Key management inputs for successful kidding By Dan Morrical, Ph.D. Kidding time is just around the

corner. That means folks are double- checking calendars for breeding dates and therefore determining kidding dates. The closer the expected kidding date approaches, the more folks begin to ready barns, stockpile supplies and mentally prepare for the season. But something that I’ve often found to be overlooked is managing the nutrition side of kidding season — it be- gins long before does go into the pens. Does need to be fed adequate

energy and protein so kids are well de- veloped and strong at birth. I shoot for a ration that is 12-13% crude protein during late gestation. If feeding alfalfa, I don’t worry too much about energy or other protein supplements. If poor forage, I incorporate corn, soybean meal or other ad- ditives to provide does the nutrition they need to remain healthy.

I pay close attention to micro-minerals. One in particular is selenium. Why? Many soils throughout the states are low in sele- nium. If it’s not there, plants can’t pull it from the soil and provide it to our stock. What’s selenium deficiency in goats

look like? Weak kids with a poor suckling re- sponse, potential for white muscle disease, muscular and skeletal issues and a difficult kidding process.

If your herd management includes treating kids or does with injections of sele- nium via BoSe, then one needs to consider upgrading your mineral nutrition. Premier 1 offers a trace mineral pack that simply mixes with one 50-lb. bag of white salt, no measur- ing needed. This mixture provides the highest legal inclusion of selenium in a mineral. Other critical micro minerals in our trace mineral pack are zinc, iodine and copper. If feeding stockpiled forage or grain during gestation, add in an A/D/E vitamin pack to the mineral mix. Vitamins in stored forages degrade — the Vitamin pack makes up for the loss. This is important as Vitamin E does not cross the placenta during gestation. Kids only get it via the colostrum and milk. One needs to ensure their does are con- suming the proper vitamin and mineral bal- ance well ahead of kidding so they’re producing the best colostrum and milk for their kids.

There’s more to nutrition than supple- ments and mineral packs, so producers who

January 2021 | Goat Rancher 11

them eating a little dry feed prior to weaning, dry feed costs less than milk replacer and saves on management time. Goat creep feed for orphans must be palatable and fresh. To encourage creep consumption, sprinkle a little milk replacer on top the creep feed. Doing so makes the taste of creep more interest- ing to kids as it’s something they’re al- ready familiar consuming.

I would use cottonseed meal or soybean meal along with corn as the basis of the creep. Add soybean hulls at a limit of 5-10% to help stimulate rumen development. Hay offered to young kids should be very high quality. Since kids do not have a functioning rumen, hold off on hay until goats are at least 2 weeks old.

would like to discuss their mineral program can contact me at Premier’s small ruminant ad- vice service, I’d like to briefly cover artificially rear-

ing orphan kids. This requires an excellent milk replacer, consistent feeding times/quan- tities/concentrations via bottle feeding. Kids can be weaned once they weigh 20 pounds or are 8 weeks of age. Ideally, I like to have

Understanding what ruminants need and when they need it can streamline and, hopefully, ease your kidding season, re- sulting in a healthier, more profitable flock and a happier you.

(Dan Morrical, Ph.D., is Production

Expert at Premier 1 Supplies. He can be reached at

Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32