These are products that I enjoy keeping on hand to work with my goats. I get 99.99% of my equipment from Jeffers Livestock Supply. They are the best place, I've found, as they have great prices, great products, and are just an all around great place to get almost all your livestock needs.
Feeding and Nutrition
Quality Grain ~ A good quality grain is essential to any person breeding, milking, or raising goats. Choose between a dry (non molasses) or sweet feed. Molasses in large amounts can be detrimental to the health of goats/ruminants, but small amounts have been shown to be beneficial for growth of rumen flora. My personal feed mix is made at the local feed mill as a 'goat feed'. It is oats, corn, a dairy pellet (protein pellet), Vitamin E and Selenium supplement, a mineral mix, and molasses to keep dust down and to keep the supplements in the mix. I had to ask them to reduce molasses. a little molasses is acceptable in a diet most of the time, but large amounts of rapidly digested carbs (sugar) can cause rumen acidosis. I also add Rumensin (monensin) at a rate of 20g/ton to offer medicated feed to does beginning 4-6 weeks before kidding. Rumensin is a coccidistat. When fed to does before kidding it reduces the cocci load in the adults and therefore lowers the amount They shed into the environment for their offspring to pick up. This is less of a problem if you pull all the kids and raise them apart from the adult herd, but we raise boers which are raised along with the main herd. The dairies are put on non-medicated after freshening, the boers are kept on the medicated feed until they wean their kids.
ALWAYS FEED ACCORDING TO CONDITION. Slightly underweight animals are healthier than overweight animals.
Alfalfa Pellets ~ Alfalfa pellets are a great calcium supplement to any goat's diet. Always feed according to condition and sex of goat, however. Feed bucks and dry or early pregnancy does little, while feeding late pregnancy/lactating goats alfalfa heavily.
Quality Alfalfa Hay ~ Alfalfa hay is a great calcium addition to any goat's diet. Also, alfalfa is a weed and closer to a goat's natural diet, where grass hay lacks. Feed to goats all year long to keep them in good health.
Several 1qt dishes ~ This is for when you must feed a doe (or several) individual portions. While flushing my does I tend to group feed and hope they share nicely. Around kidding time I try to be more exact.
Measuring cup set ~ I use these all the time. I measure feed, vinegar, and meds with these.
Small scale ~ Having a small scale is very handy. You can measure exact amounts of feed and weigh milk output, etc. A larger size scale might even be used to weigh small kids. You don't have to get an expensive scale - Ebay has many table top types tht work great, and Meijers has many hanging scales that work great. I now do DHIR so I also have a DHIR Dairy scale.
Latching Grain Bins ~ LATCHING grain bins are very important. If your goats get in to wherever your grain is stored, trust me, they'll get into it unless the bins latch and the extra bags are out of reach. If goats get into feed they will gorge themselves, which will easily result in a loss of some, most, or all your stock. They literally eat themselves to death.
Molasses or corn syrup ~ Molasses and corn syrup are very important to keep on hand with goats. They are good to keep on hand for ketosis or energy boosts. I have given corn syrup to newborns, either in milk or with a syringe. ALWAYS use sparingly and offer with baking soda.
Troughs ~ I often will feed my non-dairy does and my young goats as a herd. Make sure you have 2-3 or more of the troughs depending on the size of your herd. Cheap kitty litter pans from family dollar stores work excellently, or plastic plantar bases.
Water Troughs ~ Water is, of course, the most important and basic supply to keep goats. You will need at least one good water trough for your goats. The trough should be short enough for babies to reach. Or you can have a tall trough for your adult does, and supply shorter buckets of water to the kid pens, during kidding seasons. Put the trough somewhere where you can use a de-icer in the wintertime. I cut up barrels or use plastic storage bins as water troughs.
Water De-Icers ~ In areas where water freezes often, de-icers are important pieces of equipment. Some metal tanks are rendered unusable after they become frozen. If the water doesn't freeze, you don't have to cart buckets of warm water out to your goats 2x a day.
Loose GOAT mineral ~ An essential item. Your goats will have problem after problem without loose, good quality goat minerals. I use Sweetlix meatmaker or magnamilk. Sweetlix is the best mineral in my area.
Baking Soda (Sodium Bicarbonate) ~ A very affordable goat health insurance. Just allow your goats 24/7 access to baking soda in either a feeder or a dish in an out of the way spot where it won't be knocked over, or hang from the wall. Helps prevent many stomach problems, like bloat. For small numbers of goats, boxes of baking soda from the store work well. For larger herds, buying in bulk from your feed mill may be a good idea. When asking for it at the feed mill, ask for Sodium Bicarbonate.
Mineral/Baking soda feeders ~ I use Jeffer's 2 sided mineral feeders, which are about 2.00 each. I make a little 3-sider or cut up a storage bin to make a little cover for it and hang them on the fenceline. They work great.
Rubber Buckets ~ While the plastic buckets may be handy to have around, I don't recommend them for giving water. I recommend the rubber buckets, especially when they may become frozen. You can throw them up into the air and allow the ice to shatter as it comes back to the earth. They're pretty darn hard to break.
Plastic buckets ~ Every once in a while, the Dollar Tree sells 8qt plastic buckets with rope handles. I usually buy a ton. You can never have enough buckets on hand.
Probiotic Paste ~ Probiotics are 'good bacteria' for the gut. Use after antibiotic treatment, which kills many good bacteria, not just the bad ones. Also use when scouring, stressed, before and after kidding, and whenever a goat looks 'off'.
BoSe ~ BoSe is a vitamin E and Selenium supplement given by injection. Selenium and vitamin E are essential. Deficient goats have trouble kidding I.E retained placenta/afterbirth, and kids are born 'floppy' (floppy kid syndrome). Supplementation via shots are given a few times a year. Prescription only, however, most vets will be happy to just sell you a bottle. Goat dosage is reccommended at 1cc per 40lbs for adults (2x per year, before breeding and before kidding), 1/2cc for kids at birth (I use 1/4cc for minis at birth) Also available is a product called MuSe, but dosing that is hard for goats as the concentration is too high.
Pig Iron paste ~ Iron is depleted when a goat has a heavy worm infestation, especially barberpole worms (Haemonchus contortus, or HC). After worming a heavily infested animal, a dose of iron paste is suggested. Dose is 1ml.
'Keto Plus' gel ~ Keto Plus gel is a supplement for Dairy Cows to treat/prevent ketosis or to supply energy during labor or shows. I keep this on hand for does in labor and to supply energy to young kids.
CMPK Gel ~ A calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, and potassium supplement given to prevent milk fever and supply vital nutrients to laboring does. Made for Dairy cows. Supposedly can burn the throat and put goats off feed - I've never seen signs of this. Any on the skin/hair of you or your goats should be wiped off to keep from burning skin. INJECTIBLE CMPK IS RECCOMENDED FOR TRUE MILK FEVER TREATMENT.
Vitamin ADE and B12 gel ~ I give this to laboring does to make sure the vitamins stay at proper levels. Also is given to some goats who are 'off', and young kids.
