Welcome to The Blue Ribbon - Youth Livestock Projects blog. The purpose of this blog is to provide information, advice and suggestions for improving youth livestock projects from multiple sources. The information, advice and suggestions in this blog come from professional agricultural educators who have multiple years of experience working with youth and their livestock projects. If you ever have a question or a particular subject you would like addressed, please feel free to contact Scott Stinnett via email, or leave a comment and we will do our best to assist or address the subject. Should the question or subject be more technical, we will help direct you to an appropriate resource for the best possible answer.

Thank you,

Scott Stinnett and The Blue Ribbon Contributors

Friday, December 23, 2016

Here Comes Baby! (Babies!)

     Right after the first of year, there are many livestock species that will be giving birth to those future show projects. If your project includes some new arrivals in the near future, here are some general tips to keep in mind.
Make Contact

     Before your new babies arrive, contact your veterinarian. Establishing a relationship with your veterinarian before parturition (the term for the act of giving birth) will be beneficial to you, your animals and the vet. The vet may need to order vaccines or other medications to have them ready for your newborns when they arrive. They may also have some helpful tips for you about parturition and newborn care. 
     The vet may want some information as well about your animals to prepare for any emergency call you may make. How to contact you, the location of animals, predicted due date, age of the females and other information will help them be prepared for an emergency call.

Make a Plan

     Now is the time to think about the birthing process and newborn care. If this is your first time with animals giving birth, contact someone with experience and ask them to help you make a plan. If you have experience with birthing animals, it is time to gather supplies and review your plan for the arrival of newborns. A few things to consider:

  • Find a quiet place for females to give birth, away from possible distractions or stress.
    • Other animals can cause stress. Locate away from other animals if you have any.
    • Make it secure. Prevent any predators or stray cats and dogs from entering.
    • Do not invite a group of people to view the birthing process. It creates stress.
  • Set up the pen, stall, barn or pasture where you plan for the females to give birth and newborns to live.
    • Inspect for any hazards like sharp points, broke parts or other problems.
  • The location needs to be cleaned, sanitized, and kept clean.

  • Gather Supplies (here are some examples)
    • Cleaning supplies - manure forks, shovels, brooms, disinfectants and soap
    • Vet supplies - clean towels and rags, disposable gloves, iodine, antiseptics, emergency kit and tools
    • Bedding - straw, shavings or rubber mats depending on specie
    • Feed and feeding supplies - feed for females, feed  pans, colostrum or colostrum replacer
    • Watering supplies - water buckets, water bottles for newborns
  • Supplies should be located where they will be easy to find, close to the birthing location.
  • Make a schedule of who will be watching for signs of parturition, caring for females and newborns.
    • Large livestock can be checked every 2-12 hours depending on how close they are to their due date.
    • If signs of parturition are present, hourly checks may be best.
    • Newborns should be checked twice a day unless they are out on pasture.
  • Emergency contacts list
    • Veterinarian clinic and emergency phone numbers
    • You and other family members emergency contact phone numbers
  • Be quiet and calm
    • Loud noises, and excess movement can stress the females you are checking.

Additional Resources

Here are some other resources for you to review to get ready for those new arrivals:

     Care of Pigs From Farrowing to Weaning – University of Missouri Extension
     Newborn Lamb Management – Virginia Cooperative Extension
     Preparing for Calving – University of Nebraska Lincoln
     Foaling Mare & Newborn: Preparing for a Safe & Successful Foal Delivery -
                                                         American Association of Equine Practitioners

I hope everything goes well, and you get some sleep.

Scott Stinnett
Extension Associate
Kit Carson County
Golden Plains Area
Colorado State University Extension

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