Goldenbrook Farm - Purebred Registered Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Goats
Goldenbrook Farm Minnie Blue 2005

Purebred Registered
Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Goats
Bred for Dairy • Temperament • Quality

Goldenbrook Farm - Purebred Registered Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Goats
 
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Members of the:
American Goat  Society (AGS),
The American Dairy Goat
Association (ADGA)
New England Nigerian
Dwarf Assoc. (NENDA)

Goldenbrook Farm/GBF Kids: Goat Breeding/Kidding Tips

Please remember these are very general guidelines. I recommend all goat owners purchase a few goat books for reference and consult with their veterinarian for more in-depth health care information. The information presented here is only to be used as a guide and not intended to prescribe any treatment for your goats.

STEP ONE: BREEDING

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THE BUCK STOPS HERE! Choose your buck carefully. You will want the buck to both retain your doe's strengths and help correct her weaknesses. I like to tell people to choose the 2 things they like the best about their doe and the two things that are most important to fix and make sure then buck they use has all four of these qualities. Don't just look at the buck either-look at his sire and dam and granddam, especially if milking & showing is in your future.

In order to produce milk, you will need to breed your does each year. Some does will milk through longer. Although Nigerians are considered year-round than breeders, they seasonally come into the most detectable heat cycles in New England during late summer/early fall through late winter. I have bred as late as March with success. Also consider that many does do not settle when breeding is followed by a hot period, so summer breeding is difficult.

I get many questions on what exactly " buck service" is. I am sure it varies farm to farm, but this is what we do:  I only breed to registered Nigerian, either AGS or ADGA (bring your registration papers), and they must pass my health inspection when they arrive at my farm as well as have a health certificate dated within the past year. I also want to know the doe's origin and how long you have owned her prior to your visit. I do not board or allow outside animals to stay on my farm.

Once the doe arrives and passes "inspection", she is brought to a neutral area on my farm where my goats do not go and I bring the buck to her on a leadline. Both animals are kept on leads when he services her, once or twice, depending on how well she receives him, and we try not to get tangled! The buck can be scary to first fresheners with all of his goofy sounds, licking and carrying on. Sometimes, especially with younger does, a second visit is a must to make them more comfortable and they may have been brought either too early or late to be in standing heat. When we're done and the buck has provided his service, I fill out the breeding agreement and service memo.

The tricky part is bringing your doe at the right time if you are not familiar with your doe's heat cycles. Sometimes even when you have tracked your doe's cycle, the stress of the trip throws her off.  It is harder to detect your doe's cycle when there is no buck on your farm but with a smelly buck rag and some keen observation, you can do it. I often suggest mailing me a bandana or facecloth in a ziploc bag with a self-addressed stamped envelope to return it to you. I will take the rag and rub it on the buck so it smells like him. Then you would take it out for the doe and let her sniff it to see if she's interested. After doing this for a few weeks each day, you will be able to gauge when you doe reacts differently. When a doe is in heat, she generally becomes more vocal, shows increased tail-wagging, her vulva may appear swollen or pink and she's definately interested in the buck rag. Some does have very inconspicuous signs, so watch carefully. Once she shows some of these sign in increasingly, this is when you need to bring her for breeding. "Standing" heat usually only last about 24 hours, sometimes less, so timing is important. Does usual cycle every approximately every 3 weeks. I have tried Lutalyse to induce heat with no success. Careful observation and knowledge of your doe will be the best judge of when she is ready to be bred.

Also, if your does have not had any contact with bucks, they may very well come into a strong heat a day or two after you make the trip here and they meet the buck, so plan on a second trip which may be necessary. Driveway breeding ,as we call it, can turn into a few trips before your does are bred. If your does do not become pregnant, you can bring them back for buck service at no charge during the same year as long as they continue to pass the health exam. I suggest after you have them bred and you think it took, have a blood test done a bit later to make sure they are. Nothing is more disappointing than waiting for babies and then finding out after breeding season that your doe's not bred.

"Goat Dating"

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A doe that is receptive to the buck and ready to be bred, lets him approach her, do all of his silly tongue flapping, and eventually mount and breed her.

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SIGNS OF A DOE IN HEAT:

Very Vocal

Tail Flagging

Swollen vulva/possible discharge

Interest in a buck rag

Acts "differently" than usual

KIDDING

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Kidding is an exciting and nerve-racking time. Preparation and some basic knowledge will help you get off to a good start.

