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Rejected baby goat

Lauren Dixon


Joined: Apr 15, 2012
Posts: 62
Location: Kalispell, Montana
    
    2
We had a set of twin Saanens born 4 days ago. One male and one female. The female is quite strong, but the male has been scrawny and weak since birth. I was seeing them both nursing pretty well, so I wasn't overly worried about him. Today, however, I went out to find that he was being rejected. His mother was kicking at him and running away when he tried to nurse. I got her by the collar and tried to hold her still to give him a chance to feed, but she fought REALLY hard and kicked at him/stepped on him, busting his lip open and making him bleed. I decided that I was going to have to bottle feed him a bit, and went to the store to get a baby bottle. When I came home, I found the little guy hypothermic and having seizures, with one of our big does laying on his head. We pulled him out of the goat shelter and he started flailing and screaming and twisting his head around in an unnatural way. I thought he had broken bones, or some other serious injury. We brought him in the house and I held him in my lap, crying my eyes out, pretty certain that he was dying on me. I got a hair dryer on him and made a bottle with warm honey water and got a little of that down him, between the seizures and thrashing. After awhile, he stopped thrashing and screaming, and started to calm down a little bit. Then he started to shiver really hard, which I figured was a good sign, as he was coming out of hypothermia. After about an hour, he was able to stand on his own and walk around a little bit. I went out and milked some colostrum from another doe that kidded this morning and got about 1 oz of that into him before he collapsed to sleep. I put him in a little nest in front of a heater and have been checking on him frequently. Is there anything else I could be doing to give this guy a boost?
John Polk
steward

Joined: Feb 20, 2011
Posts: 6582
Location: Moving to: NE Washington USDA zone 5 Western steppes to the Rockies
    
135
Personally, I know so little about goats that I cannot advise you on his needs.

Sadly, many animals will just turn their backs on what they consider a 'weaker' child.

It sounds as if you are doing the best for him that you can.
When he grows up, he will consider you to be his mother.

Hopefully, one of our goatherds will show up here to give you some more pointers.
Good luck to both of you.

Lauren Dixon


Joined: Apr 15, 2012
Posts: 62
Location: Kalispell, Montana
    
    2
Nevermind. We lost him.
Alison Thomas
volunteer

Joined: Jul 22, 2009
Posts: 933
Location: France
    
    8
Oh Lauren that's so sad. It's awful when that happens. I think you did wonderfully well and at least he slipped away in peace in the warm rather than out in the field undergoing stress. I don't think you could have done much more.

I had a doe reject her baby at birth two years ago. It took two weeks of doing bucking bronco every two hours round the clock with her to get her to allow her little one to feed. Now they have a really strong bond. But we were lucky that she had just the one kid.

May he rest in peace.
Chris Griffin


Joined: Dec 18, 2012
Posts: 53
Location: Eastern edge of the Blue Ridge Mnts. Virginia
I would get him started on B-1 (Thiamin). We have the exact situation going on right now. The little guy is now in the house and is getting a B-Complex shot (3 ml) twice a day. It is not really enough B-1 as per Vet instructions, but it is working. We got the injectable B complex at Tractor Supply. We normally order all of our meds from Jeffer's Livestock, but in an emergency we will go to TSC and see what they might have. This is the remedy for goat Polio (which is reversible with Thiamin [thiamin deficiency]). Our little guy is way behind his sister now, but he is holding his own now and not getting Hypothermic any more. We did have to tube feed him initially, but he is drinking on his own now. If you need to tube feed, call a vet and get a french catheter. They should have them in various sizes.


Live long, Live free and Love every minute!
Chris Griffin


Joined: Dec 18, 2012
Posts: 53
Location: Eastern edge of the Blue Ridge Mnts. Virginia
I didn't read far enough. I am sorry for your loss! It is difficult to see who is getting enough milk and who isn't sometimes, but every morning I go out and kiss the kids to check body temp and feel their bellies to make sure they are nice and round. Then I start getting all of the moms on the milk stand and making sure their udders are ok and they are producing good milk. I don't work anymore, so I have lots of time to spend with the kids. Goats are very fragile when first born and you have to stay on top of their diet. Most of the time everything goes perfectly, but every now and again something happens and we are caught off guard. I hate that part of the farmer's life.
Lauren Dixon


Joined: Apr 15, 2012
Posts: 62
Location: Kalispell, Montana
    
    2
We bought this doe a few months ago, and the previous owners did not mention that she was pregnant. I only became certain of her pregnancy a week or so ago when she began to bag up. When I bought her, the previous owner also brought her sibling, a buck, and gave him to me, though I didn't really want him. I have a sneaking suspicion that it was her full brother that bred her, so I am thinking there was something genetically wrong with this baby. He only made it 4 days, and never really acted normally. 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. That would be my guess. The whole thing was heart breaking.
Chris Griffin


Joined: Dec 18, 2012
Posts: 53
Location: Eastern edge of the Blue Ridge Mnts. Virginia
It sounds like you describing a B-1 deficiency. Which is typical this time of year when they are only getting cut hay and grain. Kids are really susceptible as they are born with just enough vitamins and minerals to go about 24 hours. Once they get a little hypothermic they loose their suck reflex. Now you have two problems, not long after that they get dehydrated, another problem. At that point they are going to need IV fluids (probably lactated ringers), Thiamin injections, and tube fed milk. It is a tough situation to be in. And yes, brothers should not be with sisters. Certain times breed-back is ok, but only when the breed back includes 50% or less of familial genetics.
Joseph Pierce


Joined: Jan 02, 2013
Posts: 16
Location: The Edge of Faerie
Note: (This is still the OP, but I didn't realize it was signed into my husband's account when I posted)

I now have a second kid in the same condition as the last. I have no way to obtain B-1 tonight, so am trying some blackstrap molassses and brewers yeast, which are rich sources of B vitamins. I don't know if this will be sufficient, but it's all I've got tonight. I have this baby in the house, in bed with me, and I have been giving her warm water with a little baking soda, thinking this may be floppy kid syndrome. I figure it can't hurt at this point.

