Kid Mortality

Thursday, 26th April 2018

High kid mortality rates are experienced by most Angora goat farmers. The average mortality rate from birth to weaning of kids in 12 Angora goat studs over the three-year period was 10.7 % (varying from 5.7 % to 17.8 % among the different studs)

If we exclude predators (the biggest problem faced by most producers) and evaluate other causes influencing the survival rate of kids.

Research was done by Gretha Snyman in 12 Angora goat studs to investigate the factors contributing to kid mortalities. Data was recorded from 2000 to 2002 on 12 studs (± 4100 ewes, 3900 kids per year) was analysed.

Factors affecting kid survival

  1. Birth weight of the kid
  • kids below 2.0 kg only had a survival rate of 50%
  • Kids above 3.5kg had a survival rate of 90%.
  1. Genetic influences,
  2. Mothering ability
  3. Poor milk production of the dam
  • 7% cause of deaths
  1. Udder and teat problems of the ewe
  • 2% cause of deaths
  1. Adverse environmental conditions
  2. Feeding conditions,
  3. Diseases
  4. Predators
  • 8% cause of deaths


  • Kids with a birth weight below 2.0 kg, only had a survival rate of 50%, while more than 90% of kids with birth weights above 3.5 kg survived till weaning age.


  • More than 50% of kid mortalities, where ewes lost kids in more than one year, were due to:
  • small, unthrifty kids who needed help suckling,
  • Ewes having thick teats and udder problems,
  • Ewes having little or no milk
  • Ewes discarding their kids.

This indicates that these problems will occur repeatedly in the same does. Ewes experiencing these kind of problems should preferably be eliminated, especially does with teat or udder problems.

  • Rather large variation in mortality rate of kids born to different sires within a specific stud was also observed. Overall, mortality rate ranged from zero to 50% losses among kids of different sires.

As a management to reduce these kid mortalities see the SAMGA website for:

  • Managing the pregnant ewe

  • The weak and cold kid

  • Feeding ‘hansies’



References/Extracted from:

Aspects of kid mortality in South African Angora goats

  1. A. Snyman

Grootfontein Agricultural Development Institute, Middelburg

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