BEFORE BREEDING

Preparing for kids starts before you breed your doe. Good preventative health care of the doe goes a long way to producing healthy kids. Our does & bucks are dewormed, receive a copper bolus and a BoSe shot (Vitamin E & Selenium) just before breeding season begins in the fall. Two weeks before we breed our doe, we add a small amount of Blue Seal Sunshine pellets (supplement) to her feed. This is called flushing the doe. The extra nutrition helps increase the likelyhood of multiple births.

BEFORE THE KIDS ARE BORN

Our doe's get their own deep straw bedded kidding stall (approximately 4' x 5') to give birth. One month before they are due, they receive a booster of their CD/T vaccine, I increase their grain and trim their feet. I start putting them in the stall 2 weeks before they are due, usually with another doe that is due around the same time so they are not alone. This is the same time I crotch them to prepare for birthing. In warm months, I clip the whole goat. In cooler weather, I only clip the doe's udder, belly, back legs and the area under her tail. This is also the time to get your kidding kit together. I begin watching the doe closely a week prior to her reaching 145 days gestation. Once she is almost 145 days, she goes in the kidding stall whenever I am not home or if her udder looks fuller than before or she's acting "different" that day., Make sure she gets out each day though so she has plenty of time to exercise and socialize.

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My KIDDING KIT includes: lots of towels (for drying kids), lubricant and gloves (for assisting), iodine or Triodine (to dip umbilical cords), small cup to pour iodine in (old cold medicine cups work well), dental floss (for tying umbilical cords), scissors (for cutting long umbilical cords after tying), weak lamb feeding tube (in case I have a very weak kid), goat nutri-drench (both for doe and kids that need it), propel glycol (to treat ketosis), scale (to weigh kids), tums (for calcium supplementation in does with quads or more), molasses (for that warm after birthing drink), and a kidding record notebook.

WONDERFUL, MIRACULOUS, MESSY BIRTH!

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Our doe, Pistachio, gave birth to a healthy 4 lb buckling on June 28th. We captured many aspects of the birth, however, due to his size, I was busy assisting when he finally whooshed out!

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5:35 PM-Doe is in labor. She began acting "different" the day before. Today she is very restless. Notice the hollow in front of her hip bone, the obvious discharge and the fullness of her udder. Now's the time to move your kidding supplies close by. I place a plastic tote with towels and lubricant right in the corner of the stall.

KR

Doe also appears rounded over her spine and is holding her tail arched over. Now she's beginning to paw at her bedding. It's a good idea to write down when active labor begins so you know how long your doe has been pushing if she becomes distressed and you need to call the vet.

KP

5:50-She's down and begins pushing. Some does (including this one!) make alot of noise when pushing. Once the doe starts pushing, birthing will progress rather rapidly. If your doe pushes for a long time and notheing happens, you may need to evaluate and assist or call the vet.

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That's a good push! This doe's using the wall to brace her legs. At this point only a single hoof was showing. The doe continued to push, but the other hoof and nose were not present after several strong pushes. I washed up and lubricated my fingers to have a feel of what was going on in there. The kid was presented properly, but was large, especially since this was her first kidding. I guided the other hoof out and gently pulled at the same time the doe pushed. The nose appeared and after another strong push, a new kid entered the world!

KB

5:58 PM-Birth! The doe inspects her newborn. At first she's not sure what to do with him. I use a towel and clean out his nose and mouth. If a kid sounds like he's has alot of fluid in his airways when he's breathing, hold him up by his rear legs and let them get out a few good screams. This will usually help them dislodge it.

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The doe begins cleaning and bonding with her kid. I like to let the doe clean the kid herself. It's an important time for them to bond. If it's especially cold, I will have a heat lamp setup in the stall and will place the kid under it so the doe can lick him in a warm spot.

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After the birth, you will see a clear liquid filled sack. It often bursts while it is being passed. If the doe is having multiple kids, she will stop licking her newborn and move away to begin pushing again. This is a good time to wrap the first kid in a towel and help his dam dry him off.

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They doe receives a drink of warm molasses water. A doe loses alot of heat during kidding and they often will drink down the whole bucket.

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6:12 PM-Once he's almost dry, a kid will try to get on his feet. THe dam's licking stimulates him. Instinct will make the kid seek out his dam's milk. She will lick and call to him to encourage him to get on his feet.

