Hello, new to goats and have a question. I was given several goats 2 months ago, and one beer goat was pregnant with no info give about the goat. All adult goats seem healthy. This morning the goat that was pregnant given birth sometime at night. Found all 4 kids dead, 2 were still in there sacs and wet and hard, 2 were call cleaned up and lifeless. My question is would there have been anything we should have or could have done? I didn't know when she was due and hadn't separated her yet from the other 4 goats. I didn't notice any signs of labor. Is there anything we should do for her? The kids looked fully formed and good size.
Awww! I am sorry! It is hard to say what caused their demise. Generally goats are finicky creatures that require different dietary/mineral inputs than most other domestic livestock. Without a detailed history it's impossible for me to speculate about why that happened. Birthing 4 kids is alot of work for a doe. Any others possibly bred watch for full udder, usually right before kidding (12-24hrs)their teats will strut out tight an full. (but not always) Their girly bits behind will get long and loose and may string some mucus. They may paw the ground, stretch alot, rub along the fence lines more than usual, stand around curling their upper lip. Some want to go off by themselves, others want to stay with the herd. Keeping them out of freezing weather and rain is a must if you think kidding is eminent. Pat Colby's, 'Natural Goat Keeping' is a book I have learned a lot from and use it whenever a problem comes up. Some goats... Or members within a breed, such as boers, have been bred for maximum income and not so much hardiness and mothering ability. I have read of people buying nice papered, bred does for their kids 4-H projects and them being terrible at birthing and mothering.... Again, I am very sorry you lost those kids...
Edit to add... For her I would watch her udder. If your not going to milk her then I would just keep an eye on how full it is, how long it takes to start reabsorbing the milk. It should start to shrink in 1-3 days. If it remains tight and full for more than a couple days she may get mastitis. Generally they act sick, go off feed, have a fever when they get mastitis. If she were mine I would also not feed much commercial feed ration for a bit, but all the high quality hay/browse she wants. That'll help stop milk production.
4 kids seems very out of the normal to me, The largest set of kids I've ever seen was three the norm is two kids. That might have something to do with why the four died, a vet would need to be asked.
As was mentioned, if you aren't going to milk the nanny (doe) you will need to be sure her udder dries up or mastitis will occur. (goat milk is very smooth in texture, I very much prefer it to cows milk for drinking, cereal, baking and other forms of cooking)
It happened to me once with a doe that I was called in to look after for a few days while the owner went to hospital. They told me that the doe was due to kid, but not that she'd been in a huge fight with one of the other goats a few days before. Result was four kids, all dead on delivery.
I will get the book. I am hoping to learn so I dont loose more due to my lack of knowledge. The person who rescued this goat from a kill lot in the midwest said to never ever give alfalfa. I live North of Seattle. So I gave her orchard grass and alfalfa pellets only about once a week when I did her feet and looked her over. We have a lot of greens and keep moving our fences every few weeks. She had free choice on minerals and a protein bucket. She seems okay today, eating well, no temp, and not looking for babies. I have a call into the vet to ask what might have gone wrong. Thank you all
It's hard to say for certain what the problem was.
It could have been that she was overwhelmed with the amount of kids and just couldn't lick them all dry - the most I have seen born at once have been twins and even then it is a bit if a race against time for the doe to lick them clean. To prevent this happening again you can just watch for all the signs of birth drawing near and check up on her often. Some people use baby monitors at night in the goat barn so they can hear if there is a birth happening.
She may not have allowed the two cleaned up kids to drink from her udder in time. Some does just don't really understand that they need to stay still for the kids, or the kids have trouble finding the udder. This is where I am most likely to intervene in a goat birth, as things can go downhill really quickly if the kids don't get colostrum soon after birth.
It could have been that there was something wrong with the kids, and the doe rejected them. To avoid this you can feed your does the right minerals and supplements before and during pregnancy so that the kids won't have defects due to bad nutrition.
It could just be that she isn't a very good mother. Do you know how old she is? I have seen does that were kidded when too young ignore their kids after birth.
It could also be that she was distracted by the other goats.
I agree with everything Annie said above. One thing I can add about signs of birth is just to observe each goat's normal behaviour, often they will act differently to normal when the birth is getting very close. Other signs like udder swelling, loosening of ligaments, mucus and so on can show that the birth is within the next few days, but a change in behaviour will often show that it's going to be within a few hours.
I have never heard anything before about avoiding alfalfa for does. My dairy goats have always done really well on it, we just make sure to feed kelp as well, so that they get the iodine they need.