Preparation for Kidding
By Stan Benz
Kidding season is right around the corner. Before you know it we'll be penning up pregnant does and drying off newborn kids.
At Benz Farms we believe that proper planning and management make the kidding go more smoothly. Our program is not perfect, we are always making improvements, but it works. This last year we had 350+ kids born and 98% made it to weaning at 90 days. Here is what we do:
Proper nutrition is critical to big healthy kids. The doe should receive 1-2 pounds of grain per day during the pregnancy. In addition be sure plenty of forage is available. As the doe nears kidding reduce the quantity of grain and increase the ration of hay. This will help avoid pregnancy toxemia and should result in a normal sized kid which is easier to deliver. be sure to have a well balanced mineral supplement available free choice at all times. The mineral must include copper as it is important to goats. Most sheep minerals do not include copper as it is toxic to sheep so get a good GOAT mineral. We also put out a protein block free choice for the does. The one we provide to our "girls" is made by Moorman but I am sure there are others available.
At about 60 days before kidding the pregnant does each receive a Bo/Se injection. This is repeated at 30 days before kidding. This injection is a combination of Vitamin E and Selenium and results in healthier, stronger kids. It is administered as a 5cc subcutaneous (under the skin) injection. Larger doses should be avoided as Vitamin E is toxic in large amounts. At 30 days we also give a shot of A&D, Covexin, and administer a Lepto vaccination.
As the kidding nears we start collecting old newspapers. They are great for drying off wet newborns on cold mornings. You may wish to set out and test heat lamps and extension cords if you are in a cold climate.
We minimize handling of the pregnant does during the last 30 days of pregnancy - we perform our deworming and hoof trimming before this time. On the subject of wormers... Never administer Valbasen to a pregnant doe - it may cause abortions. As with any medication always read the label and follow directions.
We know when each doe will kid because we put a marker on the buck and write down the date that the mark first appears on the doe's back.
Be sure that the newborns nurse. The first milk that the mother releases is thick and yellow. It's called colostrum and is critical to the development of the kids' immune systems. The kid is born with a 6-8 hour supply of a nutrient called "brown fat" but to get additional nutrition and get the immune system going the kid must nurse. If you have a doe with great big teats the kid may not be able to take the teat in its mouth. You must help it.
A good kid crop is usually the result of planning and management. With kids bringing $1.00 to $1.25 per pound at 60 pounds you can't afford not to plan.