KU

A few wobbly starts and he falls back a few times, but he keeps trying.

KU

The kid begins to walk with his dam encouraging him every step of the way.

KB

Kids often go between their dam's front legs and search her belly for the teat. Squeeze each teat to make sure the waxy plug is out and the kid will get her colostrum, ideally within 20 minutes of birth.

KA

Almost there! It will take some kids several tries to find the teat.

KL

6:17 PM-Finally, he's latched on and nursing. His dam continues to lick and encourage him. After the kid has nursed, I weigh them, tie their umbilical cord and dip it in iodine. I record all of the birth information in my notebook.

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7:50 PM-Later, after the doe has all of her kids, she will lay back down and push to expel the afterbirth. The afterbirth should be expelled within twelve hours. If it's not, call your vet since your doe will become very ill if it is retained.

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9:30 PM-The kid is dry, his belly is full and he takes a much needed rest. His dam continues to dote on him. Kids will nurse and nap almost continuously their first day of life.

HOW WE RAISE OUR KIDS & WHY

I am often asked how we raise our kids. Let me start by saying that my way won't necessarily work exactly the same for you. One thing I've learned is that as you progress into goat raising, you will develop methods that work best for you and your herd, but learning about how other goat farmers do what they do and why is often helpful.

We choose to dam raise our kids, with occasional supplemental bottles especially if their dams are on our show string for that year. One of the reasons I began raising goats is to get back to a more "natural" lifestyle, producing my own milk. To me it seems against my core reasons for getting into goat raising to go against nature and bottle raise the kids.

I also have a deep respect for the bonds that form between the goats and their kids. I have two distinct family groups in my herd from my two original does (we maintain a closed doe herd so all of our does are out of our two original foundation does). Each family group made up of the grandmother, mothers, daughters and sisters eat and sleep together. Even the more timid does can get into the hayrack next to their mom or sister! Dam raising them helps make them well socialized parts of the herd early on. We have had a few bottle babies that I found didn't always mesh well with the other herd members. It's sad to see them off by themselves instead of curled up next to a relative during nap time.

We always try to be there for the birth, both to greet the kids as they enter the world and to be there for assistance to the doe. We handle each kid daily and spend lots of time sitting in the pens and playing with them. We often become human play gyms with kids running and climbing in our laps and over our backs. We spend alot of time with them so that they will be well socialize with humans. This can be alot of work when there are lots of kids, but luckily this is one job my children love to have on our farm! It's also about the nicest feeling in the world, at the end of seemingly endless feeding and cleaning chores to plop down and have a kid curl up and fall asleep in your lap at the end of a long day.

I continue this routine until the kids are ready to wean at about 8-12 weeks. By now the kids are eating plenty of grain and hay and are ready to be on their own. Since they are already accustomed to being seperated from their dams part of the time, weaning time is less stressful. I like the kids to be completely weaned for 5-7 days before they leave my farm. I also try not to stress them in any other way during this time by not making any other changes, after all weaning is stressful enough!

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ABOVE: Does & kids in our kidding stall with divider. Divider is open in the picture and we "anchor" it with a water bucket snapped on so it's can't close accidentally.

This ia a view from the main doe herd side. The inside "day" stall is 6' X 7'. At night, we open up the aisle section (an additional 6' X 6' area) so everyone has room. In the winter we open the stall on the other side of the aisle and the herd has another 8' X 10', so everyone has a nice, cozy spot (below). We also use this stall during kidding season to seperate the does from their kids at night.

One week after our does kid, they are moved out of their private kidding stall to our community doe & kid stall. At two weeks the kids are seperated at night so we can milk..

(WE HAVE IMPROVED OUR KIDDING STALLS, new pictures soon)

KID HEALTH: WHAT WE DO & WHEN

Remember that we are in New Hampshire and our health care and management practices may not work for your locality. Also every farm is different and you will find customizing your operation to what works for both you and your animals will keep everyone happy! Below is a sample chart we use for each doe's kidding so that we do everything on schedule just by reviewing it once a week and marking on our barn calendar who will need what that week. A copy of this chart goes home with every kid we sell so that the new owners know what the kid has received and can continue their health care. They should also bring it to their first needed vet vissit so it can be entered in their records.

Good Record Keeping: a must to Raise HEALTHY KIDS!

