January 31, 2013

Feeding Pregnant Goats

Text is taken from Raising goats for Dummies. Read the full page here.

A pregnant doe doesn't have increased nutritional needs until the last two months of gestation, which is when the kids do 70 percent of their growing. But the doe does need additional water throughout pregnancy. A feeding program for pregnant goats is as follows:
  • Early pregnancy (first 3 months): Feed does to maintain their body condition or to improve their body condition if they are thin. You can meet their nutritional requirements with good hay or pasture, or some added grain for thin does. Unless they're lactating, does don't need grain in early pregnancy. Do not overfeed. Overfeeding can lead to complications such as hypocalcaemia and ketosis.
  • Throughout pregnancy: Monitor and compensate for pregnant does' increased water consumption. Pregnant goats can drink up to four gallons a day. Monitor body condition and adjust feed and water accordingly.
  • Late pregnancy (last two months): Does' nutritional requirements increase greatly during this time because the unborn kids are growing rapidly. Start grain gradually (just a handful a day) until your does are eating up to a half-pound of grain a day (depending on the goat size and breed) or half to two-thirds of their normal milking ration by the time they kid, in addition to hay. Gradually replace their hay with alfalfa so they get the proper balance of calcium and phosphorus. Continue to monitor their body condition and adjust feed accordingly; does carrying multiple kids need even more calories and nutrients.

Make sure not to overfeed grain during pregnancy to avoid the risk of having the kids grow so large that the doe has birthing difficulties. And very important is that your doe has access to a free-choice mineral mix or block. I like to also provide baking soda at all times as it helps balance a goats acidity level in their rumen. Anouther thing I like to give to my pregnant does is apple cider vinegar.

January 6, 2013

Roxy is now (hopefully) Pregnant

When I went to milk Roxy yesterday morning she was wagging her tail almost non-stop, which is one of the signs of heat. I gave Cassie a call and we were soon on our way over, Roxy in the back of our car. We were lucky, as she was in standing heat. All it took was to put them together for fifteen minutes, then we loaded Roxy back up in the car and went home again. Her due date is June 4.

January 3, 2013

Update on Roxy

On Tuesday we brought Roxy home. She was happy, but not bred. It seems that I somehow made a slight mistake in my timing for bringing her over; I missed the beginning of her heat and when we dropped her off she was beginning to go out of heat.

A good time to breed a doe is shortly after they go into heat. The best time is in the middle of their heat. Another good time is near the end of their heat, but some goats don't like to be. Roxy seams to be one of those. At the end of her heat, though she was wagging her tail violently, she would not let Rah touch her. When Cassie held her to see if she'd let Rah come near, Roxy broke away and ran to the other side of the pen. She didn't use her voice, but with her eyes she said: "How dare you!"

We'll try again soon, and probably to Roxy's joy. Roxy very much enjoyed herself there and she has a good reason. Cassie has a warm barn, really nice alfalfa-mix hay, and water heaters to keep the water warm. Even so, I can tell that Roxy is glad to be home. And I'm glad to have her back.