We’ve been fortunate that our Nigerian Dwarf does have kidded with very few difficulties and are good mothers too. I’m always amazed at the way they care for their kids. As newborns, the does wake them every few hours and encourage them to nurse. As they grow older and they want to nurse all the time, the does regulate how often the kids’ nurse but still encourage the weaker ones to nurse frequently.
Even if they don’t need help and kid without difficulties (and most goats do) there is some basic goat care after kidding that we should be prepared to help with (and have our kidding supplies on hand).
Basic Goat Care After Kidding:
- Breathing – Make sure all the kids are out of their birthing sacks and are breathing. Because Nigerians have so many multiples, they sometimes get focused on getting one cleaned up and may miss one of the babies still in the sack. It’s critically important to make sure no babies are being missed and that they’re all breathing.
- Naval Dip – Be prepared to tie off the umbilical cord at the naval (we use plain dental floss for this) and then cut the umbilical cord (this is what the surgical scissors are for) on the doe side. Regardless of whether you or the doe cut the umbilical cord, make sure the leftover umbilical cord and kid naval get covered with 7% iodine. You can use iodine spray or dip the umbilical cord and naval in the iodine.
- Colostrum– Kids need to get colostrum within about 6 hours (12 hours is getting late) and it’s best to make sure they get it within the first 2 hours. Colostrum is how the mother transfers the antibodies that will protect the kid until it can manufacture its own protection (see Newborn Kids Need Colostrum for more on this). There are four possible sources of colostrum in decreasing order of benefit for newborn kids:
- Mother – the doe produces colostrum for about 24 hours after kidding and it’s most beneficial if the kids get it from Mom.
- Frozen Colostrum bank – you can put colostrum in the freezer in quantities that you’ll use in Ziploc bags (date the package – it’s good for about a year). Do not microwave or overheat to reconstitute the colostrum (put in a warm water bath instead) or you’ll destroy the benefits.
- Another Farm
- Artificial Sources – goat colostrum replacer from sources like Jeffers, etc.
- BoSe Shot – In areas where selenium is deficient, some give a BoSe shot to all kids when they are born. Others give a shot to only those that appear weak. Administer the BoSe subcutaneously at ¼ to ½ cc per kid*.
- CDT Shot – If the mother doe was given a CDT shot 30 days in advance of kidding, then a CDT shot is only necessary at 30 days. If the dam was not given a CDT shot 30 days in advance, administer the CDT shot subcutaneously at 2 cc’s per kid at 1 to 3 days and then again at 30 days (they need to have the one at 30 days as a minimum)*.
*Whenever vaccinating, have Epinephrine on hand in case of shock, 1/10 to ¼ cc to be administered subcutaneously.
- Warm water – The doe will have lost a tremendous amount of body fluid during freshening. So, it’s important to re-hydrate the doe after she freshens. They like their water to be warm and you can also add electrolytes to help them recover.
- Remove teat plugs – It may be necessary to remove teat plugs so the kids can get the colostrum. Be sure to verify that all the kids are really drinking.
- Introduce concentrate – Introduce the doe to more concentrate (grain) slowly; give her lots of your best quality hay as she ramps up on grain.
- Deworm – Worm the doe a week prior to kidding so that by the time you’re ready for milk, the wormer will be out of her system (Ivermectin and other wormers are not allowed in drinking milk).
- Promote bonding – Keep the kids and mother together in the kidding stall for at least 3 – 5 days to promote bonding between them.
There are many situations that could arise that would require more assistance so it’s important to have the Vet’s number on hand too. But, being prepared for the basic goat care after kidding steps outlined above is a good idea as a minimum. Soon you’ll have adorable kids bouncing around the stall, and friends or family lining up to see them.
When is it OK to let the father around the kids? We have the mom and the two kids together and the father outside of the barn but can still see them. We weren’t sure if he would hurt the babies. Also, what kind of food should I be feeding the mom after having her babies? Thank you so much!!