Ammonium Chloride ~ This salt is used to treat/prevent urinary calculi (UC) in bucks and wethers. Whenever you feed grain to bucks be sure to mix this salt with it, using either corn syrup or molasses to make it 'stick' to the grain. You can also mix it with water and drench the goats for treatment of stones, or make treat balls. I personally mix it at a high rate with our minerals offered to male animals.
Surgical scissors ~ I use the scissors to cut the umbilical. Before you cut the umbilical, be sure to dip a good length of unwaxed dental floss in rubbing alcohol and tie it off, about an inch below the baby's belly. Then make the cut below the tie using the scissors.
7% iodine ~ The basic goatkeeper equipment. I use on some 'owies', but mostly it is kept on hand for the kidding season. You must thoroughly spray/dip the umbilical as soon after birth as possible. It causes the umbilical to dry and shrivel, as well as sanitizes it. Reduces the risk of an infected belly button. I hear now the 7% iodine has become prescription only because it's used during illegal drug production... There are alternative products now available, however.
Unwaxed dental floss ~ I use this to tie off the umbilicals of newborns. Sanitize in Alcohol before tying off.
Rubbing Alcohol ~ I use this to sanitize injection sites and to sanitize the unwaxed dental floss I use to tie out the umbilicals of baby goats. I also sanitize the scissors used to cut the umbilical, and for several other uses. Very handy.
OB leg snare ~ Used to get a good grip on stuck kids. Mine is a rubber 'rope' with loops at both ends that go around kid's legs. Use with OB lube and OB gloves.
OB Lube ~ Used to assist labor in does. I prefer the powder that mixes with water, as it takes up less space and is easy to use. In a pinch, Dish soap MAY be used as an OB lube, but this is only as a last resort, as it is not very good for the doe.
Towels and Rags ~ Used to dry the new kids quickly, especially if you raise all your kids. Kids should be dry as fas as possible, especially when the wether is cold. In the summer, this is not as urgent but still very important for sanitation purposes. Just old, bleachable towels are sufficient.
Uterine Boluses ~ Uterine boluses are big pills that you reinsert into the uterus after an invasive kidding. They reduce/eliminate the chance of a uterine infection. I would also use 5 day penicillin treatment if necessary. I've never used the bolus, or had to give penicillin/tetracycline treatments post kidding. I keep a VERY close eye on the doe's rear end (sniff test, as gross as it sounds).
Colostrum : Heat treated or powdered ~ A kid's first meal should be colostrum. If you dam raise your kids, remove the 'plug' in each teat and watch each kid get it's first good meal. If you bottle raise your kids, give kids the colostrum from does that are 3+ years old. If there is none such available, I use a powdered 'Kaeco' colostrum. Be very sure that any fresh colostrum you have is heat treated and from CAE Negative does before feeding it to any of your kids. Obviously fresh goat's milk is ideal, and you will likely have better sucess with fresh/heat treated colostrum than you will with powdered forms.
Goat's milk/replacers? ~ Species specific, whey-protein, high quality replacers used properly can give good results in raising kids .Goat kids can also be raised on goat's milk (pasteurized if herd disease history is unknown) or Vitamin D milk from the store. Please see the Langston study for more information on choosing a replacer and feeding/weaning goat kids: PDF (426 K)
Small travel coolers ~ Small travel coolers are handy while you are bottle/bucket raising your kids. Simply build a little holder for it so that the kids cannot tip the cooler over. Then drill holes the same size as that of the bucket feeder around the outside of the cooler. Assemble the cooler in just the same way as the bucket. Now, you have a feeder for all seasons that allows you to fill it up with milk and let them free feed - so you don't have to worry about leaving for a day or going to work! In summer, fill with milk and add a frozen pop bottle or two. Don't worry, kids do just fine in chilled milk if it's warm out and they're a week or more old. If it's cold, fill the cooler with very warm milk. Feeding cold milk will also help them regulate intake, so they don't overeat.
10 nipple bucket feeder with caprine nipples ~ This is a wonderful invention for those of us with more than a few kids to bottle feed a year. You can either buy a few buckets depending on how large your kid crop is, or you can separate the kids into a pens with only 10 kids per pen. You can also make the kids just as sociable by spending time with the kids and by either holding or petting the kids while they eat. Each newborn should still get the bottle of colostrum, and I will keep newborns separate for a couple days until they are strong enough to suck the milk up the tubes. The only problem I've heard of with this method is that kids aren't as friendly if raised such. However, I raised 6 on it this year and all were extremely friendly. I Think it more or less has to do with the interaction they receive.
Pop Bottles ~ Pop bottles are essential when feeding kids. Each kid must get it's first bottle of colostrum, and the only way to do this is to have individual bottles ready for each kid. I will also feed each kid it's first several bottles by hand as well, untill they are strong enough to suck the milk up the tubes of the bucket.
Extra Caprine Nipples ~ Caprine nipples are an awesome invention. They can be put easily on the top of a normal pop bottle, or can be used with the 10 nipple bucket feeder. The first feedings can be made with a bottle, and the kid will already be accustomed to the nipples when introduced to the bucket feeder.
Weak Kid Syringe ~ A weak kid syringe is very important to keep on hand. A weak kid may not be strong enough to suck, but that does not mean that it cannot survive. Outside of the kid, measure about the distance from the mouth to the stomach, and mark the tube by the mouth. Then insert the tube into the kids mouth, encourage it to swallow. After you get past this point, slowly insert the tube into the kid. If the tube won't insert any farther and you are way below the mark, you are in the lungs and must start over. However, if you stop somewhere about where the stomach is, you are in the stomach. Remove the plunger of the 60cc syringe. You will allow gravity to feed the kid. Move the kid into a standing position with the head directed upward. Attach the 60cc syringe to the end of the tube, and pour some warm colostrum into the syringe. Hold the syringe up. Continue filling the syringe until it's first feeding is completed. This may or may not be successful to restore enough energy to the kid for normal feeding next time, and may need to be repeated.
Bucket feeder tube cleaner brush ~ The tubes of the caprine feeder must be cleaned thoroughly at least once a week. I rinse the bucket after every feeding. Once a week I add bleach the the mix and allow it to stand for a while with it full of water/bleach/dish soap. Then I rinse everything and scrub the tubes out. The tubes are impossible to clean without the special brush.
Disbudder and Accessories ~ Disbudding goats is a personal choice, but I strongly believe that it is best for all ADGA dairy goats to be disbudded. Other breed registries do not have the same stigma against horns, but many homes do not want ADGA dairy goats with horns. I have both the X50 and the X30, both work well on all goats. BE SURE TO USE THE 'GOAT TIP' WHEN USING THE X50. DO NOT use the CALF SIZE ring of the X50 to disbud goats!
