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Goat rejects baby?

 
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Hello. So on December 24 our Pygmy goat gave birth to 3 beautiful baby boys. Well, when they came out we noticed their legs were very long which was strange. We believed that they were a mix between a Pygmy and a boer or lamancha. That might be beside the point. We put all of them in our tack room with a little space heater and their mom. We went out there the next day to check on the mom and all the babies. We found two of the babies about 4 feet apart passed away. The other one was standing by its mom. We left that one out there but every time we went outside the baby was not nursing off of the mom. We brought him inside to give him some colostrum so he could gain his strength and he stayed inside since it was so cold outside. We took him back outside this morning and the mom totally rejected him and wouldn’t even let him try to nurse and she’d walk away every time he got closer. I’m not sure if it was something we did or she just kind of disowned all of them? Now , she kind of wants to be separated from all of the other goats in our herd and is not eating very well. Is she depressed maybe? So I guess my concern is: why did she disown them? Or did she? And also is she ok? Why is she being distant?
 
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Sadness.  Sending good thoughts for your little survivour.

Some questions that might help.

What kind of diet is she on?  What minerals are you giving her?  This will depend on where you are located.  One thing I've noticed where I am is we have a very low Selenium level in our soil (and thus hay) which can cause lots of problems with the reproductive organs.  If you live somewhere with low SE, it may be worth giving her some extra kelp meal while she's nursing.  BUT, if you live somewhere with high SE in the soil and feed, then it's a bad idea as too much is toxic.

Is there anything wrong with her milk bags?  Are they hot?  Do they look perfect?  Can you get milk from them? If it hurts her to give milk, then she will be less inclined to nurse.

Is it her first time?  Sometimes they get so shocked by this massive 'poop' they just did that they are offended by the 'poop' making demands on her.  Sometimes it takes a bit of coaching to get her to understand that this 'poop' is her kid.  

Sadly, most of my experience is with sheep.  If she was a sheep, she would go in a 'jug' which is a small room.  I take the measurement of the sheep, and times it by 1.5 for one length and 2.5 for the other.  Give her loads of treads (not so much she gets sick) and have mum there with the baby and watch them for as long as needed.  If she's not hurting the lamb, then we leave them together so they can bond.  Sometimes we also need to supplement the lamb's diet with milk.  Occasionally, the ewe won't take to the lamb, so we end up milking the ewe to bottle feed the lamb.  



 
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[quote=r ranson. Thank you, he’s doing great right now! We feed her all stock feed every morning and night. She also grazes our pasture but most of the grass is dead. We buy hay all the time which she eats. We haven’t thought about the milk sac. What are the bad signs? And can they be fixed?
 
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I noticed in the thread Rejected Baby Goat that the OP mentioned the leg length also.

Lauren Dixon wrote:He had a very stiff-legged, stilted little walk, and his head was always hanging. Momma probably recognized that he wasn't right, so she rejected him. 



Is this a coincidence?
 
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Typically a mother is much more knowledgeable about health than we are.

In my experience (sheep only) when a mother rejects a lamb, it is because something is wrong with them and knows it will die. That is true for the mother, but as a Sheppard I have a litany of medications that may make them overcome whatever they may have. If pressed, I would put the survival rate at about 50/50 sadly enough.

The long legs sounds like it might be contributed to White Muscle Disease, something that is very prevalent in most goat/sheep herds and flocks. Every lamb born on my farm gets a shot of BoSe as soon as it is born to combat this. At least with sheep, the mothers placenta is rather thick and getting selenium through it can be tough even if the feed is fortified. This may, or may not be the case with yours however.

The only way to tell though is to have autopsies done upon the two dead kids.


 
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Zoe Clasen wrote:Hello. So on December 24 our Pygmy goat gave birth to 3 beautiful baby boys. Well, when they came out we noticed their legs were very long which was strange. We believed that they were a mix between a Pygmy and a boer or lamancha. That might be beside the point. We put all of them in our tack room with a little space heater and their mom. We went out there the next day to check on the mom and all the babies. We found two of the babies about 4 feet apart passed away. The other one was standing by its mom. We left that one out there but every time we went outside the baby was not nursing off of the mom. We brought him inside to give him some colostrum so he could gain his strength and he stayed inside since it was so cold outside. We took him back outside this morning and the mom totally rejected him and wouldn’t even let him try to nurse and she’d walk away every time he got closer. I’m not sure if it was something we did or she just kind of disowned all of them? Now , she kind of wants to be separated from all of the other goats in our herd and is not eating very well. Is she depressed maybe? So I guess my concern is: why did she disown them? Or did she? And also is she ok? Why is she being distant?



