Normal temperature: 101 - 103.5 - Varies depending on seasons/surroundings.
Estrus/Heat Cycle: 17 - 23 days. Usually lasts about 2 - 4 days.
Gestation: Our Nigerians = about 145 days.
Life span: Anywhere from 8-14 years.
Our Feed Program
The Girls: During mid-late pregnancy through lactation the doe's get green leafy alfalfa/grass mix hay & a complete pellet goat feed with 18% protein mixed with Sunflower Seeds. They have free access to minerals & sea kelp meal at all times. When "dry" (not pregnant & not in milk) our doe's get good grass hay & a small amount of their grain ration, plus their minerals.
Our Boys: Our bucks receive only good grass hay, (very little alfalfa/only as a treat - as we believe alfalfa increases urinary calculi in bucks/wethers - See more about Urinary Calculi under the vet care page). They have free access to minerals & sea kelp meal at all times. Our boys usually get a small handful of treats daily, such as raisins, sunflower seeds, dried leaves or branch trimmings. They especially LOVE animals crackers! *During breeding season our bucks receive a small amount (about 1 cup daily) of the doe's grain mix, treated with a small amount of Ammonium Chloride to prevent urinary calculi.
All animals get fresh clean water in clean buckets. It is very important, ESPECIALLY FOR BUCKS, to have clean water buckets with fresh water! Goats will drink considerably more if they have clean fresh water - which is a MUST to keep the animals urinary tract in good working order.
Our Deworming & Preventative Parasite Program
Babies are dewormed with Valbezan dewormer @ 3 weeks, 6 weeks, & 9 weeks. After weaning, babies are wormed the same as the adults. Our babies also get a dose of Coccidia preventative at 3 weeks, 6 weeks, 9 weeks. We currently use Baycox liquid.
Adults are dewormed with Valbazen dewormer a few days after kidding, and Ivomec dewormer before breeding in the fall & seasonally as needed. We always try to use dewormers that treat external parasites like lice & mites too...that way we take care of 2 things at once. We also use injectable Ivomec 1% cattle dewormer at 1cc per 25lbs body weight, injected sub-Q, and repeated in 2 weeks. We only inject this dewormer when we feel there might be a lice/mite issue. Otherwise we use Ivomec 1% at the same dosage, but administer it orally. DO NOT use Ivomec Plus or Valbazen on pregnant does as it can cause abortion in pregnant does!
For lice/mites, which we have rarely had any issues with at all, we use Equisect horse flyspray as a preventative measure as a body spray for the goats and as a premise spray in the stalls. When necessary (usually in spring,fall,winter) we will treat the goats topically with Eprinex or diluted UltraBoss or Cylence. All goats are shaved down in the summer before show season & Linear Appraisal so that we can check for any skin conditions, health issues, and to get updated pictures & check the overall confirmation of the animal.
Our Vaccinations & Supplements Program
We vaccinate annually for: CD/T - (Tetanus) Babies get their CD/T vaccinations @ 3 weeks & again at 6 weeks. The bucks get an annual CD/T booster in late summer and the pregnant doe's get a CD/T booster 4 weeks BEFORE kidding so that it transfers to the babies before they're born.
* We administer Selenium & Vitamin E Gel or injectable BoSe & Copper Bolus' multiple times throughout the year, especially 1 month before breeding season. We have determined that maintaining proper Selenium/Vit E levels & copper levels in our herd has helped with breedings, coat & hoof condition, overall confirmation, improvments in ease of kidding & stronger healthier kids too.
HOOF TRIMMING IS IMPORTANT!! Hooves are trimmed about every 6 weeks depending on the needs of the animals.
HOOF TRIMMING VIDEO: This is a great lil' video about trimming your goats feet. We trim very similar to this, only we trim a little deeper & yes, we usually run into a touch of blood, which is very normal. I even have the same sander which works great at ensuring a nice level plane on the hoof! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k-vnw0uIRzo&feature=related
Baby Bottle Feeding
We believe whole-heartedly that a baby is best left with it's momma in those early days. We want our babies to get that wonderful colostrum in the first few days and to build that beautiful mother/kid bond. We spend time with the kids every day socializing them to people. After a week or two we will start teaching the kids to take a bottle so that we can begin separating them from mom at night & during shows. It also helps to make them friendly. A basic rule of thumb for bottle feeding goats is to feed 10% to 15% of the kids current body weight per day. We do not use replacers at all... we are fortunate to have goats milk onhand and we mix it 50/50 with Whole Cow milk from the local grocery store.
This is a basic bottle feeding schedule (we believe feeding smaller amounts, more often is KEY to avoiding issues):
Day 1 thru day 3 feed 2-3 oz. goat colostrum every 2-3 hours.
Day 3 thru day 7 feed 3-5 oz. PASTURIZED goats milk and/or whole milk, 4-6 times a day.
For weeks 2-3 feed 6-8 oz. PASTURIZED goats milk and/or whole milk, 3-4 times a day.
For weeks 4-6 feed 8-10 oz. PASTURIZED goats milk and/or whole milk 2-3 times a day.
For the next 6-8 weeks feed 10-12 oz. PASTURIZED goats milk and/or whole milk 2 times a day.
To wean, cut back to smaller amounts 2x a day for a few days, then to once a day for a few days to encourage the kids to eat 'normal' goat rations.
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