Saving the Chilled Down Kid
by Coni Ross, AMGA Regional Coordinator
When a kid goat is born, depending on the weather, it only has a short time before it becomes too weak to nurse. On a warm still day, this time frame may be several hours. On a cold, windy, wet day, the time is very short. The kid not only needs colostrum, it needs glucose to its brain. Glucose from the colostrum provides the energy that makes the kid wake up, and nurse more strongly, and begin the process of survival.
Usually, the kid will stand and nurse quickly, and it can stand amazing weather if its tummy is full. The faster it can nurse successfully, the more likely it is to survive. Several maternal factors can influence the successful nursing of' the kid. One factor is the wax plug in the tit. This past year, possibly because of the drought, there was a very high incidence of wax plugged tits. The wax so hard, that even a vigorous kid couldn't break the seal. Some were so difficult, I could hardly milk out the plug.
Attention should be paid when a kid seems to be nursing, but is humped up and empty. If the kid has a full tummy, it will have its tail up. If you need to strip out the wax plugs, be sure to observe the quality of the colostrum. There should be no blood, pus, or foul odor. You may have to help the kid to nurse. Restrain the doe, then milk a little milk into the kid's mouth. If the kid is weak, you may have to tickle its tail, to stimulate the sucking reflex. This is the time when three hands would come in handy.
If you can't get the kid to nurse, give it 5cc of 50% Glucose by mouth. Put the kid and mama together in a warm, close pen or kidding stall. Wait 15 min., then try again to help the kid nurse: it should be alert enough by then to have a suck reflex. Also, the quicker it nurses, the stronger the suck reflex.
When you find a kid flat and cold, it is very important to warm it, and get some 50% glucose into it. (5cc by mouth). The best way to warm it is almost hot water, but this removes the scent, and the mama may not claim it ( unless you have placenta to rub on it). The other way is to use the fro-zen packs that come with vaccines (heated in the microwave and wrapped in an old towel). Be sure to put one pack on the kid's head (when his brain is warm, he's more likely to wake up), with one on the chest, and one on the abdomen. Tube feed the kid its mama's own colostrum.
As soon as possible, return the kid to its mama, in a stall. Help the kid to nurse. Keep the kid and doe stalled for at least 24 hours to be sure the kid is stable. Always check the doe's udder. Be sure the kid can nurse the teets. The udder may be so full that the kid can't nurse. You may need to milk her out. Be sure to save all the colostrum milked out. Freeze in ice trays, then put in air tight freezer bags or containers. When defrost- ing, always warm in warm water, not a microwave, as this will de-stroy the antibodies.
If a kid is born during a difficult birth, you may need to resuscitate it. Clean the nose and mouth off, be sure the airway is open. Immedi-ately, rub briskly with a towel: don't be afraid to hurt it. It needs strong stimulation of the cutaneous nerves to send a signal to the brain. The excess electrical stimulation wakes the kid and helps respiration be-gin. If the kid is not breathing by now, you may have to do mouth to nose. Some people hesitate to do this. I've done it so many times, I don't think about it. Close the mouth with your hand, then give two small puffs of air into the nose. You may have to repeat this several times. I've revived many a kid like this. Unfortunately, the kid is usually from one of your best does. The kid from an ordinary goat probably wouldn't have a problem.