Reproductive Management

18 September, 2015rodster385Comments (0)

1 The reproductive performance of goats can be exceptionally high.
Conception rates of 980ver 2 estrous cycles with an average of 1.5
kids have been reported. Such fertility is probably due to maximizing
proper management. Reproductive management of dairy goats involves
three periods: the breeding season, the pregnant and dry period; and
kidding time.

2 The Breeding Season
Yearling kids may be bred in the first year at 7-10 months of age,
depending on breed, if they have grown well to about 80 lb and are of
good size and condition. Body weight relative to breed is more
important than age and can influence lifetime performance. The doe kid
may be able to reproduce at three months of age but should not be
allowed to do so, as her growth may be permanently stunted. To prevent
this, buck kids should be separated from doe kids at an early age. If
breeding doe kids is postponed much beyond 10 months of age, they will
be less productive. Older kids are not as easily settled at first
breeding and may have lower lifetime productivity.

3 Breeding does, as the season approaches should be ''flushed'', i.e.
prepared by having them gain weight at least 2-3 weeks before breeding.
This increases the number of ovulations. Records should be kept
carefully on all heats, lengths of heat, intervals between heats and all
breeding dates. Most goats are seasonal breeders, and their season is
initiated by decreasing daylight. Thus, their season is from late
August through January usually, but tropical breeds of goats may cycle
year around.

4 Seasonal breeding results in seasonal peaks and valleys of milk
production which makes it difficult to maintain a level fluid milk
market. However, goats can be milked longer than the standard 305-day
lactation by delaying breeding to a later heat. Goats can also be
''fooled'' into thinking that the short-day season has arrived by
manipulating artificial light-hours per day and thereby initiating
estrous cycles out-of-season. However, this requires an investment in
housing which is suitable for light control.

5 Hormonal reproductive problems are not common in goats. Cystic
ovaries may occur, usually late in the breeding season. These are a
hereditary problem and show up in young animals. The signs of cystic
ovaries are constant heat, male-like behavior, or frequent short
cycles. Treatment may consist of giving hormones: luteinizing hormone
containing compounds (3,000 IU/im) or progesterone in oil (100mg/d for
12 days). Young does with cystic ovaries probably should not be bred
and be culled, to prevent the continuation of this condition.

6 Anestrus (no heats) can be a problem. This may be due to: a
pregnancy from an unobserved service, if a buck is present; intersexed
goats which are not discovered until examined to determine why they
are not cycling; the inability to observe does in heat; or simply not
cycling. Close observation and understanding the signs of estrus is the
best way to determine when the doe is in heat. Signs of heat (estrus)
are: swelling and redness of the vulva: mucus discharge (may become
white toward the end of estrus); tail twitching; increased bleating
(vocalization); decrease in milk production; increased restlessness; and
frequent urination. Standing or riding are not seen as heat signs in
goats as often as in cows. Observation around feeding and milking times
is undesirable, because the does have their mind not concentrated on est
++++MISSING DATA++++

7 Estrus (heat) lasts from 12 to 48 hours, averaging 36 hours and
ovulations occur 24 to 36 hours after onset of heat. Goats should be
bred naturally once 24 hours after onset of heat or if conservation of
the buck is not a consideration, every 12 hours until the receptive
period is over. In artificial insemination, it is recommended to breed
every 12 hours, 2 to 3 times. Does generally have heat cycles of 21
day length, similar to cows. However, considerable variation between
individual does exists without any abnormality reason. The recurrence
of estrus cycles should be fairly consistent in an individual animal. A
doe with an unusual cycle length of 35 to 40 days should be suspected
of embryo loss and should be placed under careful observation.

8 A buck must be prepared for the breeding season with good
nutrition, parasite control, foot trimming, etc. A prebreeding genital
exam should be carried out with examination of the testicles for any
abnormalities. The testicle should be plump, firm and symmetrical. If
any abnormalities or problems are suspected, a semen evaluation should
be carried out. Many systemic debilitating diseases, arthritis, foot
rot, and scrotal infections can affect fertility of bucks.

9 The Pregnant Doe
Pregnancy diagnosis should be done to ensure pregnancy has occurred
and if not, the situation corrected before the end of the season.
Gestation in goats is 150 days. Pregnancy diagnosis continues to be a
problem in small ruminants. Nonreturn to estrus is the most commonly
used sign of pregnancy. This requires close observations and can be
adequate. If a buck is present, return to estrus determination is
simple.