 

2-3 Months  prior to birth

  Give Doe: Copper Bolus: product/dose:__________

 
 

4 weeks       prior to birth

  Preventative Health Care for the Doe:

  VACCINATE CD/T  product/dose:__________  

  BoSe shot or Monthly gel   product/dose:______________

  Start increasing NUTRITION by increasing grain ration

  TRIM HOOVES

 
 

AT BIRTH

  Kids: Dip umbilical cord triodine/7% iodine and make sure they are dry & nurse within 20 minutes

 
 

1 DAY

  Doe: DEWORM product/dose:___________________

 
 

4-5 DAYS

  Kids: Give PROBITIOCS gel product/dose:_______________

 
 

4-7 DAYS

  DISBUD: Bucks 4-5 days, Does 5-7 days                                 when you feel the horn buds just break the surface

 
 

3 WEEKS

  Kids: VACCINATE CD/T  product/dose:____________            

  Kids: **COCCIDOSIS TREATMENT with Dimethox for 5 DAYSweight/dose:____________________________________

 
 

5 WEEKS

  Kids: **COCCIDOSIS TREATMENT with Dimethox for 1 DAYweight/dose:___________________________________

 
 

6 WEEKS

Kids: VACCINATE CD/T BOOSTER product/dose: ___________

Kids: **COCCIDOSIS TREATMENT with Dimethox for 5 DAYSweight/dose:___________________________________

 
 

8 WEEKS

OR

(Before going home)

  Kids: DEWORM  product/dose:______________________

  VACCINATE: Covexin 8 (CD) dose:________

  TATTOO: R: (herd tattoo) Left: (letter for year)

  TRIM HOOVES (then 4X per year):

  BoSe Gel (we continue gel every 30 days until 6 months then give shots of BoSe )

  Kids: **COCCIDOSIS TREATMENT with Dimethox for 1 DAYweight/dose:___________________________________

  WEAN KIDS so they are fully on grain & hay by 2-3 months

 
 

9 WEEKS

  Kids: **COCCIDOSIS TREATMENT with Dimethox for 5 DAYS 

  weight/dose:____________________________

 
 

11 WEEKS

  Kids: DEWORM product/dose:____________

 
 

14 WEEKS

  Kids: DEWORM product/dose:____________

 
 

17 WEEKS

  Kids: DEWORM product/dose:____________

 
 

3 MONTHS

  VACCINATE RABIES (then once per year)

 
 
Once per year
  VACCINATE CD/T annually (usually in the spring) second vaccination may be needed per weather conditions  

*always check with your veterinarian for the best health schedule for your livestock **see below for what coccidia is & why it is so important to control in young kids

MY GOING HOME INSTRUCTRUCTIONS for KID GOATS

FEEDING:

GRAIN: Blue Seal Medicated Meat goats pellets* (see below for why I use this) this is also what I recommend if you are starting with a pair of wethers or a  young doe & wether pair. Feed grain to wethers until they are 6-8 months, and then I small amount in winter only. NEVER increase their grain. More grain=more health problems for wethers (urinary stones, fat, etc! If your goats are just pets, keep them on a meat goat pellet and feed sparingly.

Does, if you are planning on breeding them later, you should continue on grain, slowly switch to Blue Seal Caprine Challenger (or another goat sweet feet meant for growth but not necessarily milk production yet) but do not overfeed, as you will have fat yearlings that are hard to get bred!

HAY-choose a nice, soft feeling, sweet smelling, leafy (not a lot of stems) green grass hay, they will waste coarser hay & AVOID alfalfa hay (ok for the does, not the wether, does don’t need until they are breeding/milking, you can also supplement the does only with alfalfa pellets if you have a mixed herd)

MINERALS-feed “free choice” meaning the goats always has access to it. (Blue Seal Min-a-Mix, Poulin goat mineral, Manna Pro Goat Mineral-which is the best choice for wethers)

BAKING SODA-feed “free choice” meaning the goats always has access to it. (Buy small box from grocery store)

MINERAL & SODA 2 COMPARTMENT FEEDER

WATER BUCKETS-Two flat back water buckets about 4 qt size is ideal for 2 goats.

FEED DISHES-two small feed dishes that you can remove from their pen after feeding so they do not soil them

BEDDING-a bag of pine shavings for bedding in spring, summer, & fall, STRAW in winter to put over shavings too.

