new video from paul! (permies thread)
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

HELP URGENT - Doe stopped feeding kids!  RSS feed

 
Dave Quinn
Posts: 87
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
We've two 13 day old kids, and their mum doesn't seem well.  We had a problem with a billy trying to mount the mum and we were worried he might have hurt her, but we can't see any external damage.  We separated them, but he broke down a fence.

She fed them fine for about 11 days, but yesterday seemed reluctant to , though she did let them suckle for sometime.  She also had food left in her bowl in the morning and refused it even when offered it from my hand she did eat hay albeit not as much as possible.

This morning the kids were crying (maybe hungry) and she was laid down.   I felt her udder and it's not swollen at all if anything it seems like she's not got much milk, I tried to massage her, but she wasn't happy with me doing it.

The kids have latched on for a few seconds, but she's not happy and moves away.

They are our first kids and we're so worried.  All the vet's/shops are closed today and we don't know what to do.  Any advice will be welcome eg.  can we/should we feed the kids cows milk?  Should we stimulate the teats?  
 
Judith Browning
Posts: 5684
Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
310
bike chicken fungi trees urban woodworking
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'm bumping this up in hopes that someone with some ideas will help you out...so sorry for your situation. 

There are a lot of knowledgeable folks here raising livestock, they may just be hard to find this early this morning 
 
Dave Quinn
Posts: 87
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thanks so much - we're in europe, so we often have timezone issues on the forum.

We've spoken to one friend who didn't seem over concerned, sh seems to think that nursing does do get very tired and a bit fed-up of the kids sometimes.  It's about .5 mile to the field and there's no signal there,  so we're heading round every hour or so to check.  She seems reasonably OK, but haven't seen her feeding yet.
 
Regan Dixon
Posts: 125
Location: Zone 4b at 1000m, post glacial soil...British Columbia
7
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Take the doe's temperature, rectally.  It should be around 38-39 C/102-103F.  If she's colder than that, she's likely ill.  I've not had to deal with sick goats yet, but pneumonia and goat polio are common maladies.  Is she ruminating--stomach gurgling at regular intervals?  Chewing cud, nibbling at treats?  Have you another doe in milk to supply the kids, or can you milk this doe and bottle-feed the kids?
 
Dave Quinn
Posts: 87
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
She's nibbling at hay, but doesn't seem interested in grain or pellets.    She seemed fine till the Billy kept trying to mount her.  When she first laid down with her bottom to the wall, I thought she did it to stop the continual harassment.  We then kept her apart and she seemed better at first.  She couldn't be pregnant again could she?  The other thing was she had the kids outside and we haven't found any afterbirth, but people told us they often eat it.  My friend seems to think we're being over cautious, but it being our first we're really worried. 

Thanks for the help, we'll take her temperature in the morning, but they're bedded for the night now.
 
Regan Dixon
Posts: 125
Location: Zone 4b at 1000m, post glacial soil...British Columbia
7
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Okay, let's look at things one by one.  If she's eating hay, that's the main thing.  If she has bloat or an upset tummy, grain and pellets would not be in order...kind of like someone giving us a heap of greasy fish and chips when we were feeling "off".  Nibbling on hay is good.  Maybe she'd like some twigs?  Pine branches, if you have any, are "good for what ails ye", if you're a goat.  Is she bloated?  Her belly distended upward on the left, up to or above her spine?  If so, baking soda in water, squirted down her throat, followed by massage and walking her around, until the gas passes in whichever direction....

Do keep her apart from Billy.  She doesn't need his attentions just now.  It is possible that she was in heat, yes already, and it is possible that she's been reimpregnated.  Better if they have a break, but let's not tear our hair out about that just now, until we make sure there isn't something more serious going on.

Goats often eat the afterbirth in order to take back that extra nutrition.  Mine always do.  There may not be much trace left, and if it got rained on or snowed on, or leaves blown over it, or dogs licked up the rest, you're not likely to find anything.  If she retained the afterbirth, likely she'd be smelly at the back end by now.  Not of pee, not of her goaty self, not of billy...but unfresh meatiness, something gone icky.  That would need intervention, by my lights.

Is she peeing and pooping?  Drinking water?
 
Regan Dixon
Posts: 125
Location: Zone 4b at 1000m, post glacial soil...British Columbia
7
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Post script, from someone who's not there and can't see what you're seeing.  If you're able to go NOW with a thermometer and flashlight, then we could determine or rule out some things, and plan or not, accordingly.  Your neighbours may well be right, that it's much ado about little, but I'm basically blindfold, here.
Is her breathing normal?
Her movement normal?
Has she nursed those kids yet?  How are their tummies--hollow and sunken, or straight and firm?
How is her udder--normal, or hot, red, swollen?  Can you get milk out?  Is the milk normal, or lumpy, streaky, off-smelling, or otherwise weird?
 
