Improving doe nutrition 4-6 weeks prior to kidding increases kid survival

Gabby Brooke, Nutritionist, Alltech Lienert Australia

Much of the fetal growth occurs during the last trimester of gestation, the 4-6 week period at the end of a doe’s pregnancy. During this time, does should be provided with a nutritional supplement which meets the increased nutrient demands and allow her to start producing adequate quality and quantity of colostrum (to increase the post-natal survivability of kids). Feeding adequate levels of energy, nutrients, vitamins and minerals will also lower the incidence of pregnancy toxaemia, a condition that occurs when pregnant does are using more nutrients than what they are consuming.

The below table outlines the changing nutrient requirements for protein, energy and dry matter intake through various stages of pregnancy:

 Crude ProteinEnergy (ME) (MJ/kg)Dry Matter Intake
Late gestation, single kid10.1%81.9kg
Early lactation, single kid10.5%81.7kg
Late gestation, twins12.8%101.7kg
Early lactation, twins12.2%82.0kg
Source: National Research Council, Nutrient Requirements of Small Ruminants, 2007

Once energy and protein needs are met, adequate levels of necessary minerals need to be included in order to maintain high levels of reproductive and milking efficiency. A balance of both macro and micro (trace) minerals are required.

The below table shows the dietary requirements of high producing meat goats for macro and trace minerals:

Macro MineralDietary requirements (mg/kg/DM)Trace MineralDietary requirements (mg/kg/DM)

Vitamins will need to be included in the supplement, depending on the forage available. Although Vitamin A and E are found in high-quality forages, they should still form part of the supplementation program, particularly in dry conditions (no green feed). Vitamin D will be synthesised by the goat in outdoor conditions, rumen microorganisms will synthesise Vitamin K and the Vitamin B and C groups are synthesised within the cells of the body.

Offering does a loose mineral lick provides the animals with the vitamins and trace minerals they need during periods of increased stress such as late gestation and early lactation. Combining this with an optimal protein source will ensure doe condition is maintained throughout kidding and lactation, resulting in easier management of the herd, which is especially important for does with multiples.

Alltech Lienert offers a range of products to suit commercial goat operations and programs can be tailored to suit the pasture and soil conditions as well as the production goals of individual farms. The Supplamins and Blueprint range’s of loose mineral licks include a balanced blend of essential vitamins and minerals required for various stages of life and season.

An example gestation ration could include – urea, vegetable protein meals, macro and trace minerals plus a loose mineral lick such as Blueprint SuperMag, provided on a ad-lib basis to stock. Blueprint SuperMag includes elevated levels of magnesium, phosphorus and calcium. Increased levels of magnesium will assist with muscle function, tetany control and high stress periods. Phosphorus will assist with growth, milk production and fertility, with calcium included for bone growth and milk quality. Essential vitamins will boost intakes to avoid any deficits during the transition period.

Another key product to consider is Supplamins Pasture Boost + Mycosorb® A+. This product is ideal for minimising the risk of mycotoxins, with the inclusion of a quality, broad-spectrum mycotoxin binder, Mycosorb A+. Combining both yeast and algae, Mycosorb A+ tackles mycotoxins as a whole rather than just dealing with individual mycotoxin challenges.

Our goat product selection guide is a handy tool to assist with product choice appropriate to your situation.

For more information on our product range contact your local Alltech Lienert representative or call 1800 649 231.