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BRIEF COMMUNICATION: Immediate removal of dairy goat kids from the doe as a strategy to manage colostrum intake

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posted on 2023-05-03, 14:52 authored by Gosia Zobel, Bee Li Tan, Laura Deeming
A dam’s colostrum ensures that her kids gain immunity in their early life, however it can also transfer disease from the doe to the kid. Therefore, around the world, many dairy goat farmers have begun routinely removing kids from does immediately after birth to limit the kids’ colostrum consumption and potential disease transference. The goat kids are then fed alternatively sourced, bovine or heat-treated caprine colostrum to provide immunity, while eliminating a source of disease. The goals of this study were to: 1) determine the prevalence of immediate kid removal on NZ farms, and 2) compare the number of kids successfully removed as reported by the farmer with the number of kids with serum caprine IgG concentrations indicating they had ingested colostrum from the dam. A total of 416 kids (24 - 33 kids per farm) on 16 farms in the Waikato region of NZ were enrolled. Blood samples were collected between 24 – 48 h after birth to establish serum IgG concentrations. For each kid, farmers recorded whether they were successful at removing it immediately after birth and the colostrum (type and volume) fed. Of the 16 farms, 8 were actively attempting to remove kids immediately after birth. However, the reported prevalence of this practice varied on these farms (61 ± 35%, range: 8 – 100% of enrolled kids were removed). No farms prevented ingestion of goat colostrum in all their kids. Only two farms had high success, these farms had consistent farmer presence during kidding. Two farms fed heat-treated goat colostrum, which could not be distinguished from dam colostrum to determine successful kid removal. These results indicate that many farmers attempt to employ immediate kid removal from the doe. Nonetheless, some farmers struggle to remove the kids in a timely fashion, and therefore fail to prevent colostrum ingestion and potential disease transference.


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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.


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New Zealand Society of Animal Production (NZSAP)

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Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production




Zobel, G., Tan, B. L., & Deeming, L. (2016). BRIEF COMMUNICATION: Immediate removal of dairy goat kids from the doe as a strategy to manage colostrum intake. Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, 76, 169–171.


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