Kidding Management

There is no time of the year that I enjoy more than the kidding season. I love the smells, the excitement, the sore muscles and the sight of doe and kids resting together in the straw. There are those who would say it is the most stressful time of the year for them, but with some good management and preparation it can become an enjoyable time for you as well.

There are numerous management techniques used by production mangers. My advice is that you read research articles from universities doing research in the area of kidding management. Talk to other goat people and see what works for them and then develop your own style. Your management style will vary with the size of your operation, with the breed of goat you have and with individual human personalities. In the following text, I'll try to give you some basic guidelines to follow. They will help you get through the first kidding season after which you can begin to develop your personal style.

Previously we discussed grouping nannies for breeding. I like to do the grouping before breeding by size and body condition. Try to leave the groups in place until they kid. This will eliminate abortions due to the trauma of reestablishing the pecking order. Your goal as a manager is to introduce the least amount of stress as possible during the gestation period. The gestation period for goats is 146-155 days. If you know exactly when the doe was bred, you can eliminate a lot of the watching stage, but if you have a group of 20 does in with a buck it is nearly impossible to be precise about the breeding date. Be prepared to start your kidding season one or two days before the first possible date any of the does could be bred.