The new year always brings with it new farm animals. For many in Clay and Owen counties, that means they will have kids soon. For those not familiar with goats, their offspring are called ‘kids.’ Like calves, foals, lambs and piglets, kids can be difficult to care for as they are too young to really be aware of dangers threatening their health.
One of the best ways to help care for kids is through preparation before they arrive. To prepare, begin by increasing the energy and protein found in the does’ diet. During the last term of pregnancy, does’ protein requirements increase by 54-percent, while their energy increases by 21-percent. To reach these requirements, you will have to change the does’ diet outside of providing additional forage. Forages will not help reach these requirements because the doe does not have enough room due to the pregnancy to eat the amount of forage needed to reach the requirements.
Two weeks after increasing the energy and protein values in the does’ feed, you should give all does a booster vaccine. Be sure that the booster you use is safe for late term pregnant does. It is best to talk to your veterinarian to determine what booster vaccine should be used. At this time, you should also treat any hoof problems that you are aware of.
In the weeks that follow, you should prepare a kidding kit that can be utilized once the doe goes into labor. You may want two kidding kits – one to take to the kidding pen and one that is available in the barn when needed. The one to take to the kidding pen should have ID tags (and tagger), record sheet, Iodine, scales, and selenium shots. The other kit should have latex gloves, kid/lamb puller, feeding tube and syringe, towels and emergency phone numbers.
Once the kids arrive, there are several things that you should do. Within the first two hours, strip milk from the doe to ensure she has milk for her young. Then make sure the kid nurses. Overall, the kid needs to consume two ounces of milk (colostrum) within the first six hours of its life. It will need an additional four to six ounces in the first twenty-hours. If the doe does not have milk, then you need to either obtain colostrum (first milk from a doe) from another doe in your herd to feed the newborn. If you can’t get it from a doe within your herd, try to get some from a neighbor or use powdered colostrum. Realize that if you don’t have any frozen colostrum right now, you might want to obtain some this year. Once you obtain the colostrum you can then freeze it and thaw it in warm water when you need it next time.
During the first twenty-four hours of the kids’ life, you should take all birth records (weight, gender, birth date) and tag the kid. You should also dip or spray the navel with a seven-percent Iodine solution. You might want to talk to your veterinarian and see if they recommend giving a Selenium shot at this time to prevent white muscle disease. For the does, you should also consider trimming their hooves. The doe and kid should be kept in a clean, dry place for a few days before letting them out with the rest of the herd. Once released, the kids should still be provided with a place to go, away from the does inside a barn.
As always, if you have any questions or would like information on any agriculture, horticulture, or natural resource topic, then please contact your local Purdue Extension Office at 812-448-9041 in Clay County, or 829-5020 in Owen County. You can also reach me directly via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Purdue University is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action institution.
Upcoming opportunities available to you through Purdue Extension include:
•January 25 & 26 – Heart of America Grazing Conference. For more information on costs and how to register, visit: http://web.extension. illinois.edu/ajmpu/hoa/
•January 28 – Owen County SWCD Annual Dinner
•January 30 – Clay County Extension Board Annual Dinner
•February 5 – Owen 4-H Week
•February 9 & 14 – Two Night Beef Program; first Night Owen County Fairgrounds, second night Monroe County Extension Office. Cost is $10. RSVP by calling 812- 349-2575
•February 13 – Start of the Master Gardener Series, Clay County Extension Office. Cost is $115. RSVP by calling 812-448-9041 by January 31
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