June 2012 Issue



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You have newborn kids on the ground. What steps should you take to make sure that all is well with them?

Check each kid for functioning parts. Is there a rectal opening? Atresia ani (no rectal opening) isn't a frequent occurrence, but does happen. Atresia ani is not repairable; the kid must be euthanized immediately before it suffers a painful death. Check inside the mouth for a cleft palate (a length-wise split in its hard roof). The kid can survive for a while but will do poorly as it grows; a cleft palate isn't something you want to perpetuate in your herd by breeding the goat because it can be heritable.

Check the umbilical cord where it attaches to the kid's body. Dip the umbilical cord in iodine all the way up to its attachment to the kid's body. If it is long and/or dragging the ground, cut it shorter so that it doesn't catch on something and cause a tear (hernia). A tear or opening means an umbilical cord hernia and veterinary help is required. Inspect the kid for fully-formed hooves. They will be soft at time of birth but should harden quickly. Look at the kid's lower front teeth. A full-term doeling will have teeth completely erupted from the gums, while a full-term buckling may have teeth only partially out of the gums. Male or female, teeth completely in the gums means "premature," and special care will need to be taken to make sure that the kid survives. Put your finger in the kid's mouth to find out if it has a sucking reflex. A premature kid often lacks this reflex; you will have to milk the dam and stomach tube colostrum into it until its sucking reflex develops.

A good protocol for premature kids is to give them the following: 1/2 to 1 cc of Vitamin B1 (thiamine) injected into the muscle, 1/2 cc BoSe (selenium with Vitamin E) injected into the muscle, and 1000 IU ( International Units) of Vitamin E orally. Thiamine helps "wake up the brain" in a premature kid, and Bo Se (selenium with Vitamin E) helps with symptoms of White Muscle Disease that affect the kid's ability to stand. Note that kids can have trouble standing from reasons other than selenium deficiency, i.e. legs folded from crowding in utero or from "weak kid syndrome" due to infection of the dam by an abortion disease or other factors. See my article on weak and abandoned newborns on the Articles page of www.tennesseemeatgoats.com.

Inspect the dam's teats. Does she have colostrum? Is she developing or already has developed mastitis or congested udder? You may have to treat for mastitis or congested udder. I have articles on both topics on my website. If the kid's dam doesn't have milk, you must foster the kid onto another dam with sufficient milk or bottle feed it if you cannot remedy the problem quickly. Are the orifices of both teats open? If not, carefully remove the seal over each teat with your fingernail. Can the kid reach the teats? Are they too low to the ground? Are the shape of the teats suitable for the kid's mouth to wrap around? An overly-large teat will be difficult for the newborn's mouth to grasp and nurse. Does the dam have non-functioning "fish" teats from which the kid is unsuccessfully trying to get milk? Does one teat have better milk flow than the other? If so, the kid is going to nurse the free-flowing teat to the exclusion of the other. Are multiple kids nursing only one side of the udder? You will have to milk the unused side, save and freeze the colostrum (and subsequent milk) for future emergency use, and coax the kids to nurse both sides for several days until they figure out that both teats are available to them.

If you are having to feed the kid or assist in its feeding, take its rectal temperature to make sure it is above 100*F before you put colostrum into its stomach. Newborns and very young kids have trouble controlling internal body temperature. Regular ingestion of adequate amounts of milk helps regulate body temperature. If the dam is feeding the kid, feel its tummy as it supports itself to make sure the stomach is full. Feel with both hands in front of the back legs for tummy firmness -- not hard and not sloshy. A kid is always going to feel fuller than it really is if you lift it off its legs to check for tummy fullness.

As the colostrum is nursed out of the dam and first milk comes in, some kids develop feces so hardened that it becomes stuck to their rears. You will have to peel or soak it off so that they can continue to poop. Other kids may become constipated, requiring that you administer a soapy warm-water enema with a 3-cc Luer slip syringe.

A kid is born without a working immune system. All of the immunities that he gets come through his dam's colostrum and milk. Kids should be checked for adequately full tummies every day for the first two weeks of life. Once a kid gets old enough to eat some solid food, he stands an improved chance of surviving if he isn't getting adequate amounts of milk.

Suzanne W. Gasparotto, Onion Creek Ranch, Texas 6-10-12

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Contact Suzanne Gasparotto at
325-344-5775 for prices and availability.



Tennessee Meat Goats™ and TexMasters™ are usually available year round.

Contact us for ages and pricing by calling 325-344-5775
or emailing onioncreek@tennesseemeatgoats.com

Onion Creek Ranch Goats are protected against Caseous Lymphadenitis (CL) by Texas Vet Lab's new CL vaccine.

2010 and very early 2011 bucks, both TMG and TexMaster™


Quality Myotonic does and TexMaster™ does born 2010


More of Myotonic & TexMaster™ does born 2011


Myotonic & TexMaster™ does born 2011



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