Onion Creek Ranch, Lohn, Texas
Suzanne W. Gasparotto, Onion Creek Ranch, Lohn, TX
Lohn, Texas
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NEWBORNS & YOUNG KIDS: SITUATIONS TO WATCH

Difficulty controlling internal body temperature is common in newborn and young kids. You must watch for conditions that cause this problem, try to prevent them, and be prepared to fix them when they happen. Summer kidding in hot and/or wet climates brings with it serious health issues. High heat during the day and cooling at night means kids have a hard time controlling their body temperature. Newborn and young kids born in winter in cold weather will have the same problem if their dams don't keep them full of milk so their bodies can generate sufficient heat to keep them warm. Dams must receive enough nutrition to produce milk for their newborn and young kids. Nursing dams need a very high level of nutrition, not just protein but energy (calories).

Extreme changes in weather result in big swings in outside temperatures that stress goats enough to make them ill or cause death. Dams protect their young kids by making sure that kids have full bellies. Growing kids and adults need long fiber (weeds, leaves, hay) to rub against the walls of the rumen, creating contractions that digest food and generate heat to keep the goat's body temperature within normal range (101.5*F to 103.5*F). My personal experience is that kids (and even adults) have more trouble controlling body temperature when weather goes from cold to hot than from hot to cold. This may not be true in your area, but it is in mine. This is pneumonia weather.

If young kids are adequately fed, both by their dams and supplementally in the form of hay and grain, and they still over-heat in very hot temperatures, you must mist or spray their bodies with cool water several times a day so that evaporation of that water helps them cool. This is especially true of black and other dark-colored kids. Mouth-breathing and panting are signs that young kids are over-heated. If you are bottle-feeding young kids during periods of high heat, make sure that they are fed amounts small enough that the kids can digest before offering milk again. Remember that dams feed a small amounts frequently to allow proper digestion. An over-heated kid (or adult) can actually feel hot to the touch in the mouth, on the horns, and on the tail web.

You must check dams from kidding through the first two weeks of their kids' lives for good colostrum and subsequently milk flow. (You cannot look at an udder and determine milk quantity and flow. You have to touch it.) Once the kid gets old enough to eat solid food, he stands an improved chance of surviving if inadequate amounts of milk are available to him.

Do not disbud goats. Horns are the body's radiator for removing heat. Goats without horns have to mouth breathe to expel excess heat. In extremely hot and humid areas, hornless goats cannot remove heat fast enough, making heatstroke or pneumonia real possibilities. An experienced goat producer can touch a goat's horns and tell if the goat's body temperature is too high.

A kid is born without a working immune system. All the immunities he gets are through his dam's colostrum and milk. Kids should begin to eat solid food at around two weeks of age.When the kid is weaned at three months old, he enters a very vulnerable time in his life. Since his dam is no longer providing milk to him, he is on his own immunity-wise yet his immune system is not fully operational. When eating near or off the ground, he encounters worms, coccidia, bacteria, viruses, and other organisms that can sicken or kill him. You must carefully watch kids and juveniles from weaning to one year of age for evidence of illnesses. Diarrhea is just one of the possible symptoms to anticipate. Goats are yearlings before they have a well-functioning immune system.

Goats have the fastest metabolisms of all ruminants, except deer. You cannot expect growing kids to feed themselves solely on forage/browse or pasture as adult goats do. Everything growing kids eat goes first to maintenance of life-sustaining body systems (heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, etc) and then to growth. Growing kids require some supplemental feeding under most management conditions.

Growing kids MUST receive better nutrition than mature goats. Fast metabolisms require good nutrition.

Unlike cattle, goats will not eat every plant that grows in the pasture. Goats are very picky eaters. Plant materials with an Acid Detergent Fiber (ADF) rating of 39 or higher have too much non-digestible lignin in them. Goats cannot get adequate nutrition out of mature grasses. Goats can survive on some of them, but they cannot thrive on them. See my article entitled "Foragers/Browsers - not Grazers: This Is Why" on the Articles page at www.tennesseemeatgoats.com.

Suzanne W. Gasparotto, Onion Creek Ranch, Texas 3/1/16

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Important! Please Read This Notice!

All information provided in these articles is based either on personal experience or information provided by others whose treatments and practices have been discussed fully with a vet for accuracy and effectiveness before passing them on to readers.

In all cases, it is your responsibility to obtain veterinary services and advice before using any of the information provided in these articles. Suzanne Gasparotto is not a veterinarian.Neither tennesseemeatgoats.com nor any of the contributors to this website will be held responsible for the use of any information contained herein.

The author, Suzanne Gasparotto, hereby grants to local goat publications and club newsletters, permission to reprint articles published on the Onion Creek Ranch website under these conditions: THE ARTICLE MUST BE REPRODUCED IN ITS ENTIRETY AND THE AUTHOR'S NAME, ADDRESS, AND CONTACT INFORMATION MUST BE INCLUDED AT THE BEGINNING OF THE REPRINT. We would appreciate notification from any clubs or publications when the articles are used. (A copy of the newsletter or publication would also be a welcome addition to our growing library of goat related information!)

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