10 Recto-abdominal palpation with the aid of a rectal probe can be done
with great caution and experience from 70 to 110 days but many
veterinarians find it too dangerous to recommend. After 110 days the
fetuses can be palpated through the abdominal wall. Ultra sound and
radiography pregnosticators are available but the initial expense is a
limiting factor.

11 Milk tests, e.g. available from DHIA labs, can be used at 21 to 23
days post-breeding to detect levels of the pregnancy hormone,
progesterone. Low levels indicate a non-pregnant status. However, goat
owners should keep in mind that an animal detected as pregnant may
later lose the fetus, because goats may be more susceptible to abortion
than cows, particularly during the periods of poor nutrition.

12 Contagious reproductive diseases are not a common problem in goats.
Brucellosis caused by B. melitensis is not found in the United States
although it is a problem in other parts of the world. Goats are
resistant to Brucella abortus, the brucellosis of cows and it is not a
problem. Enzootic abortion, a chlamydial infection, occurs in
California and causes abortions. Characteristically 80 percent of
abortions occur in first and second fresheners and 3 to 4 weeks before
normal kidding. Natural immunity develops and vaccination programs are
effective in problem areas. Whenever an abortion occurs, careful
examination of the aborted fetus(es) and placenta is essential by
submitting to a diagnostic pathology laboratory.

13 The Dry Doe
The pregnant doe should have a 60 day dry period prior to kidding
and should be gaining in condition for the last month before kidding
without fattening. Nutrition must be carefully managed to provide the
necessary nutrients balanced so that no metabolic disorders such as
ketosis and milk fever may occur. About four and two weeks prior to
kidding an intramuscular administration of a selenium treatment (Bo-Se)
at the rate of 1 ml per 40 lb of bodyweight is advisable in selenium
deficient areas such as the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Great Lakes, East
Coast, Florida, and Northwest areas in the US.

14 The Kidding Doe (Parturition)
Attendance at kidding is life saving and cleanliness is very
important. The fetus acquires the capacity for extrauterine life only
shortly before term, and may die in utero if parturition is unduly
delayed. As kidding time approaches, the udder rapidly enlarges, the
pelvic ligaments relax around the tail head, and the vulva becomes
greatly enlarged. Eight to 12 hours before birth, the cervix begins to
dilate and the cervical mucus plug will be in evidence, as a tan,
sticky substance smeared about the hind parts of the doe. This first
stage of kidding lasts 1 to 6 hours. If progress stops, a vaginal exam
with clean, well lubricated hands is in order.

15 Normally the fetus enters the birth canal and the doe starts an
abdominal press. The chorioallantoic sac is ruptured and the unbroken
amniotic sac (water bag) is then forced through the vulva. Delivery of
the kids usually occurs in a short time once the water bag can be
viewed. Kids may be presented either with their front feet forward or
in posterior presentation where their rear feet are presented first.
The doe may rest between each kid for a short period of time. Most does
are best left alone during parturition. Interference with parturition
of does kidding for the first time may result in the doe rejecting the
kids. It is important that does lick the kids as soon as possible after
they are born as this indicates her acceptance of them. Dystocias
(difficult births) are rarely encountered.

16 If labor is prolonged for more than one hour with no progress, a
vaginal exam is again indicated. With multiple births, more than one
fetus may be lodged in the pelvis. Careful sorting is necesary before
delivery is possible. The goat's uterus is very fragile and prolonged
manipulation may result in uterine rupture. ''Ring womb'' occurs,
when, with prolonged labor, the cervix begins to contract, making
delivery impossible. Caesarean sections are done with overlarge
fetuses, monsters, ''Ring womb'' and other dystocia that might
threaten the doe's life.

17 After parturition, the doe should begin to lick the kids, and she
may eat part of the fetal membranes. There is no evidence for benefit or
harm from ingestion of the fetal membranes. Normal kids will start
trying to stand up immediately and should be on their feet and nursing
within a short period of time. It is important that kids nurse the doe
as soon as possible after birth in order to get the first milk or
colostrum. It may be necessary occasionally to help slow or weak kids to
nurse. Kids navels should be dipped in iodine solution. Retention of
the fetal membranes, a condition not uncommon in cows, seldom occurs in
goats. A retained placenta should be treated conservatively with the
exposed portions clipped off. The placenta is discharged naturally 3-5
days if not normally expelled within 6 hours after kidding. Systemic
antibiotics are indicated only if the doe shows signs of illness.

