cold weather kidding : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

I have 3 does due to kid end of Feb(I think). This is only my second time kidding, and last year was in the balmy end of May. Both mommas then took care of everything while we were at church. We are having a cold and hard winter so far here in Ia(temps -15, wind chill -45), and I am worried about babies in the sub-zero temps. What do I need to do to prepare? We do not have electric in the barn, so heat lamps are not a good option. Goats are housed in part of the barn now. Have open windows on the south side. Seem healthy, but shiver when I milk them. Do they need a warmer place now? Have plenty of hay, and I keep the bedding dry and deep. Thanks for any suggestions and help.

-- JJ Menzel (, December 23, 2000


Hi JJ, I live in northern Idaho, about 60 miles from the Canadian border, I have several does due for feb this year. My does have kidded before in cold weather and the kids do fine, with the following precautions. The kids need to be dried off ASAP after birth. I have found that the mother does this the fastest and most effectively. The kids need to nurse as soon as they can. Milk out the plug ( one small squirt should do it)if they seem to be having trouble. Very small kids, such as quads, preemies and runts, may need special care, in the house. Also make sure that there is a sheltered place for the does to kid in; they are going to be all sopping wet! It doesn't need a heat lamp, but should be out of the wind and rain. I like to bring a bag of old rags and Tshirts to wipe off the mother after kidding. If she gets too stressed and cold, the kids will suffer as she will not be able to care for them. if any of the does are yearlings( going to be a year old in spring), make doubly sure that the other does will let the young one in the sheltered area. Sometimes the mean old biddies will make a young doe kid out in the pouring rain! I raise alpines. Nubians are a whole other story when it comes to cold weather. For starts, the ears can get frostbite. If you have nubians, you will definitely want to be there at the kidding and dry the ears off, and be ready to bring them inside if needed.

About the shivering during milking, maybe your hands are cold!

-- Rebekah (, December 24, 2000.

JJ, since I live in TX I didn't think I could help too much, but here are some things in addition to Rebekah's sound advice that should help the does and the kids. Keep a bucket of really warm water handy for the doe after the kids are out and attended to. You can also make her a tea of a handful of oats in hot water, and fresh hay afterwards as well. If you can make a box for the kids after they are all dry it will keep them from being too chilled. A hair dryer will help to dry them out, too, just make sure it isn't too hot!

One thing, are you certain your does are CAE-? If not, you should treat them as if they are positive and take the kids away before they nurse. Good luck!

-- Doreen (, December 24, 2000.

I certainly, like Doreen am not going to be able to help you with this either! But the shivering with your stock while milking does have me concerened. Is this because they are not used to being handled or because where you milk them is blowing cold onto them? I would be blanketing my does if they were shivering, since this means they are wasting calories keeping warm that needs to go for milk and growing babies. Also if they are due in Feburary, you need to think about drying them up, 50 days before their due date, would be about right. We have boxes in our barns, (very similar to small dog houses) that the kids can jump on top of, or snuggle together inside of. A really great trick is to put no bottom on these so you aren't having to clean them, simply pick them up and move them to a cleaned area. Blanketing the kids works great for really good mom's, but once you have a penfull of kids, they seem to keep each other warm enough. Sweatshirt sleeves, with a slit for the front legs about 6 inches from the cuff work great, the cuff becomes a turtle neck and you can slip Nubian ears in them. The body of the sweatshirt makes nice coats for a little bit older kid and small adults. Of course bucks will need a slight modification in the tummy area :) Good luck with your kidding! We started last night! Vicki

-- Vicki McGaugh TX (, December 25, 2000.

Hi Vicki; Here in the cold north goats frequently "shiver" while being milked. I think it maybe has to do with taking the warm milk out of them. Mine don't shiver at any other times so a blanket in the milk room is just thrown over them. I was worried I had a managment problem until I talked to others about it here in frigid Mich. and they were having the same problem in the sub zero weather.

-- diane (, December 25, 2000.

Thanks Diane! I guess that is like our girls sweating during the summer heat :) We have a big shop fan which blows on the milk stands, goats and milkers, it is so powerful that even a fly can't lite on us! You have a great day! Vicki

-- Vicki McGaugh TX (, December 25, 2000.

I'm glad to hear that the shivering on the milking stand is normal. Mine does that, and I figured it was still just because she was afraid of the new people in her life -- for those who helped on my thread asking for advice, my two new girls are doing well now, and I think all is going to be fine. I'll put a message on that thread, too, but thought some of you might see it quicker here -- a big thank you!!

-- Kathleen Sanderson (, December 25, 2000.

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