HAY FEEDER-a hay rack, bag, bucket or bunk to feed their hay off the ground

HOOF TRIMMER-a small pair made for goats or small pruning shears. THIS is not optional! You neeed to provide your goats with proper hoof care from the start or they will get hoof rot or deformed hooves which are very difficult to fix!

DEWORMER-you will need to deworm your goats shortly after bringing them home since the stress of moving will cause them to shed more parasites. Find one labeled for goats or contact your vet about other dewormers that can be used “off label” and the proper goat dosage.

COLLARS-if you get nylon, you will need to remove them when they are in their pen so they don't get hung up (I use English leather riding spur straps 16" for kids, 19" for adults, they're cheap & you can leave them on, sold in pairs at tack shops)

*They are eating a mix of Blue Seal Caprine Challenger & Blue Seal medicated meat goat pellets and should stay on this for the first 6 months. This feed also contains ammonium chloride. Not all meat goat pellets are medicated (Deccox) so get the Blue Seal one. After 6 months, you don't need the medicated and can switch to any meat goat pellet brand you want as long as it includes ammonium chloride to help prevent urinary calculi for the wether. The does can eat this too until you start milking/breeding. At that time you would want a higher protein feed like Caprine or Dairy Goat pellets. Whenever coccidia could be high (before ie: humid, wet weather, buy a bag of medicated feed and use that even when they are older, unless you are milking them or they are pregnant)

AT 8-9 WEEKS THEY ARE EATING: (I will send you home with a few baggies of food with some probiotics mixed in to get them started) Feeding is for EACH GOAT, not all! Grain is concentrated so you will feed very little) 

Every AM & PM: 

1 cup Medicated Meat goat pellets (wethers

1 cup Caprine Challenger (18% goat sweet feed)

Minerals (I add a little into their grain in summer & winter to encourage water intake, but also keep available free choice)

1 flake mixed grass hay (enough to keep them munching for 20 minutes)

4-quart bucket fresh water (warm water in winter)

(in winter also add a pinch of kelp meal for iodine to their feed, their mineral needs are higher in winter)

FREE CHOICE: baking soda & mineral mix (I like min-a-vite which is what I mix with their feed for the first 6 months while they are growing, but you have to limit how much they eat since it is also a conditioning supplement. You can also offer free choice a 4# trace mineral salt block which is sold for horses, another goat (not one for goats & sheep because it will be missing copper) mineral AS LONG AS it is not also a conditioning supplement like a meat goat mineral for weight gain) If that's all you can find though, just stick with min-a-vite or manna pro goat mineral and only put out in the free choice feeder 2-3 tbsps per day (more when hot *& in winter) so they won't get fat! I like to add minerals to their feed in summer & winter to encourage water intake.

I feed the grain in a round dish (about 12") and remove and rinse it as soon as they are done. Goats are notorious for soiling dishes which makes them pick up parasites so do not permanently affix their feed, water or mineral dishes so they can be washed frequently.

The does can be switched to an 18% goat sweet feed or dairy goat pellet right before you will breed them (change over slowly). but are fine on the meat goat pels until them. Don't get the does fat before breeding age (they will be ready next fall).

Never increase their grain for the wether, you actually will need to decrease it as he matures (start decreasing at 6-8 months, by a year they should be eating only 1/4 cup PER DAY since they he not be growing as much. By 2 years he probably doesn't need any grain, a little in winter is okay to help keep him warm, but no more than 1/8 for both AM & PM, unless the quality of hay you are able to get is very poor). Wethers have a tendency to become fat very easy so keep their weight in check. Overfeeding also puts them at risk for digestive diseases and urinary blockages so a little grain is enough. Most of their dietary needs are met through a good quality grass hay (steer clear of alfalfa hay for wethers, too much calcium!) and their minerals.

Daily Goat chores for healthy goats:

Feed hay & grain, change water every AM & PM. try to keep to the same schedule daily as much as possible.

Remove & rinse grain dish as soon as they are done eating. Let dry in sun if possible.

Rake under hay rack/bag at least once per day to remove soiled hay so they don't eat it, but you can remove any wet spots and use the rest for bedding in winter.

Rake & "fluff" bedding in house daily, remove any wet spots

Once per week, change all bedding, sprinkle baking soda, or Sweet PDZ, or Stall Dry in any wet spots and then put in new bedding.

