Having a newly born goat is definitely a happy time for every goat owner. It’s like welcoming a new member to your family. A newly born goat is vulnerable and need more distinctive treatment than adult goat. You need to take care and raise the newly born goat well to let it grow healthy. It is important for goat owner to know how to raise and care a newly born goat, so that it will grow up to be a healthy and happy goat.
1. Clean The Navel Cord
When the mother giving birth to the newly born goat, there is the umbilical cord, just like in human. The umbilical cord naturally detached from both the mother and newly born goat, but the broken navel cord can be easily infected and need to be taken care. Never cut the cord, just let it detached naturally. If the cord is longer than 4 inches, you can trim it for about 3-4 inches. Always use sterilized instrument and make sure that it is sharp to make the cut. You can dip the cord in iodine, betadine, or diluted chlorhexidine to kill bacteria and help to prevent infection. It also helps to dry the cord. The cord will detach from the newborn within 3 weeks. If you are unsure what to do, consult with your vet on the kidding site.
2. Leave Them with The Mother
After you clean the navel cord, leave the newly born goat with the mother. The mother will want to lick the baby clean and to build the bond between them. Make sure that you stay with them and monitor them. This will help the baby to become comfortable and calm around people. You may also need to feed the mother after giving birth. The mother will feed the newly born goat with colostrum. Colostrum contains many important antibodies for the baby to survive. The newly born goat should be given the colostrum within an hour, 4-5 times a day. Make sure that there is no problem when the mother feed the baby.
Make sure that the milk isn’t blocked, that the baby really drinks the milk and doesn’t have trouble to find where to feed from. If the baby doesn’t know where to feed from, you can help it by giving the direction. There are some cases that the mother doesn’t want to feed her baby, that’s why it’s important to prepare colostrum before the kidding process. Make sure that you save the colostrum in the refrigerator. If the baby doesn’t drink from the mother, you can bottle feed it with the colostrum. The colostrum doesn’t need to be from the mother, you can also get it from another goat producing milk or to buy it in stores. If you choose to bottle feed the baby, make sure that you use sterilized bottle. The newly born baby needs to drink milk for at least 8 weeks.
3. Give Them Nice Place
Giving a newly born goat a nice place for it to grow up is important to make sure it grows up happy and healthy. A newly born goat needs place that is warm and dry. Cold and damp place is a good place for bacteria and it can harm the newly born goat’s health. You can give straw bedding to keep it warm. Replace the straw with the clean one regularly. Clean the pasture and shelter every day to help prevent your goat for getting any health problems. It’s better to place the newly born goat separate from other adult goats, since the place will be cleaner and easier to monitor the baby’s growing. Make sure that there is no harmful and poisonous plant near and inside the pasture. The baby goat will begin to wean, if it eats the dirty or poisonous plant, it will get in any diseases while it’s immunities isn’t fully mature. Some of the plants that are poisonous for goat include azaleas, rhododendrons, and moldy plants. A moldy and dirty plants can give your baby goat worms or parasites infection.
4. Feed Them Nice Food
Feed the newly born goat with enough nutrition to make sure that it is growing well. For the first 8 weeks, the newly born goat must be given milk, either from its mother or by bottle feeding. You can start to give hay or other solid foods when it turns 2 weeks old. You can let the baby weaned at 30 days old. Introducing the baby with the solid foods can help to develop its rumen. You can offer hay (alfalfa), pasture feed, or grain, and don’t forget to always provide fresh and clean water.
5. Vaccinate and Do Regular Check Up
The newly born goat needs to be vaccinated to prevent it from getting some diseases. Even though the baby already gets the antibodies and immunities from the colostrum and mother’s milk, but it still not enough. You have to vaccine the baby goat with Clostridium and tetanus vaccinations at 30 days old. The Clostridium vaccine will help to prevent diseases types C and D. After that, you have to get CD&T booster shot 3-4 weeks later.
You also need to do regular check up with the vet to monitor the baby growth and to be checked for any health problem, such as parasites and worm infection. The vet will test fecal samples to determine if you should deworm your baby goat. The vet will also check for lice, an insect in goat’s fur. Groom your baby goat and trim the hair regularly to prevent lice and other health problem.
6. Raise It Well
It is important for goat owner to know how to raise and care a newly born goat so that it can build close bond with the owner. Treat the newly born goat right, play and spend time with it so it will remember you. You also have to spend time with the herd and mother, so that it will think that you’re the part of the herd.