Update: We lost this baby too. I did a necropsy and found that her stomach had no connection to her intestines. Her stomach was about the size of softball and full of rotten milk.

“Life is and will ever remain an equation incapable of solution, but it contains certain known factors.” - Nikola Tesla
Chris Griffin


Joined: Dec 18, 2012
Posts: 53
Location: Eastern edge of the Blue Ridge Mnts. Virginia
You did exactly as we would have done... Was this one the sister to the first? Also it sounds like she was putting her milk in her Rumen...
Lauren Dixon


Joined: Apr 15, 2012
Posts: 62
Location: Kalispell, Montana
    
    2
This one was a half-sister to the other baby that we lost, this one being the result of a mother/son breeding. This one, unlike the first baby, seemed perfectly healthy for the first three or four days. She was nursing, and walking around a lot, then suddenly went downhill. The first symptom was extreme muscle weakness, like a little wet rag, and then a tremendous drop in body temperature. Her basal temp was down to 98 F even when she was in the house, wrapped up, with a hairdryer on her. What a nightmare!

After doing a necropsy, I have been thinking that her rumen got so big that it pressed into her lungs and suffocated her. As she died, she began gasping for breath, and stopped breathing about 1-2 minutes before her heart stopped. Would a quick stomach tubing have released the pressure and solved this, like it would a simple case of bloat in any other animal? When I picked her up and shook her, she had the classic floppy kid symptom of the sound of sloshing in her belly, and when I did the necropsy, I found that her rumen was mostly full of air, with some spoiled milk in there as well. This seems strange, as I was certain goats could burp! Just wanting to figure out what I was seeing.
Diego Merindez


Joined: Feb 05, 2013
Posts: 1
We have six baby goats from three different does. Four were rejected by their mothers. The last two (born yesterday) are being fed by the mom. The oldest are almost a week old. I've been bottle feeding four babies, and we've been able to keep them alive. The oldest two are doing exceptionally well on the bottle with milk replacer.
Renate Howard
pollinator

Joined: Jan 10, 2013
Posts: 755
Location: zone 6b
    
    9
You may want to get your doe tested for CAE, it can cause the babies to die days after birth, after they appear to be thriving. They get it from their mother's milk.
Chris Griffin


Joined: Dec 18, 2012
Posts: 53
Location: Eastern edge of the Blue Ridge Mnts. Virginia
Lauren Dixon wrote:This one was a half-sister to the other baby that we lost, this one being the result of a mother/son breeding. This one, unlike the first baby, seemed perfectly healthy for the first three or four days. She was nursing, and walking around a lot, then suddenly went downhill. The first symptom was extreme muscle weakness, like a little wet rag, and then a tremendous drop in body temperature. Her basal temp was down to 98 F even when she was in the house, wrapped up, with a hairdryer on her. What a nightmare!

After doing a necropsy, I have been thinking that her rumen got so big that it pressed into her lungs and suffocated her. As she died, she began gasping for breath, and stopped breathing about 1-2 minutes before her heart stopped. Would a quick stomach tubing have released the pressure and solved this, like it would a simple case of bloat in any other animal? When I picked her up and shook her, she had the classic floppy kid symptom of the sound of sloshing in her belly, and when I did the necropsy, I found that her rumen was mostly full of air, with some spoiled milk in there as well. This seems strange, as I was certain goats could burp! Just wanting to figure out what I was seeing.


Yep, goats can burp, the problem with the Rumen is that you can not access it via a stomach tube. A stomach tube properly inserted will go to the second stomach (I don't remember the name). The only way to relieve bloat in the rumen is to use a large bore needle and insert it in the correct location (I have never done this). What I have found out is that in order to get the kid fully hydrated it is almost mandatory to use both IV fluids and a stomach tube. The kid we had that had the same issues as you are describing passed a couple of days ago. The unique issue that I see is that this kid was also a product of Mother/Son incest. According to lenghthy research, a mother/son breeding should not be a problem, unless they shared a genetic problem that should be bred out not in. Like all other animals the fittest survive. To often livestock are born and sold as good stock, but sometimes you just gotta ask yourself, why is a particular animal being sold? The Nubian doe that we have had what appeared to be severe parasite issues when she was given to us. We saved her, but apparently she has genetic issues that should not be saved. We all hate the word "Cull" but nature culls animals all of the time. Sometimes our intervention is not so much for the good of the breed, but for the good of the particular animal. The moral to the story is to keep Momma away from a known relative. Keep breeding her, but maybe breed to a whole different breed of goat to insure no more inbreeding on her part.
 
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