The Problem with Goats…

Is, they can’t tell us what is bothering them. They can hint at it. I have a wether who doesn’t like bugs, at all. He will stamp his feet and twitch his tail like mad, or dive into his Dogloo to escape even the smallest flying insects. In this case, it’s pretty obvious to me what his problem is.  But in other cases, the signs are subtle and slow to show up.  This has been the case with the most recent girls who kidded. Both were laying down more than usual towards the end of their pregnancies but, although I noticed, it just didn’t raise any red flags with me.  It sure will in the future!

Sweet Soji looking for kisses

As you can see in the picture above, Soji is very thin and her legs are bowing in slightly, causing her to walk more on the insides of her feet.  She kidded February 22 and I was struggling to keep weight on her. She was still walking gingerly but it was getting to the point where I had to pick her up and set her on her feet so her kids could nurse.  I was reading everything I could trying to figure out what was wrong with her.

In the meantime, Alliekat finally went into labor. She, too, had been having trouble moving around but I thought it was because she was so enourmous. When she finally began pushing, I thought it would go well because she has never needed help from me in the past. The hours passed and I could see things were not progressing. I was getting really concerned and when she finally managed to push out a bubble and I saw there was no kid in it, I decided something needed to be done to help her. The bubble broke and I was able to feel inside her and there was no kid anywhere.

I don’t like having to reach inside a doe to pull a kid but at this point, I didn’t feel I had any choice. Alliekat was very tired and if that first kid was stuck, it was keeping all the other kids from being born, too. So I reached in as far as I could and could just barely feel the back of the baby.  I realized this kid was trying to come out tail-first.  I wasn’t able to get a hold of his hind legs to bring them forward so she could birth him. I called my friend who kindly came out on a miserably wet and windy night and she was able to reach the kid and get him into the correct position. Once he was out, the other two came shortly after.

Alliekat and her triplets

After all the kids were dried off and had nursed, Alliekat seemed to be doing okay so we went to bed. Unfortunately, over the next several days, she began to display the same signs Soji was, in that she was having trouble getting up from laying down. I moved her and her new babies to a different stall where I could keep an eye on her and Soji, together.  Her appetite wasn’t what it should have been and she seemed to get worse despite giving CMPK, which is a calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium solution meant to help with hypocalcemia.

I finally called the vet and took both does in to see him. He discovered Alliekat had an infection probably caused by her rough kidding and on top of that, both Allie and Soji had extremely low phosphorus and calcium levels, which can cause the pain they were obviously experiencing.

  He prescribed an antibiotic for Alliekat, and anti-inflammatory meds for both of them. He also recommended a phosphorus boost in the form of an enema given orally. You know, the kind you can buy in any store?  Nobody was more surprised than I was!

I gave calcium drenches for several more days, as well, to help bring those levels up and finally, they were able to get up on their own and feed their kids, who were all doing great, by the way.  As of writing this, Soji is walking around normally for the first time in 2 months and Alliekat is moving much more easily than she was, and both does have their appetites back!

It’s pretty scary when you don’t know what’s wrong. Even the vet doesn’t really know why this imbalance happened in these two goats.  So it’s back to researching minerals and keeping a close eye on Sabrina, who is the last doe to kid, due on April 28th.

Bonnie Blue and her little Belle

I almost forgot! While I was worrying over Alliekat and Soji, and bottle feeding Saffron’s triplets 3 times a day, Bonnie Blue snuck off and had a ‘mini-me’ without telling me.  Thankfully everything went well, as her baby was up and dry and looking perky when I found them. Bonnie is not showing any signs of the imbalances the other 2 have and I’m grateful.  I’m just bummed that I wasn’t able to get it on video!

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We are a small homestead in the foothills of the North Cascades in Washington state. We breed goats for milk, cheese, and soap; keep chickens, ducks, and geese; and grow our own fruits and vegetables. Read more…

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