Posts Tagged ‘colostrum deprivation’

Colostrum, the thick, sticky, yellowish “milk” that a dam produces during the first several days after birthing has a huge significance in a newborn goat kid’s life. 

Newborn kids are born with little or no immunity to disease.  Unlike some mammals,  a dam’s immunities are not passed on to their offspring through the placenta.  Once a kid is born it has no protection from the environment, be it susceptibility to the ambient temperature or microbes, until a sufficient amount of colostrum is ingested. 

A newborn kid should receive approximately 10% of its body weight in colostrum the first day of life, ideally in the first 6 to 12 hours of birth. The rule of thumb on our farm is within the first 2-3 hours.  The absorption rate factors of the protective qualities of colostrum drop considerably after the first 6 to 12 hours.

If a doe gives birth and cannot nurse her newborn kid, or if the newborn cannot nurse for any reason, getting colostrum into their system via a bottle is a must.  The best solution is to milk the dam and feed it back to the kid, heat-treating the colostrum if (CAE or other disease prevention) is preferred. 

If the dam cannot be milked, colostrum from another goat from the same farm is optimal.  This  the proper anti-bodies, unique to the farm, are contained in the colostrum.

The next best first-feeding solution is colostrum from a goat from another farm, preferably a nearby area. 

Colostrum is available in powdered form.  I personally do not agree with using it, unless absolutely nothing else is available.  Ready-made colostrum does not provide any life-saving protection from disease, however, it does provide initial nutrition.  I recommend to a goat owner that breeds to keep a frozen bottle of colostrum, or two, in their freezer. 

Please note:  if a newborn kid is chilled, unable to nurse, never attempt a forced feeding.  To ensure the organs in the body are warm enough to function properly, the kid’s internal temperature must fall within the correct range.  I outlined the steps that we take on our farm to assist chilled newborn kids in a blog post here.

Colostrum deprivation is a known condition that results from a lack of colostrum in a newborn kid’s first 6-12 hours of life.  The condition results in a sick newborn, one that does not fight infection well, and one that may not mature properly throughout their life.

Happy kidding and goat-raising!

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