March 2014 Issue



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Newborn kids must have sufficient colostrum to get their bodies' digestive and immune systems up and running. A kid's chance of survival is almost zero if it doesn't receive colostrum in adequate amounts and during the required timeframe from its dam. A kid is born without a functioning immune system, so every protection that it has against organisms that can make it sick or kill it comes from the antibodies present in its dam's colostrum and milk.

In meat goats, newborns ideally should receive 10% to 15% of their body weight in fresh, creamy colostrum during their first twelve hours of life. Fifteen (15%) percent is ideal, but is seldom achieved in natural settings where dams nurse their kids.

A good rule-of-thumb is one to two ounces of colostrum for every pound of body weight during the kid's first twelve (12) hours of life. Continue to feed colostrum-laden milk during the second twelve hours after birth, but recognize that the dam's milk will have a declining concentration of colostrum as the hours after kidding pass. This is normal. The first two to four hours after birth is the most critical time in which newborns require colostrum. The more time that passes before adequate colostrum is received, the higher the probability that the kid will not survive.

If the kid is weak at birth, get its body temperature above 100*F first, then feed it two ounces (60 cc's) of colostrum . . . the capacity of a weak kid syringe . . . and wait an hour to allow its body to digest it, then feed it another two ounces. (This formula is based on a medium-sized breed of kid and not a mini breed.) Continue feeding small amounts at regular intervals, and adjust the timeframe to suit the size and breed of the kid. Colostrum is very thick and heavy; it doesn't take much to fill the kid's tiny stomach. Remember how a dam feeds her kids . . . in small amounts and frequently. Overfeeding the newborn can result in life-threatening diarrhea and/or floppy kid syndrome (overeating on milk). Note: Never use Immodium AD for diarrhea in kids. Immodium AD can slow the peristaltic action in the gut, causing serious health problems or death. See my article regarding Weak and Abandoned Newborns on the Articles page at for details.With a little practice, goat breeders can learn to feel the kid's stomach and determine whether it is full or empty. Use common sense and the "rule of thumb" mentioned above, and you should do fine.

Goat Tip: Milk out any extra colostrum and freeze it in plastic pop bottles with screw-top lids or ziplock bags. Label each four-ounce quantity with current date and doe from which it came. Frozen colostrum comes in very handy when you least think that you might need it.

Suzanne W. Gasparotto, Onion Creek Ranch, Texas 3/2/14

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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Whenever I collect colostrum from my does, either due to them having a single or having lost a kid or kids, I milk it out either by hand or by using the Handy Milker (see June 2009 MGM issue) measure it into 2 to 3 ounce increments and pour into a snack size freezer bag. I label the bags with the date of collection, whether it is from day 1 or day 2 from kidding, the does name and number of ounces. I then take the small bags of individual servings and put them all together in a larger, freezer bag and again label with the does name, date of collection and whether it was collected on day 1 or 2. I store these in a freezer that is not “frost free” as it will keep indefinitely in this manner. Whenever I need colostrum for a newborn I remove enough bags for 2 days worth of feedings, storing it in the refrigerator until needed. I put warm tap water in a glass container in the sink, put one feedings worth (2 or 3 oz bag) into a quart sized bag in case the snack bag leaks and slowly thaw the colostrum by adding warmer water to the glass container until the colostrum is thawed and warm enough to feed the kid. Once it is warm enough to feed I snip the corner off of the snack bag and pour the colostrums into a bottle through a funnel.


There are commercially made colostrums products available for purchasing but nothing beats the protection provided by a goat from your own herd who has developed the needed antibodies to your environment to give those newborn kids the antibody protection they need to survive and thrive.

Pat Cotten
March 2014



Here at Bending Tree Ranch we don’t have a livestock barn. We do have a pole barn for round bales of hay but needed someplace to keep small square bales. We purchased a portable garage from Tractor Supply to store our small square bales in. It has roll up doors on both ends. We have found that this also doubles as a great kidding barn on the worst of days during the winter as the sun heats this tent up toasty warm. Even if it isn’t sunny the wind break it provides gives does a warmer environment for those super cold kidding days. I am not real fan of heat lamps. We NEVER use a heat lamp in the tent. I do have 2 stalls under an overhang on the back of metal garage where we can use a heat lamp if necessary. Most of my does kid out on pasture, even in the winter and do fine. This year was unseasonably cold and we’ve endured 3 ice storms…… snow this year, just freezing rains and a lot of sleet. The does/kids handle the snow quite well but freezing rains aren’t good for any animals or people.


I had purchased some hog panels earlier in the year which were cut in order to make some portable pens for an event I had sponsored. These really came in handy to put up quick pens in the tent as the hay supply dwindled down. Several years ago I had purchased some bucket hangers (shown below) which I had never found a good use for until we built these temporary pens. The bucket hangers keep the buckets up off the ground in the pens which provides a safer environment for babies. I don’t have to worry about the does birthing a kid into a bucket or a kid jumping or falling into a bucket with the buckets held up off the ground.


Another handy tool I found was the wire panel connector hinge which just twists down the edge of the panels locking them together. Super easy, fast and provides a strong connection.


I found providing a visual barrier with just cardboard was sufficient enough for the does that tend to butt at their neighbors.


Pat Cotten

March 2014

All images are the property of Bending Tree Ranch and may not be reproduced without written permission.

BendingTree Ranch TexMaster Goats

These are just a sampling of the Myotonic kids born in early 2014. We will have both Myotonic and TexMaster™ kids available. Also some breeding aged bucks and does of both breeds. Reserve your choice now before someone else beats you to them. Be watching our website at for a complete listing on available kids and adults. Additions are made weekly.


Pat Cotten
Bending Tree Ranch
located near Greenbrier, Arkansas

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