Checklist: Newborn kids

Posted on February 3, 2020 in Dairy Goat Performance
By Sarah Adamson

In our last Dairy Goat Performance post, we discussed the items and areas you should include on a maternity pen and fresh doe checklist.  Now we are going to talk about what you should include on a newborn kid checklist to ensure a safe start to life.

Separate kids from dams as soon as possible to help prevent and manage caprine arthritis encephalitis (CAE), Johne’s disease and caseous lymphadenitis (CL).

Dry kids with clean, absorbent towels and place them in a dry, clean, and sanitized pen.

  • Kids should be kept warm (50 to 60 degrees F) for at least the first two days after birth.  Placing a heat lamp above the pen can help dry and keep them warm.  Always use extra caution with heat lamps and use proper securing procedures to limit the risk of fire.

Dip navels in a strong tincture of iodine (7% tincture iodine in alcohol).

  • Dipping can be more effective than spraying.  Consider using small disposable cups for dipping, and always be sure to dip all the way to the base of the navel.

Proceed with vaccination protocol.  Work with your veterinarian to design an effective vaccination program for your herd.

Feed an adequate amount of maternal colostrum or colostrum replacer as soon as possible.  Maternal colostrum should be heat-treated at 138 to 140 degrees F for one hour.  The amount fed will vary based on the size of the kid.  Target a minimum of 1 ounce of colostrum per pound of kid bodyweight.

Ideally, colostrum should be fed within the first four hours after birth and at 105 degrees F.  Research has shown colostrum fed after six hours only has a 50% immunoglobulin (IgG) absorption rate.  It is also important to note additional colostrum feedings will not increase IgG levels, but it will increase and improve rumen environment.

Preferably, colostrum should be fed from a bottle, but tubing is acceptable if the kid will not nurse or is too weak to nurse.  Use a sanitized bottle and nipple designed for feeding kids.  Make sure the nipple opening is small enough to prevent colostrum or milk from running out when the bottle is tipped upside-down.

Identification process
Once the kids are born, proceed with your farm’s identification program as soon as possible to help maintain accurate records.  Temporary identification, such as disposable paper collars or index cards on the outside of kidding boxes, may be helpful for short-term identification.

Record information on a record sheet, computer program, etc.  Some information to record includes identification number, birth date, dam and sire, and sibling(s) ID, if applicable.

Make sure you communicate about fresh does and newborns to your staff.  A dry erase board may be helpful to check off tasks as they are completed.  Items to communicate include what the doe and kid have already received (immunizations, colostrum, etc.), what may have gone wrong during the delivery, and if anything still needs to be done on the checklist.

About the author:  Sarah Adamson grew up on her family’s commercial dairy goat farm in southern Wisconsin.  She attended the University of Wisconsin-Platteville and received her bachelor’s degree in animal science, with an emphasis on dairy science.  Adamson spent time as a manager on an 8,000-head dairy goat farm before joining Vita Plus in 2018.  As the Vita Plus dairy goat specialist, Adamson is responsible for product development for the entire dairy goat program as well as technical support for field staff in the Vita Plus market area.

Category: Animal health
Dairy Goat Performance