Boer Goat doe with kids at foot


The kidding period is the most important phase of any smallstock operation. Kid mortalities under extensive conditions is an important problem which can negatively impact on production levels. Losses of up to 50% can occur as a result of poor supervision and poor or overfeeding of ewes. Nutrition and care of the doe during pregnancy, particularly the last trimester, is thus of great importance. Good feeding and nutritional regimens during late pregnancy are important as the doe should gain 7 – 9kg during the last six weeks of pregnancy.


Kidding should occur during the time of year when good quality grazing is most plentiful and will be until weaning of kids at around 3 – 4 months of age. This assists in the birthing of strong healthy kids at the lowest cost possible. It is preferable to plan in such a way that roughage of good quality will continue to be in plentiful supply for a further 2-4 months.  This is especially important for lactating does to ensure rapidly growing kids. Correct and sufficient supplementation with the correct lick is particularly important in areas where production is in areas with a low carrying capacity. Try to keep mating time as short as possible – ideally, 36 days. In this period, eah does will come on heat twice. This short kidding season simplifies management of the kidding season considerably.
Prior to Kidding
Does in the final stages of pregnancy (last trimester) must be dosed for internal parasites, especially nose worm so that they are able to easily find  their kids. Scent plays an extremely important part in kid recognition and therefore it is important that the does’ nose is clear of any parasites and other obstructions. The administration of Vitamin A will improve general health, raise immunity levels generally and prevent afterbirth retention.
Inoculate against gangrene of the uterus 2-3 months before the kidding season. Symptoms of this disease are: does die shortly after a period of up to three days after birth as a result of severe inflammation of the uterus.
Inoculate against scabby mouth one month before kidding season in order to guard against infection of the teats.
Two thirds of the growth of the fetus takes place during the last three weeks of pregnancy. For this reason, it is important to make extra nutritional provision during this period in the form of a suitable lick.
Boer Goats easily deliver kidding percentages of 180% given good management inputs.  Effective supplementation will deliver stronger kids that are better able to maintain life at birth, especially important with multiple kids. During droughts it is particularly important to prevent abortions by providing supplementary licks from about two months into pregnancy.
During Kidding Season
This is a period during the production cycle that the Boer Goat requires greater care and attention than normal. This is why it is important to keep the kidding season as short as possible, in order that optimal attention can be focused on it. Correct preplanning is important.
There are tangible benefits in using one of the following methods, or a combination thereof, in accordance with your particular circumstances.
Enclosure of Kids in a Large Pen
In this system, kids remain behind in a pen while does go out to graze. This system is recommended only where no other system is possible, since the kids are deprived of the ability to suckle small volumes of milk regularly. Excessive milk intake when does return frequently results in diarrhoea in the kids, resulting in rapid dehydration, weakness and subsequent death.

Small Paddocks
The establishment of small paddocks with sufficient feed, shelter and shade, which are spared especially for the kidding season, is a widely practiced method, especially in cases where farming with large numbers is practiced. In this system, manageable numbers of does are placed in a paddock, where they are able to kid with minimal disturbance and remain with their kids until the latter are strong enough (2-3 weeks), after which they may be incorporated into larger flocks. Good management practice will identify each kid with its dam’s tag number to allow easy pairing of doe and kid/s.  Animals can also be sorted  into paddocks according to single or multiple kids once they have given birth, in order to easier ascertain whether a doe should have one or two kids.
The birth of triplets tends to present challenges, and the following alternative solutions are suggested:
Use system number one for the first three weeks, namely small enclosures.
Since does ideally have two teats, the third kid is at a disadvantage. Triplets thus present the challenge that the weakest kid is always pushed aside and subsequently grows at a slower rate than its stronger siblings. If three kids are left with the doe, she is able to raise them successfully if she is very well fed and the farmer assists in ensuring each kid has its fair share at the teats.
An alternative option to be considered is that the third kid be removed by means of one of the following systems:
Giving the kid to a foster doe who has a single kid of her own by means of the use for system one, using a kidding pen. Of importance is that the does with only a single kid should each receive a new kid as soon as possible after having birthed her own kid, ideally within a few hours. Does usually accept a new kid within a few days.
Raising the third kid by hand with a bottle, or making use of a milch-goat. The latter method works exceptionally well, and a good milch-goat can simultaneously raise a number of kids exceptionally well if a system of separate enclosure is used.

Kidding Pens at Patriot Boer Goat Stud

A short video showing the kidding pens of Patriot Boer Goat Stud and the importance of hygiene in producing healthy kids. While this system is labour intensive and there is obviously a capital cost in developing the pens, the significantly improved management input delivers tangible returns.
© Patriot Boer Goat Stud

Maiden doe displaying good mothering abilities

A maiden doe from the Patriot Boer Goat Stud farm that is kidding for the first time, displays good mothering abilities. Maiden does will usually deliver a single kids with multiple births occurring from the second kidding onwards.
© Patriot Boer Goat Stud