Dave Quinn
Posts: 87
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Regan Dixon wrote:Okay, let's look at things one by one.  If she's eating hay, that's the main thing.  If she has bloat or an upset tummy, grain and pellets would not be in order...kind of like someone giving us a heap of greasy fish and chips when we were feeling "off".  Nibbling on hay is good.  Maybe she'd like some twigs?  Pine branches, if you have any, are "good for what ails ye", if you're a goat.  Is she bloated?  Her belly distended upward on the left, up to or above her spine?  If so, baking soda in water, squirted down her throat, followed by massage and walking her around, until the gas passes in whichever direction....

Do keep her apart from Billy.  She doesn't need his attentions just now.  It is possible that she was in heat, yes already, and it is possible that she's been reimpregnated.  Better if they have a break, but let's not tear our hair out about that just now, until we make sure there isn't something more serious going on.

Goats often eat the afterbirth in order to take back that extra nutrition.  Mine always do.  There may no be much trace left, and if it got rained on or snowed on, or leaves blown over it, or dogs licked up the rest, you're not likely to find anything.  If she retained the afterbirth, likely she'd be smelly at the back end by now.  Not of pee, not of her goaty self, not of billy...but unfresh meatiness, something gone icky.

Is she peeing and pooping?  Drinking water?


She doesn't seem too distended, but her belly looks quite big anyway.  I'll check on the other points in the morning.  I tried to inspect her in daylight, and it was difficult enough, it'd be impossible in the night.  Her back end seems quite prominent, not really swollen, more "open", but I haven't noticed any smell. 

She seems to be peeing and pooping OK.   She hasn't been very attentive with her kids from the start, when I found them they were separate and she was inside with one and not the other.   At first hough she'd stand still and let them suckle.   She now seems annoyed and after a few seconds wants to move on.
 
Dave Quinn
Posts: 87
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Regan Dixon wrote:Post script, from someone who's not there and can't see what you're seeing.  If you're able to go NOW with a thermometer and flashlight, then we could determine or rule out some things, and plan or not, accordingly.  Your neighbours may well be right, that it's much ado about little, but I'm basically blindfold, here.
Is her breathing normal?
It seems normal, but she seems a lot quieter than normal. 

Her movement normal?
Once she gets up she seems to move OK, but she seems reluctant to stand.

Has she nursed those kids yet?  How are their tummies--hollow and sunken, or straight and firm?
She's nursed them well for 11 straight days.  They seem very healthy and have grown much more lively jumping about on their own. 

How is her udder--normal, or hot, red, swollen?
Her udder seems normal, but pretty empty.  It's not swollen like it was before.  My friend who's had lots of goats said she might just be tired and fed up of them sucking her dry.

Can you get milk out?  Is the milk normal, or lumpy, streaky, off-smelling, or otherwise weird?

I couldn't get any milk out, but not having ever milked a goat I'm not sure my action was right.  This morning I was late going round and her udder seemed empty.   She's shut in at night with the two kids.  Previous mornings she's got up and come out, but this morning she just laid there till I went over and tried to check her out.  She then stood up to move away from me.  Her udder looked fine and although she didn't seem to flinch when I touched it she just didn't seem to want me messing with her, it just seems a bit empty.  She's also being very nice to me - which is a bit unusual.

If I can find a thermometer I'll go round as soon as I can.  I realise now I need one duh.

Thanks so much for your help
 
Regan Dixon
Posts: 125
Location: Zone 4b at 1000m, post glacial soil...British Columbia
7
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
From here, nothing seems terrible, but it would be good to check those other points, once you can see what you're doing.  Even if all is well, at least you will have a baseline for what is normal for her, should you have another incident with her.
I expect she's in heat, which is why Billy came over, why her vulva is poofy, and maybe even why she's being a bit nicer than usual.
Her udder was probably empty this morning because the kids had already nursed, which is all to the good.  Goat mamas tend to let the kids nurse for a few seconds only, before stepping over them and moving on.  Frequent, small feedings are the norm.  Looking at the kids' bellies is a good clue as to whether they're nursing successfully, when your back is turned.
As to why she was lying down, uninterested in food, maybe she'd had a bite of something that disagreed with her, and she was getting over it.  Maybe she was just messing with your head.
 
Travis Johnson
pollinator
Posts: 921
84
books cat chicken duck rabbit transportation trees woodworking
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I disagree with your neighbor, if she is down and just nibbling on hay you have BIG problems.

A thermometer is always best of course, but you can always check a ruminants temp by their ears. Grip them both with your hands and feel if they are warmer or colder than normal. That is a farm-way of quickly checking sheep, cows or goats if they have a fever.

I doubt it is bloat because she would most likely be dead by now, and if her udder is not unusually hot then it is not mastitis. I would sooner think she has milk fever. If it is, she does not have a temp and is otherwise healthy, she just has a very low amount of calcium.

You are pretty much looking at Cal-Dextrose given subcutaneously over 5 injection sites or so, at room temp so you don't shock her with cold or hot solution. You also want to give her about 7 cc's of Vitamin B complex, and 2 cc's of Vitamin A&D which is all pretty standard stuff. If you can't get to a vet supply store, any neighboring farm will have it (especially a cow dairy farm). She should bounce back pretty dramatically for you though.
 
