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Nikki Bird from Malurus Miniature & Pygmy Goats

With Spring fast approaching, I thought it was a good opportunity to share what we do as basic care for our does and kids after the birth. This is relevant for anyone who is dam raising (vs catching kids).

1. Make sure the baby’s mouth and nose are clear of fluid. A brisk rub with a clean towel seems to stimulate them to sneeze and clear it. We also have an aspiration/ respiration mask and pump for emergency use - a simple Fess nose aspriator from any pharmacy works well.

2. Give the doe time to lick and clean up the kids, and to bond with them.

3. Once the doe stands up and the babies start looking for the teat, gently massage each teat to clear the plug and allow the milk to flow. Then you can help the babies find the teat for their first drink. It is so important to get this first drink of colostrum - ideally within an hour of being born.

4. It's also key that the kids are warm, especially in the cooler months or at night. Once the babies are strong enough to walk around you can put a little jumper on them for extra warmth. A hot water bottle, a head pad or heat lamp are great ways to provide extra warmth if the kids are not very strong.

5. Give the doe a ‘cup of tea.’ This is a two litre bucket with enough Molasses, Stockgain or Antitone to cover the bottom of the bucket. Fill with hot water. This will give mum a pep up after the rigours of giving birth. (Occasionally we have a doe that doesn’t like this)

6. In many cases the doe may have laboured for hours and not eaten much. Once she is up offer her usual food and a full hay bag. Another idea is to bring the doe some 'flowers' well actually branches - wattle, eucaluptus etc. Sometimes the does may have unsettled tummy after kidding and the branches are popular.

7. Dip the baby’s umbilical cords to prevent infections and joint ill from developing. Most people use iodine in the form of Betadine. As I’m allergic to iodine, we use metho.

8. Make sure the new family have somewhere warm and safe to stay. We have an IBC wth a hole cut out for a heat lamp. Most breeders will lock their doe and kids into a pen within their shelter or barn. Ensuring the babies are safe from predators like foxes is another consideration.

9. Check that the mother goat passes the placenta. This can take up to 24 hours but usually happens within a few hours of giving birth. In many cases the doe will eat her afterbirth - do not be alarmed, it's quite normal.

10. Lastly once your have the family safely housed for the night, ensure the fresh water for the doe is not accessible to the kids for the first few days as they can fall or trip into low buckets.

Enjoy your gorgeous new additions.

Nikki and Daryl Bird, along with their daughter Emily have been breeding miniature goats for almost 10 years at their stud Malurus Miniature & Pygmy Goats in the beautiful Murray River region of Victoria.


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