Castrator ~ There are several ways kids can be castrated. The cheapest and easiest is to use a banding tool, which stretches a special band around the scrotum above the testicles. When released, the blood flow to everything below the band is cut off, resulting in the testicles and scrotum to shrivel and fall off in a week or so. There is the crushing method, which crushes the tubes and blood vessels, and causes them to shrivel and not function. I don't like this method alot because if you don't do it right, there is no way of knowing, and the 'wether' could still impregnate its siblings or adult doe herd. The final method is cutting, which results in a wound. A cut is made at the bottom of the scrotum, and the testicles are pulled down and cut off. This is the only method used on adult goats, but if you are castrating an adult goat, please allow a vet to do so. I use the banding method, as I've seen the results of the cutting method and do not agree that it is 'more humane'. While attending MSU I went to the Beef feedlot, and the manager there told our class that the method of castration that causes the least stress and therefore the best growth, is the banding method. He discussed cutting and Emasculation (crushing of cords) as different methods.
Tattoo Equipment ~ If you register your goats, they should be tattooed. You will need the tattoo tool, numbers 0-9, letters A-Z, and green and black tattoo ink. Green Tattoo ink is used on goats with dark skin, and black ink is used on light skinned goats. White ink does not work on dark skinned goats, do not waste your time. I use the small tattoo set for young goats (works great on rabbits too!), but have the large clamp just in case I need to do adults, too.
Handling and Housing
Leashes ~ A basic goat control item. Teach all your goats to walk on a leash at a young age; It doesn't take long and allows them to be transported easily.
Collars ~ A basic goat control item. I teach all my goats to walk on a leash with a collar at a young age. However, with a collar, they tend to pull you around if they're strong enough. Try a halter with stronger goats. Do not leave a collar on your goats full time, as they can get stuck in brush or fencing, or can hang themselves from t-posts or in your barn. Also, collars wear away patches of hair at the top and bottom of necks where they rub. Plastic chain collars with a break away attachment are the best collars, and can be left on goats 24/7.
Whip ~ A basic goat control item. My goats obey my commands better when I brandish a whip, especially the 'out' command that I use to get them out of the feed/milking section of the barn when I'm out working out there with the door open, lol. This item is NOT to be used severely, merely as a deterrent to behavior. Oftentimes the pure sound of the whip is enough to keep my goats in line. This is also to have handy on walks or cart rides, as it can be used on illegally loose dogs that come up to investigate your goats.
Latches and Snaps ~ Please latch everything that you don't want your goats to get into! Very important. If those latches can be secured further with a spring snap, do so! Especially if the latch is reachable by the goats. They WILL learn how to work the latch, unless the spring snap is used. Use latches that require more than one motion to open, like lift and pull. I use sliding bolt latches on most of my gates and hook-and-eye latches on most doors, though they are either out of reach of the goats or are too 'tight' for them to open.
Housing ~ GOATS NEED HOUSING. Just because they are a hardy animal does not mean that they can just be left outside to fend for themselves. They do not need shelter from heat or cold necessarily, it is more along the lines of precipitation and drafts that they need protection from. The housing needs to be sturdy to stand up to the rigors of goats, who will itch themselves and butt each other into the walls of the housing. Any paper or shingles within reach will be taken off and possibly eaten. Wood will be chewed on. I recommend dirt floor. If you use a small shed, wood floor works good too. Be sure to cover the wood floor with an Epoxy garage floor covering, Which will protect it from rotting from soaked in urine. The coating should extend the life of the floor by several YEARS. Put the epoxy coating down in two thick layers.
Bedding ~ Goats cannot be expected to sleep on pure dirt floor, cement floor (highly unrecommended as goat flooring) or wood. Baby goats laying on bare floor can easily chill. The goats will quickly become disgusting to not only look at, but to smell. Dairy goats with no bedding will have a disgustingly dirty udder and I wouldn't recommend drinking the milk at all. Dirty conditions will result in poor production, hoof problems, disease spread and many other problems. Goats tend to be fairly clean animals, but they can only be as clean as their housing admits. For bedding, I use pine shavings and straw.. The goats are thrown their hay, and the waste is left in their stall as bedding. You can keep adding bedding to the top for up to a year. The bedding 'pack' will actually cause your barn to be warmer in winter as the bedding decomposes in lower levels. AS long as the top layer is dry and ammonia build up is not excessive, it is adequate. Make sure baby goats are born in a separate area and on clean bedding. Do all you can to prevent mud. Dirty floor often results in hoof problems, as well.
Milk stand ~ Wether you ever plan to own dairy goats or not, I highly, highly, highly recommend a milkstand. I don't know how I ever got along without one! I can easily give shots and examine a goat, and easily trim my bucks feet.
Hoof trimmers ~ While many people use garden pruners, I use multi-use shears. They don't have that single thick blade that gets in the way. You can often find them in the hardware section of meijers or wherever. They may be called metal shears or whatnot. But they work great. Hooves should be trimmed every 1.5 or 2 months, depending.
Syringes ~ I prefer the luer lock syringes over the luer slip. Luer lock and luer slip refer to how the needle is held on the syringe. Luer lock syringes must have the needle twisted down onto the syringe and will not come off unless you untwist it. Luer slip can just be pulled on and off. Use luer lock with all thicker injections. I keep 1cc, 3cc, and 6cc syringes on hand.
Needles ~ The needles used with goats are 20ga. I keep 1" needles on hand for IM shots, and 1/2" needles on hand for Sub-Q shots. 1/2" are also used on baby goats for IM shots.
Drenching Syringes ~ Drenching syringes are heavy duty syringes that are used to give oral meds. I have heavy, nylon syringes with the drench attachment, which is a hollow, bent tube that you insert into the goat's mouth and administer the meds.
Vitamins and Electrolytes ~ This is a handy powder to keep on hand to rehydrate animals. Give while treating diarrhea, while traveling, while weaning, and all other stressful times. You can buy a livestock specific powder at your feed store, or you can buy Gatorade concentrate, which is also good for them, and they seem to like the flavor.
Vet wrap ~ Vet wrap is a bandage that sticks to itself, not needing any other adhesive. I keep it on hand just in case I have to splint a weak kid leg.
Fortified Vitamin B complex ~ A must have for all goat owners. You can give vitamin B whenever a goat is off, going through treatments, during a feed change, when sick, after labor, to newborns, etc. It's just a good item to have on hand!
Anthelmintics (Dewormers) ~ Your goat will need to be wormed. Goats are wormed whenever necessary. Does are also wormed directly after kidding. There are several kinds, and you must find one that still works in your area. After several years of heavy use of a wormer in your area, either by you or other livestock owners, a wormer will become non-effective as the parasites become resistant. Ask several local farmers what chemical they use to worm. There are even some 'herbal' wormers, but in my opinion, they are not as effective or as safe as chemical wormers. I currently use Ivermectin 1% injectible, Cydectin pour-on, and Ivermectin Plus (All are off brands. ALL OF THESE ARE ADMINISTERED ORALLY TO GOATS). Off brands are cheaper and just as effective.
Louse Dust ~ Depending on how healthy you keep your goats, you may or may not get lice. I've only had lice twice in several years of goat owning. Sprinkle some louse dust on infested animals, and on their bedding. Wear gloves.
BoSe ~ See BoSe in the Feeding and nutrition area.
