Recommended reading-Birthing, Weaning, and Raising Young Goats


Chillin' with the herd
Sep 11, 2009
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heres some info from another goat forum Im a member of, this will be my first time for kidding so I found it interesting

checking internally/ repositioning / pulling kids
on: January 30, 2008, 10:40:50 PM

so you think there might be a problem with the kid being born something is just not right. here is what you can do. it is a bit scary the first few times you do it but it gets easier as you go.
first trim your fingernails realy short and remove any jewelry you wear, rings watch bracelet as these can all cause tears and more problems.
next scrub your hands really good with a good soap (dish soap works good ) clear up to your elbows! fill a bucket with warm soapy water and a wash cloth and take with you to the barn. use the wash cloth to clean the does girl parts and tail.
have someone else restrain the doe if possible if not use a lead rope and tie her , use a slip knot so you can release it quickly if needed. you will have more room to work if the doe is standing but some will not stay standing up when they feel the pressure inside.
re clean your hands. put ob gloves on if you use them ( these are highly recomended to keep on hand and to use for this ,as they protect you and your goat from transfering bacteria through cuts on your hands or small tears that she may have. ), and some ky jelly or other lubricant on the gloves and on the outside parts of the doe. ( you can use veg oil or a mild dish soap like ivory if you don't have the 'official lubricants' )

now very gently one finger at a time reach inside, if she has not already had one kid you may have to 'stretch' her a little at a time to get far enough to tell what is going on, just add in another finger and then another . she will likely start pushing while you are doing this. you and she can get tired really fast so if you need to rest just stop for a minute and re lube and start again. once you are in far enough you will feel either the cervix not dilated fully or you will feel a bubble with a kid in it or just a kid.
the cervix if not dilated at all will feel like an outy belly button. if dilated a little but not fully it will feel like a rubber ring. if you feel that then back out and wait , the cervix needs to be fully dilated before birth can happen. if you are Certain that the doe is in trouble and needs help at this point get to a vet!
now if you got in probably past your wrist and you feel a bubble or a kid part and no ring then the cervix is dilated and the kid probably needs to be repositioned.
so first feel around and figure out what part of the kid you have presenting, then think how you need to push it to get it in a postion where it can be born , this can be confusing so take time and make sure what you are feeling. closing your eyes sometimes helps with this.
you need to get hold of both back legs, or you need one front leg and the head pointed out. ( i always try for both front legs but have never actually managed to get the second one before the kid is in the canal and born) once the kid is in a position that it can be born in the doe should push it on out , you still may need to keep hold of the feet and pull to help if the doe is exhausted and that is probably best for the kid also since it is probably stressed from being positioned wrong.
this kid is probably stressed and may have inhaled some of the fluids so hold it by the back legs and let it hang upside down for a minute while cleaning the nostrils so it can breathe. you can also "sling' the kid to help drain the fluids, this is just what it sounds like you literally gently swing the kid back and forth. just make sure you have plenty of room so it doesn't hit anything. you can also gently pat the back and rib area to help clear the fluids out.
if it has been a long hard birthing and you supsect another kid is present i would recommend going in and getting it out as quickly as possible the pressure of the contractions and not being born while it was stuck behind the first one can stress the other kids too.
once kids are all born let mom clean them just like a normal birthing .
the doe needs to be on a round of antibiotic for 5 days this is to prevents uterine infection. which is easy to prevent but very hard to cure.
penicillin is the recommended antibiotic given IM once a day at a rate of 3 cc per 100 pounds of goat. (IM= in the muscle)
La 200 can also be used for this and is given every other day , SQ at a rate of 5 cc per 100 pounds of goat. (SQ= under the skin)
Last Edit: February 10, 2008, 03:33:13 AM by Sandie

it is highly recommended that you first remove all jewelry, rings , watch , bracelet, they can injure your kid or your doe. also use of latex, rubber, or ob gloves is recommended.

if you need to pull a kid, remember you want to work with the doe not against her. so you only pull during a contraction, not in between them. this is important because if you pull at the wrong time or to hard you can injure both the doe and the kid.
you should pull in a slightly downward direction not straight outwards.
if the hooves are pointed so you see the top of the hoof that is usually feet and head first presentation.
if the hooves are pointed so you see the bottom of the hoof that is usually backwards. ( i have seen this not be true 3 times in over 10 years of several hundred goat births, those 3 were actually coming upside down, which if you determine that is the case then you should change the direction of the pull to upward instead of downward )

if you have 2 feet showing then with the next contraction , pull gently on one foot . you will probably feel something give, that is the kids shoulder ( or hip ) coming unstuck . when the doe stops pushing you stop pulling till her next contraction. then with the next contraction do the same thing with the other leg if needed. if the kid is very big you may need to continue gently pulling with her through several contractions. though often once you have that first shoulder unstuck then you have a kid born on the next push.
clear the kids nose and mouth of all the slimy stuff. dip the navel in iodine, and lay the kid up where mom can start cleaning and getting to know her new baby! Baby!

