We're expecting our nannies to start kidding within the next few weeks. This means we're catering to their every whim and are putting up with their goatish behavior (clamoring and climbing on everything in the barn).
If you've already kidded (or like us have yet to kid) there are several articles below on raising meat and dairy goat kids successfully. We've found some useful information in them and hope that you do as well.
Raising Dairy Goat Kids Jolene Berg, Department of Animal Science, UC Davis Peter Robinson, UC Cooperative Extension Specialist, Department of Animal Science, UC Davis Deborah Giraud, UCCE Farm Advisor, Humboldt County
Anyone who has worked with dairy goat kids knows that raising them, especially on a commercial scale, can be a challenging yet gratifying endeavor. Kids are the replacement animals that keep a herd at optimum production. It takes a lot of work and careful attention to produce a hard-working dairy goat from one of these bouncing babies. In this publication we have taken special care to include information compiled from published literature as well as practical advice from experienced commercial herders who follow these methods.
This is not meant to be a complete reference on raising kids on a commercial scale, but rather a sharing of successful practices used by commercial producers. Also, if you are looking into starting or acquiring a commercial-scale dairy goat operation, this publication will give you a general sense of the practices involved so you can make more educated decision as to whether this is the right business for you. For more detailed information, we encourage you to consult the publications listed under References and Resources and to visit as many commercial goat operations as you can before you actually start your own operation.
2 This article is part of Project KYX-60-05-14R, “Evaluation of doe and kid production and economic differences between fall and spring kidding season in meat goats.” Kentucky State University Experiment Station number KYSU-000015.
3 The author would like to acknowledge the assistance of the staff at the Kentucky State University Research and Demonstration Farm, director of the Land Grant Program, and Assistant Research Director
Summary Little information is available on the impact of season of kidding on growth and performance of meat-goat kids. However, seasonal market trends have many producers in the southeastern United States kidding in the late fall and winter, when animals must be supplemented to meet nutritional needs. Because of this, a study was designed with the objectives being to evaluate the effect of season of birth and other factors on kid survival to weaning and performance from birth to weaning in meat-goat kids. One hundred and twenty commercial-meat-type does were used in this study. The does were bred for kidding either in the fall (October, November, and December) or spring (March, April, and May) seasons.
Colostrum Management for the Dairy Goat Kid Jennifer Bentley, Dairy Field Specialist, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach
Feeding kids the correct amount of high-quality colostrum immediately after birth is one of the most important management practices in kid management. Colostrum is so important that sometimes it is called “liquid gold”.
The Importance of Colostrum All mammals produce colostrum. It is the thick, yellowish, first milk produced by the female after she gives birth. Colostrum is rich in energy, protein, vitamins, and minerals. Most importantly, it contains maternal antibodies that help protect the newborn from disease pathogens during the early part of its life. Immediately after birth, kids are exposed to a variety of infectious agents present in the environment, the doe, and other goats. Without any protection from these infectious organisms, the kids may become diseased and die.
At birth, the kid does not carry any antibodies against these organisms because antibodies in the doe’s bloodstream do not cross the placenta. However, these antibodies are concentrated in the colostrum and provide a natural and efficient source of protection against many intestinal, respiratory, and other diseases.
Vaccinating for diseases such as enterotoxemia and tetanus prior to kidding is important, since antibodies against these diseases will then be contained in the colostrum. Additionally, colostrum provides the energy needed to stay warm and acts as a laxative to ensure excretion of meconium.
Three Keys to Colostrum Feeding To achieve the desired effects of colostrum, kid managers should focus on three factors: timing of feeding, the quantity fed and colostrum quality.
Common Diseases and Health Problems in Sheep and Goats Lynn Pezzanite, Animal Sciences Student, Purdue University Dr. Michael Neary, Extension Small Ruminant Specialist, Purdue University Terry Hutchens, Extension Goat Specialist, University of Kentucky Dr. Patty Scharko, Extension Veterinarian, University of Kentucky
A sound management program to keep animals healthy is basic to production of both sheep and goats. Producers must observe animals closely to keep individual animals and the whole herd or flock healthy and productive. If the health status of a herd is compromised, that operation will not be as efficient as possible.
There are some human health risks when dealing with diseased animals. While most diseases affecting sheep and goats do not pose any human health risks, some are zoonotic and it is important to protect not only caretakers, but anyone else that may come in contact with diseased animals.
Sheep and goats share many health problems. While there are some important differences between the species, this publication gives a broad overview of diseases and health problems. For further information on specific diseases, references and sources of additional information are available at the end of this document.