We don’t house the bucks with the does or kids, we always keep them separate. That’s because we want to know when the does have been bred so that we can monitor the kidding closely. Also, the bucks are usually pretty smelly. So, I can’t really answer your question from experience, but I’m sure that goat herds have had everyone together for centuries so it should be ok. It would depend on your buck’s personality as well. As far as feeding them, I wrote a separate post that covers that: https://www.betterhensandgardens.com/feeding-nigerian-dwarf-dairy-goats/
Our 8 year old Nubian went into spontaneous early labor last night (approx. 3 weeks early), and she birthed 3 small underdeveloped kids (none made it, the last one appeared to have passed in utero). It has been 12 hours since the final kid was delivered and she does have a cord hanging out currently. We are concerned with the possibility of infection if we intervene with passing the afterbirth, but the same issue arises if it hangs there too long I have read. So far we have given her a safe warm place to be, food and water while nature took it’s course. At what point would you feel it needed to physically remove the placenta from her?
I hope this question reaches you. Thank you in advance for all the information I have gained from your site.
Hi John, I’m sorry about the loss of the kids, that’s hard. As far as the afterbirth, I have never intervened and it has always passed withing 24 hours. If it’s not passed within that time, I would recommend having a Vet look at her. I think you’re following the right path – I hope all turns out ok!
Thank you for this! Your articles are so helpful, I dont have to read for hours to find the basics. Comprehensive and simple.
Love your site and it has lots of great info for beginners like me.😊
Hi Rebekah, Glad it has been helpful!
Hoping you could help. We had our first doe last year kid with major complications. She had a retained placenta that resulted in uterine infection (she and her kids are still with us). But this goat was nothing like the book says. Other than last years fiasco, I was a kid the last time we had goats kidding. So I am not exactly sure what is normal or have much to compare to.
About 10 hours ago, we had our first kid of the season. Our doe did great. She cleaned him up (with slight encouragement), has let him nurse for the most part, and been very attenuative. She passed her placenta about 30 minutes after the kid. I know the doe can have some vaginal discharge for several days or even weeks, but she has discharge in long strands, She has seemed uncomfortable at times and is still crying and pawing at the ground. The first thing that came to mind was another kid, but we had her pregnancy confirmed with ultrasound and only one kid was seen (this was at 79 days). Her placenta appears to be fully accounted for and was expelled on her own. She is eating and drinking, and does not have a temperature at this point (last temp was 102.7). She has pooped and peed as well. Is she possibly just sore from delivery (he was a good sized baby), or is there need for concern. FYI her discharge does not appear to have any tissue, just some blood and mucous like dischage.
Hi Kate, congratulations on the new kid! It’s normal for a doe to continue to have some discharge for a few days after kidding. Since you’ve confirmed that the placenta passed and there was only supposed to be one kid, she should be fine. A Vet once told me that I should always go in and confirm that everything was out, I didn’t always do that, but if I was concerned I did. That’s an option if she’s still acting strange.
What dewormer do you use prior to kidding?
Hi Hannah, I usually use Ivermectin.
Hello. My 3-4 year old Lamancha just gave birth to her second pair of twins today. We got her 3 months after having her first pair, so this was our first birth! She was doing very well and acting normal until it started getting a little bit dark. Her pupils were dilated HUGE. I’m not sure if this has anything to do with having newborns and wanting to see better in the dark to protect them or if something is wrong with her.
Couldn’t find much on the internet, but her and babies were great until then and for another hour before we put them away for the night. Was just wondering if this is normal for mothers or if we should have her checked out.
Hi McKenna, I haven’t noticed that our does eyes are dilated after giving birth so I’m not sure about your doe. However, if she and her kids seem to be doing well otherwise I’d just continue to watch closely but wouldn’t bet overly concerned. How are they doing today?
Our Doe gave birth to twins 3 days ago but both kids where found decesed on the second day. How do i help the Doe ( apart from milking her ) loose her milk. Is there a diet i can help her with or ????
Hi Lorraine, the fastest way to let a doe dry up is simply to not milk her for a couple of days, then milk her, then not milk again. If the milks not being used, she’ll quit producing it. Be careful to watch and make sure that she doesn’t develop mastitis as you’re drying her off.
Lorraine Masiero says
Thank you, very much.
Hey! I had a doe have a baby about two weeks ago. I was reading up on when the kid’s umbilical cord is suppose to come off and read 8-10 days after birth. My kid’s cord is still attached, and we’ve never had problems with the cord before with babies, the does normal bite it off or it falls off. I had no idea that it was suppose to be cut off though. What should I do about this?
