January 2022 Issue

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PREPARING DOES FOR BREEDING

If abortions have been an issue in the herd, I inject each doe with Oxytetracycline 200 mg/mL (dosing at 6 cc per 100 lbs bodyweight SQ over the ribs with an 18 gauge needle) before placing them with a buck and again every 30 days thereafter until each doe gives birth. There are  articles on www.tennesseemeatgoats.com dealing with abortion diseases and how to handle them.  Abortion vaccines for other species, including sheep, do NOT work with goats.  NOTE:  Most abortions result from improper nutrition.     Eliminate   obvious causes before assuming exotic diseases are the problem.  With goats, "it is usually the simplest thing."

EVERYTHING BEGINS WITH HAEMONCHUS CONTORTUS (BARBERPOLE STOMACH WORM).

Six weeks before the first doe is expected to kid, I orally de-worm all pregnant does with a liquid dewormer after doing fecal counts using McMasters slides under an MSK-01 microscope to determine number of eggs per gram.  See my article on How to Do Your Own Fecals to understand how important this procedure is   and how to go about it.  Do not  use   white-colored  dewormers;  Safeguard/Panacur and Valbazen no longer kill barberpole worms.    Doing random fecals monthly is the only   way to find out what dewormer works on your goats.

I  also boost the does'  and bucks' CD/T and pneumonia vaccinations. Kids are  born without functioning   immune systems; the  boosters  given their dams both protect the pregnant does and offer passive immunity  to the kids (in colostrum and milk)  which usually last until their kids' immune systems start minimal functioning around one month of age.

If fecals indicate,  I clean the does' systems of coccidia parasites by dosing them orally individually for five consecutive days with either Albon or its generic equivalent Dimethox 12.5% oral solution. CoRid is another product for this purpose but it inhibits thiamine production, so if you have to use CoRid, also administer Vitamin B 1 (thiamine) injections. An added advantage of  using Albon or DiMethox 12.5% is that both contain an antibiotic to handle secondary infections.

If I decide it is necessary, I also give does  a sub-cutaneous (SQ) injection of  Multi Min 90. This immune system booster  is a chelated (slow release) formulation of zinc, manganese, selenium, and copper.  These  minerals are   vital to the doe's health and her ability to deliver healthy kids.

If time permits, trim hooves and tail webs. Hoof trimming is a good management practice. A doe with hoof rot or hoof scald cannot forage/browse well enough to produce adequate milk for her kids. A hairy tail web retains feces and placental matter after kidding.

I do not   "flush" pregnant does with extra feed immediately prior to kidding because I don't depend heavily  on forage/browse in my part of Texas   to feed my goats.  My nutritional program was developed with the help of my goat nutritionist for my specific location.  If your herd is fed mainly on forage/browse with minimal supplemental feed, then you should  begin  a light grain feeding at breeding and  grain should be very gradually increased during the last month of pregnancy  when fetuses are growing rapidly.  Consult a goat nutritionist; this does NOT   mean take advice from the person who runs the feed store or your neighbor who mixes his own grain but has no nutritional training. I have been raising goats full time since 1990 and I would never try to mix my own feed or use a feed that  was formulated by someone other than a trained goat nutritionist.

Overgraining or improperly graining a  pregnant doe can cause serious pregnancy diseases  (ketosis, pregnancy toxemia, hypocalcemia) that can kill the doe and her unborn kids. Offer top-quality grass hay on a free-choice basis. Feed grain  before noontime,  especially in very cold weather,  and take up any that has not been consumed in 15 minutes.  Never  "free-choice" sacked feed to goats.

Do not  feed extra grain at night. Instead, make quality grass hay available on a free-choice basis. As fetuses grow and the uterus expands, the size of the doe's rumen decreases. The doe must have sufficient top-quality grass hay to keep her rumen functioning and still permit some room for fetuses and grain.      The long fiber in grass hay stimulates rumen wall contractions and  creates  heat to keep the goat warm. Feeding grain properly can be a tricky balancing act in heavily pregnant does.

I do not feed alfalfa or other legume hay during the last six (6)  weeks of gestation.   Legume hays (alfalfa and peanut) are high in calcium. As parturition approaches, the doe's body must release calcium from her bones as she makes milk. If she is being fed a high-calcium diet, calcium release from her bones will not happen and Hypocalcemia ("milk fever") can occur. Hypocalcemia is a life threatening illness for the doe and her unborn kids  and is caused by improper nutrition.    ALL pregnancy diseases are caused  by improper feeding.

A pregnant doe needs protein but she also needs energy.  Energy comes from calories.  Read my article on pregnancy and energy on my website. Getting this right is critical.

Don't forget the importance of exercise to the pregnant doe. Fat does can easily experience dystocia (kidding problems). The time for extra grain is when the doe has kids on the ground and is making lots of milk (lactating).

With shelter and sufficient space in place, proper hay and grain and minerals available, supplies at the ready, and does in top condition, let the kidding begin!

Suzanne W. Gasparotto ONION CREEK RANCH, Texas        1.1.22

Subscribe FREE now! Monthly issues with new articles and other educational information on meat goat health, nutrition, and management written by Suzanne W. Gasparotto of Onion Creek Ranch and Pat Cotten of Bending Tree Ranch. In all cases, it is your responsibility to obtain veterinary services and advice before using any of the information provided in these articles. Neither Suzanne Gasparotto nor Pat Cotten are veterinarians. None of the contributors to this website will be held responsible for the use of any information contained herein.

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Pat Cotten 501-581-5700
Bending Tree Ranch located near Greenbrier, Arkansas
www.bendingtreeranch.com
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Some of the Tennessee Meat Goat™ and TexMaster™ herdsires we have used for our 2022 kid crop.
We still have some 2021 TexMaster™ bucks available.

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