Kidding in Cold Weather
It’s been unseasonably cold in the U.S. South with many struggling through some of the coldest temperatures in a decade — accompanied by snow, ice and all manner of ugliness. While we here in the north are pretty used to this, it’s been a bad year for us as well.
I’m not one to advocate the use of heaters in a barn housing adult livestock but kids are a different story. They arrive wet and the combination of wet and cold is a bad mix. If your goats live in a place that doesn’t generally have below freezing or sub zero temperatures for days on end, make sure your bedding is deep and kidding areas are protected from drafts. Space heaters with saftey shut offs suspended away from flammable objects, especially inquisitive goats can benefit extremely cold barns expecting newborns.
I try to attend all goat births because I’ve lost kids due to severe cold. If you’re concerned about your newborns, help your does out by drying the kids when they’re born and getting them nursing as quickly as possible. Again, food = energy = warmth. Keep your bedding dry and clean so no one catches a chill and watch for signs of respiratory infections. A respiratory infection will take down a goat quickly so running noses, sneezing, coughing and colored nasal discharge are something to take seriously. Know the signs and have medicines available in the event one of your herd becomes ill.
Hopefully the worst of the weather has passed but February hasn’t yet arrived with new surprises so diligence is the word of the day. Good luck in your kidding.