CD/T Vaccine ~ This is the general goat vaccine. It protects against Enterotoxemia (overeating disease) and tetanus for a year. Does should be vaccinated a month and a half before kidding for carry over protection to the kids. Kids should be vaccinated at 4 and 8 weeks of age. Kids that do not have the carry over protection from their mother or have an unknown vaccination status should be vaccinated at 3, 6, and 9 weeks of age.
Tetanus Antitoxin ~ This can be used as a short-term preventative for goats, only lasting 3 weeks or so, OR it can be used to treat the signs of tetanus.
C&D Antitoxin ~ Keep this on hand for treating Enterotoxemia. Follow instructions from your vet or an experienced goat person you trust for treatment. Revaccinate with CDT vaccine after giving Antitoxin.
Kaolin Pectin ~ An anti-diarrhial given orally. Give whenever you feel necessary, along with probiotics.
Scalpels ~ A couple of #12 scalpels should be kept on hand for lancing abscesses, and would be handy if a late-term pregnant doe died and you attempt to save the kids. They're not expensive, so they're not hard to keep on hand.
Cotton Balls ~ I keep cotton balls on hand for cleaning injection sites with alcohol, cleaning tattoo sites, and for applying medications.
Rubbing Alcohol ~ Used to sanitize instruments/injection sites/tattoo sites/castration sites.
Exam Gloves ~ I use the blue nitrile exam gloves, they are pretty nice ones. They are not sterile. They protect your hands when you are working with abscess contents or with chemicals you don't want to touch.
Digital Thermometer and coverslips ~ When a goat gets sick, the first thing you'll have to do is take the temperature. This is done in the anus, therefore, you won't want to use your family's thermometer. Buy a small digital thermometer and some coverslips from your local pharmacy, and be sure to write 'GOAT' on it to prevent accidental human use.
Bulb Syringe ~ A bulb syringe is a round, rubber ball with a tube sticking out of it. It is generally used to clean out the nose and mouth of newborns.
Stethoscope ~ I use a stethoscope to check the heartbeats of unborn kids. It takes some practice. However, if you suspect a false pregnancy, this is one way to confirm.
Blood Tubes ~ I suggest that everyone with goats has their herd tested. This is done by collecting blood from the jugular of the goat with a regular syringe and needle. To transport you purchase blood tubes with the RED top (no additives). It will be a vacuum tube, so just stick the needle through the rubber stopper, and the blood will be sucked out of the syringe and into the tube. Though the tubes 'expire' as the air slowly leaks into them over time, they are still usable because you can just inject the blood in while another syringe without a plunger allows the air to escape.
7% Iodine ~ Iodine can also be used on cuts and for some skin irritations.
Stainless 8qt stockpot ~ A good milking bucket at the fraction of the cost of others. I bought mine at the dollar Store for 6.00. Much less than the 45.00 or somesuch that Hoeggers wants for theirs.
Strainer and filter inserts ~ You will need to filter your milk for it to taste good. Depending on how many milking does you have, you can either use a mini strainer or a full size strainer.
Clorox Bleach ~ Used in homemade udder/teat dip (www.fiascofarm.com) and to clean some utensils.
Udder Balm ~ Use after milking on the does with chapped udders. Also good for sores and even your own chapped hands.
CMT Kit ~ California mastitis Test kit is an essential milker's tool. Detects mastitis in the milk for early treatment. Use once a week or more for detection purposes. Discard all mastitic milk. Mastitic milk can kill kid goats.
FightBac ~ An aerosol product sprayed on the teats to prevent infection of mastitic creatures. Some goats don't like this because it's cold and because of the spray noise.
Canning/storage jars ~ You will need an abundance of the glass mason jars and tops if you want a milkgoat. Use while canning and keep a jar of fresh milk in the fridge for drinking.
ZIPLOC bags for freezing ~ Bags other than Ziploc will leak. You will need to freeze colostrum and if you don't want to drink canned milk, this is how you can store milk for use when your dairy does dry for the season.
Dairy soap ~ The main idea with goat's milk is to maintain as clean of conditions as possible. The main reason people are so prejudiced against goat's milk because of 'bad taste' is because of improper handling. Goat's milk does not last as long as cow's milk and must be kept cleaner. Use this soap on all your equipment after each milking.
Dairy sanitizer ~ Dairy sanitizer is a tasteless, odorless, and inert product (if you allow it to sit for at least 1 minute before milking) that cleans everything used in milking. It must be in contact with the products for a certain time in order for it to be effective, however. I spray it on my utensils.
Foaming Acid Wash ~ Used to remove milkstone deposits on milking equipment. Used once every week to prevent buildup and allow for the best quality milk.
Dixie Cups ~ Instead of buying a fancy teat dipper, regular 500-for-a-dollar dixie cups can be used and are more sanitary because they are disposable.
Plastic buckets ~ Since the acid wash and dairy soap must be mixed by the quart or gallon or more or be reused, it is often good to have a couple buckets on hand to store the extra in until it is used.
Milk stand ~ While you CAN free milk your does, chances are they will flip out when you try to milk them without restraint. If you seriously plan to milk day in and day out, building a simple, easy milkstand is a must. Plans can be found at the fiasco farm website : www.fiascofarm.com. I built my stand from these plans and it works beautifully.
ToDay ~ Mastitis treatment for lactating goats. I would keep a box of 12 on hand if you have lactating goats so you can treat ASAP when needed. Use the CMT kit to determine wether or not mastitis is the case. It is infused into the udder by way of a nifty tip that comes on the syringe. Easy to use.
ToMorrow ~ Used to dry treat dairy goats at end of lactation. Infuse a tube into each half when you dry up your doe to prevent mastitis.
There are 5 things all goats need access to. They are: salt, minerals, baking soda, forage and water. This is the general saying. I currently use Sweetlix meatmaker goat mineral, and I love it. The goats do, too. :) Please do not get the cheap cattle minerals that have a lot of salt mixed in. I tried this and just recently had things go wrong with a copper deficiency. There was enough copper in the minerals, but the goats would never touch them because there was way too much salt in the mix. Since they would stop eating them too soon or never even touch them, they weren't getting all they need. I now am using Sweetlix GOAT mineral. Also, don't try to get Sweetlix cow minerals or that. It isn't the same, and not good for goats. Baking soda should be supplied next to the minerals. I feed hay when the pasture is gone and during the winter, and water 24/7. The baking soda lowers the acidity level in the rumen. Too high of an acidity level, and it causes a stomach ache. The salt and minerals are essential to proper nutritional balance. Selenium should only be an additive to your minerals/feed if you live in a selenium deficient area, unless it is in small quantities. (Hoegger goat supply in the links section has a good chart of the selenium levels in the soil on their website) Hay is essential. IF you have young growing goats, pregnant does, lactating does or breeding animals I recommend a quality alfalfa mix hay. If you can't find alfalfa hay in your area, supplement with alfalfa pellets. If you have a very lush pasture available to your goats, you may not need hay. But keep an eye on the pasture and as soon as forage is minimal, start them on their hay again. Water should be available all the time, and in the wintertime you should have a bucket/trough de-icer and access to running water throughout the year.
