Prior to Birth
Does should also be vaccinated and drenched, which can be done at the same time as shearing, so that kids are born with some immunity to diseases. If shearing prior to birth is not possible, then does should at least be belly crutched, to allow kids easy access to udders for milk.
Doe nutrition during the first three and a half months must be closely monitored, as over-feeding at this stage can cause problems later. The does nutritional needs increase greatly in the last six weeks of pregnancy, which should be reflected in increases of grass or supplementary feed, although care must be had that the animals do not become overweight. This increased nutritional need in the late stages of pregnancy are because during this time the fibre follicle of the kids are being developed in utero, with lack of feed negatively effecting the fleece characteristics and value.
A few hours before kidding the Doe will take herself from the main mob and choose her birthing spot. She is likely to become restless and bleat, the vulva will look pink and prominent with a possible mucus trail, and her udder will be flushed and full.
Does should then be moved to suitable weatherproof shelters prior to giving birth, in a location that allows for easy observation.
Kidding is normally very quick and easy due to the small size of the Kids.
Something to look for after kidding is retained afterbirth, as this may lead to blood poisoning if left unattended, or the eventual death of the doe. Symptoms of retained afterbirth include; water and drinking large quantities of water, high temperature, or a frothy yellowish discharge coming from her vulva. If you notice any of these symptoms following birth, immediately call your vet. Antibiotics are often the best form of treatment, although may not be effective if administered after an extended period of time.
The Angora Doe seems to kid quite easily in nearly every case and sets about cleaning the first Kid born, even as she is straining to deliver the second Kid. Following the birth, she will clean up her offspring and allow them to have their first drink of colostrum milk. The mother doe will often stay with her kid(s) for quite a long period after birth, after which she will leave to feed and drink. After the mother leaves the kids will remain in the same spot that they were born.
A new-born kid is very susceptible to cold and wet weather, so it is vital they are either born or taken to shelter in these conditions. It pays to make regular rounds during poor weather conditions, as kids may not survive if they are exposed for too long.
The first two hours are vital to the bonding process and interference at this stage is not recommended, as the mothering doe may get startled and leave their kid. The only exception to this rule is if the conditions make it essential to interfere, such as an obviously weak Kid, or conditions hypothermia then move Doe and Kids to shelter.
The best course of action following birth is observe, and only take action if needed. Do not just remove the kid without the doe knowing what you have done with it. Once the doe has accepted, cleaned, and fed her kid(s), then you may be able to start interacting with the animals. New-born kids are normally mobile 2-3 days after birth.
Kids will drink from any doe in the first two days, so any replacement mothering which needs to be done should take place during this period.
Kids will rapidly get stronger, and will soon join groups formed with other kids, playing together or lying dozing in the sun. They like to create gangs, and stay together, only following their mother when the mood takes them. There will always be at least one doe with the group, as a baby-sitter.
Care of the Sick Kids
If new-born kids have been exposed to the elements then immediate care may be needed.
The fastest way to warm cold weak kids is to place them in a plastic bag (with their head out), immerse the bag into warm (but not hot) water, and vigorously rub their bodies until they start to stimulate blood flow within their body. The plastic bag saves having to dry them, and the does smell remains on the kid. After they have responded to treatment, place the kid in a box with either a hot water bottle or a heat lamp. Leave the kid in a warm and quiet location.
After a short period of time, the kid will start to bleat as it becomes stronger, and will begin to try to stand up. Once the kid is able to stand up you will need to test the strength of its suck, which can be done by placing a finger in its mouth and making sure there is a strong response.
When the kid can stand and suck, then it is time to feed it. Either take it back to its mother where it can get a drink of fresh colostrum, or artificially feed it with from your frozen supply of colostrum. Once fed, the kid should be kept with the mother in a warm sheltered area and left to sleep.
Note: Never try to lift a very cold limp kid to the udder and forcefully squeeze milk down its throat. This may lead to the kid incorrectly swallowing milk due to poor reflexes caused by stiffness, with the milk entering the lungs instead of the stomach, and the kid will either drown or develop pneumonia.
Goats give birth to high rates of twins in comparison to other stock types. Due to reduced nutrition during pregnancy, twin kids are often born much smaller than their single kid counterparts. Does who give birth to twins will also have more difficulty in providing warmth and milk, including colostrum, for her offspring.
Marking and Identifying New Kids
Angora goat have a habit of leaving their Kids at the same place as the birth for one to two days, which can make it easy to ear tag them. Each farmer may have their own system for ear tagging, which will suit their individual farming style, but here is a basic example of what can be done:
Ear tags are recommended to be colour coded to the year of birth, with each year having a different colour. This colour coding will make it easy to later identify the age of animals from a distance. Ear tag numbers will also often start with the number that relate to the year (e.g. kids born in 2019 would have an ear tag that starts with a 9), followed by another number (e.g. 901, 902, 903, 904).
Once a kid has been ear tagged, you may then record their details in reference to their ear tag number and colour. Recommended information includes:
- Whether it is a single or twin
Mohair Fibre at Birth
At birth, Angora kids are not as maturely formed as lambs would be at the same age. Their coat of birth hair is not as thick initially and cannot be classified as true mohair. The birth coat is curly and rather harsh to touch. At approximately six to seven weeks of age this birth coat sheds, with lustrous soft mohair fibre growing in its place.
Many breeders will have different ideas on the most effected time to wean. Weaning can start as early as 8 weeks, although some farmers may wait until kids are 3-4 months old.
If there is a shortage of grazing then farmers may wish to wean earlier, with the kids given the best grazing available, and the Does removed to slightly leaner rations.
If you choose to wait until kids are 3-4 months old, does will still have plenty of time to regain the necessary body weight needed for mating.