too)
~Garbage bag - you'll need it for placenta.
~Flashlight - use it to look at the bubble and see if kids is positioned correctly.
~Scissors - to cut umbilical cord shorter. Some use it to pop bubble, but I
usually use a piece of straw. I wouldn't want to cut the kid!
~Surgical Scrub/Wash - in case you have to "go in."
~Warm water and soap - so you can wash up.
~OB Lube - Squirt a bit of Betadine on it to add antiseptic qualities in case you
have to "go in." You'll need LOTS if you have to "go in" and assist kids. Have at least two bottles on hand.
~7% Iodine - to sterilize knife or scissors as necessary and to dip the umbilical
cord. Put some in a small container for dipping cord into.
~Dental floss - I've always tied off the umbilical cord and then cut it smaller so
mama goat doesn't mess with it.
~Bottle and nipples - in case you need to bottle feed. You can use human
bottles. Cut the opening bigger with an X in it with scissors. Or Prichard
nipples which fit on plastic soda bottles. I cut an X in the Prichard nipples
also. Prichard nipples found here:
~Weak Kid Syringe - To feed kid if to weak to nurse on his own. Not needed to
often. Weak Kid Syringe found here:
~Hair Dryer - to help get kid really dry.
~Goat baby sweater - If it's chilly outside. Kids can't maintain their own temperature for a few days.
~Goat baby hut - I put 1/2 of a dog kennel in barn for them to crawl under. They like cozy places.
~Warm mollases water - for mama after kidding. Also give her some grain.
Or offer Oat Water to mamma post kidding or even prior to or during kidding:
1/2 gallon water, 1 cup oats, 1/3 cup molasses or real maple syrup, 1 teaspoon salt.
Bring water to boil. Add oats, salt ,and molasses. Let cool.
Strain off oats if you want. I usually don't strain.
~Cayenne Tincture - to support weak kids or cold kids, preferably apple cider vinegar based.
~Raw Honey - to support weak kids
~Coffee - Very strong for a very weak kid - 3 to 6 cc. I may use this in the absence of cayenne tincture.
~Colostrum - saved and frozen from a previous CAE-free doe who kidded, just in case.
~Selenium paste - give to weak kids, just a tad. Found here:
~Remember to deworm mamma post kidding.
~Give Mama fortified vitamin b with thiamin for a couple days. Make sure it fortified with
thiamin!! Found here: https://www.jefferspet.com/products/vitamin-b-complex-gel-30gm
Fortified b paste usually works but sometimes you need the injectable Fortified b: Found here:
~Collect and freeze some of doe's colostrum to be used in emergencies in future.
~Enjoy those kids!
Getting Kids to Nurse
My limited experience: Place kid next to teat, hold teat for kid to find. If the kid has not nursed within the first 1/2 hour, hold the kid's mouth up to the teat, open the mouth, and squirt milk in (the kid will probably not like this, but they will get the hang of it eventually). If a kid is too cold, do not give it milk. Warm the kid up first (hair dryer, towels, hold it in your lap on a warm water bottle, etc.) and then give it milk. If they can't get enough milk, squirt some of the doe's milk into a bottle or warm up colostrum from last year to 105 (it will get to 103 by the time you get it to the kid) and bottle feed. Do not overfeed.
Video coming soon!
- Milk stand (see plan below)
- Strip cup or container (There are official cups with mesh over the top to catch any chunks that develop from mastitis - but if you just swirl the milk around in an any container you’ll be able to see them)
- Stainless steel seamless milk bucket (I have small ones and big ones for different uses.)
- Teat dip (Used after milking to sterilize the teat as it closes up in the next 10-20 minutes. If a doe has kids on her you do not need to use teat dip. I use Fight Bac spray for convenience, but you can make your own too - see below)
- Milk filters (I use 4.9/16" filters from Caprine Supply, and one package lasts me a season with 4 goats in milk)
- Milk strainer (I use the 4 qrt strainer from Caprine Supply. I had a smaller one but I had to sit there just waiting for the milk to filter - this larger filter saves me a lot of time)
- Container for milk (1/2 gallon wide mouthed mason jars are the norm)
- Container with ice water in the fridge (I have used homemade ice cubes, but I switched to water bottles put in the freezer. I switch them out daily and put new frozen bottles next to the hot milk. The faster you can get the milk cold, the better the taste!)
Interesting website that has nutritional grain mixes to maximize production
Milk Stand Plans
Udder Wash Recipe
1 1/2 quarts warm water, small squirt of natural dishwashing liquid or some suds from a natural soap bar, and 6 drops each of lavender, rosemary, and tea tree essential oils. This can also be used for the teat dip if you lack something else.
Udder Salve Recipe
1 Tablespoon powdered Comfrey
1 Tablespoon powdered Lobelia
1 Tablespoon powdered Pokeweed (If you have it.)
3 Tablespoons powdered Mullein
2 Tablespoons powdered Marshmallow root.
1/4 Tablespoon powdered Cayenne Pepper (40,000 Hu)
1 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Mix all herbs with the EVOO. Let infuse for 12 hours to 2 weeks in a jar. Shake jar daily to stir. Strain out herb. Take a bit of oil and add 3 Tablespoons Beeswax granules, melt, add the rest of the oil into the beeswax. Add a few drops of wintergreen essential oil. (Don't add wintergreen if kids are nursing.) Pour into a container for use.
Teat Dip Recipe: (From Land of Havilah Farm)
16 oz Cayenne/Comfrey Infusion (See recipe below).
16 oz Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar (raw/unfiltered)
5 drops Tea Tree Essential Oil
20 drops Lavender Essential Oil
20 drops Eucalyptus Essential Oil
Cayenne/Comfrey Infusion, mix: (Use in Teat Dip Recipe above.)
1 T Cayenne powder (40,000 heat units)
1 T Comfrey Root Powder
1 Quart HOT water (just off boil)
Put herbs in jar, pour hot water over and put on lid. Let steep for 30 minutes. Let cool and strain.
Breeders in Alaska
Carl and Lillian Strubhar
They own Cottonwood, Cassiopea's buck
Jennifer breeds registered Mini Saanens and Nigerian Dwarfs
Jessica breeds Nigerian Dwarf and Mini Alpine
Alyssa and Jacob Inch
Forget Me Not Fields Farm
Kurtis and Brittany Hoffpauir
Aspen Hills Farm
Angelica raises horned mini Alpines.
Prince of Wales Island, Alaska
(Experienced goat shipper)