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Managing Female Goats

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Young females mate from the age of eight to 12 months.

Good nutrition is key because it increases fertility and litter size.

Do not mate young animals (less than eight months) because this leads to poor kids.

A well-managed female can produce kids for about eight years.

Pregnancy in goats lasts 145 –150 days (five months).

The heat period lasts 24–26 hours.

The presence of the male in the flock triggers heat. Signs of an animal on heat.

Mounting other animals

Seeking males

Continuous bleating

Mucous discharge from the vulva. Provide a male at this point. When a goat is about to deliver

Restlessness, separating itself from the flock and discharges mucus. The doe must clean and groom her kids and remain undisturbed (about three hours) after delivery. When to intervene during delivery

Difficulty in labour, for example, if legs come out first Kid does not bleat or breathe.

Cutting the navel and applying of iodine to prevent infections. Iodine application is not necessary if bedding is clean.

Rearing kids

The kidding area in the barn should be clean with dry bedding (grass).

The doe may be kept in the kidding area for a few days before kidding in order to get used to the place.

Housing

Make the kids house raised so that it is not affected by running water because this causes contamination and diseases

The bedding should be kept clean and fresh as this eases detection of diarrhoea.

Feeding kids

Kids should suckle the first milk (colostrum) from their mother

Fostering or bottle feeding is recommended at times, at least four times a day, with at least half a litre for each feeding session. Ordinary human baby feeding bottles can do

From three weeks of age, kids start nibbling grass and leaves, which is important for the development of the rumen.

Effective grazing and browsing starts at three months

Weaning

  • Kids can be weaned when they are 100 days old and weighing between eight and 12kg.
  • At this stage, complete separation of the kids and the doe should be done. This means that you create a second or third herd specifically for the weaned kids.
  • Vaccinate the kids to prevent diseases.

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