Lets Get Our Kids Off To a Healthy Start
Callie Courtney, Goat & Forage Specialist
This time of year many of our goat customers have already begun to kid or will be soon. Here are some helpful tips to insure a healthy kidding season.
I recommend removing the baby shortly after birth and dip the navel with 7% tincture iodine to reduce risk of septicemia infection. Dry the kid off and house in an environment 65 degrees or warmer, using heat lamps or a heated nursery.
Removing kids right after birth ensures they do not suckle. Providing them with a colostrum replacer 0-6 hours after being born will optimize absorption of immunoglobulins (IG) that create an immune system for newborn kids. Using a colostrum replacement significantly reduces the risk of CAE, CLA, and Johne’s disease. If kid won’t drink from a bottle, then I recommend tubing the colostrum.
Here are some other hints to help with a healthy kid program:
• House newborn babies with like-age kids and no more than 10/pen 3.5 sq feet per animal; baby goats are born with little to no body fat.
• Use individual bottles to feed for the first few days to insure they are consuming the proper amount of milk replacer. Then kids can be put on group milk feeders if desired.
• If scours are present, keep kid hydrated with electrolytes between milk feedings.
• Provide a high quality starter within 7 days of birth on a free choice basis. This will help stimulate rumen development.
• Do not feed hay the first 10 weeks, the undeveloped rumen cannot digest hay at this time.
• Bed with straw, stay away from small particles like wood shavings or bean stubble to avoid kids consuming the small particles.
• Provide clostridium vaccination 2-3 weeks and repeat in 4 weeks.
• De-horn kids at time of first clostridium vaccination to minimize stress.
• Wean at 6-8 weeks only if the kid is eating .5 lbs./kid/day, reducing milk replacer 10-14 days prior to weaning.
• Move goats to a new pen 10-14 days after weaning to decrease stress.
• Begin to offer high quality alfalfa/grass hay once they are moved to a new pen.
Along with giving our babies a good healthy start, let’s think about the equipment we use for feeding milk replacer. The bottles, mixing pails, nipples, group feeders; are we cleaning them properly? Here are a few steps to make sure we are cleaning and sanitizing our equipment properly.
1) Rinse – using warm water about 90 degrees F, rinse dirt, milk, and residue off both this inside and outside of feeding equipment. DO NOT USE HOT WATER TO RINSE
2) Soak – soak feeding equipment for 20-30 min in a mixture of hot water greater than 130 degrees F
3) Wash – Wash the inside and outside of the feeding equipment with a brush. You can also wash bottles and buckets in an industrial dishwasher. Fats melt at temperatures greater than 110 degrees, so keep the water temperature above 145 degrees F during washing.
4) Rinse Again – Rinse again, using warm water, about 100 degrees F that contains 50ppm of chlorine dioxide, thoroughly rinse the inside and outside of feeding equipment. Then rinse the equipment with acid that contains 50ppm of chlorine dioxide once or twice per week. After rinsing the nipples, keep them in a covered container filled with sanitizing solution until they are used.
5) Dry – Allow the equipment to drain and dry before using again. Avoid stacking upside down on a concrete floor or on boards, as this can inhibit drying and drainage.
6) Final Preparation – Spray the inside and outside with a 50ppm solution of chlorine dioxide two or less hours before use. Allow a Minimum of 60 seconds of contact with equipment.
This is a busy time for our goat producers. Following these steps will help you be successful in raising healthy kids. We have a complete line of goat feeds or milk replacer products for you to use to support a healthy kidding season.
• RCS Milk Replacer 23-25
• RCS Milk Replacer 25-28
• RCS Kid Colostrum Replacer 10# and 25# pails
• RCS Kid Electrolyte
• RCS Kid 18% Starter
• RCS 16% Doeling Grower
• RCS Dry Doe, Pre-Fresh, and lactating feed