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Kidding Season

What We Do

By Noah Goddard

FROM

I wanted to share some ideas about our newborn kid feeding and management program. We attend all births and bottle feed each kid individually from birth. Individual bottle feeding is more labor intensive than other methods but this way we know that each kid gets warm milk as nature intended it to be. We know the amount each kid gets, and it promotes bonding with humans. Each kid is fed up to three, 20-ounce pop bottles of milk per day and when that no longer sustains their nutritional needs they will begin to eat alfalfa and Country Acres pellets. Country Acres is a Purina brand that we use which contains 16% protein and a coccidia stat. We also feed a very high quality alfalfa hay. Alfalfa hay and pellets are offered to the kids starting at about five days of age. At first they are just curious but as their nutritional needs increase they begin to dine on hay and grain and are well started on both by three weeks of age. At three to four weeks of age they are reduced to two, 20-ounce bottles of milk. They continue to get two, 20-ounce bottles of milk along with the hay and grain, and at 12 to 14 weeks they are gradually reduced to two, half bottles of milk, and the last week half a bottle of milk once a day.

We keep the kid rooms at 70°F the first week and 55°F after that. The winters are brutally cold here so we wait until about March first to put them in the kid barn where they are deeply bedded on pine shavings and provided a thermostat-controlled pig pad for warmth. We have found over the years that our kids grow a lot better if they are kept warmer so they don’t burn up all of their calories trying to keep warn.

Coccidia is always a concern so our kid pellet feeders are suspended on each end with a piece of hay twine so that it swings like a pendulum. The hay twine is a pretty simple system that can be used to raise or lower the feeder as needed. There is a dowel where the hay twine is attached to the feeder. Kids are terribly curious and playful. The first thing they want to do is get their feet in the feeder and contaminate it. As you know, goats won’t eat contaminated feed even if they did the contaminating, and "feet in the feed" will likely spread coccidia. So with the pendulum suspension system the feeder will swing away from the kids if they try to put their feet in it. Additionally, the dowel will turn or rotate the feeder where it is connected to the hay strings making it turn out from under the curious kids even more quickly and prevent them from contaminating the pellets with their feet. I’m sure that other breeders will employ other methods successfully but this is just one that we use.





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