University of Arkansas, Fayetteville Division of Agriculture


Goats have an ancient history with humankind and are used as a red meat source around the world. This provides an opportunity in Arkansas agriculture. There is a gap in goat research which facilitated the conception of the study’s objectives to determine whether prepartum milk in goats showed a rise in calcium levels within 24 to 48 hours of kidding and to ascertain whether an increased colostrum density is indicative of increased weight gain in kids. Eleven does were bred out of season and monitored for mammary development. Then, 5 to 15 mL of prepartum milk were collected, and the calcium content was measured using a Chemetrics K-1700 system. Post-partum, a 20 mL sample of colostrum was collected and the density was tested using an Equine Colostrometer, antifreeze tester, and a Refractometer. Each kid was also weighed at birth, 30, 60, 90, and 120 days of age using a Premier 1110# scale. The weight was adjusted for age of dam, sex of kid, and birth type/rearing. The relationship between adjusted weights and colostrum quality and the relationship between calcium levels 24 and 48 hours prior to kidding with calcium levels at birth were analyzed using correlation and regression procedures. There was a negative correlation between the adjusted weights and colostrum quality; however, the relationship was not significant (P > 0.05). Positive correlations between calcium levels at 24 and 48 hours prior to kidding and at birth were not significant (P > 0.05). Moreover, the colostrum quality did not have an impact statistically on kid growth, and there was no significant rise in the calcium concentration of prepartum milk samples that could be used to estimate the time of parturition.