Nutritional flushing as a kidding management

23 Apr, 2023 - 00:04 0 Views
Nutritional flushing as a kidding management

The Sunday News

MULTIPLE births especially among goat producers are a very pleasant occurrence and almost every farmer wishes they had goats with twining traits.

Twinning and even beyond twining to triplets and quadruplets bring serious joy to the farmer and of course an added headache of helping the doe to nurse the kids to maturity especially beyond triplets.

However, it is important to note that twining in goats and ewes is not only a function of genetic traits but it is also a nutritional management aspect. One such aspect that contributes to twin births, is the use of nutritional flushing approach.

Nutritional flushing is a temporary but purposeful or deliberate elevation of the nutritional plane of your breeding does around the breeding times.

In simpler terms, it is increasing feed quality and quantity provision for your breeding does, a few weeks before you mate them with the buck and continue for some weeks after putting them to the buck.

Nutritional flushing of breeding has been proven by studies to increase kidding and lambing percentages by between 15 to 20 percent.

Flushing is done by supplementing your breeding does with good quality hay, fresh pastures or grain for two weeks before you put them to the buck and four weeks after mating them.

Flushing increases ovulation rates in does and subsequently conception rates and eventually kidding rates.

This is the nexus between increasing the plane of nutrition for your breeding does and kidding. When flushing using grain, it is important for grain to be added gradually to avoid digestive upsets and other challenges associated with

sudden improvements in diet such as enterotoxaemia.
Oil seed cakes such as cotton or sunflower can also be used for flushing though the cost of these tend to be prohibitive for most farmers.

Flushing is highly recommended for goats that are of poor body condition score as these tend to experience early embryonic deaths during the first month of gestation.

Therefore, flushing for at least four weeks after breeding will help your doe to improve its body condition and prevent a possible early embryonic death.

It takes at least three weeks on an increased plane of nutrition to increase the body condition score by half a score! Flushing is thus most effective on animals with below average body condition scores and it is not necessary on animals with excess body condition scores.
After the first month of pregnancy, on high plane of nutrition, the does can be taken to their normal

maintenance feeding regime and only return to high plane of nutrition towards the end of the pregnancy when the demands of the foetus become heavy.

The does can therefore be returned to high nutrition at around the last five weeks of pregnancy.

At this time the doe will be heavily pregnant more so if its multiple births and hence there will be serious need to supplement the doe.

Nutritional flushing is therefore an important concept which small stock producers should embrace as it has been demonstrated to improve productive of one’s flock.

It is no coincidence that your goats will provide multiple births during years of good harvests or when your farm is located in a place of plenty feed.

The nexus between a good plane of nutrition is a well-established one and as farmers we just need to exploit that. Just make sure your goats get enough feed and they will do the rest for you.

Let’s start by making sure our goats get enough foraging time, not this traditional way of ours of keeping goes in kraals for the whole day, only to release them for foraging when the sun is already going down.

While this may seem very convenient on our part in terms of managing the goats because they tend to be all over the veld and stray into people’s fields, it has a serious negative effect on the productivity of your flock.

Your goats will not kid as much as they should and as such you are effectively keeping passengers in your flock. Uyabonga umntaka MaKhumalo.
Mhlupheki Dube is a livestock specialist and farmer. He writes in his own capacity. Feedback [email protected]/cell 0772851275

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