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 goats.  

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.

THE FIRST DAY:
Caring for your baby goat
(items recommended are listed in side panel)

  1. Clean off the goop from the baby goat and dry it off.  If you don't have a heat lamp then use a blow dryer.  
  2. Dip (or spray) the umbilical cord with iodine 7% tincture. 
    This will promote healing and prevent infection in the navel.  Not doing so can cause unnecessary navel bleeding and possible infection. In cases of severe bleeding, the use of a navel clip can be helpful in stopping the bleed. 
  3. 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 immunoglobulins 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.
  4. 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 PneumoniaCoccidiosis, and Crypto.  

THE SECOND DAY

  1. Tag the kid (if applicable).
    This is done for identification and record-keeping purposes.
  2. 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.
  3. Keep the pen clean and dry.
    Bed often so that the kids are not constantly sitting in their poop.  This will help prevent your kids from contracting disease.
  4. Clean the milk feeder daily.
    Again, this will help prevent disease.
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