November 2019 Issue

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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.

PREPARING FOR KIDDING

Kidding preparations should begin when does are placed with a buck for breeding.   Good management practices -- proper feeding, clean water, top-quality hay, clean and dry pens protected from wind and rain, proper bedding materials, plenty of space (no over-crowding) -- are essential to the maintenance of healthy does who in turn will deliver healthy kids.    Do not get your does too fat. Overly-fat does have kidding problems.

You are going to have to spend some money to get set up properly. Here is where the problem arises with too many goat raisers. They seem to think that goats eat tin cans, require no facilities, and take care of themselves.   This is 180 degrees out of sync with reality.   Goats are a prey species which has multiple births because half of them die from predation or starvation.   Survival of the fittest may be the rule in unmanaged conditions, but you cannot make any money under those circumstances because you will lose half of your kid production and some of your dams.   So get prepared in advance.   The money you spend  is going to be far less  than you will lose by having sick and dead goats due to lack of preparation.   Kidding problems will  happen, and they will happen  in the worst weather on a holiday weekend in the middle of the night when vets are unavailable and stores either are closed or don't have the items you need.    Even if you reach a vet, few of them know anything about goats and many have no interest in goats.  There are less than two million goats in the USA; that isn't enough animals to provide a significant  market for vets, pharmaceutical companies, and other suppliers.    Establish a relationship with a local vet; you will need prescription medications and  veterinary assistance, including surgical help.    You must prepare yourself  in advance of problems.

My website www.tennesseemeatgoats.com has many articles that may be helpful to you. Take the time to read, print, and put them in a binder that you can access when you need help. If you require additional assistance, please subscribe to my consultation service.  Unlimited contact with me for help is only $195 per year ($16.25 per month).   I am not a vet, but I've been raising meat goats since January 1990, hosting ChevonTalk  on Yahoogroups since 1998,  publishing  MeatGoatMania on Yahoogroups monthly, maintaining  Onion Creek Ranch's  site on Facebook, and offering a one-of-a-kind meat-goat education program called GoatCamp™ on my Texas ranch every October since 2001. Details are available on my website  www.tennesseemeatgoats.com.

READYING THE FACILITIES

Set up kidding  and bonding pens so you can try to avoid problems that  occur without them.   Five-foot sections of lightweight tubular metal with 4 inch by 4 inch panels welded to them with  a gate in one panel work well. They assemble and break down easily and can be set up in different configurations by removing dividing panels to make larger pens. My kidding and bonding pens  were purchased from Northeast Gate Company in Paris, Texas in the late 1990's, and I've been pleased with their durability, functionality, and ease of use.  Such pens are available at many locations across the United States;  do a  Google search.

Provide appropriate shelter from wind, rain, and cold weather. These requirements differ in cold vs hot climates.  The Articles page of my website www.tennesseemeatgoats.com has a Fencing and Pens article that relates to my area's needs.     Create  a place with enough space that kids don't sleep so close to their dams that they get   injured, smothered, or crushed. A shed with the inside walls lined with railroad ties at ground level and a low narrow bench built above the railroad ties provides a good place for kids.    They  can get off the ground and sleep on the railroad ties, while dams sleep on the bench above or on the ground near them. Do not built a vertical wall in front of the railroad ties; kids will pile on top of each other to keep warm and those in back or  on the bottom will suffocate if a vertical wall blocks their escape.

All birthing and bonding areas should be free of ants and other pests. Ants can eat the eyes, noses, and mucous membranes  of newborn kids, causing permanent damage. Before using ant killer or ant bait, read the labels and talk with your vet about products safe for use around goats. I use Amdro ant bait, but ants aren't a serious problem in my area of  Texas, so I don't know how extensively Amdro can be used where ants are plentiful.

Clean dry hay or straw should be spread on the ground in  kidding pens. Do not use wood shavings in kidding areas.  Shavings get into kids' mouths and noses and   stick to the dam's tongue as she cleans  her newborns.   During very cold or cold and wet weather, I  use reflector heat lamps with bulb guards in areas where kids sleep. Newborns and very young kids have difficulty regulating internal body temperature, but they can usually tolerate cold so long as their tummies are full of milk and they stay dry and out of wind.   Keep electrical cords out of reach to prevent kids from hanging themselves or chewing on them. Water buckets should be shallow and carefully placed to avoid a kid's drowning in them. Make provision during freezing weather to provide warm water to both dam and kids.  Learning how to THINK LIKE A GOAT™ will help prevent injuries and deaths.

Do not overcrowd goats.  Goats require more space per individual than most other livestock species. Goats are like deer; they stress easily. Since goats have very fast metabolisms, they produce large quantities of urine and feces.

Does need space to bond with their kids   to learn their  smells and sounds,   and kids require the same. Overcrowding leads to filth (concentrations of urine, feces, and soiled/wasted hay) and filth leads to disease and death. Two big challenges to raising goats in any managed herd  are overcrowding and problems resulting from improper nutrition.

Purchase in advance of  kidding the following essential supplies. Every item has an important useful purpose. Other articles that I've written explain their usages. Items in this first section can be purchased, at Jeffers (1-800-533-3377, www.jefferslivestock.com) or in some instances your local WalMart.