Once per week or anytime goat berries get in water bucket, wash bucket with warm, soapy water, let dry in sun

Clean mineral & baking soda compartments whenever they get soiled

Rake outside pen as needed.

Health Care Goats need:

Regular Hoof trimming: I recommend monthly when they are under 6 months, then every other month until they are 1 year, then 4X a year (once per season).

Regular Deworming: collect some goat "berries" and have your vet do a fecal test at least once per year or whenever you suspect a problem (I like to do in late June/early July unless the spring has been especially wet) By doing the fecal you will know what chemical you need to kill the worms your goats have. Examine your goats 4X a year to check for signs of parasites (scruffy coat (not smooth & shiny), pale gums & eyelids, pot belly with easy to feel ribs, coughing, etc) Act immediately if you notice any of these. Worms multiply fast and affect some goats more than others especially in wet, warm conditions.

Vaccinations: CD/T every year, sometimes another booster in that year if CD is suspected or a Tetanus booster if your goat gets a deep puncture wound.

Lice Control: All animals have their own type of lice. You cannot get it from them so don’t worry. It can become a problem late winter into early spring. Treat with a pour on dewormer (Eprinex) that does lice or a dust or spray (labeled for lice on goats) along top line before it is a problem. Lice makes the goat excessively itchy, you'll see lots of flaky skin, loss of hair especially around eyes & base of ears.

When you start preparing to breed, you will need to ask your vet about BoSe shots, copper boluses, extra CD/T boosters and when it is safe to give these before, during or after pregnancy, etc.

Moving to a new home is stressful for the first few days. Be quiet and move slowly and talk to the goats to reduce stress. Watch carefully for health problems, which develop when a goat is stressed since goats naturally shed more parasite eggs when stressed and are more susceptible to disease. Keep up with their deworming schedule. Loose manure or very foul smelling manure could mean a coccidia problem. Any goat that seems depressed (not just napping), doesn't want to eat, isn't chewing their cud at all, strains when urinating or defecating, grinds their teeth (sign of pain, usually they do when lying down) or lies down and refuses to get up is sick to eat, drink, etc, contact your vet immediately. 99% of the time goats are healthy and the transition take only a few days for them to love their new home so don't be overly anxious, just watch them to see what their normal behavior is and watch for changes. Most times goats are very subtle showing signs of illness so it's important to watch for the little things to treat the early enough.

PREVENTATIVE HEALTH CARE FOR THE DOE

Make sure your doe is healthy, not carrying a heavy parasite load and at a good weight before breeding her. We give Copper Boluses to our herd 2x per year and give our does one of their boluses 2-3 months before they will kid. We also revaccinate them (even if they have already received their CD/T within the year) so they will pass that immunity on the kids when they are born. Either a shot of BoSe (Vitamin E & Selenium) or monthly supplementation with a Vitamin E & Selenium gel are important for strong bones/legs, but be careful, selenium can be TOXIC at the wrong dose and the safety margin is narrow. Only use in selenium deficient areas as directed by your veterinarian. Start increasing your doe's nutritional intake with slowly increasing her grain or other supplementation. The last month of gestation is when the kids really grow and she needs the additional nutrition so she does not take her own body's reserves.

DAY OF BIRTH

We make sure the kids nurse and receive their dam's colostrum within 20 minutes of birth, dry them off thoroughly with towels, tie their umbilical cords and dip them in 7% iodine (or Triodine). We offer the doe a warm bucket of molasses water, fresh hay and grain once she is done kidding. We try and have the kid "land" on a clean dry towel to keep clean up to a minimum. Clear the face and nostrils first, then place in front of mom to let her clean and bond with her kid. If their is another kid coming, wrap the first kid in a towel and dry more while Mom delivers the next kid.

DAY AFTER

We deworm the doe. The stress of kidding make the doe suceptible to parasites and since we do not deworm during pregnancy, we worm now. Check the label of the dewormer to make sure their is no milk discard if you will be milking your doe.

4-5 DAYS OLD

Give kids probiotics to help the rumen start working. I use Goats Prefer Probiotic paste and administer 1 ml per kid. I squeeze the amount on my finger and put it on the roof of the kid's mouth.

