March 2013 Issue



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Every night about midnight, I ride the alleys and roads between pens and pastures, spotlighting to see if there are problems. (My ranch hand rides the same areas early every morning.) Near my Vet Building is a large pen into which I place does that are close to kidding so if they need assistance, I can use the alleys and gates to move them into the Vet Building pens by myself to assist them.

On a recent night, OCR Daffi, Tennessee Meat Goat(tm) doe, was in this large kidding pen. When I spotlighted her, two sets of tiny eyes glistened. Daffi had two kids on the ground. I could tell by their cries that they had just been born, and I could see that they were partially cleaned yet still wet. But Daffi was sitting quietly beside them.

I knew what that meant. Daffi was awaiting the birth of her third kid. If kids are born close together time-wise, I've learned that the dam will clean newborns but may wait until all kids are delivered before feeding them. I'm confident this has to do frequent labor pains and milk availability, i.e. milk let down (is available to the newborns) when birthing is completed and placenta consumed by the dam.

So I quietly walked into the pen towards Daffi, who is an experienced mom and has gone through this process multiple times before. Daffi stands up and a single rear leg is hanging out of her vagina. This situation demands human intervention. Daffi is unable to get that kid's rear leg back inside and re-position the kid for safe delivery. If I don't move her to the Vet Building pens, there will be three dead kids by daylight -- the kid unable to be born plus the two on the ground that she might not feed until the third kid has been delivered, not to mention the toxicity issue that will poison Daffi if the kid dies inside her and isn't promptly removed.

I woke up my ranch hand and he and I moved Daffi to the Vet Bldg pens, where we easily pushed this kid back in, grabbed both rear legs, and pulled him out. Luckily he didn't have lungs full of placental fluid, but I placed 2/10th of a cc of prescription Dopram V under his tongue anyhow. He was up and nursing in minutes.

Subscribe FREE now! Monthly issues with new articles and other educational information on meat goat health, nutrition, and management written by Suzanne W. Gasparotto of Onion Creek Ranch and Pat Cotten of Bending Tree Ranch. In all cases, it is your responsibility to obtain veterinary services and advice before using any of the information provided in these articles. Neither Suzanne Gasparotto nor Pat Cotten are veterinarians. None of the contributors to this website will be held responsible for the use of any information contained herein.

Daffi and her kids are fine, but they would not have been had I not been vigilant about checking on kidding does and moving her to assist with a problem that could not be solved without human intervention. This kind of problem can and does occur in species like goats that have multiple births.

Suzanne W. Gasparotto, ONION CREEK RANCH, Texas 3-9-13


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