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Boer goats have a lot of benefits: they’re a wonderful supply of meat and milk, they’re disease-resistant, they’re terrific mothers, and they can adapt to harsh situations. For the first few weeks following delivery, unfortunately, the children require special attention and management. If you don’t take adequate care of them during this crucial stage, you could lose up to half of them.
The ewe of a Boer goat
The importance of taking care of the kids begins even before they are born. To put it another way, you must care for the ewe, their mother. Ewes can breed as young as six months of age if they have enough nourishment.
You should not, however, allow them to mate while they are still young, as this would impede their growth and make it difficult for them to reproduce again. Mate them just when they’ve attained two-thirds of the adult ewes’ average body weight.
For 36 days, keep the ram with the ewes. Every 18 days, a ewe comes into heat, so you should give each ewe two chances to conceive in 36 days. If you leave the ram with the ewes any longer, he will get weary and unproductive. Perform the following four to six weeks before mating to get the optimum breeding results:
● Zinc and manganese should be given to the ewes if needed (your vet can advise you). They’ll be more fruitful as a result of it.
● Vaccinate them against enzootic abortion and enterotoxemia, and give them anti-roundworm and anti-nose-worm medications.
● Teats that are injured, bunched, or overly big should be culled from ewes.
● Eight to twelve weeks before they kid, inoculate the ewes against uterine gangrene. This is crucial since the sickness can kill a sheep just two or three days after she has given birth.
If you have any questions regarding any of these issues, consult your veterinarian or other animal health professional. For five months, the ewes are pregnant. In the last six weeks of pregnancy, make sure they eat enough to acquire 7 to 9 kilograms. The babies will be born small and weak if they don’t eat adequately at this point, and the ewes won’t have enough milk to feed them.
The season for kidding
There are two methods for kraaling ewes with kids:
● In 1 large pen: The entire herd ewes and kids are kept together in one enormous corral, but the newborn babies are left behind when the ewes go out to graze. Although this is a popular strategy, it has a severe drawback: when the ewes return, the kids are extremely thirsty and rush to take milk from any sheep. Some kids may not get enough to drink as a result of the confusion, and some ewes may not release all of their milk.
● In tiny camps: This is a more effective strategy that is popular among farmers who have larger herds.
10 to 20 pregnant ewes are placed in a camp with food, shelter, and shade and are permitted to give birth in peace. They stay for two to three weeks with their children. Following that, both the ewes and the kids join the herd. It’s critical to make sure that each kid receives enough milk, no matter what method you employ.
Paint a number on each ewe and then the same number on her kids to make things simple. You can then match the mothers and children. If you have a small camp, stroll among the ewes three times a day, separating the children from their mothers and ensuring that each child has ample water. Use the numbers to match the offspring with their moms when the ewes return from grazing if you keep the kids in a single corral.
Female kids and wethers (castrated rams) should be weaned at 15 to 18 weeks and ram kids at 12 to 15 weeks. They should be sold when they are three to six months old, at the very least. To make breeding the kids as simple and inexpensive as possible, make sure they have enough grazing for at least three months after they’ve been weaned.
During the first 10 days after weaning, kids will not gain much weight. Give them a ‘creep feed’ ration beginning at three weeks of age to help them grow weight.
Goats are susceptible to the following two diseases:
Exthyma that is easily spread (sore mouth). Small sores appear around the kid’s mouth as a result of this infection, which can be passed from the lamb to the ewe’s udder and cause sores and mastitis.
In severe cases, kids may experience pain and lose weight. The scabs dry up and fall off after one to four weeks, and the animal improves. Goats that have healed in this way are usually impervious to attacks in the future. A vaccination is provided for lambs who are one week old or older. Take precautions! This illness is easily transmitted to people and causes painful skin blisters. When working with diseased animals, always use gloves.
● Heartwater. The bont tick is the vector for this dangerous disease. It’s common along the coast, as well as in the country’s north and east. High temperature, seizures, difficulty walking, and chewing movements are all signs of the infection. Antibiotics and regular dipping are effective treatments for the illness.