Hi Emmy, you should probably go ahead and tie the cord off with dental floss, cut the excess cord off, and spray it with 7% iodine as described above.
Hi, I have a Nigerian Dwarf goat who kidded 3 days ago she had 4 one was not alive and she wouldn’t care for the runt, we have been trying to milk her for the runt but can only get milk out of 1 side and suggestions? Thank you so much I appreciate your time and advice…
Hi Gina, I’m sorry I didn’t see this sooner and get back to you – hopefully you’ve been able to milk both sides by now? Sometimes they can get a little “plug” in the teat that yo need to get out in order to get the milk flowing.
My Nigerian doe just gave birth to 2 kids , her first time. She did real well took care of them like a pro all night and the next day. But the next night I tried to put her and her babies inside the goat house(cold outside) but couldn’t make her go in. I went back out and she was laying in the pen on one side of the yard and her babies were cuddled up sleeping on the other side , behind the house. She’s acting very tired and when I took the babies to her she kind of just kind of lay there , raised her head and seen them but just don’t act too interested. Is there something she needs, or something I can do?
If your doe is not responding and being lethargic, then something is very wrong. You need to make sure she’s eating and drinking – if she’s not I would call a vet. It’s hard for me to tell from here what is wrong but what you are describing indicates that something is definitely wrong and you need to get her help.
Carol L says
I had a cow that died the day after delivery. Short story: she had milk fever, and the vet had no idea what to do. Try giving her calcium. (I figure cows and goats are similar in this respect…..)
Our doe gave birth this morning (on her own). The kid was not breathing when we found it. The doe still has afterbirth (I’m assuming) hanging…is that normal? This is a first time for me…feeling a bit overwhelmed.
Yes, it’s normal for them to pass the afterbirth – it usually takes from 1/2 – 2 hours – don’t pull on it, she should pass it herself. I’m sorry the kid didn’t make it.
Crystal Ramirez says
My doe had a stillborn and now I’m not sure if she passed the placenta because everytime I check on her I dont see anything but I have noticed her tail facing upward and like aid she is still trying to push how do I know if she is done giving birth it’s been like 3 days since she had the still born
Hi Crystal, the only way to know for sure is to reach inside to feel or have a Vet check her out. Sounds like having a Vet check her would be a good thing.
Just had same situation.
First kid was breach. 2nd one needed to have sac removed to breathe. Now the placenta is still on mother. After 3 hours. Does she need help?
Our first time mom just had twins she still has some placenta hanging out I tried to help her some but she acted like it hit her so I don’t pull it out so what should be done?
DON’T PULL IT OUT – that could damage her internally. It’s normal for it to take some time for the placenta to come out – it can take hours. If there’s not another kid in there then two placenta’s should come out eventually. She will likely eat the placenta’s if she has the opportunity.
Ruby McNamara says
Thank you, I think I was more nervous than her. I was wondering if I should give her the CD &T shot now because I had not given it yet.
Yes, you can give Mom the CDT shot now. It’s better to give the CDT shot about 30 days in advance of freshening so she can pass the immunity on to the kids.
Hi when should we give the kids there shots?
Peggy Earls says
You recommended deworming at least a week before kidding. Our vet strongly discouraged use of Ivermectin. He said it does more harm than good because overuse has caused resistance to it in most organisms. You should have a fecal exam done (one specimen per herd is sufficient) and only treat if there are parasites with specific dewormers. Pasture rotation is another way that helps to control parasites.
I am hoping you can help…I had a SURPRISE birth nearly 3 weeks ago. I say surprise, because the doe was never put in with our males (we have 2). The vet says when they’re in heat, they WILL find a way! My best guess is, they got to each other through the fence. Anyhow, both seemed really healthy until yesterday, I noticed the mama had green poop. Not diarrhea, just green poop. I’ve done real well at keeping my females healthy, so I want to help her if something is wrong. She will have her CDT shot soon, but is it common for females to develop green poop after delivering? I am also thinking it could be because they’re eating the fresh Spring grass. It’s been quite a while since we’ve had a birth and we’ve never had this issue. Any advise please?
