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Kid Goat Rearing

The kid should be chosen no earlier than 3 days after birth but preferably 5 days. This allows the kid to have its mother’s colostrum, which gives protection against diseases and is high in both vitamins and minerals.

On occasion, kids have been rejected by their mother or are one of triplets, in which case one is removed from its mother as she is not able to adequately feed 3 of them. In these cases, the kid may not have received colostrum.

The healthy kid should have a dry small navel, lively movements, and clear bright eyes. If a buck (male) is chosen he should be wethered with a rubber ring from 1 week old, otherwise he will become smelly and possibly aggressive as he reaches maturity. Ensure both testicles are down before releasing the ring.

If kids are to be dehorned, they should be debudded by a vet at 2 weeks of age. Failure to do this at the correct age often results in horn re-growth. Dehorning adult goats is often very unsatisfactory.

Basic rearing requires:

  • 2 x 10kg bags of milk powder 
  • 2 x lamb teats
  • Pellets or meal
  • Collar and lead
  • Brush
  • Drench
  • Vaccine

Some of these products are available at your local North Canterbury Vets clinic.


Ankid milk powder is specially formulated to meet the needs of your kid goat. Lamb/goat teats that can be screwed onto a coke or water bottle or complete lamb/goat feeding bottles. Supplement the milk with a lamb or multifeed pellet and keep moving your goat so it has access to fresh grass every day.

Unfortunately, abomasal bloat kills up to 30% of bottle-fed kids before weaning. If feeding big feeds 2-3x/day (as opposed to the natural 8x/day), then you are at HIGH risk & yoghurtising your milk is THE ONLY proven way to remove the risk.

See below for more about abomasal bloat and a yoghurtising recipe.

Vaccination and Drenching

If your kid has had adequate colostrum in the first 12hrs, from a mother that has had a vaccine within 1 month of giving birth, it will have 3 months protection. It will then require a Clostridial vaccine at weaning (or 3 months), a booster shot 1 month later and once a year, thereafter.
If the mother is not vaccinated, the kid will need a Clostridial vaccine at 2 weeks of age and a booster at 6 weeks. If your kid is unvaccinated at the time of disbudding, it should also receive a Pulpy Kidney/Anti-tetanus shot.

The 6-in-1 vaccine prevents pulpy kidney disease, tetanus, black disease, malignant oedema and blackleg. If your kid is at high risk of abomasal bloat we recommend Covexin 10 vaccine from 2 weeks old.

Drench at about 6 weeks old and again at 10 weeks. An oral lamb drench is suitable for goats. Lice are a common problem. Lice treatment is available from North Canterbury Vets.

Housing requirements

A dry, draft free house or kennel is required. It will grow better if it is not using energy to keep warm.

Abomasal bloat

  • Naturally fed kids DO NOT GET abomasal bloat (they drink a few mls every hour)
  • The cause is bacteria in the stomach that eat lactose and produce gas
  • If feeding big feeds 2-3x/day (as opposed to the natural 8x/day), then you are at HIGH risk
  • Yoghurtising your milk is THE ONLY proven way to completely eradicate any risk
  • Adding probiotic yoghurt at the time of feeding DOES NOT prevent abomasal bloat, and may even make the risk higher.

Your options are:

  1. Feed 10-15% of your kid's bodyweight (adjust weekly), divided into small feeds throughout the day (6+)
  2. If you cannot do this (most people are trying to work around school and work schedules), then YOGHURTISE!

WE RECOMMEND YOGHURTISING FROM 3 days old! (after colostrum)

Yoghurtising is where you add probiotic yoghurt and set the milk aside for 12-24hrs, so all the bacteria eat the lactose. You are giving your kid a lactose-free diet.

• Add 1kg of Anlamb to 3 Litres of warm water, in a large (9 Litre) bucket. Mix well with a stick blender or eggbeater
• Add 200mL of plain, unsweetened acidophilus yoghurt (from the supermarket). Mix together, place a lid over the top, and sit in the hot water cupboard for 12- 24hrs. Otherwise a polystyrene box with hot water bottle does the trick. Note, if your kid is in recovering from bloat, keep it on electrolytes until the first batch is ready at 12 hours.
• At this stage the milk should look and smell like yoghurt. Remove 200mL to set aside in the fridge. This will be your starter for the next batch (otherwise you’ll have to buy more yoghurt).
• Fill the bucket of yoghurt up to the 8 litre mark, with cold water, and mix.
• The yoghurtised milk is now ready to feed at normal quantities. It will last for 5 days in a cool place. Remember to start your next batch 24 hrs before it is needed.

Contact North Canterbury Vets if you have any concern about your goat’s health. We are happy to give advice over the phone as to whether an animal requires treatment.


 Reproduced with permission thanks to Franklin Vets, Papakura

Our Clinics & Hours

North Canterbury Veterinary Clinics operates four clinics throughout the Hurunui region.