Goats don't need any grain for most of their lives. My non dairy does get grain after they kid, and up until their kid is 2 weeks old. Then they are weaned off the grain. My dairy does get grain starting two weeks before their duedate and on through lactation. Overfed goats are NOT healthier than slightly underweight goats... I'd rather have a slightly underweight doe on my hands then an overweight one. They have conception problems, kidding problems, and are generally unhealthy. Please do not overfeed your goats. I also feed a little grain to all my does at breeding time to flush them. They go from no grain up to about 1 1/2 cups of grain until bred, then back down to no grain. My dairy does all get 1 lb grain per 3 lbs milk produced. Bucks and wethers DO NOT get grain. Grain is extremely bad for bucks and wethers as they get UC. (Urinary calculi) Bucks and wethers should get hay in the winter and if the pastures are going through drought or are not of good quality. Some goats loose their luster if they don't get grain, so try feeding a better brand of minerals (Sweetlix GOAT minerals, or Purina GOAT minerals)
Worming your goats is very important. A heavily infested animal can die from lack of nutrition. Most goats have some sort of worm load, but their natural immune system keeps them at a moderate level. When something stressful such as kidding or moving occurs, most goats' immune systems are jeopardized, allowing the worms to multiply quickly, making for one very sick goat. Diarrhea, a swollen neck/jaw, pale gums and eyelids, and loss of appetite are some symptoms of worms. You can have your vet do a fecal examination to determine whether or not worms are the cause.
There are options to worming you goat, and tons of products out there for getting the job done. The main products are Safe-Guard (which is only really good for Tapes), Ivermectin 1% Injectible (given ORALLY to goats) and Cydectin pour-on (also given ORALLY to goats). For Ivermectin, I use 1cc per 33lbs, given orally. For Cydectin, I use 1cc per 22lbs, given ORALLY.
There are 4 ways to get something in a goat. You can give it orally (by mouth), IM (short for Intramuscular, an injection into the muscle) Sub Q (short for subcutaneous, or an injection under the skin) or IV (short for intravenous, into the bloodstream). I give both sub-q shots and IM shots. Ready all shots before catching your goat. That way it takes less time for the shot to happen, causing less stress.
How I give Intramuscular shots (IM) : For IM shots I generally use 20 ga x 1" needles. I restrain the goat in the milk stand. Then I straddle the goat so I am facing the goat's butt and use my knees to keep the goat's rear end from moving around. Grip with your knees right at the hips. I then prep the needle with an alcohol wipe, and then choose a nice meaty spot. The spot is then prepped with a fresh alcohol wipe and I then just stab right in. You cannot be slow about it all. Just a quick jab right to the base of the needle. Usually the goat doesn't even make a noise, if it notices at all. After the needle is in, pull back on the plunger a bit and see if any blood comes out. If blood comes out, you are in a vein and need to find a better spot. Just pull back out and choose a new site. This is very important as if you inject some things IM and you get it in the bloodstream immediately it can kill your goat, such as penicillin. You need to wipe the needle down again with a new alcohol wipe and wipe the new spot with another alcohol wipe. After I find a spot, I just slowly inject the vaccine or antibiotic or whatever I am giving. This is when most goats freak out. Usually the injection must be kept cold and when it enters the muscle it feels really cold to them. After all the liquid is out of the syringe, leave it in for a few seconds, and then pull out at a steady rate. Immediately after the needle is out, press your hand over the site and press hard. Lots of goats get surface bleeding, and applying pressure lowers the amount or eliminates bleeding. Also, if you pulled out the needle too fast, some of the injection often travels back up the needle's pathway and out through the skin. If you get allot of surface bleeding or the injection traveling back up the needle's path is an indication that you have too wide of a needle. 20ga is the recommended size. Keep your hand there, pressing hard for about 15 seconds. Pet the goat and talk to it reassuringly. Depending on how many times your goat has been restrained and stabbed in the muscle, there will probably be some amount of distress.
How to give Subcutaneous shots (Sub-Q) : For Sub-Q shots I use 20ga x 1/2" needles. That way there is less risk of you poking the needle in one side and out the other. Restrain your goat in the stand. The area you wish to inject in is the armpit area. There is loose skin there to work with. Feel around till you find an area that has skin you can lift with and 'tent' in your fingers... That is, pinch it where it is loosely attached to muscle. This is usually directly behind the armpit. Tent some of this skin so it is parallel to the ground, and clean the top with an alcohol wipe. Then wipe down the needle with another wipe. While pinching, stab into the top of the 'tent'. Make sure you're just below the surface of the skin, not in any fatty tissue or muscle. Also be sure that you did not go all the way through the tent and came out the other side. When you're sure the needle is just below the skin, start injecting slowly. You will feel a 'bubble' start to form, and the goat may start to wiggle as it feels the 'bubble' growing as well. The 'bubble' is just the injection that has not been absorbed and utilized by the body yet. After all the liquid in the syringe is injected, gently squeeze the skin where the needle enters and withdraw. Keep up the squeeze while rubbing the lump. After rubbing for several seconds you may or may not notice a decrease in the size of the lump.
ADVICE : When you must inject something into an animal, it is always easier to put the needle in quickly. If you try to place the needle and push through the skin, it will seem very hard to do so and cause pain to the animal. So be quick about it and use a bit of force. It's rather easy when you get used to it.
How to give oral medication : To give a medicine by mouth is often pretty easy. I usually restrain the goat in the stand if it is a drench. A drench is a liquid administered orally. You get a special mouthpiece to a syringe and insert it to the edge of the mouth so the mouthpiece is pointed toward the throat and the goat cannot spit out the liquid. If the liquid you are giving is extremely runny you may want to add a bit of flour or cornstarch to the mix to thicken it a little. That way it sticks to the goats' mouth better. Be careful not to add too much or it may become too thick, however. The drencher in Jeffers Livestock is called a feeding syringe. I buy the feeding syringe and then a separate nylon syringe, because the feeding attachment fits on both and it is cheaper to buy them separate that way. When it is a pill it is often super easy to give, I just wrap it up in a piece of bread and give to the goat. The goat thinks it is getting a treat. Make sure the pill can be chewed, or things can go seriously wrong... If the animal cannot chew the pill up, a balling gun may be required. Ask your vet about getting one of these. They are about 5.00 or so in Jeffers Livestock magazine.
Restraint : Some types of antibiotics sting like the dickens when they are injected for a few minutes. Most goats become unruly when injected with these stinging antibiotics. Good restraint is necessary for proper injections/healthcare. I just built my first milking stand, and I don't know how I was getting along without it!! We got the plans off of www.fiascofarm.com I highly recommend them, they are excellent plans, and your goat doesn't have to be dehorned to use it. The stand is very inexpensive to make, and we only had to buy a couple of 2x4's, as we had all the rest of the supplies just lying around. One suggestion I have is to change the 2x2's that are supports to the plywood that the goat stand, to 2x4's. It's just sturdier that way. Also, you can add height to the stand or lower it to your liking as we did; my stand is a few inches taller than the plans.
This is a simple procedure that many people forgo and end up with lame goats. Here is how I do it.