Roll farms

Spot Master
Jun 5, 2009
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Marion, IN
I asked KStaven's permission to post this, so that we could refer new people with babies to it. Feel free to copy / paste as needed. :)
I tried to make it as general as possible (leaving brand names out in case things aren't available in someone's area) and I probably forgot something, but I hope it helps if the need arises.

So you bought a baby goat.Now what?

If you didnt get it from a breeder, one of the first things you should do is find a goat mentor (local breeder, preferably with knowledge about the breed you have) or a good, goat-savvy veterinarian locally.

Raising kids isnt an exact science, but here are some general rules, tips, and info that can help.

Normal goat temperature is 101.5-102.5 degrees.

If you want the kid disbudded (horns removed), it should be done before it is 2 wks old. Usually somewhere between 3-7 days of age. A local breeder can usually be found to do it for you, or a vet with disbudding experience. Disbudding after 2 wks of age (or a certain amount of horn growth) may not work. If they start to grow horns after disbudding, reburning is possible but doesnt always work. Boys are more difficult than girls and the older the kid was when it was done originally makes a difference.

Male goats (bucklings) that wont be used for breeding should be wethered. Wethers make wonderful pets. Bucks stink and have some nasty habits, even the most adorable buck kids will turn into big smelly monsters at breeding time. This is done several ways, but banding is usually the easiest and least expensive. It should never be done before 8 wks of age to give the urethra time to grow. That, and the proper diet, will help prevent Urinary Calculi in wethers. A vet can surgically castrate them for you, or use a Burdizzo to crush the blood vessels that supply the testicles, but isnt always 100% effective.

Kids should be vaccinated with CD-T vaccine to prevent clostridium perfringins type C and D and clostridium tetani. The 1st shot should be given between 1-3 wks of age, with a follow up booster shot 3 wks later. Then boost annually. There are other vaccines available and you can research what is needed in your area, but CD-T is very important, to protect against enterotoxemia and tetanus.

Bottle babies:
Newborn 3 mos


Any kid under 2 mos of age still needs milk.*
*If the kids is younger, but already weaned, and is eating kid starter feed and hay well, you do not need to put them back on milk if they dont want to take a bottle. Just be sure to feed adequate amounts so they grow to their full potential. Sudden dietary changes can make a goat very sick, very fast.remember to make any changes / additions gradually.

Kids should be trained to a bottle before being sold, but sometimes the mom dies suddenly or other things prevent that. Training a dam-raised kid to bottle can be a challenge. Try sitting above the kid so it is under you and reaching up for the nipple, like it would if it were still on mom.

Bottle feeding:

Feed them 3x a day, with at least 6 hours between feedings.
Whole milk is best (vitamin D from the grocery) unless you have a supply of fresh goat milk.
Some milk replacers work fine, but generally multi species replacers will cause scours and you dont want to risk that with young kids. If the kid is already on replacer and doing fine, use the same replacer throughout the feeding process. If the kid begins to scour, consider switching to whole milk. If replacer is the culprit, the whole milk should straighten them out in a day or so.

Warm the milk as you would for a human baby. A warm water bath or short zap in the microwave will sufficeShake well if you use the microwave, it can cause hot spots.

If you bought them / are buying them from a breeder, ask them for a written-out schedule, how much milk theyre drinking, and what style nipple they are using.
Nipples can be purchased at farm supply stores like TSC, Rural King, etc.
Human baby bottles can be used for mini kids.
Standard kids prefer a bigger nipple, especially as they grow.

A 1 week old kid wont take as much milk as a 2 mo. old kid, obviouslyyou gradually increase the amount given until they peak at around 20oz for standard kids, 12 oz. for mini kids, 3 times per day.

Newborns Newborns NEED colostrums for the 1st 24 hours. If you dont have any, farm stores carry colostrums REPLACER. It needs to say REPLACER, not supplement. Standards take 4-8 oz every 6 hours for at least 3 feedings. 4 is even better.

Suggested feeding schedule for standards (use a little more than half for minis and adjust accordingly. Not every standard kid will eat this much, and some minis may want more). Make adjustments slowly.

Days 2-7

Bottles at 8am - 2pm 9pm 6-8 oz.

Days 7-14

Introduce them to hay. They will probably only play with it at first, but put a little in front of them. Change it daily if its soiled / stepped on.

Bottles at 8am - 2pm 9pm 10-12 oz.

Days 14-60

Introduce them to pelleted feed a good 16% goat ration.
Offer only a handful at first, and change it out daily. They wont eat old feed.
You can research what is a good feed in your area, not all feeds are available in all places and there are many additives you may (or may not) want to consider, such as ammonium chloride to help prevent Urinary Calculi or Deccox / Rumensin to help prevent Coccidiosis.