18 Thorough disinfection of pens after each delivery and especially
after problems is important for successful reproductive management.
Tetanus toxoid and enterotoxemia C and D bacterin injections are
advised after each delivery as well as deworming. Colostrum feeding
should be continued to kids beyond the first hours after kidding for
three days. Excess colostrum can be frozen successfully for later use
in other kiddings. The fresh doe will normally discharge a deep red,
mucus-like material called lochia for 7 to 14 days postpartum. Abnormal
is a large amount of bright red blood, foulsmelling exudate, or pus.

19 The Intersex
The most important cause of infertility in dairy goats is the
occurrence of the hermaphroditism or intersex condition. Affected
animals are more frequently female genetically with a normal female
complement of chromosones (60,XX). They may have a normal size vulva
but an enlarged clitoris and a short or atretic vagina. A penile
clitoris or even an ova testis may occur in does that appear
phenotypically female otherwise. A shortened penis, hypospadias, or
hypoplastic testes may also occur.

20 Both hermaphroditism and congenital hypoplasia of the reproductive
tract are related to naturally hornless or polled goats and are more
likely to occur when both parents are polled. Breeding to horned bucks
will avoid the problem but breeding to horned does can reduce the
occurrence of intersex sterility also. Breeding polled bucks to polled
goats may result in a shift to more males born and as many as 20
hermaphroditic progeny. Hornlessness acts as a simple dominant and
intersex sterility may be its pleiotropic effect on a recessive trait
with incomplete penetrance, although linkage has not been excluded. The
polled gene has a high frequency in Saanen but is rare in Angoras. The
management interest in absence of horns needs to be balanced against
losses due to intersex and labor costs in manual dehorning.

21 Since hornlessness is dominant over horned condition, it is of
management value to be able to distinguish phenotypically the
heterozygous goats from the homozygous polled animals. Recent French
studies have demonstrated that small differences in the shapes and
positions of the bony rudimentary hornknobs can be identified in goats.
For homozygous polled males they are rounded and separate, while in
heterozygous goats the two knobs are of oval shape and in a partially
joined V-shaped position.


Signs that Kidding is Near

18 September, 2015rodster385Comments (0)

Several changes in the body shape and udder usually take place as the time of kidding approaches, although the degree and order may vary for goat to goat.

These are the most common changes:

 

The udder will start to grow and eventually fill with milk (don't milk her before kidding unless it becomes very tight indeed, but if it becomes necessary only take enough to ease the udder).

The goat's shape may alter, the weight shifting downwards and leaving her slightly hollow flanked.

The part of the backbone near the tail appears to have risen, becoming slack either side (called "ridging up").

The vulva becomes increasingly puffy; eventually there will be a colourless discharge from it.

She may start "talking" to her unborn kids or making unusual noises.

She will become increasingly restless, pawing at her bed and making hollows, repeatedly lying down and then getting up again.


Goat Kidding Problems

18 September, 2015rodster385Comments (0)

Possible signs of trouble.
doe repeatedly starts pushing hard but gets up and stops labor, then lies down and starts again
doe repeatedly gets up and down and arches her back and elevates her rear end as though trying to line up the babies
discharge is rusty red and beginning to look septic
parts of a baby are visible but doe is unable to deliver in spite of straining very hard
doe is in hard grinding labor for more than 30 -45 minutes with no results

Determine problem.
wash does vulva with mild soap and water
wash your hands and arms and scrub fingernails well
lather hands with betadine scrub and squeeze a generous ribbon of surgilube on the fingers
have an assistant hold or restrain doe
gently enter the vagina and dilate if necessary
feel and identify the parts of the kid that are in the birth canal
determine the problem and the corrective action necessary to rectify

Abnormal presentations.
head first with one foreleg; can be delivered this way but easier on the doe if you reach in and find the other leg and carefully pull it forward so the head is resting on both legs. The kid should deliver easily now. Just be sure the head and legs belong to the same kid.

head first with no legs; cannot be delivered this way. Similar to the previous case, but you will probably have to reach in and push the kids head back to make room for the legs. Slide your hand along the head and neck until you find the shoulders, then locate the feet and gently bring them forward with the head resting on the legs. Kid should deliver easily now but you may need to help pull.

breach position with hocks first; cannot be delivered this way but easy to correct. Just reach in and find the feet and carefully pull them forward so both rear feet are together and extended through the vulva. The kid should deliver easily now.

