Getting Healthy Kids
Goats are bred for several purposes, including milk and healthy kids.
Getting healthy kids actually starts before birth. The gestation period is roughly five months on average. Near the end of this time, in the third trimester, is when the foetus gains 70% of its weight.
It is essential to offer the dam the appropriate levels of energy and nutrients. Gradually switching to legume grass and offering concentrate will raise energy levels in the diet.
This is also why it is suggested that does are not bred until they are about a year and a half old. Some breeders base this decision on weight rather than age. 70 kilos is an appropriate weight, although this may vary between breeders.
What you are aiming for is to wait until the animal is no longer physically growing, so that all energy can go to the kid and none will be needed for growth.
Usually goats have no problem kidding. One of the most common problems that can possibly occur when a problem does crop up is breach positioning, where the kid is not correctly positioned for birth.
If the dam is having trouble you need to verify that the kid is in the right position. If it isn't, then it will need to be corrected, or the veterinarian called. It needs to be done very quickly and firmly, yet gently, so that the kid's first gasp is of air and not amniotic, or uterine fluid.
If the kid isn't breathing after it is born, you have two choices. You can use clean towels to clean off the kid and vigorously yet gently massage it, especially focusing on the area of the heart.
You can also use a piece of straw to tickle the kid's nose.
Sneezing will clear out any liquid.
Some people also swing the kid holding the back legs. Take care when doing this because the kids are extremely slippery and it is easy to lose your grip and the kid to go flying. Also make sure to have plenty of room around you. You do not want the kid to end up flung against a wall.
The next thing to look for is to make sure that the kid drinks colostrum, which is the dam's first milk. This is full of antibodies, which are essential for the immunity of the kid. Try to get the kid to drink in the first 6 hours after birth.
If necessary, bottle feed or even tube feed.
Within 24 hours, the kid's intestinal wall will have closed, so that the antibodies can no longer pass into the bloodstream.
If they haven't passed by then, the kid is left defenceless against diseases.
You will also need to treat the umbilical cord with an iodine solution.
Make sure that the kids are kept in a warm, secure location and that they are getting plenty of milk from their mama.
Keep a close eye on them to make sure that they do not develop any respiratory problems, or diarrhoea, which are two of the most common problems that affect kids.
Treat any problems promptly and always make sure that kids are kept well hydrated. Nothing can kill a kid faster than dehydration.
|4th March 2016|
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