  •         Rectal thermometer (digital).   Do not fail to buy this item.
  •         Weak kid syringe & Stomach Tube plus extra tubes.   Do not fail to buy this item.
  •         70% isopropol alcohol
  •         Triple antibiotic cream
  •         Towels - cloth and paper
  •         Q-tips
  •         Baby aspirin
  •         Ant killer or bait (livestock safe)
  •         Mentholatum
  •         Enemas, baby (Fleets brand or generic)
  •         Milk of Magnesia
  •         Wasp spray
  •         Ear syringe
  •         Duct tape
  •         Petroleum jelly
  •         Cotton
  •         Bleach
  •         Pepto Bismol
  •         Corn syrup (Karo or generic)
  •        Dyne high calorie oral nutrition supplement (dog product useable with goats)
  •         OB lube (KY Jelly or generic)
  •         Benadryl liquid
  •         Robitussin DM liquid
  •         Splint materials and tape
  •         Heating pad, non-digital  (no timer that shuts it off)
  •         Chewable Vitamin C
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  •         Baking soda
  •         Pistol-grip hair dryer
  •         Infant gas relief drops
  •         Sugar
  •         Gentian violet  (non-script but must ask pharmacist)
  •         Camphophenique
  •         Orasol oral anesthetic gel
  •         Paper and pens for record keeping
  •         Bounce Back or ReSorb electrolyte powder in bags or packets
  •         Procaine penicillin (injectable)
  •         Albon injectible
  •          7% strong tincture of iodine or comparable product
  •         Propylene glycol (available in gallon jug)
  •         ToDay (cephapirin sodium) mastitis infustion tubes
  •         C&D ANTI-toxin injectable (absolutely essential item)
  •         Gloves, disposable, latex or vinyl
  •         60 cc syringe and 18 gauge needle
  •         1 cc syringes
  •         3 cc syringes (Luer Lock and Luer Slip)
  •         6 cc syringes (Luer Lock and Luer Slip)
  •         22 gauge by 3/4 inch needles (poly hub)
  •         18 gauge needles (poly hub)
  •         Blood stop powder
  •         Prichard teats
  •         Toxiban or Universal Animal Antidote Gel (UAA Gel)
  •         Tetanus ANTI-toxin injectable
  •         CD/T toxoid injectable
  •         Pasteurella pneumonia toxoid injectable
  •         Vet wrap
  •         Colostrum replacer (not  "supplement")
  •         Reflector heat lamps with bulb guards
  •         150W or 200W clear incandescent light bulbs for heat lamp
  •         Goat milk replacer (not  soy based)
  •         50% dextrose solution
  •         Neomycin sulfate
  •         Red Cell oral iron supplement
  •         Betadine surgical scrub and Betadine solution
  •         CMPK or MFO
  •         De-wormers (see my article Deworming and Vaccination Schedules)
  •         Probiotic paste
  •         Water pails: one or two-gallon pails with handles
  •         SWAT fly control ointment
  •         Toss n Trap fly traps or equivalent
  •         Fescue balancer mineral (if tall fescue grass grows in your area)
  •         Fortified  Vitamin B Complex - injectable
  •         Oxytetracycline 200 mg/ml injectable (LA 200 or generic equivalent)
  •         Cai-Pan peppermint udder cream
  •         Metro absorbent towel  (holds multiple times its weight in water)
  •         Mastitis infusion tubes - penicillin based

Make an adult goat stomach tube with plastic funnel attached and C-PVC pipe to thread the tube through; see my article on Stomach Tubing on the Articles page at www.tennesseemeatgoats.com. This is a big "must do."

Save 16 oz or 20 oz disposable plastic soda-water bottles with screw-on caps.

Accumulate a supply of plastic bags such as those that WalMart uses to sack purchases.

 For YOU:    Mueller adjustable back support with lumbar pad         and velcro closure or similar product.   In 2019, about $20.00 on Amazon.com.    Through the coming years, you will regret it if you don't buy and use this item.

From your vet:

  •         Banamine injectable  ( generic)
  •         Nuflor or Nuflor Gold  injectable
  •         Excenel RTU injectable
  •         Lactated Ringers solution
  •         Dopram V    (your vet may have to have this  medication compounded; BUY  it)
  •         Oxytocin injectable
  •         Lutalyze injectable
  •         Dexamethazone injectable
  •         Epinephrine injectable
  •         Vitamin B 12 injectable
  •         Thiamine (Vit B 1) injectable
  •         Sulfadimethoxazine with Trimethoprim oral solution (kids) and tablets (adults)
  •          Dimethox 12.5% oral solution    (I do not  recommend CoRid)
  •        Multi Min 90 injectable
  •         BoSe injectable
  •         Gentamycin sulfate injectable
  •         Gentocin spray
  •         Meloxicam 15 mg tablets
  •         Baytril 100 injectable*

NOTE: Some of these items may be restricted for use with goats, depending upon the ultimate purpose for which they are being raised. In some areas, slaughter-bound goats must be medicated differently from breeding stock, pets, and show goats. Consult your vet for local requirements.

When these items are needed, you won't have time to  get them. Buy them now.  Designate a refrigerator  for goat supplies that require refrigeration. Select cabinets or shelves for medications and supplies that can withstand normal room temperatures.Storing medications in a barn is a good way to ruin them.  Store medications at recommended temperatures and away from sunlight even if refrigeration isn't required.   Set up a workspace, including sink, electric hot plate,  and running water. Get everything organized and properly labeled. I sticker all medications with date purchased, from whom, and price.   Be prepared for your first kidding emergency because it will happen.

PREPARING DOES FOR KIDDING

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.

Six weeks before the first doe is expected to kid, I orally de-worm all pregnant does with a liquid dewormer.  Do not  use the white-colored  dewormers.  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. 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 to 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 solely on  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 doesn't mean the person who runs the feed store or your neighbor who mixes his own grain but has no nutritional training.

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.

Do not  feed extra grain at night. Instead, make quality grass hay available on a free-choice basis. As fetuses grow, 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 (not just for protein but also for energy). 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 managed herds  and particularly to heavily pregnant does.  I do not feed alfalfa or other legume hay during the last four 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 causing 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        11/1/19


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