Here is what I do for my pregnant Does here at our farm.
Janet Roark, DVM, and I (Kristie) presented a webinar together on The Safe Use of Herbs & Essential Oils for Pregnant Animals. The webinar and PDF handout is available here. We covered a LOT of information, and we cover goats very specifically. The link will provide you with an outline of what we covered.
Herbs: I used this herbal mix for a few years, until I found Birth-Prep Formula and that works better. I have begun using Vitalerbs free choice, so I discontinued using this mix (the following recipe) and I use Birth-Prep Formula beginning 14 DAYS before their due date (see detail further down this page). I left this mix information here, just in case you are interested in using it:
I give my pregnant Does 1 tsp (if powdered herbs) of this 2-3 times a day. It can be put directly into their grain, and they gobble it up. These herbs prepare them for a trouble free kidding, and provide excellent nutrients for the kids that they are “growing” in their tummies. 🙂
NOTE: (2013) This year, I’m using Dr. Christopher’s Birth-Prep Formula which has worked excellently for women for MANY years. I give ONE capsule (which is approximately 1/4 tsp) as a dosage ball ONCE A DAY the last 14 days before their due date. 7 days prior to their due date, I give ONE capsule in the AM and ONE capsule in the PM – I normally do this at chore time. VERY IMPORTANT: Goats have a much SHORTER gestation than women, so we DO NOT give this mix until the last TWO WEEKS before their due date. I make my own version of this mix by using equal parts of each herb by WEIGHT, not volume. Follow the same dosage amount for standard size goats, you WILL need LESS for miniature breeds.
Vitamin/Mineral Supplement. Please see our Goat Minerals page for more information on Vitalerbs. I also use Herbal Calcium in conjunction with Vitalerbs. Beginning 14 days before their due date, my doe gets 1 Tablespoon of Vitalerbs, 1 Tablespoon of Herbal Calcium, and 1/4 teaspoon (ONE CAPSULE) of Birth-Prep Formula, and 1 teaspoon of wheat germ oil. 7 days before their due date, I start giving all these things (same dose) TWICE a day, (AM & PM chores works well). I give this as a drench just before I feed their Chaffhaye.
Apple Cider Vinegar: I also give them raw & unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar. You can put this into the water of the herd or place it into each Doe’s feed bucket. 1-2 TBSP per day should do it.
Hoof Care: I keep their hooves well trimmed and make sure they are comfortable.
Exercise: It is extremely important to make them exercise. I do this by placing their hay feeder about 50 feet away from the barn, I have the hay feeder about the same distance away from their water source, so that they make a triangle (barn, hay, water). This makes them walk around a bit, even in bad weather, to get what they need instead of being “barn potatoes”.
Grain: I start grain rations AFTER they kid, so that the kids don’t grow as big in the last part of utero. Instead, I give them 1-2# of Chaffhaye each day during that time frame and I make sure they get their Vitalerbs+ and other herb mixes that I discuss on this page (above).
Hay: In the winter, I give them hay 2 times a day – stuffing their feeder full as I can. Once in the AM and once just before it gets dark (around 4:30-5 pm). The hay I’m using right now is about 80% alfalfa and 20% grass third cutting hay. Generally speaking: beautiful and green = quality hay. I prefer a soft hay (small stemmed alfalfa & grass) for my herd, as they do not like stemmy hay (thick stemmed alfalfa.) The later cutting seem to have finer/smaller stems on the alfalfa.
Parasite Load: Ask anyone who has spent time with me around my goats, I chronically check their eye membranes. I’m addicted to checking… I can’t help it. I check them 2 times a day in my milking does and anytime I spend even a small amount of time with the others. What am I doing that for? It shows me if they have a worm load. If they are dark pink (think watermelon) they are doing great. If they are pale or white, they have a dangerous worm load that needs to be addressed yesterday – jump into action IMMEDIATELY! I’ve found that this anemia may be due to a copper deficiency, so take a look at that as well. Copper deficient creatures seem to be more susceptible to heavy parasite loads. Please consider that they may be getting plenty of copper, but they are deficient in a different mineral/vitamin/whatever hasn’t been discovered yet that they need to correctly assimilate the copper. This is why I started using Vitalerbs, I’m not a chemist and have no desire to be one. 😉 Click on FAMACHA CHART to see a chart showing the eye membrane of a goat and the chart. Here is another great link to teach you how to check their eye membranes.
Parasites: I use our herbal formula: Land of Havilah (aka LOH) Parasite Formula.
Selenium. Some areas of the USA are deficient in Selenium, our area (Michigan) is a deficient area. I give extra Vitalerbs to provide all the vitamins/minerals each animal needs for a healthy pregnancy. See my “Land of Havilah Herbals” page for purchase information. I have the premix of Vitalerbs, or the single herbs available to make it yourself.