breach position with rump and tail; similar to the previous case; but you will probably have to reach in and push the kids rump back to make room for the legs. Slide your hand along the rump until you find the legs, then locate the feet and carefully bring them forward so both rear feet are together and extended through the vulva. The kid should deliver easily now but you may need to help pull.

front feet first with head upside down; can be delivered this way but may be easier on the kid if you rotate the entire kid so that the kid's back is upward toward the does back. Sometimes it is hard to turn the kid around if the feet and/or head are already visible. Just make sure that the kid curves around the doe's pelvic arch as much as possible even if it is slightly twisted. You will probably need to help pull the kid.

feet first with head thrown back. cannot be delivered this way. This is probably the most difficult of the abnormal presentations to correct, especially if the doe has been in hard, unproductive labor for a considerable time and/or the kid is very weak. You will have to reach in and follow along the body and then along the neck until you locate the head. You may be surprised at how long the neck is and how deep you have to go (up to your elbow). The trick is to get the head forward and keep it there! If the kid is weak the head will keep flopping back every time you withdraw your hand to pull on the legs. In this case you will need your OB puller. A rubber one is best but you can use a thin noose made of nylon cord. Carry the noose in with your hand and slip it over the kids head. Position the head on the front legs and snug up the loop. Keep tension on the puller with your free hand and then withdraw your hand and grasp the feet. Pull on the feet and the loop at the same time and the kid should deliver just fine. Use plenty of surgilube as this is time consuming and things start to dry out. The kid may be weak and the doe tired. See also complications.

two heads with somebody's feet; cannot be delivered this way. Although this situation is somewhat intimidating at first, it is fairly easy to correct. The trick is to match up the head and feet of the same goat. Usually one kid's head will be more advanced than the other so push the other back and feel along the neck to the chest and down each leg until you can locate the feet of the kid whose head is more advanced. You may have to push the other kid kid back quite a ways to make room to work. Then carefully bring the feet forward until the head is resting on the legs. The kid should deliver easily now but you may have to help pull the kid.

mismatched head and feet; cannot be delivered this way. This usually occurs because one kid is Presented head first with it legs back and a second kid's feet and legs have slid under the first kid's head. Since there is no room for the second kid's head it is usually turned back along its side. You will have to push the second kid back to make room to work. S1ide your hand along the first kid's head and neck to the chest and then down each leg until you locate the feet. Then carefully bring the feet forward until the head is resting on the legs. The kid should deliver easily now but you may have to help pull the kid. When you go back for the second kid the head will usually be presented normally or will come forward easily so that it is resting on its forelegs. The kid should deliver easily but you may have to help pull the kid. If you have trouble keeping the head forward see the previous discussion on using an OB loop.

no presentation, necessary to determine if the doe is sufficiently dilated and the cervix is open. The os, (opening to the cervix) should be dilated at least three fingers for normal birth. If not dilated then it may be too early. Wait a while and check the doe again. You can't hurt the doe by checking. If the cervix is open and all you feel is a side or ribs the kid is probably dead, but there may be live kids behind it: Push the dead kid back until you can turn it so that it is presented front feet/head first, or hind feet first Use plenty of surgilube as the dead kids seem to be dry. You will have to pull the kid since the doe will probably not push very hard.

Possible complications.
infection; if invasion has been extensive or prolonged, may need antibiotics
swelling, if excessive may need analgesic
tears; either by the doe or the herdsman may require antibiotics and an analgesic
depression; if severe, may need a lot of comforting
an exceptionally traumatic delivery may require several days of treatment including intrauterine infusion. May need to call your veterinarian


Preparations for Kidding

18 September, 2015rodster385Comments (0)

Make sure you have studied all of the relevant parts of books and videos on this topic, many of which contain clear diagrams of the expected event. Don't get worried, in most cases, goats manage perfectly well on their own and any help that is needed is minimal.
It is worthwhile to collect together a set of items which might be needed during the actual kidding, or immediately afterwards. Many of them could be put in one box, to be ready at a moments notice.


The recommended list includes:

A bucket for warm water

A bar of soap and nailbrush

Some veterinary obstetric lubricant gel

Some clean cotton towels

Roll of paper kitchen towels

A pair of sharp surgical scissors

An antibiotic spray obtained from your vet

A stomach tube and syringe for colostrum feeding

Kid feeding bottle, teat and a half litre plastic jug

The goat's pen should be well cleaned and disinfected at least a week before kidding.
A low hurdle should be available to section off a corner in the kidding pen, should it be thought to be advisable to protect the kids from being trampled on etc. The dam should be able to see, smell and lick her kids, even if they are placed behind the temporary partition.
On hand should be the telephone numbers of at least one vet, and at least one experienced goatkeeper or shepherd and a mobile phone if no permanent phone is nearby.
As soon as the first signs of birth are observed, remove the water receptacle from the kidding pen until after parturition is complete.