I have to agree that the mother detected something wrong and so rejected the babies.
One other thing that might have been the problem is wrong time of year to have babies, spring is normal for goats to have their babies not winter.
A pygmy that mated with a larger animal would not be able to properly nurse the offspring.  
Cross mating should be small male to larger female, not the other way around, too many issues will arise from such a mating, including the possibility of the mother dying in birthing.

This is unfortunately one of those learning experiences. The good news is that while she is currently showing signs of depression, with some encouragement she will make a comeback.
She is being distant right now from the stress of having to reject her babies. Giving her attention will help her snap back to her old self.

If you have larger breeds mixed in with the pygmies, do separate them so you don't have a recurrence of wrong way cross breeding. Pygmies should be in one pasture and larger breeds in another.

Udders should have teats that hang straight down or angled slightly out not towards each other.
Redness, heat, are both signs of infection and need to be taken care of asap, also any discharge means the teats need to be cleaned and disinfected at least once a day.
If the milk duct is blocked, it is time to go to the vet.
That can kill a nanny quickly because the pressure will build in the udder and the udder can rupture internally.

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A standing baby is a good sign, but you've got to get that goat onto milk for it to grow strong and healthy. A few additions to what I've read above:
Long legs and hanging head are signs of

Floppy Goat syndrome, due in large part to mineral difficience in the mother during gestation. Goats need a much broader diet than sheep to fill more diverse nutritional needs. Think scrubby woods over pasture. If there is no access to this you need to supplement with minerals.

Is this a first time mom? First timers, especially young ones, often need help attaching with their young and getting the flow of nursing, so to speak. But you can help:
The above comment about putting mother and babies in a small stall is correct, making sure that Mom has food and water, and there is enough ventilation. The air bound ammonia from their waste is in much higher concentration near the floor where the young are, and it can be harmful or lethal at a high level. Cracking the stable door should be sufficient.
If I encounter a rejected offspring, I milk the mama and slather the baby in the milk. Goats have their "identity" (for lack of a better discriptive) wrapped up in their scent - so when the baby smells like mama, the mama will instinctively treat it like part of herself, letting it nurse.
I'll babysit them as much as possible for the first several days, going so far as to hold mama stationary and placing the baby underneath, brushing its face on the udder. The mama won't let much milk down under this stress, but it can help to get the mechanics down while they're getting used to it.
You'll know if the baby is getting milk because it's tail will flick about. Victory!

Last season, I had 2 goats born with FGS badly, unable even to stand and barely able to lift their heads. Each was utterly rejected by their first-time moms. Moms happened to be sisters. I was able to get them each their mothers' colostrum, which is crucial. One of them I nursed from the bottle for 4 days until it could stand, and then bonded it not with its mom, but with its aunt, using the above method. Worked like a champ, strong to this day. The other took 11 days before it could stand to nurse from the bottle, and there was no lactating mom available for it to bond to at that point. So I gave my four-year-old the responsibility of feeding it from the bottle until it was ready to be weened. This one is also doing well, but not as strong as the other. Also, it doesn't seem to know it's a goat - behaves much more like a dog, following me and my son around , scratching its wee horns on our sides. Both successes and joyful recoveries, but I will take a natural, goat-milk-from-the-udder-fed kid any day over a bottle-nursed, for strength and development.

Also a good not o check the udders. Blackened udders need a antibiotic, herbal or LA-200 if you wanna go that route.

I can add more as I think of it. Hope this helps!
 
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Fantastic post Beau!
Thank you for taking the time!
Great read (I used for my young son) as we are getting ready for our first time goat Mamas anyday now

Thanks for taking the time! Great writing and clarity ! I couldn’t have done any better !
 
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