Whether you are shopping for your first goats, or adding to your herd, picking out a new kid (or three) is always exciting. So you’ve found your kid and you’re ready to go pick him or her up. Are you prepared? Here are my thoughts on preparing for and picking up your new kid.
Before going to pick up your kid: If you are asking your seller to vaccinate or deworm/delouse your kid, ask that this be done several days prior to your scheduled pickup to give the kids time to recover from the stress.
Locate a goat veterinarian in your area if you don’t already have one. Call and introduce yourself, get your information entered as a new client and learn their emergency numbers and hours.
Plan your transportation. Kids should be transported in a safe enclosure, large enough that they can stand, turn around and lie down. Kids that do not know each other should not be squeezed together in a small crate. Kids should be protected from direct wind in the open back of a truck, and from the rain. (Side note about kids and bathroom habits: If you are transporting your kids in your car in a crate, keep in mind that kids can back up to the bars and pee or poop through the bars outside the crate.)
Set up your quarantine pen. Besides secure fencing and shelter from the weather, you pen should include fresh water and free choice supplements. I put out loose salt, baking soda and a mineral mix, each in a separate container. You can google “goat biosecurity” for many articles on biosecurity procedures.
The day of pickup: Before leaving the seller’s place, ask if you can have a sample of hay and grain to help your kid transition onto the feed at your place. A one or two day supply is plenty.
Do you have a signed sales contract? Your kid’s medical records? Get these before you leave.
When you get home: Once you get your kid home, put your new kid in the quarantine pen. Plan on keeping your kids apart from your goats long enough for any illnesses to show up. There are many opinions about isolation times ranging from 2 to 6 weeks. To some extent, the time depends on where you got your kid. Kids from a known breeder whose management practices you trust will need a shorter time than a kid you bought at auction. I personally have waiting only a few days with kids from a local breeder I trust. No nose rubbing through the fences with your other goats or shared feed/water buckets please. Change your shoes or clean your boots when entering and leaving the pen. Wash your hands. If you got a single new kid, pick one goat from your herd that is a good size and temperment match to live with your kid.
I like to withhold grain for the first 24 hours at least, waiting until I see that the kid has calmed down and is settling in. Only hay and forage during this transition. When the kid is settled, then slowly add grain back into the diet.
I give a prebiotic (not a probiotic) at least twice daily for the first couple days and during the transition back onto grain. I use this one.
After the first week (assuming the kid is settled in and healthy), if the kid was vaccinated, I give a dose of homeopathic thuja 30C by mouth. I also give some montmorrillonite clay and some zeolite for a few days.
Quarantine is also a good time to do a fecal check for parasites (including tapeworms) and deworm as necessary. See my blog post on parasites for more information.
The quarantine period is also a good time for your veterinarian to check your kid and perform any testing for diseases. (What diseases you test for, if any, is a topic for another post.) Some breeders consider the vet check optional during quarantine.
Once your kid finishes quarantine, you can begin the transition into your herd. Watch for excessive bullying and be prepared to intervene if necessary. During the transition, resume the daily prebiotic and make sure your kid is getting access to the free choice baking soda, salt and minerals.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration or American Veterinary Medical Association, and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Always consult your veterinarian about any changes to your animal’s health program.