It is essential that a kid is allowed to eat solid food or the rumen will not develop properly and it will lose condition or even die at weaning. Kids can be introduced to solid food at about 2 weeks old. The kids need to be supplemented until they join the flock. Kids should stay at home for 1-2 months and should be kept in a separate camp if possible to reduce their exposure to worms. Fresh clean water is very important as is a schedule for vaccinating and deworming the kid.
Different creep feeds
Build an area where the kid can “creep” away from its mother to eat and drink or give the kid feed and water when the mother goes out to graze. Creep feeding is a means of providing supplemental feed for kids that are still drinking from their mothers. It is most important at times when the does’ milk production is low (e.g in dry season when feed is scarce) or when there are lots of twins and triplets. Positive responses to feeding young kids has been experienced in terms of improved kid growth and survival on communal rangeland in east africa
There are different options for supplementing kids. The best feed would be one specially mixed and sold for growing kids called lamb creep feed. If this is not available, they could be fed meat goat feed or even a Voermol Game block. If it is not possible to buy commercial feed, kids can eat the leaves of trees as well as long as the tannin content is not too high or the tree is poisonous. Fresh cut grass or hay for roughage is also a good idea, but avoid cutting grass from areas where the adult goats have been as they may have left worms behind.
If you are feeding dry feed to the kids, it must always be fresh and palatable to kid goats. When kids are young they prefer finely ground feed, but as they get older, coarser feeds are preferred, and whole grains are digested very efficiently. If you are buying commercial feed from a shop you should choose one that has crude protein (CP) content of approximately 18% and approximately 12 MJ energy (metabolizable)/kg DM. It also must not contain urea since young kids are very susceptible to urea toxicity. As the kids get older, you can use a feed that contains less protein. For example, from weaning they can have a feed with 15-16% crude protein. Pelleted feeds are better because they make sure that the kids don’t select the “best” parts and leave the less desirable. When the creep feed is a concentrate, it is important to allow the kids access to good quality roughage. This will promote the development of proper rumen function.
Other factors to consider include:
- Kids begin to nibble at feed and hay at a very early age. Some kids may have a functional rumen and be chewing their cud by two weeks of age. Therefore, creep should be available by the time kids are 2-3 weeks old. They do not, however, begin to consume significant quantities until they are about 4 weeks old.
- Young kids will not consume stale or contaminated feed. Clean out old feed that accumulates in the troughs at least once per week. It can be fed to older animals, thus avoiding wastage.
Kids must have access to clean water in, or close to, the creep feeder.
NOTE: In goat farming business, kids are the profits of the business. If kid mortality rate is reduced then the profits will also be high. Here the breed of the doe and the kids
environment matters a lot. A healthy doe will give birth to a healthy kid(s). Make proper preparation for your business in terms of breeds, housing… among others. The only professionals help you succeed in goat farming are KIMD CONSTRUCTION AND FARM CONSULTANTS LTD.
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The idea is to allow kids access to feed while precluding access to does and older animals. Most creep feeders are constructed by placing troughs in a pen or by building a pen around a feeder in the pasture. Either way, the challenge is to design a gate or entrance through which only the kids can pass. Spacing between the vertical bars of the gate needs to be 12-15 cm.
Allow 20 cm of feeder space per kid. The feeding trough should be constructed with barriers on top so that contamination from kids standing or playing in the feeder is minimized.
The fence or pen in which the creep feeder is located must be more durable than a typical pasture or field fence because older goats will try hard to gain access to the creep feed.
Creep feeders should be located near water, shade or other places where goats relax during the day. Kid goats enjoy climbing. Placing stumps, cable spools or large rocks in larger creep pens or near the creep feeder may provide an additional attraction.
The continuous presence of dry, fresh feed is important. Never let a creep feeder get completely empty.Feeders should be protected from rain. Wet feed will likely mould and should therefore be removed from a creep feeder immediately.Open troughs such as pieces of gutter or lengths of PVC pipe cut in half with ends blocked will work, but must be cleaned and filled frequently (at least once a day). Also, kids will get in the troughs, and urinate and defecate on the feed, which will lead to wastage. Deep troughs or those with sloping bottoms can trap kids and result in suffocation. These “feed troughs” can be attached onto the side of the creep pen and raised off the ground. You can put a board underneath the trough to keep their feet out of the troughs. This forces the kids to stand on their hind legs to eat and keeps the feed clean.
Creep feed does not necessarily have to be offered in a feeder or poured out of a sack. Creep grazing is a viable option for boosting weight gain by nursing kids, using a highquality forage such as lucerne, soybeans, cowpeas, groundnuts or clovers.
Prevent disease outbreaks amongst your kids. Outbreaks of orf may occur because they are sharing the same feed and water. It may be worth vaccinating against orf with a vaccine such as Scabivax Forte. Hygiene is important and the pens should be disinfected regularly to control germs, especially to prevent outbreaks of coccidiosis. Another option is to use a commercial feed that contains medicines called coccidiostats.
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