She began to fill her udder and get quite a bit larger in mid November.
|November 29, 2013|
|November 29, 2013|
|Morning of December 9, 2013|
On Monday evening, December 9th as we were feeding the animals, I noticed that One Stripes vulva was sharply drawn into her body instead of in it's normal position. I knew that was a sign of impending birth so we prepared her birthing pen. As we were working on it, she lay down and began having strong contractions. I knew it was early according to my calculations and just hoped I had miss counted or missed seeing a breed date back in the summer. That was not the case. Interestingly enough, shortly after we had the pen set up she got up and walked into it with little coaxing. She knows the routine and was ready to be comfortably settled into a birthing pen.
|Morning of December 9, 2013|
Soon after she entered the pen she quickly gave birth to the first kid. My first thought was that it was too small. She generally has good sized, strong healthy kids. But she quickly began to clean it and it started to fuss which was a good sign. Since we weren't expecting kids this soon, our tote with our birthing supplies was at the house. While Frank went to get the tote another kid was born. By that time the first one was laying limply and kind of panting with it's mouth open showing it was having difficulty breathing. It did not have a sucking instinct or the strength to produce one, I'm not sure which. I knew from trying to help it nurse that it was very weak and I did not expect it to live. It died about 10 minutes after birth.
When Frank returned with the tote he noticed that the second kid did not have any hair on it's ears. It was just as small and exhibited the same symptoms as the first kid and also died after about 10 minutes. It took a while longer for the third kid to be born and it was in the same condition. The only difference was it didn't have much hair on it's belly and none on it's ears. One Stripe cleaned them all and even tried to gently paw at them to get them up. She passed her after birth with no problems.
There were three differences we noticed in One Stripe leading up to this event. The first was a whitish colored discharge that was on the back of her udder, going down the middle from top to bottom a few days before she gave birth. It wasn't mucous or sticky. I noticed it, but didn't think a lot about it. She had be passing the normal bit of mucous every few days for about a week and everything seemed normal. Another difference was that she seemed a little nervous, more so than I remember in past years. I wondered if this was because after four years she turned into the lead goat of the herd. As long as we had one other doe from our original herd that came here with One Stripe, she was more than content to let the other goat be the lead doe. One Stripe had quite an adjustment period when we sold the other older does last spring. The only other thing I noticed was that she was coughing some after she ate. But that didn't concern me because she was getting so big. She had been eating slower because she just didn't have as much room and that is a normal progression for her in past pregnancies.
|Pearl, our Pyrenees, as we work with One Stripe; never far from the does|
Since giving birth, One Stripe has shown no ill effects to her health at all. We gave her 2cc of LA200 (Oxytetracycline) just as a precaution. Her milk is in and she is producing more everyday. I began milking her the night she gave birth and have milked her twice a day since. We saved all of that milk for the dog, cats and chickens and didn't start keeping milk for ourselves until five days after she gave birth. She is now producing a gallon a day. She is getting around fine, is alert and bright eyed. She has shown no signs of illness at all. The only real side effect she exhibited was her very sad mourning and crying for her babies for about three days. It was quite heart breaking.
We had one other doe several years ago that had to have assistance with her first kidding. She had twins, both of which were trying to be born at the same time. Once I got them sorted out they were born one right after the other. One was smaller, fully formed, but dead. The other was quite a bit larger, but totally hairless and dead. I always thought if I had pulled them sooner maybe the smaller one would have lived. I don't know why one would look normal and the other be hairless. But after this experience, I doubt the smaller one would have lived.
My reading did not give me any conclusive information that led me to believe she had any infection or contagious disease. We do have cats that spend time in the barn so I read up on toxoplasmosis, but that didn't fit. There are quite a few illnesses or diseases that can cause miscarriages in goats late in their pregnancies, but none of them fit her symptoms or lack of symptoms.
In Storey's Guide to Raising Dairy Goats on page 125 it says, "Abortion is more common in late pregnancy. The cause can be mechanical, such as the pregnant doe being butted by another or running into an obstruction such as a manger or narrow doorway, or it can be related to moldy feeds."
One Stripe had been a little more nervous than usual and I guess she could have run into something, but it is doubtful she was butted by one of the other three does. We haven't seen any signs of that behavior from any of our four does. But there could have been a question about the feed. Some of the last sweet feed that Frank bought was a little moldy. We figured mixed in with the corn and alfalfa it wasn't enough to affect the goats. But now we wonder if it could have been. The hay we have been using is left from last spring and is a little dusty. We started feeding some to the does when the weather started to turn bad. I wanted to make sure One Stripe had plenty of roughage and that it was something she was used to. Normally the goats graze on our standing hay in the pasture and we don't need to supplement with hay. When the icy weather came in and everything had an inch of ice followed by an inch of sleet followed by several inches of snow, I don't think the does did much grazing. We made sure they had plenty of hay. I don't know if this change in roughage made any difference in her pregnancy or not. It's just another possible variable among many.
Here is a list of the website pages I read. They all seemed to agree with my books and I didn't find any additional information that seemed to point to a conclusive answer. But they are good resources, so I wanted to share them.
Alabama Cooperative Extension System
Abortions and causes of death in newborn sheep and goats by Debrah Mohale
Onion Creek Ranch
JustAnswer.com Large Animal Veterinary
|Sunday, December 15, 2013|
Until next time - Fern