3-7 DAYS OLD

It's time to check their horn buds & disbud. Bucks horn buds emerge first. DONT' DELAY! If you wait too long your kids will develop scurs, especially the males. If you have a very small kid or it was a triplet or more birth, you may have to wait a day or two more for the doe kids horn buds to be able to be felt. If you disbud some of the kids but not all from a doe, you must make them all smell the same so the doe will not push the disbudded kid aside and refuse to nurse the one. Does recognize their kids by scent so burn a little hair on the top of the kid's head who you are waiting on and apply a dot of whatever wound dressing you used on the disbudded kid.

Many breeders also give the kid a shot of Tetanus Toxiod to give the kid temporary immunity to tetanus now before they receive their first shot at 3 weeks. If you gave your doe a CD/T shot a month before her due date, the kids should have immunity.

The best way to learn disbudding is to watch someone experienced do it. The first year I did it just by reading books and the instructions with my disbudding iron. I felt awful and was shaking after and it turned out I did not remove both horn caps and the kids ended up with scurs. Then I went to an experienced breeder and watched her do it and have not had any problems since. It's an unpleasant task, but a necessary one. So plan on what you will do to get your kids disbudded before they are born. I use a 200 watt iron. In my experience, lower watt irons do not burn hot enough to do a good job. Heat your iron up well before using, usually about 20 minutes. I also keep the iron in a metal can between disbudding kids to keep it hot.

disbud disbud disbud

I kneel on an old chair cushion, fold the kids legs under them and "sit" on the kid for disbudding. I found that the kids hated being in the kid holding box and they could still move around too much. I shave the hair in a wide circle over each horn bud. This makes the horn bud easy to see and cuts down on the smoke from the hair burning. Hold the ears back and press the goats head down securely. The first time I just "touch" the iron to the proper spot over the horn bud to mark the area. Then I apply the iron and rotate it to remove the horn cap usually off and on at 4-5 second intervals. The first horn cap to come of is a skin type layer and you may see some blood (don't worry). Once the skin layer is removed the true horn starts to come off. This will be a small rubbery feeling circle. Once this comes off, the surface should be white with the copper ring around the edge where you applied your iron. It usually take me about 15 seconds of actual burn time to remove the horn bud completely. I spray a little Fight Bac on the spot to cool the kid's head. I then use the tip of my iron to touch all the white area and the edge of skin around the circle to cauterize the area. After I have done both, I apply some Blue Kote with a dauber and hold the kid in my lap until it dries (otherwise the kid scratches and streaks blue all  over his face or my doe gets blue spots on her udder). I like to disbud in the late afternoon/early evening. The kid goes to bed with a headache and sleeps it off and then is up playing like normal the next morning.

1 WEEK OLD

After the kids reach 1 week old, each morning I bring the doe to the milkstand for her breakfast and milk out whatever the kids haven't drank yet. Some kids catch on quickly and as soon as I come into the barn they run to their dams to nurse! For some does, there is only a little left, others I can get up to 1 1/2+ pounds. I do this for a few reasons. I find the does will produce more overall during their lactaction when I start milking early, but I'm not ready to seperate the kids overnight yet.

Many times I find a single kid will nurse his dam mainly on one side, making her udder uneven, and by milking her I help even her out. It's important to check a doe's udder daily with a single kid (sometimes even twins do this) from birth. If only one side is nursed, the other side bags up and can become painful to the doe.

Another reason to start this "practice" milking is to accustom my first fresheners to the milking routine. Since I am milking much less than a "full" milking, it's quicker so they don't need to be as patient and neither do I! They learn that the milkstand means lots of good things, breakfast and treats after. It also lets them learn the order they are milked and who they are milked with so there is less confusion and "cutting" when I am more pressed for time and milking doesn't stress everyone out completely.

2 WEEKS OLD

Now is the time we start seperating the kids from their dams at night. At first I start late at night, around 10 pm, and give both the does and kids hay to nibble. As they get used to this arrangement, I start separating earlier until I am separating them at 6 pm (normal dinner time) and the kids eat their grain separately. By now they are ready to start nibbling on it, although they aren't ready to really start eating it heartily yet.
 
I have several small kidding pens set-up in my barn that are 4' X 6' with front hinged doors and latches thanks to my husband. One set has a solid wood divider to give the doe's privacy with their kids and time to bond the first week. The other set of three has a shared metal hayrack in the middle so the does & kids can see & sleep next to one another, even when seperated which is nice when they reach that week old mark and keeps things less traumatic. I try to breed my does in pairs so they will alwasys kid close to the same time as another doe. This gives the other doe company, gives the kids playmates and is perfect for my 2 goat milking machine.
 
