Goat colostrum management is very important to the health of your baby goat kids. Without proper management in this area, all other health measures will be almost useless.
First milking colostrum, in comparison to mature milk, is very rich in many components. Some of these components include Immunoglobulins, (IgGs) (which are responsible for passive transfer of antibodies) growth hormones (which are responsible for development of the gastrointestinal tract) and relaxin (which has a direct impact on the development of the reproductive system).
Since the intestines of the newborn kid can only absorb Immunoglobulins for the first 12 hrs after birth, it is important to get the newborn kid to ingest as much good quality colostrum as possible. In fact, these 12 hrs may be the most important hours that you spend with the goat during its lifetime!
The quantity, quality and timing given will directly influence the future productivity of your goat. Ideally each kid goat should receive 750-1000 mL of colostrum by the time they are 12 hrs old. Typically feedings are given in 3 even intervals beginning as early as 1/2 hr after birth. If a kid goat does not consume the full amount during each feeding, it may be helpful to try smaller feedings more frequently. Some research on dairy cow calves has suggested that adequate intake can lead to earlier breeding age. This is due in part to earlier development of the reproductive system but also due to fewer infections such as pneumonia.
Below is a chart showing the composition of colostrum, transition milk and mature milk. This chart compares the values of cow colostrum. The values of goat colostrum will vary, but the trend would be the same.
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