Hi Gia, Ah yes, those surprise kids 🙂 As far as the droppings, In my experience, it is NOT common for mama’s to develop what you’re describing after delivering. However, the consistency and coloring of their droppings can change quite a bit when they’re exposed to fresh spring growth. It’s always a good idea to make sure they’ve had their CDT shot before exposing them to fresh spring growth and start exposing them to it slowly so you don’t upset their rumens.
thank you for the quick response Lesa! I know you’re supposed to give a CDT shot before birthing, but since I didn’t know she was even pregnant, I didn’t give her one. She is up to date on her wormer and and her annual CDT, but I will definitely give her it now and a second dose in 30 days. I’m not currently out there with her, but my daughter-in-law is and I told her what to watch for. Other than that, fingers crossed! She’s a Myotonic Goat, so she’s not real big to begin with. I’m just happy she was able to have a healthy birth!!
Hi! We just got blessed with a new little buck about a week ago. I wasnt sure of the does due date so i wasnt able ro get her the needed shots or even the worming that was necessary. How do i treat both now that i have screwed up so badly? Im very new at this stuff and its my first kidding. Shes part boer and part kiko. Help please! Thanks so much
Are you planning to remove the horns from the buckling? If the buckling seems to be doing well and you’re not planning to remove horns, then I’d give him a CDT at 4 weeks and then again 30 days later. For the dam, I’d just give her the CDT shot and BoSe (if you’re in a selenium deficient area) now as well as worm her. If the buckling seems to be doing well, then you probably don’t need to worry about the BoSe, but up to .5 cc can perk them up if they seem to be struggling at all.
Robbie Lynn says
If you are going to disbud the kids, do you give the shot before or after?
Pam Durham says
Hello, I had the due date wrong in one of my Nigerian Dwarf does, so her CD&T shot and Bo-Se shot was only 15 days prior to delivery. The kids are doing great, but I was wondering if I need to give the kids shots or not….don’t know if 15 days was long enough to get in their system. Thanks for any information.
Hi Pam, Giving the CDT and BoSe shot to the doe at 15 days rather than 30 should be ok. Just remember you will have to give the kids their CDT & booster again when they get older.
Pam Durham says
Thank you! I knew about the CD&T…wasn’t sure about Bo-Se. Thanks again for replying so fast! ☺️
Rae Allan says
My goat gave birth 3 days ago. Everything went great! She’s eating and drinking well. Today day 3, she has diarrhea is eating little and drinking very little. I think I may have grained her to much yesterday?! Could that be the cause? Everyone else including her until today are healthy and happy.
Yes, as mentioned above, more grain should be introduced to them slowly. You’ll need to watch her closely to make sure she starts eating and drinking well.
My 3yr old goat had her first kid 2 weeks ago. Everything went smoothly. She expelled the after birth, cleaned him up, etc. I went out this morning & she has blood (about 3-4 tablespoons) coming from the vulva. It’s not normal blood, it looks just like menstral blood.
Candy Horton says
My doe still has a bloody discharge after 2 days, she has 4 kids, and she is caring for all. She is getting Goat grain. The kids are fine but I am a bit worried about her.
Hi Candy, I would watch the doe carefully; however, it’s not that unusual for a doe to have some bloody discharge for a few days after freshening. It’s just a normal part of the process. If she is acting ok, eating well, taking care of the kids, and doesn’t have a temperature she is probably fine and the discharge will quit. If she develops a temperature, is lethargic, acts abnormally, or the discharge is excessive then it’s time to take her to your Vet.
Carleen Gorr says
What do you do when your goat doesn’t clean?
We’ve had this problem a couple of times with first fresheners – it’s like it hurts so much they want nothing to do with cleaning the babies at first. We keep trying to offer the kids to them to clean and I’ve also spread the kidding fluids on my hands, sometimes the does will lick me but not the kids at first. Once the doe has started licking me, then she will generally start licking/cleaning the kids. We’ve also had the situation where the doe simply would not lick/clean the kids, in which case we cleaned them up and made sure they were able to nurse from the doe. Eventually, they have all accepted that the kids are theirs and started caring for them. It has taken a day in some cases and we’ve had to work at it. Hope this helps!