Photo by Sue Weaver
Mom repacked the birthing kit after my babies’ births and has it tucked behind the door ready for lambing. Here’s what’s in it and why:
- Seven percent iodine for dipping newborns’ navels. It’s a prescription item because bad people use it to make a drug called meth, so you might have to substitute a product like Triodine 7 or a holistic alternative like tincture of myrrh
- A shot glass to hold the navel-dipping fluid
- Sharp scissors for trimming umbilical cords prior to dipping. She disinfects them and stows them in a ziplock bag
- A rubber leg snare to put on a stuck kid or lamb’s legs to keep track of them while she repositions the kid or lamb
- O.B. gloves (long ones for foaling or calving)
- Two large bottles of lube. She likes SuperLube from Premier1 because it’s antiseptic but other lubes work too. Just make sure you have enough!
- Betadine Scrub for cleaning up prior to assisting
- A sharp pocket knife because you never know when you need one.
- A hemostat (ditto)
- A lamb and kid carrying sling. When you have to move a ewe from where she gives birth to her jug (that’s a little, private stall where she can bond with her lambies), it’s easiest to take the lambs and then she’ll follow along. But ewes aren’t wired to look for flying lambs, so when you pick them up, she thinks they’re lost and she gets scared. She runs back to where she gave birth to see if they’re there, so you have to carry the lambs close to the ground so that doesn’t happen. That means bending over and walking while the lambs’ feet barely skim the ground. Mom says her back is too old for that; that’s why she loves her lambing sling.
- A halter or collar and lead, in case she has to secure a nervous mom while babies learn to nurse
- Two flashlights. Mom likes to have a backup in case the first flashlight fails
- Two fluffy terrycloth towels. Hand towels for lambs and kids because they’re just the right size; bigger ones for mares, cows and llamas
Mom keeps her birthing stuff in a Rubbermaid step stool storage box. That way she has a comfy place to sit while watching a birth. Overflow like towels, halters and leads go in a plastic feed or supplement pail with a snap-on lid.
With a birthing kit you’ll be ready for whatever happens. Next week I’ll show you how to tell when a ewe or doe is ready to burst!