Baby Goat Care
If you're getting ready to go through this for your first time, or even if you've been at this for the 10th year in a row, here are some helpful procedures that are a must when dealing with your baby goat(s).
THE FIRST DAY:
Caring for your baby goat
- Take the kid goat away from the mother.
There are different ideas out there about whether or not the baby goat should stay with its mother. At our farm, we practice the "snatch and rear" method so as to avoid disease transfer from doe to kid through saliva, colostrum and milk. However if you know that your goats are CAE/disease-free, there is less likelihood of transferring disease to your kid goats. Click here to learn more about Caprine Arthritis and Encephalitis (CAE).
- Dip (or spray) the umbilical cord with iodine.
Immediately upon being born, dip or spray the umbilical cord with a concentrated iodine spray, in order to promote healing. Not doing so can cause unnecessary navel bleeding and possible infection. In cases of severe bleeding, the use of a navel clip can be very helpful in stopping the bleed.
- Prepare and feed colostrum.
It is very important to give your kid goats the proper amount of colostrum within the first 12 -24 hours of life, as it can only absorb the immunoglobulins for a short window of time. The older the baby goat is, the less immunuglobulins it will absorb. We recommend feeding 3 bottles (8 oz/310 mL) of powdered colostrum within those first 12 hours. Follow this link for more information on colostrum: Colostrum for Goat Kids.
- Provide a clean, warm & dry environment.
For that first day or so, keep the kid in a clean box with wood shavings to keep it warm and dry. Use a heat lamp if necessary, especially if kidding during the winter months. This is very important, as the kid does not have a functioning immune system for approximately five weeks, so they are very susceptible to disease and infections such as pneumonia and Coccidiosis, and Crypto.
THE SECOND DAY
- Tag the kid (if applicable).
This is done for identification and record-keeping purposes.
- Transfer the kid to a pen with a self-feeder.
The kid will require help with finding the feeder, and possibly learning to feed from the feeder. Some kid goats are smarter than others; be sure to go in the pen to teach the kids several times a day throughout the first few days until you are sure that they are all drinking adequately. Inserting stoppers/check valves at the end of the straw can be helpful, as they keep the straw full of milk. This prevents weaker kids from giving up if they don't get the milk immediately upon sucking.
- Keep the pen clean and dry.
Bed often so that the kids are not constantly sitting in their poop. This will prevent your kids from contracting diseases such as Crypto and Coccidiosis.
- Clean the milk feeder daily.
Again, this will prevent your babies from contracting disease.
Diseases & Sicknesses to Watch Out For
Because of their lowered immune system, baby goats are at a much higher risk of contracting disease, getting a parasite, or coming down with pneumonia. Watch out for these sicknesses in your kids; if you can catch it early, then their overall health as an adult will not be as negatively affected.
- Baby Goat