A good, loose mineral should be offered as well. Be sure it has adequate copper levels and is formulated for goats. Refresh the mineral often, goats will ignore old mineral.

Bottles at 8am - 2pm 9pm 16-20 oz.

2 mos. -

Assuming they are doing well at eating their grain / hay, cut them back to 2 bottles a day and adjust the amount of feed you put out. They will quickly figure out that that empty feeling in their tummy is helped by eating the pellets. 1/8-1/4 cup of feed offered 2x a day.

8am 2pm 20 oz.

2.5 mos.

One bottle, 1x a day, and adjust feed amounts accordingly to roughly 1/4-1/2 cup 2x a day. Meat breeds will need more than dairy, minis less than standards, etc.

3 mos.

No more bottles Youre a big kid now!

Never feed a cold kid. If their mouth feels cold and they are lethargic, warm them before feeding. A cold kid cant digest well and could get very sick if the milk goes sour in the stomach.

If a trained-to-the-bottle kid refuses 1 bottle, but is otherwise acting fine.its probably ok. It may have gotten too full at the last feeding or filled up on hay or pellets. If it refuses two feedings, there may be a problem. Baby goats LOVE to eat.

If the kid feels sloshy, weak / floppy, and seems offput tsp of baking soda in just enough water to dissolve it and give it to the kid w/ a syringe. Wait 2-4 hours (or until theyre no longer sloshy) before attempting to feed it again.

If the kid feels / acts constipated, give an enema using a luer slip syringe and warm soapy water. Try 6cc (for standards, 3cc for minis) and repeat until they poop. Be careful, it can be messy.

Normal newborn poop is tarry and black. After a couple times, it should turn mustard colored and firm up. Continued runny poop or scours can indicate a problem.

If a kid hasnt had any dietary changes and begins to scour, keeping them hydrated is essential. Replace their milk with gatoraide, pedialyte or a gelling electrolyte (available from farm stores). Do not try to stop the scours with pepto or kaolin unless / until you know the cause. Scouring is the bodys way of getting rid of bad stuff and you need to cure the problem behind the scours.

If you are new to goats it is always best to enlist the help of a knowledgeable vet or goat mentor with diagnosing illnesses.

There is usually not much time to wait to get help with a sick kid. If they get sick on a Friday night and the vet is closedchances are waiting until Monday will be too late.

A kid under 3 wks that scours could have a bacterial infection, like salmonella or e coli. It will take antibiotics to cure them.

A kid over 3 wks that scours could have coccidiosis and / or a bacterial infection. A fecal test and vet exam can help diagnose their illness, and the vet can suggest a treatment.

Weanlings (over 2-3 mos)

Continue with goat feed / hay / fresh browse and monitor their growth / condition. Increase feed amounts gradually. Meat breed kids usually need more feed than dairy kids to reach their full potential, and the end purpose of the animal must be kept in mind, too. A pet wether will do fine on good browse and / or hay and very little, if any, feed once theyre past the fast-growing kid stage. Pygmy goats can become fat very easy and its better for their health to not be overfed. The best thing you can do is put your hands on the kid often the feel the condition. You should not feel the ribs or backbone through the skin, there should be layer of meat over the bones.

If you buy a kid and youre not sure if its been vaccinated with CD-T, its usually better to go ahead and do it. The vaccine is available at farm supply stores or online, or a veterinarian can give the shots for you.

Any time a kid has had antibiotics administered, is stressed, or has scoured, administering a probiotic (available in paste and powdered form) can help repopulate the rumen with the good bugs goats need.

Learn all you can about parasites they can and will kill a young goat quickly. Coccidiosis is the worst, but worms (especially Barberpole) can kill quickly, too.

There are several ways to treat / prevent coccidiosis.
Using medicated feed alone will not be enough to prevent it in small kids, they cannot eat enough to get the medication up to therapeutic levels. If a fecal shows coccidiosis, using DiMethox, Corid, or SMZ-TMP is usually recommended, and talking to your vet or mentor and having a plan before you need it is best.
Knowing which dewormers to use, and at what strength, will help tremendously to help reduce the huge problem of dewormer resistance.
There are several university studies available online that go into great detail on both traditional and alternative ways to treat / manage parasites.


Purple Cow/Moderator
Golden Herd Member
Jul 3, 2008
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BC, Washington border
Thank you, it looks great! Maybe in the new year we can get an FAQ and articles section running on BYH.

Ms. Research

Herd Nerd On A Mission
Jul 13, 2011
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kstaven said:
Thank you, it looks great! Maybe in the new year we can get an FAQ and articles section running on BYH.
I think that would be an excellent idea. Thanks Rolls for your time and knowledge on the growing stages of Goats. Definitely very informative and easy to read. A great foundation to start out with. I've got it bookmarked for the future. :)


True BYH Addict
Sep 3, 2009
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McIntosh County, OK
Thanks Rolls, we can count on you to be informative and "always there" and we do appreciate it.

People like you make the world go round......