Dave Quinn
Posts: 87
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
If she's no better in the morning I'll take her to vets in next town.

Thanks for all your help. 
 
Dave Quinn
Posts: 87
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Latest update

Went round this morning and she was stood up and came straight out as soon as I opened the door.  The kids seem fine and were hopping round the field.  I had found a digital thermometer, so then had the fun of catching her to test it.  She was a lot livelier but I eventually got her.  Her temperature seemed a bit low at 36.6, but my wife had said she wasn't sure about the accuracy, so i tried it on myself and it was 35.4, so it's measuring under by about 1.5 degrees so she seems in a reasonable range. 

I watched her for a while and she seemed to be concentrating on really crappy weeds like brambles and twiggy material.  I'm wondering if the food I'd give her was maybe too rich.   I left them but checked up every hour or so and did some work on the new place, she seemed to wander all over the land quite happily.  When I went back at the end of the day she was already settled down, with her babies snuggled up next to her. 

They all seem a lot happier today.  We're new to goats and sheep, and we've had some bad luck with chickens in the past, so I think we're probably over cautious in some ways.

We're going to get a decent thermometer tomorrow, and if we have any more problems at least we can give better information.

Thanks so much for all the help.  As usual Permies.com comes up with the goods when necessary.  Just being able to contact people who have a bit of experience makes us feel so much more at ease and allowed us to get some sleep last night.

Happy New Year to all x
 
Regan Dixon
Posts: 125
Location: Zone 4b at 1000m, post glacial soil...British Columbia
7
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hello Dave, glad to hear that all's well with the goats, this morning. 

Goats LOVE the "crappy" weeds and brush; it's a glorious goat quality that makes them so effective at brush clearing.  Bitter herbs, tough and slightly thorny branches, even--down the hatch they go.  Browse that's "up" is preferred to graze that's "down", though they won't say no to your prize rose bush.  If you have a brush lot that needs cleared, they will do so happily, and get natural, varied, and mineral-rich goat food, do you a service, and save you money on hay and feed.  Not every plant is good for goats, though.  My rule of thumb for my own property, is that plants growing in drier settings seem more goat-friendly than those in wet environments--but I do check for goat-noxious plants, before letting them into an area.  Offering hay for breakfast fills their stomachs sufficiently, that they don't make desperate choices over the rest of the day, to eat less than wholesome plants, just because they're so hungry.
 
Dave Quinn
Posts: 87
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Slowly learning.

I'm gob smacked at how they don't like to eat off the ground.  They'll jump up to eat stuff out of my hands, and when they knock it on the floor they won't touch it?

I pick it up and they then eat it out of my hand - weird!  I love them though.

ATM we're just starting with our Permie dream which we've been planning for years.  Our goats are the pioneers, followed by sheep and then chickens justin rhodes style.  We also have a healthy population of free range rabbits (they were originally stage 2, but escaped!).  Land is a mess left by a developer who had a rogue bulldozer driver!  We're making a plan to try and integrate as many aspects of sustainable living as possible as an educational/promotional resource in our region. 
 
Travis Johnson
pollinator
Posts: 921
84
books cat chicken duck rabbit transportation trees woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
That is so great to hear!

How is her udder doing? You said she had no milk so while the mother might be better, it does not necessarily mean she is still providing enough milk for the kids.
 
Dave Quinn
Posts: 87
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
She doesn't seem to have a lot of milk there, but there is some and they're not bleating and trying to get to her all the time (well not in front of me anyway).  I'm going into the farm store tomorrow to get some milk and see if they take any.

They seem to have full bellies and are certainly lively.  The weather here is unseasonably warm at the moment (probably famous last words), so they've been out playing in the sun quite a bit.

I almost get the feeling that by keeping her away from the others, she was fed up of the babies being at her all the time and after feeling a bit sick from a 'processed diet' she sort of wanted some time on her own.   I was working in the new place and kept my eye on her all day.  She wandered a lot further from the stall than normal and when the other nanny goat came near her she gave her a butt which she doesn't normally do (she is the dominant one though).  It was almost as though she wanted some time on her own.

Funny thing is she's been friendlier with me since she's been a bit off colour.

 
Regan Dixon
Posts: 125
Location: Zone 4b at 1000m, post glacial soil...British Columbia
7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I have a feeling that your mama goat may not be a dairy breed, so may not have a huge udder (with enough milk supply for humans to steal), but enough for her kids.  If their bellies are neither sunken nor bloated, they are probably getting enough milk.  If you do get milk for them, do you have a bottle to feed them with?  Making them adopt the "looking up" pose of an udder-nursing kid will close off the "wrong" part of the stomach for their stage in development, and ensure that it goes to the right part, which has the milk-digesting enzymes in it.  Apologies if you already know this.  Someone else reading this may not, but may face the same issue.
 
It will give me the powers of the gods. Not bad for a tiny ad:
Learn, Design, Teach, & Inspire with Permaculture games.
FoodForestCardGame.com
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!