I used my dad's shears for a year till I got my own pair, which I love. The are sharp enough to cut easily. They are called 'utility shears' and look very similar to the shears marketed as 'hoof shears', but only cost about 5.00. We got ours at Menards, and you can probably get them at Lowes or Home Depot. Many people also use pruning shears.
First, I restrain the goat in the milkstand. I then give the goat thier grain, some alfalfa pellets, or hay to keep it busy and content. For the front legs, stand on one side of the goat, at the elbow. Pick up that front leg and bend it, so the goat is standing on 3 legs and you're holding the 4th up. Make sure it is not in an uncomfortable position. What over grows on a goat's hooves is the heel and the hoof wall. The heel is the gooshy part near the rear of the hoof. The wall is the outside edge of the hoof. Between the walls is the sole, a soft sensitive area. Try not to cut this part. Cut the walls so they are even with the sole, and then cut the heel down so it is even to the sole as well. The pointy end of the hoof is called the "toe" and often grows outward. Trim so there is no extra. Repeat on the other side. For the back legs, straddle the goat facing it's butt. Use your knees to squeeze right above the hips, so the goat doesn't move. Reach down and lift a back leg. Trim the extra off just as you did with the front legs. Repeat with the other back leg.
If you notice a strong smell and lots of white powder like stuff coming out of the hoof, it is called hoof rot. A little bit isn't bad, as long as you get it cleaned out. I simply spray 7% iodine on it.
Parts of the hoof:
An untrimmed hoof:
Don't forget to trim the inner hoof wall! :
A trimmed hoof:
Yes, goats have a social life! In fact, they live for the social life. In order for a goat to be happy it must have at least one other goat companion, Even bucks. This allows them to develop their social life. Just like if a human is deprived social contact, a goat will become "odd". Then, later in life you buy that goat a companion it may stress the goat out to the point of stopping eating. Often though, the goat gets it's social life straightened out and back on track. But it is really the easiest to go ahead and buy two goats at the same time.
Stress is a big thing with goats. A goat gets stressed over dominance issues, a new goat being introduced to the herd, getting shots or medication, having kids, being transported exc. exc. Being a goat owner you want everything to be as unstressful as possible. Introduce a new member slowly through the fence, give shots quickly, give meds nicely, and transport the goats efficiently.
Many people freak out when they see a new goat being butted around the pasture or the least dominant of the herd being butted around. This is perfectly normal, and rarely will the animals carry it to the extreme of hurting the new goat or the lowest ranking animal. Goats thrive on scheduling and order. A certain goat is the leader, or the "Herd Queen" and then there is the second in command right on down to the last ranking goat. However, goats defend their position to extremes. If a new goat is introduced, even the herd queen will defend the lowliest goat's position. Usually with new goats they learn to start from the bottom and work their way up. A new goat can be lowest ranking and within a year be in the middle or even high ranking. It is quite interesting to see what is going on within the herd every day. Also when kids are around two weeks old you can begin to tell who is dominant within their own little herd. One kid can be dominant at birth and then be subordinate after two weeks or so. Also, a single lost fight can determine when the herd queen resigns her spot to a younger doe.
Goats have some interesting behaviors. For example, normal buck behavior during rut. Bucks in rut will call to the does, snort, and stomp their front foot. They become short tempered. Maybe one of the most distressing behaviors of bucks in rut is their behavior of haunching over and peeing on their own faces. They then usually lift their upper lip up in a funny face. They do this to 'evaluate' themselves. Their very odorous smell, a combination of scent glands behind the horn area on the head and their urine, is like their own brand of cologne that attracts the lady goats.
Does in heat don't act normal, as well. A doe in heat my mount other does like she is a buck, or allow other does to mount her. She will flag her tail and be anxious, often becoming more vocal. Her vulva may turn pink and often gets a small amount of discharge. Some does become short tempered and will beat up on other does more. If a buck is nearby, you will quickly know why she is acting thus. :)
Housing for goats is very important. It must be secure and not drafty, and large enough for them to move around in. The bedding should be made up of pine shavings alone in the summer and pine shavings underneath straw in the wintertime. I use an 8'x10' metal shed for my bucks, and a large barn stall for my does. The buck?s shed has two doorways so they can access both of their pastures through the shed. In all the doorways of the shed I put a 2"x4" board across to keep the bedding in the shed, but a 2"x6" would have worked better. You could use a smaller shed, but only if you wish to have two goats. An 8'x10' shed should be able to handle up to 4 does per half, or 8 does. Since bucks are more aggressive, I wouldn?t dream on housing more than 4 bucks in my 8?x10? shed. I divided my shed in half using fencing and pieces of wood. That way during the breeding season, I can separate the does into smaller herds and put them with the bucks they are to be bred with.
As with all livestock, goats must have access to a pasture. If you own under an acre, you may not be able to own goats. You must be willing to fence in as much room as possible for the goats. Your goats will need an appropriate fencing. You can run electric fencing which many people use with good results, or you can run actual fencing. I use actual goat fencing which I purchased at Tractor Supply Company. You can use cattle panels, which are heavy-duty "sheets" of fencing, or you can use rolled fencing. Rolled fencing is the fence that comes rolled up. Either kind works well, but make sure you get a fencing that is sturdy enough. They sell rolled chicken wire, which has octagon shaped holes, and then there is a thin wire rolled fence that has holes shaped like rectangles. Neither of these types are acceptable to hold in goats well. Also, if you have horned goats, the holes should not be large enough for the goat to put its head through. If a horned goat does this then most likely it will get stuck. Then predators or the weather will quickly kill a helpless goat. There is a saying that goes : "If it doesn't hold water, then it won't hold a goat". Obviously this is slightly exaggerated, but not by much! They are escape artists, and are able to detect a weakness in the fence, and then they will work on that specific spot to tear it down and escape. Also, they are able to undo simple gate latches. The gates I use are purchased from Menards as a kit with just braces and hinges. Then you build the gate out of 2"x4" and pick a goat proof latch. It costs only 20.00 or so for the entire gate. It doesn't matter too much what kind of fencing you use on the gates. The gate needs to be attached at least on one side to a wooden post. The fencing needs to be held up by actual t-posts, every 8 feet. Pygmies are notorious jumpers and climbers (though I have never had a problem with mine) so the fencing should be at least 4' tall. Never try to keep a goat in a pen by tying it out inside the pen. The goat could climb over still and hang itself. And another tip : Goats love to itch themselves on the fence. You can prevent this by taking a board and putting a plastic, stiff, long fibered foot mat on one or both sides, then attaching it to the shed or to posts in the pasture, but not on the fence line. If they continue to rub the fence to a point where they are wrecking it, I would run a strand of electric about chest high on them, and make a connection thingy on the gate so that it is a full circuit when the gate is closed and it is an open circuit when the gate is open.
Toys are not mandatory, but are cheap or easy to make. I use an old truck top and some boxes that my school was throwing out, the ones the cheerleaders stood on. I also have an old, huge tractor tire, wire spools, and a hanging tire swing. Goats love to climb, jump, and play. Just make sure that the toys are not close enough to the fence that the goat can jump over the fence. With a cable spool, you need to cover the holes with a board. Also, the toys should not be dangerous in any way. Goats will inevitably get hurt on it. Especially if it is metal. Then the goat could contract tetanus if it does not have it vaccines up to date. Also, I have noticed that kid goats like chewing on things. Next year I hope to tie some cotton rope onto the fence and in the shed so they have something to chew on.
