Conducting a Newborn Check in Goat Kids

 

Why a Newborn Check?

Shortly after each kid is born you should do an initial newborn check to make sure that each kid has all its pieces in the right places. In addition to checking for obvious things, such as an anus, you also want to know if a kid has any disqualifying defects so that you don’t offer it for sale or get your hopes up about its future in your herd.

What to Check?Goat Kid Newborn Check

Peeing or pooping is generally a good sign that the newborn’s plumbing is in working order. Although it is rare, kids are occasionally born without an anus, and obviously, they will not survive. If a kid latches on and nurses well, the mouth is probably in good shape. However, if milk comes out the kid’s nose or if it has difficulty latching on, run your finger along the roof of the kid’s mouth to be sure it doesn’t have a cleft palate.

Check that each kid—buck or doe—has only two teats. Extra teats are a disqualification in show goats, and they are not something you want in milkers. In addition to possibly getting in the way when milking, extra teats can also get infected if they are functional. If they are not functional, kids can get confused and try to suck on them and then not grow properly because they are not getting enough to eat. A buck with extra teats should not be used for breeding, so you should plan to castrate it.

You also want to be sure that bucklings have two testicles, regardless of whether you plan to keep them intact. If testicles are not descended at birth, the odds are good that they will not descend. A buck with only one testicle should not be bred, and it is impossible to easily castrate a buck with an undescended testicle, making it a challenge to sell as a pet. With an undescended testicle, he will still get stinky and act bucky. Most people will use a cryptorchid as a meat animal.

This is Part 3 in our series on issues related to kidding season. It is an excerpt from Raising Goats Naturally: The Complete Guide to Milk, Meat, and More by Deborah Niemann. Here is Part 1 and Part 2.

newly born goat

16 thoughts on “Conducting a Newborn Check in Goat Kids”

  1. I had 2 kids born last night. They both looked very healthy and were up and eating easily. Today, I just noticed that the buckling has a yellowish, and messy bottom. Is this a concern? What could it be and how should I care for him. The doeling looks great.

    Reply
    • Congratulations! Yellow poop is great news 12 hours after birth! 🙂 It means the baby has nursed enough to get enough colostrum to poop out all of the meconium. Yellow poop is normal for babies consuming mama’s milk. As they start eating and consuming hay and other foods over the coming weeks, the poop will turn to little brown pellets.

      Reply
  2. It’s fun to read of others having kids. I decided not to bred my doe this year after her having four kids and then, five last spring! We don’t need up here until Nov/Dec with our -30 and -40 winter temps.

    Best wishes to all those new kids
    Barb

    Reply
  3. Enjoyed this article immensely! Review is always good. I raise pets and have a dozen. Others think I know a lot now so I review and keep lots of contacts to share!!! Thanks!

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  4. is there always a waxy tip on the teats that need to be picked off. Last year we almost every doe had them and we just scratched it off. The milk wouldn’t come out until we did this. I was wondering if this isn’t done, obviously it will come off on its own its from the kids nursing because not not all kids are born when you are there. Just wondered if it was necessary. the people we bought our does and buck from told us to do it.

    Reply
    • You don’t have to. It comes off when the kids start nursing or when you start milking. If you have a weak kid, you might just squeeze the teat to get the milk flowing.

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  5. About 5 days ago we had a little doeling born and she was a little slow off the mark as her mum was a first timer. She is nursing, peeing and pooping however we have noticed she has no anus.
    Should this be a concern? She is lively, runs around and jumps about like every other kid we have ever had born and she seems healthy in every way possible. Just wondering if you can shed any light on her survival with her not having an anus.
    Cheers Felicity

    Reply
    • There must be a typo in your question because a goat needs an anus to poop, and you said she is pooping. And a goat would not survive for 5 days without an anus. What exactly is missing?

      Reply
      • Her anatomically correct anal opening is missing.
        She is peeing and pooping out the same opening, which in this particular case seems to look exactly as a normal female goats vagina would but slightly enlarged.
        The faecal matter is exiting her from the highest point of the opening and her urine is exiting her from the lower point of the opening.
        I have bred and raised a lot of goats over the last 20 yrs and never come across this situation. I have read that there are rare situations where the kids don’t have an anus at all and they die but this goat is a real strange one. I would send a pic but firstly I’m not sure if the content is appropriate and also I’m not that tech savvy.

        Reply
        • Since she is totally unique, I have no way of knowing how she is really put together. In fact, a vet might need to do imaging to figure it out. If you are within driving distance of a university vet hospital, I’d suggest taking her there. Since they have specialists, that would be your best bet in terms of finding someone who could give you more information about her prognosis.

          Reply

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