Separating the kids gives me the opportunity to go in and sit and play with the kids alone which makes them friendly since their dams aren't demanding all of the attention. Most of the time the kids treat me like a jungle gym and trying climbing up and over me. I can also work on  bottle training them "partially" so if we are going to a show, everyone can be fed  easily, but due to their immature immune system, I won't bring kids under a month old off my property. I can also put out the kids grain free choice without the does eating it all up!

In the morning, I milk the does and then they all get turned out in the same pen to spend the day together.

3 WEEKS OLD

We start getting serios about milking our does since the kids are eating well on their own.

I vaccinate the kids for CD/T and give Di-Methox 12.5% (my preference over Sulmet or Corid) by mouth to prevent coccidiosis

UNDERSTANDING COCCIDIOSIS

Coccodia is a single celled parasite that can devastate goat herds when it infects them, thereby being referred to as Coccidiosis when their are clinical signs of coccidia present. Most species have some type of coccidia that affect them, 2 species are particularly troublesome to goats: Eimeria ninakohlyakimovae and Eimeria arlongi. Goats become infected after ingesting the egg from the environment. They live and grow within the cells lining the gastrointestinal tracts of the goat. The oocyst is passed in the feces of infected hosts. Oocysts must undergo a period of development (sporulation) after being passed before becoming able to infect another host. This usually takes 2-3 days. Oxygen, moisture and warm temperatures are required for development.

Once the oocysts develop, they are very resistant to environmental conditions and ordinary disinfectants. Extremely dry weather and direct sunlight are the only environmental factors that are detrimental to sporulated oocysts. Moist areas out of the sun, such as under feed bunks and near water buckets, can harbor infective oocyst for a year or longer. After a susceptible goat ingests sporulated oocyst, "spores" are released and enter the cells lining the intestine. In the intestine they go through several stages of development. The intestinal cells are destroyed and thousands of smaller forms of coccidia are released. These smaller forms reinvade and damage other intestinal cells. Eventually sexual stages are reached and new oocysts are passed into the environment. The complete cycle usually takes about 2-3 weeks.

Coccidia are everywhere in the environment. They can be detected by microscopically testing fecal samples from your herd. If you preform this test, chances are that it will come back positive for coccidia, meaning that they are present in your environment. The presence of coccidia in the feces of a goat does not imply that it has the disease, coccidiosis.. Healthy, adult goats especially have some immunity to coccidia. The most susceptible are very young kids, kids that are being weaned, stressed adult goats, goats in crowded conditions, goats moving to a new environmant and old goats.

Sulfa drugs, such as Albon, Corid, Di-Methox & Sulmet are often used preventatively BEFORE  a goat has a problem with coccidia. Treatment is given for five days. These drugs are called coccidiostats. Coccidiostats do not kill coccidia, they slow it down. Treat at 3 & 6 weeks of age. Afterwards, use a medicated feed with a coccidiostat such as Decox. (Keep this feed away from your dairy does producing milk for you and HORSES. These products are deadly to horses)

Preventative Care, Medicated Feeds and Proper Sanitation are your best methods of keeping your goats healthy from coccidia outbreaks. If your goat does get coccidia, treatment is required immediately and the infected animals (all in the pen) should be treated and kept isolated and a strict sanitation regimen should be followed. If it is an especially wet, humid summer and you have young or suceptible kids, be especially vigillant.

SIGNS OF COCCIDIA range from loss of appetite and slight, short-lived diarrhea to severe cases involving great amounts of dark and bloody diarrhea and, in some cases, death, b ut it can also be just foul, off smelling stools that look normal. So if you suspect a problem, act fast.

DOSING OF D-METHOX 12.5%: 5-Day preventative coccidia treatment - day 1 dose the kids 1 ml for every 5 lbs of bodyweight. Days 2-5 dose 1 ml for every 10 lbs of bodyweight. I have a baby scale I put the kids on to weigh them I got from a rabbit farmer. I draw up the correct amount in a syringe (without a needle) and squirt it into the back of the kid's mouth. It tastes bad so they will spit on you and gag a bit which is okay.

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Brenda & Tom Seniow
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