Alchemy Acres
Tip of the Month

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This month, we're going to consider the basics of raising healthy kids.

You've gone to a lot of trouble and expense to purchase the right bloodlines, so surely you want your babies to be everything their genetics say they can be. It is important to treat your kids to "Primo" conditions. This means you must start with the pregnant doe. As the TV ads say - " Now is the time to baby your baby". Feed your doe a nutritious ration. If she's not healthy, she sure can't make a strapping, healthy baby. And take the time and extra money to vaccinate your does for tetanus and enterotoxemia. Its a pittance compared to the benefits you'll get from the improved quality of the colostrum. That first milk from the doe is all-important to your baby. First, it must be of high quality. After all - garbage in, garbage out! Secondly, get that colostrum into the baby as soon as possible after its born. The ability of the baby to absorb antibodies present in the colostrum is greatest for the first hour after birth. After 24 hours, the ability of the baby to absorb the goodies is almost nil. So make certain that the baby gets lots of wholesome colostrum right after birth.

The hygenic conditions under which you raise your babies can have a marked effect on the overall health of the kids. Cleanliness is next to "healthfulness". Keep your feeding utensils clean. If you wouldn't want to drink from that bottle, then its not good for the kid, either. We wash the milk bottles after every feeding. The feeders are kept clean, also. If you feed your kids out of mud or crap-encrusted feed pans, you're asking for trouble. And keep the bedding clean and dry. We change the bedding at least every other day. On the day that the bedding is not changed, it is top-dressed with lots of fresh, dry hay. Never use moldy hay for bedding, as babies nibble at everything. We use whatever hay was left over from the year before. Its clean, but does not necessarily have the nutrition we want when we feed the animals.

Good, wholesome chow is paramount to raising healthy kids. Feed your does lots of vitamins so the milk that goes into the kids is top quality. Feed your babies the most tender and palatable hay. You want to get them building those little rumens just as soon as possible. And hay is what is going to do the most for your babies. Feed the babies grain as soon as they will eat it. We start our youngsters on a mixture of cracked corn and whole oats. Give only as much as they'll clean up at that time. That way they don't end up eating from a filthy pan. After they're eating the corn/oats mixture, we work in some goat chow. We offer grain BEFORE they have the bottles. If they're hungry, they're more apt to eat solids. We also supplement the rations with liquid vitamins. A fast-growing kid may need a few extra goodies. We use RedGlo. There are others on the market. Just make certain that the vitamins don't have too much copper. This is not good for goats. You might want to ask your vets recommendations regarding vitamin intake. Another supplement you might offer is Vitamin E oil on the chow. And baking soda offered free choice can keep the pH of the rumen just right. You don't want your babies to have sour stomachs. And yeast is also a good additive to dress up the chow. Vitamin B keeps those appetites strong, and it can forestall a host of ill effects. And, of course, always offer your babies clean, fresh water. We haul fresh water twice daily - in the morning and evening. Just make certain that the baby can't accidentally fall in the bucket and drown. We start with a dog pan full of water and work our way up through successively bigger buckets.

Keep a close eye on your babies. At the first sign of a loose stool, we give a mixture of Pepto Bismol and KOPectate. This usually solves the problem. If it does not, we start a course of Sulmet. We do not put it in the drinking water, but instead dose (with a syringe) the specific animal with the amount recommended on the package. It must taste terrible, because they seem to hate the stuff, but it almost always cures the case of the trots. If you've had a problem with diarrhea, you might want to give the kid a course of electrolytes to prevent damage from dehydration. Your vet can advise you on this score.

So in conclusion, I want to emphasize the importance of good kid care. Get your babies off to a great start in life, and they'll reward you with a lifetime of productivity. They'll milk more, have a greater number of kids, and have fewer health problems as adults. In short, they will have become everything that their genetics allowed.

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Welcome PageDescription of Dairy HerdWhat's New at the Site?Crafts and Nifty StuffAlchemy's MenagerieTip of the MonthPrevious Tips of the MonthOther Resources of Interest