Your doe has just given birth to a baby goat or baby goats, now what do you do? All you need to do is be sure the baby or babies are nursing and dip each umbilical cord in 7% iodine. Both the nursing and the iodine dipping are important to the health of the baby goats. The nursing is important because the baby goats receive colostrums from the mother doe during the first 24 hours after birth. Colostrum provides the baby goats with antibiotics and nutrients to get it off to a healthy start. Dipping the umbilical cord in iodine prevents the baby goat from getting an infection through the umbilical cord.
For the next few days, the baby goats will need to be checked on to make sure they are all right and to watch for their horns to begin to grow. This is important if you are going to dehorn the baby goats, as dehorning can be done as soon as you can feel the little nubs where the horns are. Bucks usually have nubs by the third day, does will get theirs usually between days 4 and 8.
On day 4 or 5, give the baby goats 5 grams of Probios to aide in its digestion by adding bacteria to the baby goat’s rumen. Probios is also given to goats when they have signs of being ill or when they may be stressed as when traveling. It is also a good idea to give Probios when giving antibiotics. After giving the baby goats Probios, they will not need anymore handling, other than checking on, until they are two weeks old.
When the baby goats are two weeks old, they may begin to start eating grain, hay and drinking water. At this time, it is okay to let the baby goats and their mother return to the pasture with the rest of the herd. It is still a good idea to bring them back into the shelter at night.
At three weeks old, the baby goats need to be given their first treatment of 12.5% Albon Concentrate Solution for the prevention of Coccidiosis. Albon is given in a five-day treatment. On the first day of the five-day treatment, give 1 ml per 5 pounds of body weight orally. On the remaining days, two through five, give 1 ml per 10 pounds of body weight. Also during week three, castrate any males that are not to be kept for bucks. The baby goats should be given grain, hay and water free choice. Continue allowing the mother and baby goats to go outside in the daytime and return to their shelter at night.
When the baby goats are four weeks old, vaccinate them with their first dose of CD&T, Clostridium Perfringes C&D plus Tetanus, to prevent Enterotoxemia and tetanus, if their mother did not have a CD&T vaccination a month before giving birth. Dosage is 2 ml of CD&T injected under the skin. The baby goats also need to be started on their deworming program when they are a month old. The babies may also need their hooves trimmed at this time. Continue grain, hay and water free choice and allowing them to go outside during the daytime and return to shelter at night.
Baby goats that are six weeks old should be given a CD&T vaccination. This will be the second vaccination for the baby goats who were vaccinated at four weeks old, it will be the first vaccination for baby goats whose mother was vaccinated a month before their due date. Also at this time, the males that were castrated should be checked and recastrated if necessary. Continue grain, hay and water free choice as well as letting them go outside during the day and put up at night.
At two months of age, the uncastrated bucks will need to be separated from does and doelings with their mothers. Change the feeding routine form free choice to about three cups per day. During the summer, feed hay once a day and during the winter, feed hay twice a day. Water should always be available free choice. The baby goats and their mothers can be allowed to remain outdoors all the time if conditions warrant it. Place the baby goats on the same worming schedule as the remaining herd. Tattoo the baby goats if you desire to. Trim their hooves again if they need it.
Caring for baby goats correctly can be time consuming, especially in the first couple of months. But, if you are interested in having healthy goats, it can be very rewarding.