Once the conception part has been confirmed it is now time to plan for the kidding as it is important to be able to retain the newborns you are expecting and for them to be dropped healthy and in a smooth process. In order for that to happen you need to know when kidding is expected to be and the signs that it is near, here as well as what your role is in this situation.
Management of the dam before giving birth
- Separate the dam when nearing parturition
- Clean, disinfect and aerate premises before the dam is housed.
- Ensure adequate and well balanced diet
- If the doe is still lactation, it should not be allowed to continue suckling kids. This will enable the fetus to grow properly.
Signs of approaching parturition
- Swelling of the vulva several days before the day.
- The pelvic ligaments loosen.
- The goat becomes restless, standing and lying down.
- Swelling of the udder
- The dam isolates herself
- The vaginal ward (mucus plug) loosens and is seen hanging as a loose thread from the vagina.
When the kidding occurs, it is important to be ready and assist toke sure that the delivery is a smooth process and that the kids are in a good state. Assistance and monitoring kidding ensures that there are no unnecessary mortalities and prevent situations that might cause future health complications to the doe and kid.
- The nostrils of the kid need to be cleaned to ensure that there are no blockages.
- Artificial respiration should be given if required. Hold the kid upside down. Brisk rubbing of the kid’s back with a towel stimulates breathing.
- In a normal birth, leave umbilical cord for about 5 minutes
- Apply tincture of iodine to the stump as a way of disinfecting.
- Be on the lookout for vices such as battering of new born kids especially by dams which are kidding for the first time.
- Conserve and maintain the body heat. Newborn kids are sensitive to extremes of temperature which are quite common in Botswana. Therefore ensure that temperature does not drop during bad weather because their bodies are smaller, they lose heat faster than adult goats.
- If economy permits, heat should be synchronized so that kids are dropped at the same time when it is warmer and grazing available.
Care for newborns
- After kidding it is important to make sure that the newborns are suckling and that they nurse properly as the kids should receive colostrum within 72 hours of birth. If fed later than that, the immunoglobulins from the colostrum will not be absorbed by the newborn.
- Weak kids should be assisted in taking colostrum and if the dam has no milk, colostrum should be obtained from another dam.
- Common health problems in newborn kids especially during cold season would be diarrhoea which results in dehydration if not attended to. When it occurs it is vital to re-hydrate the kid with salt and sugar mixture or commercial preparations that are available in agriculture outlets as well as Livestock Advisory Centers.
- Kids are delicate and therefore stress on them should be minimized.
Weaning the Kids
Kids that are allowed to nurse and pasture alongside their mothers are relatively healthier than those that are weaned earlier. As a rule, kids should be allowed to nurse as long as the mother’s body condition does not begin to deteriorate. Allowing the mother enough time to regain good fleshing is essential for a healthy outcome in the next breeding season.
Weaning especially in intensive farming should be done when kids can readily eat a handful of grain a day at 5 weeks of age. Good feeding at this time is necessary to ensure their survival at post weaning stage. Does should be supplemented since stress of malnutrition during lactation may delay the return to heat and subsequent conception. Kids can be weaned at 5 weeks but not later than 8 weeks of age.
Kids that are weaned may show signs of Coccidia infection. The disease should be treated immediately because it damages the lining of the intestine which ultimately inhibits growth.
- Onzima R., Aheisibwe A. R., Katali B. K., Kanis E., & van Arendonk J. A. M. (2014, August). Economic Analysis of Cross Breeding Programs for Indigenous Goat Breeds in Uganda. In 10th World Congress on Genetics Applied to Livestock Production. Asas.