Our kidding season here at the farm has come and gone and left us with 5 beautiful baby goats – 3 males, 2 females.  Now the fun begins and we spend countless hours watching and playing with the new kids.  They are so comical, especially when they realize how much bounce their little legs have.  They seem to skip around the barnyard, kicking out and jumping up every now and then, very pleased with their accomplishments.

For the most part, the births were uneventful.  We missed two of the does kidding, they did it on their own.  Maggie was the first to kid and she had a rougher go of it this year.  She’s still recovering…

Maggie ended up with ketosis which is fairly common in goats who deliver twins.  It was more likely with Maggie since this was the first time she’d delivered twins.  All her previous births had been single births.  She’s having a hard time keeping up with the milk demand of her two little ones.  Maggie is doing better though she has not completely recovered.  We’re still supplementing the babies with a bottle so they’re not solely dependent on their mom.

Ahh, the joys and learning opportunities of homesteading… and I’m not kidding!!

Ketosis (also called Acetonemia) is the result of the high carbohydrate (energy) demand of multiple fetuses in late pregnancy. The kids require an increasing amount of carbohydrates the last trimester. Does bearing twins have a 180% higher energy requirement than those with just a single fetus. Does carrying triplets have a 240% greater energy requirement. When this demand exceeds the supply, fat is metabolized into glucose. The metabolic needs of the kids are met at the expense of the dam; this is what causes the ketotic condition. To complicate matters, multiple fetuses produce more waste products, which leads to the doe becoming toxic if she does not flush them from her system.

Sign for Ketosis:

The doe eats less or stops eating completely.

Depression

Separation from the herd

The doe may be slow to get up or may lie off in a corner.

Her eyes are dull.

Sometimes blindness

Muscle tremors & seizures

Staggering

Head pressing

She may have swollen ankles

She may grind her teeth.

The doe may breathe more rapidly.

The doe’s breath and urine may have a fruity sweet odor. This is due to the excess ketones, which have a sweet smell.

Prevention:

Prevent excess body fat during early pregnancy and increase the caloric intake in late pregnancy with a little more high energy feed (in moderation). Try to eliminate stress on the doe if at all possible.

After kidding increase grain as the doe’s milk production increases.

Exercise

Treatment:

Oral glucose/sugar:

Molasses & Karo syrup (corn syrup). Mix 2 parts corn syrup to 1 part molasses.  20 – 30ml every 2 hours. This tastes much better than PG and thus is less stressful to administer.

Propylene Glycol: Propylene Glycol is an appetite suppressant and it inhibits rumen bacteria, so do not use unless the doe is off her feed.

3-4 oz (90-120ml) 2 times a day, for 2 days, and then 1-2 oz (30ml-60ml) 2 times daily until the doe is eating normally.
or

10 – 20ml every 2 hours

Personal Note: Ever since my scientist father pointed out that Propylene Glycol is extremely similar in composition to Anti-Freeze, I tend to avoid it if at all possible.  I still with other, less harmful sugars.

Nutridrench, Goatdrench: 2 oz. 2 times a day

B-Complex: injections to stimulate the appetite.

Probios: to stimulate the appetite and keep the rumen functioning.

Children’s Chewable Vitamins w/ extra Calcium: If the doe will eat them, feed her 2-4 a day.

Rescue Remedy: Helps to reduce stress levels.

Lavender Essential Oil: This is an aromatherapy treatment for stress and depression. The doe may get depressed if she is not feeling well. Also, the drenching of Propylene Glycol (which doesn’t taste very good) can be stressful on the doe. Lavender has a calming and mood lifting effect. Place 4 drops of oil in three different places in the doe’s stall twice a day.

Even through it is the treatment for Milk Fever, I have found that it is also helpful to give:

Calcium Gluconate:

8 oz. given orally. Repeat 5-8 oz, three times a day until the doe is eating and symptoms are subsiding.
OR

SQ Injections of 40-60 cc of Calcium Gluconate. The injections should be broken down into at least 4 injections in different sites. Do not give more than 10 cc per injection site. The injections should be given slowly.

Once the doe has regained her appetite, increase her grain ration so that a relapse does not occur.

*Thanks to Fias Co Farm for their information