The Sunday Mail
Farmer’s Diary with Sheuneni Kurasha
Welcome dear reader to our column where we explore all things farming.
I am humbled by the overwhelming feedback received from across the country. This column is meant to ignite interest and share knowledge on farming.
This week we continue to focus on boer goats farming, specifically how to care for the kids and does after birth, commonly referred to as after kidding care.
In order to ensure that does deliver with ease and that they give birth to healthy kids, farmers must keep them healthy and strong during their gestation period.
For the kid, soon after birth you must clean its nasal passages and in the event that the umbilical cord has not yet dried, you must apply iodine. Make sure kids nurse immediately so that they get enough colostrum which gives them antibodies that help to develop their immune systems. Kids must get 10 percent of their live weight in colostrum within the first 12 to 24 hours.
Occasionally you get a doe that will not accept her kid for some unknown reasons. In such cases, kids can be fed thawed colostrum frozen from other does. Sometimes, other does accept and nurse them. To encourage this, identify a doe with a single kid and use that doe’s afterbirth to cover the rejected kid.
Male kids should be weaned at 12 to 15 weeks and female ones and those castrated are weaned at 15 to 18 weeks. Make sure there is enough grazing for them for at least three months after weaning. While it is always tempting to pay all the attention to the new arrivals, it is important for equal attention and care to be given to the mother as well.
Does should ordinarily give birth without assistance. After a doe has given birth, it goes into the third stage of labour, that is, the delivery of the placenta. The placenta is typically passed within an hour or two of kidding, but sometimes can take up to 12 hours. Farmers should keep an eye on the doe to make sure that she passes her placenta.
In the event that the doe has not passed the placenta within reasonable time, you should contact the veterinarian immediately as the doe may require intervention to get the placenta out. A retained placenta can be very dangerous to the doe. Farmers should never pull the placenta. One of the effective remedies for a retained placenta is to tie a wet rag to the placenta to add some additional weight. As is the case with most mammals, the doe will swallow her placenta with no problems. Otherwise the placenta should be disposed by burying it deep or burning.
Farmers should always remember that kidding takes a toll on does, no matter how quick and smooth the labour process may seem. Once all of the kids are out and have been cared for, attention should immediately turn to the doe. The doe should be given warm water with molasses to help replace lost fluids and energy. This also boosts blood sugar and provides vital nutrients such as potassium, magnesium and calcium, which are vital for milk production. Subsequently, the does requires plenty of good quality forage and water to sustain enough energy to care for their kids.
Within 24 hours after kidding, does must be kept warm. The stress of kidding can trigger an extreme parasite load while the doe’s immunity is still low. In cases where one has to enter the doe to assist with delivery, it is always recommended to treat your doe with Oxytetracycline or other alternatives to prevent infection. Assisted birth can also result in tearing of the vulva. In such cases, the wound should be kept clean and dry until it heals.
Make sure the doe’s teats are not getting cracked as the discomfort from the chapped teats can cause the doe to avoid feeding her kids fully. In cases of multiple births, make sure that all the kids are have even access to the mother’s milk and are nursing evenly. In the event that kids are favouring one side, the doe should be milked in order to keep her udder even in order to avoid mastitis or tissue damage to the udder.
Another important task is to watch the doe’s weight carefully and adjust feeding as needed. As the demands of milk by their kids increases, the doe’s weight can drop drastically. There is need to make sure that does are getting enough healthy calories to support milk production.
The benchmark is to keep the herd separated by nutritional needs in order to reduce cost of feed.
Yearlings, weanlings and nursing mothers should be put on high quality feed.
Paswera badza hapanyepi!
Till next week.
Sheuneni Kurasha is the Managing Director of Chivara Farm which specialises in stud breeding in boran cattle, boer goats and damara sheep, as well as dairy farming. For feedback, kindly get in touch on email: [email protected] or WhatsApp: +263 772 874 523.