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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I purchased a yearling ND doe from a lady on August 31. All her goats were penned together with her buck, so she said she was possibly bred, but obviously had no idea when she would be due. Turns out she is pregnant, she started developing an udder around November 18. Anyway, I'm in northern MN, so we're heading into the coldest part of winter. I do have the goats in a barn, but it's not completely closed, the big door on one end stays open to let the horse in for water. We provided the doe with a covered plywood box about 30" high by about 3'x4', she sleeps in it, but I'm wondering what to do for the kids when they arrive. Our average January night time temps are -8F, but it often gets to -20 or colder. I'm planning to make one of those plastic barrel warmers, but will that be enough? I'm also going to make a couple kid coats out of an old wool sweater. Any advice?
 

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Barrel heater is a great idea, just make sure the area is draft free, also it’s good idea to keep the Mom is a small area near kidding so the baby does not get separated too far from her. I try to keep the barns no colder than 5 degrees with kids under a few days old, after that it can get a few degrees cooler, but never colder than -5. They do fine in the cold. Dry straw and a heat lamp makes it comfy :)
 

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The big thing is going to be getting the babies dried off and drinking. That can be very hard to do when you don't have any idea when she due.
Mine do great in the closed up barn with heating barrels, I only use coats if they are newborns, small or week. The coats sometimes make a week newborn tip over.
It was single digits 2 nights ago here, I had twins born around 10pm. I help mom dry off with a hair dryer, made sure they are dry, drank off mom, then into the barrel. Limpy the cat also slept with them adding extra warmth. I did a check at 2:30am and again at 6am they ate both times.
Watch for humped up kids and remember that can't drink/digest if their body temp is under 100 degrees.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I have friends here in Maine that kid in February. They actually put up a chain link dog kennel in their basement and have their does kid in there!
We thought about doing that in our garage, but I'm worried the change to go back outside would be hard on them.
 

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I keep newborn kids in my garage in a little pen. We take them outside during the day to acclimate. If they get shivery we bring them back inside. If you are going to dam raise, then you can keep them inside for the first few days (or a week or two) to bond, taking them out for short spells during the day. If the kids are strong, they will adjust pretty quickly. If not, then you just slow down the process.
 

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Keeping the wind off of them is the most important thing. The heated barrels really keep the drafts down and the kids warm. Use a 100 watt RED bulb. I order mine through Home Depot at Christmas time. Usually about $5.
I have kidded in -20° inside a barn with no issues. Have a good foot of straw down for bedding after the kidding. I clean out the pen after kidding to get rid of all the wet slop to keep them dry and warm, then put about a foot of straw bedding in. Warm water in buckets, I use an electric heated bucket, keeps the dam warmer and producing more milk because she drinks more than if the water is cold. Keeping their bellies full keeps them warm. Dry kids off good at birth, paying special attention to ears and legs as the doe tends to miss those areas. Plus all the great advice above.
 

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All good advice, I would only add large stall shavings under the hay. It will keep it warmer and draw any urine away from the animals. Just make sure all electrical cords are safely out of reach of the goats/water. And I would use a shop light fixture for the heat lamp bulb to prevent any "contact" with hay or the goat.
 
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Good luck!

I do highly recommend a hair dryer for the ears if it is in the negatives. It's really hard to get them dry, warm, and circulating enough before they get cold and frost bitten ear tissue.

Watch her very closely for any changes in vulva, udder, or discharge, vocalization and head pressing and check frequently! Its exhausting but can't be avoided in this bitter weather.
 

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A baby monitor in the barn could possibly alert you to kidding. The house-within-the barn is a great idea. You can also stack up straw bales to block drafts & hold in a little more body heat.
Omgoodness. this is a wonderful idea, my doe is close to kidding and is worrying me sick, after loosing a kid on Christmas I am not wanting to sleep, without knowing she is okay.
 
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My does are so sneaky & quiet--I've only seen one actually kid in 4 years! They are about 30 feet from my bedroom window & usually first I know of it is I hear the just born kids squawk. I run out & dry them & dip their cords. If they are really gloppy or it's very cold, a few times I carried them inside to quickly do those things. I've never had a doe reject a kid when I did that but I suppose it could be a risk.... I love that hair dryer idea though!
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