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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Just 'Kiddin' around

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The new year always brings with it new farm animals.

For many in Clay and Owen counties, that means they will have kids soon.

For those not familiar with goats, their offspring are called kids.

Like calves, foals, lambs and piglets, kids can be difficult to care for as they are too young to really be aware of the dangers threatening their health.

One of the best ways to help care for kids is through preparation before they arrive.

To prepare, begin by increasing the energy and protein found in the does' diet.

During the last term of pregnancy, does' protein requirements increase by 54 percent while their energy increases by 21 percent.

To reach these requirements, you will have to change the does' diet outside of providing additional forage.

Forages will not help reach these requirements because the doe does not have enough room due to the pregnancy to eat the amount of forage needed to reach the requirements.

Two weeks after increasing the energy and protein values in the does' feed, you should give all does a booster vaccine.

Be sure that the booster you use is safe for late term pregnant does.

It is best to talk to your veterinarian to determine what booster vaccine should be used.

At this time, you should also treat any hoof problems that you are aware of.

In the weeks that follow, you should prepare a kidding kit that can be utilized once the doe goes into labor.

You may want to kidding kids, one to take to the kidding pen and one that is available in the barn when needed.

The one to take to the kidding pen should have ID tabs (and a tagger), record sheet, Iodine, scales and selenium shots.

The other kit should have latex gloves, kid/lamb puller, feeding tube and syringe, towel, and emergency phone numbers.

Once the kids arrive, there are several things that you should do.

Within the first two hours, strip milk from the doe to ensure she has milk for her young.

Then make sure the kid nurses.

Overall, the kid needs to consume 2 ounces of milk (colostrum) within the first six hours of its life.

It will need an additional 4-6 ounces in the first 20 hours.

If the doe does not have milk, then you need to either obtain colostrums (first milk from a doe) from another doe in your herd to feed the newborn.

If you can't get it from a doe within your herd, try to get some from a neighbor or use powdered colostrum.

Realize that if you don't have any frozen colostrum right now, you might want to obtain some this year.

Once you obtain colostrum, you can then freeze it and thaw it in warm water when you need it next time.

During the first 24 hours of the kids' life, you should take all birth records (weight, gender, birthdate) and tag the kid.

You should also dip or spray the naval with a 7 percent Iodine solution.

You might want to talk to your veterinarian and see if they recommend giving a Selenium shot at this time to prevent white muscle disease.

For the does, you should also consider trimming their hooves.

The doe and kid should be kept in a clean, dry place for a few days before letting them out with the rest of the herd.

Once released, the kids should still be provided a place to go to away from the does inside a barn.

As always, if you have any questions or would like information on any agriculture, horticulture or natural resource topic, then please contact your local Purdue Extension Office at 448-9041 in Clay County or 812-829-5020 in Owen County, or reach me directly at smith535@purdue.edu.

Purdue University is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action institution.

Upcoming opportunities available to you through Purdue Extension include:

* Jan. 25-26 -- Heart of America Grazing Conference. For more information on costs and how to register, log on to http://web.extension.illinois.edu/ajmpu/...,

* Jan. 28 -- Owen County SWCD Annual Dinner,

* Jan. 30 -- Clay County Extension Board Annual Dinner,

* Feb. 5 -- Owen County 4-H Week,

* Feb. 9-15 -- Two-night beef program. First night Owen County Fairgrounds and second night Monroe County Extension Office. Cost $10. RSVP to 812-349-2575, and

* Feb. 13 -- Start of the Master Gardener Series, Clay County Extension Office. Cost $115.

RSVP to 448-9041 by Jan. 31.