Onion Creek Ranch, Lohn, Texas
Suzanne W. Gasparotto, Onion Creek Ranch, Lohn, TX
Lohn, Texas
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THE IMPORTANCE OF COLOSTRUM TO NEWBORN GOAT KIDS

Newborn kids must have sufficient colostrum to get their bodies' digestive and immune systems up and running. A kid's chance of survival is almost zero if it doesn't receive colostrum in adequate amounts and during the required timeframe from its dam. A kid is born without a functioning immune system, so every protection that it has against organisms that can make it sick or kill it comes from the antibodies present in its dam's colostrum and milk.

In meat goats, newborns ideally should receive 10% to 15% of their body weight in fresh, creamy colostrum during their first twelve hours of life. Fifteen (15%) percent is ideal, but is seldom achieved in natural settings where dams nurse their kids.

A good rule-of-thumb is one to two ounces of colostrum for every pound of body weight during the kid's first twelve (12) hours of life. Continue to feed colostrum-laden milk during the second twelve hours after birth, but recognize that the dam's milk will have a declining concentration of colostrum as the hours after kidding pass. This is normal. The first two to four hours after birth is the most critical time in which newborns require colostrum. The more time that passes before adequate colostrum is received, the higher the probability that the kid will not survive.

If the kid is weak at birth, get its body temperature above 100*F first, then feed it two ounces (60 cc's) of colostrum . . . the capacity of a weak kid syringe . . . and wait an hour to allow its body to digest it, then feed it another two ounces. (This formula is based on a medium-sized breed of kid and not a mini breed.) Continue feeding small amounts at regular intervals, and adjust the timeframe to suit the size and breed of the kid. Colostrum is very thick and heavy; it doesn't take much to fill the kid's tiny stomach. Remember how a dam feeds her kids . . . in small amounts and frequently. Overfeeding the newborn can result in life-threatening diarrhea and/or floppy kid syndrome (overeating on milk). Note: Never use Immodium AD for diarrhea in kids. Immodium AD can slow the peristaltic action in the gut, causing serious health problems or death. See my article regarding Weak and Abandoned Newborns on the Articles page at www.tennesseemeatgoats.com for details.With a little practice, goat breeders can learn to feel the kid's stomach and determine whether it is full or empty. Use common sense and the "rule of thumb" mentioned above, and you should do fine.

Goat Tip: Milk out any extra colostrum and freeze it in plastic pop bottles with screw-top lids or ziplock bags. Label each four-ounce quantity with current date and doe from which it came. Frozen colostrum comes in very handy when you least think that you might need it.

Suzanne W. Gasparotto, Onion Creek Ranch, Texas 3/2/14

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Important! Please Read This Notice!

All information provided in these articles is based either on personal experience or information provided by others whose treatments and practices have been discussed fully with a vet for accuracy and effectiveness before passing them on to readers.

In all cases, it is your responsibility to obtain veterinary services and advice before using any of the information provided in these articles. Suzanne Gasparotto is not a veterinarian.Neither tennesseemeatgoats.com nor any of the contributors to this website will be held responsible for the use of any information contained herein.

The author, Suzanne Gasparotto, hereby grants to local goat publications and club newsletters, permission to reprint articles published on the Onion Creek Ranch website under these conditions: THE ARTICLE MUST BE REPRODUCED IN ITS ENTIRETY AND THE AUTHOR'S NAME, ADDRESS, AND CONTACT INFORMATION MUST BE INCLUDED AT THE BEGINNING OF THE REPRINT. We would appreciate notification from any clubs or publications when the articles are used. (A copy of the newsletter or publication would also be a welcome addition to our growing library of goat related information!)

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