Many people choose to have their goats bred as a source of income. You can sell the babies and milk the does for your own uses. If your goats are just pets, however, you do not have to let them breed. They can live long, happy lives without being bred. Have a goal in breeding; If a goat you own does not fit your goals, cull or butcher it. If a goat you own has serious conformation or production problems, please do not breed it; it will only pass on it's undesirable traits. Also, understand thatabout 90% of buck kids born are NOT BREEDING QUALITY! Know what is and what isn't breeding quality, and refuse to sell sub-quality bucklings with their testicles still attached! A
Having your does bred is a fun experience. It allows you to raise kids at your farm, and experience the wonders of birth. You can sell the kids for some income and drink your does' milk. Does will not produce milk if not bred. When breeding, choose a buck that will result in kids that are will be (in theory, at least) higher quality than both the sire and dam. This is called breeding 'up'. Know your doe's strengths and weaknesses, and evaluate bucks to determine if they are a match for your doe. Dairy bucks, which obviously do not have an udder to evaluate, should be evaluated by their mother's strengths and weaknesses in her udder and chosen for those reasons.
Your doe, just like most mammals, has a heat cycle. The time when the doe is most receptive to a buck is called a standing heat. This is when a doe will stand still to be mounted by the buck. The doe will show signs such as excessive noise, discharge from the vulva, a pink and puffy vulva, excessive urination, tail flagging and dominant does will sometimes exhibit male mounting behavior onto other does while in heat. If there is a buck in the pen next to the doe, you will always know if the doe is in heat. She will rub up against the fence, the buck will smell her behind a lot, she will flag her tail and the buck will exhibit breeding behavior. Not all does show very well, and not all does show all the signs. They may only have one or two signs. They will always show interest in the buck if they are in adjacent pens. This is why I keep the buck in the pen next to the does in the wintertime, so I can put her in with him when the time is right. Pygmies and a few other breeds of goats are capable of going into heat year round, and most other breeds only go into heat during the fall for spring babies. They often get moody during heat, and will come up to snuggle with your or maybe will get an attitude with you. If you do not own a buck, a good way to detect heat is to have a "buck rag" on hand. This is a piece of cloth that has buck scent on it, usually gathered by rubbing the cloth onto the buck's forehead. When the rag is presented to a doe in heat, the doe will start acting goofy, making vocalizations that sound like swallowing noises, flagging her tail and just generally acting funny.
The bucks also display a breeding behavior. Of cource, they often will display this behavior year round. They use their tongue to lick the air, making a thubthubthub sound, often stomping a front foot as well. They often snort and will defend does from other bucks. They make an extended swallowing noise in their throats and 'hum', calling to the does. The does will often do this too during standing heat. The most repulsive behavior is "peeing" on their front legs and face. This gives them their particular "cologne" that is obviously irresistible to the ladies. They also have scent glands that produce their own individual stink, which is also very attractive to the ladies. Wethers and does do not produce the smell, but the buck smell is what gives the goat the stinky reputation. The only reason I own bucks is because there are no local breeders that I can find. If at all possible find a local breeder who owns a buck that you like, and ask if he is willing to accept a fee in exchange for breeding. The breeder may prefer money or a resulting kid. Then when the doe is in heat, you cart her over there and she gets bred. Usually a good breeder will let you rebreed if the doe does not get pregnant the first breeding. Always try to hand breed your does, because that minimizes the possibility of disease transmission and means your doe will remain in your care. It also means you have an absolute breeding date and can figure an approximate kidding date.
Kidding is one of the most exiting and stressful situations both for you and your goat. No matter how much of an easy kidder your doe is, you can only imagine and mentally prepare for those 'what if' situations. This is not a bad thing, because if you are mentally ready for problems you will be able to deal with them if they do arise.
A week before the duedate, give your doe a kidding haircut. Clip the tail into a blunt brush like you do for show, down the backs of the legs, the udder, the insides of the legs, and the 'hind end' area - baisically everywhere that kidding 'goo' will stick to her. That way, you can grab a towel or whatever and give her back end a wipe down, and she'll be cleaner. Also prepare the kidding equipment and set it aside in an easily accessible place, so that when kidding does begin, you can get the equipment quickly. You should have these things in your kidding equipment :
1. OB lube ~ just in case you have to go invasive
2. 7% iodine ~ apply to umbilical after birth
3. Uterine Bolus ~ place in the uterus after kidding if you go invasive
4. Dental Floss ~ Tie off all umbilical before cutting
5. Surgical or sharp scissors ~ for cutting umbilical and the long danglies from mommy if needed.
6. Clean, bleachable small towels ~ For drying the new kids
7. Weak kid syringe ~ If a kid needs to be stomach fed in order to survive.
8. Corn syrup/molasses ~ To put in the kid syringe and for mommy after kidding
9. 1 injection ready dose of vitamin B for your doe after kidding ~ For good health/appetite
10. At least 3 injection ready doses of vitamin B for the new kids ~ for good health/appetite
11. Colostrum ~ for the newborns if you decide to or must bottle-feed. Either powdered or heat treated
12. Bottles and nipples ~ For the newborns if you decide or must bottle-feed.
13. CMPK gel ~ 5cc to doe at first signs of kidding and 5 cc post kidding for calcium level maintenance.
14. Goat Nutridrench ~ 5cc to newborns, also for struggling dams.
15. BoSe injections ~ 1/2cc dose Intramuscularly to all newborns.
16. Keto-Plus Gel ~ 5cc to doe at first signs of kidding and 5cc post kidding.
17. Probiotics ~ Appropriate dose to young kids raised on heat treated or powdered colostrum, or stressed dams.
You should know an approximate delivery date. Have the kidding kit ready at least a week before the due date, as goats often kid before their due date. Watch your doe closely for decreased feed intake, swelling of the udder (especially suddenly, like overnight), pawing at the ground, Yawning, and constant licking ?streaming? (opaque streaming discharge up to a week before kidding). These are all signs of labor soon or started. Not all does will show all or any of these signs. Sometimes the only sign your doe will show is the loss of ligaments and a behavior that makes you say "well, she never did that before!" In the summer, does often kid around 4 pm or later to escape the heat of the day. In the winter they often kid in the morning or midday. That is not to say that they can?t kid other times either. But those are the most common times. Watch the doe's ligaments. Her ligaments are pencil like and go from the spine to the pin bones. When her ligaments "disappear" kidding is to take place within 12 hours. When the ligaments "disappear" you will be able to reach around her tail head. They also leave a caved in are on either side of the spine/tailhead. Ligaments can be tricky, however, because about two weeks before kidding they will start to change. A week before kidding you may notice the due doe's ligaments are much different than a non preggo or earlier stage doe's. They may even soften dramatically to where you may be fooled into thinking she's kidding. However, if they are still detectable then she is probably not in labor. Here are a couple pictures of ligaments and how to find them :
This first picture is the day Boston kidded '06, you can see me reaching under her spine/tailhead. I have drawn on where the ligaments would normally be.
