NEPALESE masters student Uma Karki is examining whether feeding does lupins during the last week of pregnancy can reduce kid losses at birth. Ms Karki is undertaking the study through the University of WA with the support of animal nutritionist Dr John Milton. Dr Milton told a recent goat seminar at Muresk that goat producers could draw from a recent study of feeding ewes lupins a week before they gave birth. The UWA stud found that colostrum production (the milk produced just after the birth of an animal that contains antibodies to protect the offspring against disease) nearly doubled and milk yield also increased. Dr Milton said such a feeding regime could benefit maiden ewes and does in particular, as they both only produced a small amount of colostrum. He said goat producers needed only count 150 days from when they put their bucks over their does to determine when to feed their does. Dr Milton said, as well as feeding to meet the demands of the doe and its growing foetus in late pregnancy, a high plane of nutrition was also essential to encourage good udder development and the ensuing lactation. The level of milk production would influence the growth rate of the kids, especially multiples. As a result, a doe's lactation might not be adequate if it was underfed prior to kidding. Ensuring a doe's lactation ability was very important, especially when producing milk fed Capretto or to turn off kids that were well grown before weaning. But Dr Milton warned that, as most grains were low in calcium, it was advisable to add ground limestone to the feed. The feed might also need a salt additive to improve the water balance to milk ratio. Dr Milton said the best way to determine what a doe's feed requirements were was to condition score them and aim to keep the animals at condition score two.