How to Raise a Healthy Baby Goat Kid
If you have a herd of goats on your farm, you need to know general kid management guidelines to successfully raise baby goat kids should they appear. Giving a newborn kid proper nutrition, care and shelter is the best way to ensure your goat grows into a healthy and productive adult animal. As always, if you are unsure about how to handle, feed or treat a baby goat, contact your veterinarian for advice.
What to Do Immediately after the Kid is Born
- Trim navel cord to 3 - 4 inches long and dip the goat's navel cord into an iodine solution to prevent bacterial infection and promote fast drying. If the navel cord is bleeding, tie it with surgical suture material.
- Bottle feed colostrum within the first 2 hours of life if possible. Colostrum, or "first milk" is the antibody-rich milk produced by mother goats, or doe, and other livestock that helps establish the newborn's immune system and fight infection throughout the life of the animal. Colostrum does not have to be from the goat kid's biological mother. Refrigerate or freeze unused colostrum immediately to use no more than 6 months later.
Feed the newborn goat kid colostrum supplement if no maternal colostrum is available. Tractor Supply Co. carries colostrum replacement for most livestock species, including goat and other bovine animals.How to Keep a Baby Goat Kid Healthy in the First Few Weeks
Bottle feed the goat kid frequent, small meals of milk or milk replacer. Kid goats should be fed at least 4 times per day to avoid digestive issues until they are 30 days old. At this point you can reduce the number of daily feedings to 3. This mimics the natural nursing behavior of baby goats. When the kid is old enough, you can begin feeding milk in pails or automated feeder units. Provide electrolyte supplements for kid goats that develop scours, or diarrhea. This will prevent dehydration in goats. Do not replace more than 50% of the normal daily milk replacer volume with electrolytes. If scours continues, consult with your veterinarian.
Create a Clean and Dry Environment
House newborn goat kids in a clean, draft-free shelter with lots of bedding. To maintain good biosecurity, keep goat kids housed individually or in a small group to avoid exposure to other animals that could be carriers of infectious disease. Remember, baby animals are especially susceptible to infections of all kinds, and you must allow their immune systems to develop prior to letting them mix with adults.
How to Jump-Start Rumen Development
Once the goat kid is about 1 week old, provide high-quality starter grain with at least 16 - 18% of crude protein to "kick-start" rumen development. Animals that ruminate must digest food by re-chewing partially-digested roughage. At about 3 weeks old, provide high-quality forage, or fine-stemmed hay or pasture mix. Wean the goat kid off of milk replacer after about 30 days old. Finally, as with all livestock, always provide clean, fresh water at all times.