In this picture, you can see a top view of where the ligaments are and where they go.
After the signs start, be ready. A doe can have her kids either standing up or laying down. If possible, move her to a clean area either outdoors if a nice day, or to a cozy kidding area indoors if in the winter the kidding area, if in a colder part of the year, DRAFT FREE, and have clean bedding. The first thing you should see after a doe starts serious pushing is a bubble. The bubble should appear within the first 15 minutes of hard labor. In this bubble you should see little white hooves, and then a nose resting on the legs. It is ok if you don't see a little nose; a normal kidding position is back legs first, though the "diving" position of front legs and nose first is more common. After the doe gets this far, it is usually just a few more pushes for that kid. A couple more pushes gets the shoulders past, which is the hardest for your doe. Rub the new baby's face with a towel, making sure to clear the nostrils and mouth. The kid should start gasping. Tie off the umbilical about an inch from it's belly and snip it between the tie and mommy, not between the tie and baby. Set this baby up for mommy to lick, and get ready for more. If you want/must bottle raise your kids, set the kid aside in a box after YOU dry it. Do NOT let mommy see the baby. After you dry the kid, you can hand the mother the towel that you dried the kid with, that can amuse the mother. This may or may not be the last kid. If this is a first time mommy, there is a good chance there is only a single kid. Watch for more contractions and bounce the doe. To bounce the doe, straddle the doe at the shoulders while she is standing - face towards her hind-end. Place your hands underneath her on her belly, right in front of the udder. Lightly 'bump' her udder and feel for anything hard. If there is something there, wait for her to return to contractions within the next 15 minutes. If unsure of the presence of more kids, PLEASE do not hesitate to investigate - it saves lives and rarely leads to complications.
After kids are born and their umbilicals are cut, spray some 7% iodine on their bellies, concentrating on their umbilicals but getting the surrounding area as well. The mother goat will often begin to eat the placentas after she stands. She will also try to lick up all the blood possible. This is normal for her to do, but if you don't want her to, remove the placentas from the area. The next day she will also pass an afterbirth, which you may never be aware of as she will eat it. It is a big mass of tissue, and you may find it laying around. If she doesn't eat them, pick them up and dispose of them properly. Also, if the doe still has things hanging from her vulva, DO NOT PULL ON THEM. I normally tie them off with the dental floss and cut them short because mommy sometimes gets tangled in them and pulls them out. If they get forced out by pulling or on accident by mommy, she can internally bleed to death. NEVER pull anything out. If it is still there after a couple days, call your vet. Especially if it begins to smell bad. Get the mother up on her feet and get each kid to latch onto a teat for as long as possible. Before you leave the kids and mommy, make sure you see each kid get a good meal. You can then leave them alone overnight. I usually check on the doe at least once in the night, and if all's well, I leave her alone until noon the next day.
If your doe is a dairy doe and you pulled her kids, milk her in an hour of kidding. Watch for signs of milk fever - shaking - and remedy that if needed. If your doe is CAE/Johne's negative, Heat treat and freeze the first two days of the creamy, yellowish first milk, this is the colostrum. Feed the first meal to her kids after you milk the doe for the first time. Clean the doe's hind end twice a day or so and be aware of any foul odors - signs of infection.
If the dam refuses to let them eat, be patient and try to calm her. Lots of first time mothers don't like thier udders touched and leap over their kids when they first go to eat. Sometimes holding the mother and letting them eat is the only course of action, but avoid this if possible because sometimes it only scares the mother more. The babies should get their first meal sometime within the first few hours. After feeding her kids a couple of times, the doe should settle down and allow them to eat whenever they desire. If the doe refuses to allow them to eat and does not relax after a couple hours, you may have to intervene with bottle feeding. If the mother still shows interest in them, however, by licking and calling to them, removing them from their mother may not be completely neccesary; You can milk out mommy a little bit and get about 3 oz down each kid. The first milk is called colostrum and is often very thick and usually has a yellowish tinge to it. It is full of mommy's antibodies and high in energy for the kids. It is essential. If after a few bottle feedings, the mother still refuses to let the kids eat, it is time to take the kids away. for bottle feeding. You can also choose to take the kids away at birth to bottle raise them. Bottle fed kids are always more tame and lovable towards people.
DO NOT USE POWDERED MILK REPLACER. Either obtain milk from the dam and pasteurize and feed it to your kids, buy milk off of another (CAE/CL/Johne's free) dairy goat farmer. You can even use whole vitamin D cow's milk from the grocery. If you buy whole milk directly from a cow dairy, make sure that it is johne's free.
My MINIATURE KID bottle feeding schedule is as follows, and I got this off of www.fiascofarm.com but I modified it to my liking and the smaller miniature size. THIS IS NOT FOR FULL SIZE DAIRY GOATS! Try to make the feedings as regular as possible, with the same amount of time between each feeding. Don't make kids go through out the night without a feeding just because you're lazy. This is especially important the younger they are.
* Day one- 3 oz. (per feeding) colostrum, every 4 hours. (6 times)
* Day two- 4 oz. (per feeding) colostrum/whole milk, 4 times a day
* Day three- 5-7 oz. (per feeding) colostrum/whole milk, 3 times a day
* Day four- 6-9 oz. (per feeding) colostrum/whole milk, 3 times a day.
* For the next week- 8-11 oz. (per feeding) 3 times a day.
* For the next 2 months- up to 12 oz. (per feeding) 3 times a day.
* For the next 1 month- up to 12 oz. (per feeding) 2 times a day.
* up to 12 oz. (per feeding) once a day for two weeks.
Let me just make a note here, however. With dairy kids, PLEASE consider pulling the kids at birth! It prevents the spread of CAE, the doelings will make tamer milkers, and udders will not be ruined! You would not guess how many ruined udders I've seen on some beautiful does. Bottle raised dairy kids have such a better chance of finding a nice well qualified home than your basic dam raised skittish doeling. If you have the resources to keep a doe's udder even and keep the kids tame, then dam raising is an option for you. But, you're automatically lowering the kid sale price if they are unmanageable.
It is very likely, however, that your doe will take fantastic care of her newborns. If you don't want to bottle feed and your doe is reasonably tame and disease free, you can expect the kids to be pretty tame towards you if you allow mother to raise them. However, my major advice to raising dam raised kids is this : No matter how much you want/need to catch the kids, don't EVER, EVER chase them. They will always be scared of you if you do so. I learned this the hard way. It does take a lot of time to tame dam raised kids, but it can be done.
After kidding and for a few days after, you're new mother will have quite a bit of bloody discharge. Usually the day after kidding your doe will need to be cleaned up, and usually for a couple days after that too. Restrain her and get a bucket of warm, soapy water and a towel. Gently wash her behind so that it doesn't start to rot away on her, cause infection, and stink. Clean the bucket and towel because tomorrow and possibly the next day after that you will have to repeat, as more discharge will come.