Kidding season is just around the corner, and the time had come to begin preparing for all of the fun- before the chaos ensues. So let’s talk kidding pens for goats, what are they? Do you really need them? And what should the include? We’ll break it all down so you can decide if you need them for your own herd.
What Is A Kidding Pen for Goats?
A kidding pen for goats is pretty self explanatory, it’s a pen that is either permanent or temporary to separate a goat that is in labor from the rest of the herd. A kidding pen gives a goat a safe, secure, and secluded place to give birth where she won’t be bothered by your other goats.
Do Goats Need A Kidding Pen?
A kidding pen will be more necessary in the winter when it’s very cold but are always handy to have available should you need to separate the mom and baby from the rest of the herd for a bit. It also keeps the babies closer to the mom, so you can ensure they are getting colostrum and nursing well.
Five Reasons To Have A Kidding Pen For Goats
Reason 1) To Have A Kidding Pen For Goats:
If you have multiple does kidding on the same day, having a kidding pen for goats can be super helpful especially if you have a large herd. Having multiple new moms and babies running around can quickly become problematic.
Sometimes the does get the kids mixed together, other times a doe will steal all the kids. This can be especially annoying if you’re raising registered goats, and miss when the kids are born. It can be impossible to know for sure which kid belongs to which doe.
Reason 2) To Have A Kidding Pen For Goats:
Another reason to put together a kidding pen for goats is to help you keep track of the kids so you can make sure they’re off to the best start. Does often don’t pick the cleanest or safest area to give birth. Predators, weather, and location the doe chose to give birth can all be a problem and risk the lives of new kids.
Reason 3) To Have A Kidding Pen For Goats
Another good reason to set up kidding pens is cleanliness. Having birthing fluids all around the pen can spread germs and attract predators. Having it in a small area makes it easier to get everything cleaned up easily.
Reason 4) To Have A Kidding Pen For Goats
Having a kidding pen set up makes it easier for you to monitoring the doe (and babies). Having the mom and kids in a small area separated from the rest of the herd makes it easier to keep an eye on them and access them for any needs. If the doe needs a little extra food or care, the other goats don’t have access to her food or get in the way of any extra care you need to provide her.
Reason 5) To Have A Kidding Pen For Goats
Having kidding pens for goats is also a great way for babies to get a chance to bond with mama (if dam raising) without the other herd members pushing them around or even try to steal the babies. It It gives them a space to find their feet and gain some strength before joining the rest herd, which helps ensure they get the best start.
Setting Up Kidding Pens For Goats
Typically a kidding pen is set up in a barn or covered area in a square or rectangle shape. If absolutely necessary a kidding pen could be set up in the garage. How elaborate you get will really depend on you, how many goats you have that will need to have access to a kidding pen, if you decide to go with permanent pens, or something that you can collapse and store when kidding season is over.
Kidding pens can be made of cattle panels, plywood, pallets, goat fencing or even chain-link fencing.
How Big Should A Kidding Pen Be?
A kidding pen for goats is typically about 4 feet x 5 feet. The kidding pens should be located in an area free of cold wind and the elements.
What Do You Need In A Kidding Pen For Goats?
- Bedding (shavings and or straw)
- Water source (make sure it’s shallow so the babies won’t fall in and not be able to get out again)
- Hay Feeder
Some things you may also want to include in your kidding area is lights, kidding kit, towels, some sort of camera so you can check on the mom and babies from your house.
Kidding Pens For Goats
If you have a small herd, a kidding pen may not be necessary for your herd.. But if you have a larger herd they can be super helpful. I chose to put in two permanent stalls for kidding pens in my goat barn for my small herd. This gives me the ability to separate my doe if I choose or I can leave her with the others depending on the situation. It also gives me enough room to handle multiple does in labor at the same time.
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