Kidding Season

Austin

 

Kidding Season by Sharon Holman

Kidding season is the most challenging and rewarding time for our goat operation. You have to keep close eye on the expectant does, maintain accurate records of the kids as they are born and make sure both doe and kids recover and prosper.

Many different schemes have been developed to manage the kidding process of registered goats around the world. We studied these systems and adopted pieces of different ones to design what fits our facilities, environment and goals.

Pregnant does are run in the pasture until 10 days before their due date (149 days from breeding) when they are put into a very small trap, about 5 acres. They are given shelter in a barn at night and during bad weather,( rain and /or cold winds). This handy table of breeding dates/kidding dates shows the expected kidding time after a 149-day gestation period.

As the does kid, they are put into their very own pen with their kids. This pen is in the barn and is bedded with straw hay. Fresh feed and water are available at all times. Pen size (5ft X 5ft to 8ft X 8 ft) varies as to the number of does kidding vs. the space available. Kids navels are dipped in 7 percent iodine as soon as possible.

Kids receive their first identification within hours of birth by placing a numbered plastic eartag in the ear. These tags are ordered at least a month before kidding is expected to start. We order a years worth at a time and work the last digit of the year into the numbering system. For 1999, our tags will start with 900 1, the 9 indicates that the kid was born in 1999 and the I indicates it was the first kid born in 1999. When we tattoo the kids, the alphabetical year letter will be used with the birth order number (L is letter for 1999). So the first kid born in 1999 will be tag number 900 1, left ear tattoo I L.

Kidding records are prepared as breedings take place. The date the doe is bred, who she is bred to, and the expected due date is written on the chart with a place for the date kidded, sex of kids and tag numbers of the kids to be filled in as kidding progresses. For embryo transfer recipients, recip doe number, donor and sire, and how many fetuses were sonogrammed, are recorded with a place for all the kid information to be recorded. When you get ready to fill out registration forms, all the information you need, except color, will be available on one sheet!

Natural Breeding Chart

Breed Date

Doe

Buck

Date Due

Kid Date

Kid Sex

Kid #

Kid Sex

Kid #

Kid Sex

Kid #

                     
                     
                     
                     
                     

Embryo Transfer Chart

Recip #

Dam

Sire

Sono

Date Kid

Kid Sex

Tag #

Kid Sex

Tag #

Kid Sex

Tag #

                     
                     
                     
                     
                     

 

Tattooing the kids is made a little easier on the handlers by placing the kids in a kid box instead of trying to hold them still. Green tattoo ink, either paste or liquid roll on, is applied to one ear on the hairless area and between cartilage strips, the tattoo is pressed into the ear where ink has been applied. A soft toothbrush is used to massage the ink or paste into the impressions as the ear is laid back onto the top of the box, ink side up. If some of the holes bleed, brushing should continue until bleeding has stopped as blood washes out the ink. Sometimes you will need to apply more ink. If ink does not get into the impressions, you will not have a readable tattoo. Having a hard surface, like the kid box lid, under the ear helps you apply even pressure as you brush the ink.

Soremouth vaccine is administered at the same time as the tattoos, mainly because this way we know we will not miss anyone.

Does and kids are released from their confinement within a couple of days if all seems to be going well. This release is into a rather large pen with access to a barn for shelter. After another few days in this pen, they are released into a pasture.

It is important to keep a close eye on all kids and does. Sometimes a kid will be rejected by the doe, so keep a watch for kids that are drawn and/or trying to steal milk from other does. Nursing from behind the doe is a favorite method for kids to steal milk. Strutted bags, sometimes just one side, is a sign of trouble for does. If she has twins, one might not be nursing. If she has a single, you need to get it to nurse both sides instead of just it's favorite teat. One way to do this is to put a piece of tape on the teat that is preferred for a day or so. As the kid hunts for a teat, it will find the teat it had not noticed before.

Creep feed is available for the kids in the pasture. This is a self feeder that is kept full of a pelleted feed in a pen that the does can not get into but the kids can. The fence around the feeder is solid fencing except for the "jail bars" which are about 8 inches apart. It is important that this fence be high enough that your does will not be tempted to jump into the creep pen