Getting does up and going faster after kidding can help minimize body condition loss, help keep does and kids in good health throughout lactation and keep you on track for next breeding season.
A few simple, proactive steps can help does bounce back quickly after kidding season:
Start with goat body condition score
Post-kidding recovery starts by supporting body condition pre-kidding. Does in proper body condition going into kidding season will have the reserves they need to bounce back quicker post-kidding and recover lost condition.
Target a goat body condition score (BCS) of 3-3.5 going into kidding season and use this chart
to monitor your herd’s condition throughout gestation.
Add free-choice access to Purina® Accuration® Sheep & Goat Hi-Fat Block
during the third trimester to help maintain body condition. Fat has double the amount of energy when compared to a carbohydrate source such as corn, making it an efficient energy source to keep does in condition.
Dystocia and other kidding problems
Does will take longer to get back on feed, recover and provide nutrition to newborn kids if they experience health challenges during kidding.
The most common kidding problems are:
- Dystocia: Difficult or obstructed labor
- Hypocalcemia: Reduced calcium levels during late gestation
- Cervical dilation challenges: When kids are in the birth canal, but the cervix doesn’t dilate
- Ketosis (or pregnancy toxemia in goats): A lack of fat in the diet, resulting in does pulling from their body tissue for energy
Mineral nutrition can go a long way to help address these challenges. Provide a free-choice goat mineral high in calcium in the third trimester at a minimum (ideally year-round) to help maintain optimal health.
are another common concern immediately after kidding that can drain does’ energy and fat reserves. After kidding, administer a dewormer to head off any health issues.
Maintain BCS during lactation
Does will drop condition due to kidding stress and lactation energy requirements. The key is to minimize the amount of condition lost and get does back to the target BCS as soon as possible. Ideally, does should be a 2.5 BCS through lactation to hit a 2.5-3 BCS during breeding season.
If BCS drops too low during lactation, you could face increased nutrition expenses to get them back into shape in the lead-up to breeding. And, you could have challenges rebreeding, resulting in a late kidding season the following year.
Provide supplements high in fat and protein post-kidding and during lactation to recover and maintain body condition score. Free-choice goat mineral and a high-quality forage are also recommended.
If it’s not feasible to supplement all does throughout lactation, focus on high-risk animals –yearlings and low BCS animals.
Support does, support kids
In addition to maintaining BCS, supplemental goat nutrition during lactation provides many benefits to newborn kids
If does aren’t getting enough protein or energy, you could see decreased milk production, resulting in kids not growing as rapidly as they should. And, you could see a higher death loss percentage in young kids because mom isn’t milking adequately.
Look for a high-fat supplement to support milk production. An added benefit: Increasing fat in does’ diets will increase milk fat levels, helping kids grow and bloom more rapidly.
A faster return to normal after kidding season is possible and will make next breeding season much smoother. Learn more about how you can prepare does for a successful breeding season