Just Kidding - Goat Breeding

18 September, 2015rodster385Comments (0)

This is what you work all year for. This is where your money comes from. It only makes sense that this is one important area where a little extra effort and attention pays off.

If you are looking for livestock to throw out in the pasture and forget about, then come back in eight months and harvest a crop read no further. A successful kids crop takes your attention.

The beginning of a profitable kid crop starts a few months prior to the breeding of the does. This article will deal with the kids after they are born, or in ‘goat lingo’ - ON THE GROUND !

We make it a practice and a priority to be present at every birth possible. Sometimes a doe will fool us and have her baby without our being there and ‘usually’ everything is just fine. However, problems can arise and we always feel our presence is an important beginning to ‘harvesting’ that bumper crop. Occasionally there are problems during the birthing process and that is the subject of a seperate article.

Assuming that the doe gives birth without incident the first thing we do is to be sure that the kid’s nose and mouth are clear of mucus, etc. Do this by simply by wiping the kids face with a piece of paper towel. We prefer paper towels to a cloth since it is a single use item and therefore more sanitary.

We then let the doe clean the kid up for herself. This helps to establish a bond between the dam and her kid and the licking also stimulates the kid to stand and nurse. We have seen vigorous Boer kids crawl over to the doe’s teats while she is still laying down (usually awaiting the arrival of the next kid) and nurse the dam, just like a puppy !

NOTE: we always squeeze a squirt or two of milk from each teat to be sure that all systems are working , making sure that the natural plug that is in the end of the teat to protect the udder from outside bacteria is flushed out. True, ‘in the natural’ the kids will suck out the plug and usually both teats are working fine; however, if there is a problem with one or both of the teats function you will find it right then rather than finding a kid that has starved to death the next day.

Make sure that the navel cord has detached properly, which simply means that it is not bleeding - if blood is flowing through the cord we tie it off with a piece of dental floss close to the belly. We have found that if the cord is tied off further down on the cord rather than close to the body often blood will pool in the cord and it will ‘bulge’ with blood and not dry up properly. A damp cord is inviting infection. We always spray the navel with 7% tiodine - don’t be stingy - cover it well. This will help to dry up the cord and also stave off bacteria. Again it is true that, in the ‘natural’ Kids do not get their navel sprayed. True- in the ‘natural’ kids die from navel ill.

Most of the time the kids will get up within minutes and nurse. Be sure that they do get ‘on the teat’ and drink. The sooner they get colostrum in their belly the better - as the kids system can only absorb the antibodies in the colostrum for 8-12 hours after birth. However, if a kid is a little exhausted from the delivery process let it rest and dry off for bit and gain some strength. We do make sure that every kid nurses by 30 minutes after birth. If per chance the kid, for some reason, is to weak to nurse than we will milk out some of the dams colostrum and feed it to the kid in a bottle. If the kid is to weak to suck from a bottle we may have to ‘tube feed’ the kid in order to save its life. (See Drenching and Tube Feeding).

It is a good idea to keep an adjustable dog collar and a double ended snap handy for those does that refuse to hold still for you or the kids. This way we can just snap the doe to the panel (our jugs are usually made of combination cattle panels).

If our kids are born during the cold of Winter we do use heat lamps to help dry them off and keep them comfortable for the first 24-48 hours of life, using the infer red lamps (yes they cost more that the white lamps, but the white lamps are hard on the kid’s eyes).

If you are concerned that the kids will not feel any warmth from a lamp hung this high over head just put your hand on the kid for a minute and you will begin to feel the warmth of the lamp. The lamp does not heat the air but rather the ‘object’ be it a kid or a wooden box. (There is a scientific explanation for this but I don’t recall the exact reasoning and it is really not important here.

Be sure that all lamps are secured so that the doe can not knock them into the bedding, causing a barn fire.

As soon as the kid is dry and stable we place an ear tag in the appropriate ear to identify the kid. (see Identification). If it is a buck kid and we do not intent to keep or sell it as a breeding buck we put an elastacator band on the kid when it is 24 hours old.

We have found that the sooner the kid is banded the less stress and discomfort the kid experiences. We have NOT found that banding the male kids at this early age effects their growth into a good well developed meat wether.

