Sunday, October 13, 2013

Kidding Around: How to Care for Baby Goats

There's no doubt that baby goats—or kids as they're more popularly known—are cute little bundles of joy. The way they flounce, bounce, and cuddle is utterly irresistible. However, like human kids, they grow up so fast, and taking care of them involves a lot of work. Here are some tips on how to raise them right:

Make sure they receive colostrum, which is the first thick milk produced by the mother goat, or doe. Colostrum contains proteins, carbs, and other nutrients that young infants need. Most importantly, it contains specific antibodies which are the more important ones the kids will have to protect themselves with. Most does will make their own colostrum when they give birth. If not, you can buy it from a local vet or feed store.

Feed the kids regularly. Newborns will have small stomachs so they'll require feeding at least four times a day. This won't be a problem if you leave the kids with their mother doe, however, in rare cases, you'll need to bottle-feed them. Fresh goat's milk is best, but if not available, you can use cow's milk, instead, while adding three tablespoons of corn syrup per gallon.

Provide the kids with a wam, dry place to sleep. Make sure the area is adequately covered to protect them from sun, rain, and drafts. Straw is a good material for bedding because it doesn't cling to their coat, provides good insulation, and is easy to clean.

Have the kids vaccinated at three weeks. Follow this with a booster at six weeks. Goat raising is always a viable, and even simpler alternative use of ranchland purchased in Oregon.


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