Some breeders prefer to allow the kid to grow and castrate with a knife or to use a Burdizzo. We have never used the ‘knife method’ so we can not comment on that. We have used the Burdizzo on two to three month old kids and even though the procedure was done according to instructions we have experienced less than satisfactory results.

Therefore, yes, we run the risk of banding a kid that could turn out to be a quality breeding buck. We would rather band a good one than let an inferior male kid remain viable.

If kids are born during cold weather we build what we call ‘hay ‘caves for the kids to snuggle into. Kids like the security of a closed in ‘hiding place’. The closeness of the hay cave helps to conserve their body heat, thus allowing the kid to put its energy into growing rather than keeping warm. Several kids will crowd into a hay cave so care must be taken not to make the cave to big or you will run the risk of smaller kids being squashed or other wise suffocated.


Goat Reproductive Information

18 September, 2015rodster385Comments (0)

Goats are seasonally polyestrous with estrous cycles every 20 to 21 days from July through January. Few does cycle in March and April. February, May, June, and July are considered transitional months. Tropical breeds of goats may cycle year-round. Goats reach sexual maturity at five to nine months, but it is not recommended to breed them until they have reached 60 percent of their adult weight, or one year of age.

The presence of a buck causes does to come into estrus. Estrus (standing heat) lasts about 24-36 hours and is recognized by tail-shaking, flagging, nervousness, frequent urination, bleating, swollen vulva, and discharge.

With proper nutrition and management, three kid crops every two years are possible. An ideal management scheme would be to breed in February, then again in September. A buck may breed 50 to 200 does in a single breeding season, but it is recommended that three or four bucks be put with 100 does. As mentioned earlier, bucks should be changed often to prevent inbreeding in the flock (at least every two years).

Nutritional requirements during production are varied according to the state of production. Bucks should be placed on an increased plane of nutrition six weeks before breeding so that they can stand the rigors of covering many does. The nutritional requirements of does vary greatly, depending on the stage of production and gestation.

Between weaning and breeding the doe is in a dry period with nutrient requirements at their lowest. A maintenance diet is sufficient as long as weight lost during lactation is recovered before breeding.

Flushing two weeks before the breeding season can increase the kidding percent. Flushing is increasing the nutrition of the animal prior to breeding, which can increase the ovulation and conception rates. This can be done by turning goats on fresh, lush pasture or by feeding grain for the two or three weeks before the breeding season. This is effective with thin does, but does that are in good condition generally do not benefit.

During early gestation (100 days after breeding) nutritional requirements are not critical and maintenance level will suffice. In late gestation (last 50 days), nutrition is critical since 70 percent of fetal growth occurs during this time. Protein and energy requirements increase drastically, often warranting supplemental feeding programs in the third trimester.

The first eight weeks of lactation have the greatest nutritional demand of any time in the production cycle. This period generally coincides with spring growth, but in accelerated kidding programs, the nutritional requirements must be met with supple-mental feeds.

The gestation period varies from 147 to 155 days, the average about 149 days. Does generally deliver two kids averaging four to six pounds each. Labor begins with one to ten hours of uterine contractions followed by rupture of the water bag. Within an hour of the water breaking, the first kid should be delivered, and all of the kids should be delivered within three hours. A shelter should be available to pregnant does in case of bad weather. Dystocia is rare in goats. Most difficulties occur from mal-presentations in which assistance should be provided. The producer should ensure that each kid receives colostrum within two to four hours postpartum.

Horned kids can be easily disbudded at four to ten days. Males to be kept but not for breeding can be castrated at this time or at weaning. At one to three weeks the kids should be given a clostridium-tetanus vaccine if the doe was not vaccinated prior to kid-ding. Kids can be vaccinated between one and two months and receive a booster two weeks later. Most kids are marketed at four to seven months and at live weights of 40 to 60 pounds and therefore are not generally castrated. If kids are to be sold, this occurs around weaning (three to five months). Kids kept after weaning are usually replacement does or for breeding stock.

Producers often replace 20 percent to 25 percent of their breeding does each year. These doelings, selected at weaning, should be chosen with emphasis placed on multiple births, early-born kids, and kids from does that kid more than once per year. Selection of bucks should emphasize growth rate and muscling, while does should emphasize reproductive traits more. Replacement does should weigh at least 50 to 60 pounds before they are bred. If does are run year-round with the bucks, they will often breed at seven to nine months. If these female kids are bred, they should be fed a supplement for proper growth. Does that do not kid by two years of age should be culled.


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