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Old 03/14/07, 11:52 AM
Join Date: Oct 2002
Posts: 213
Causes of Premature Births?

We had two does kid prematurely sometime in the early morning. They kids had some hair, but were obviously premature. Neither doe looked like they were ready or in labor yesterday.

I was just curious if there could be a cause other than squabling or head butting?

Any feeds or weeds or ???

I did just worm with Ivermec injectable orally, and dust with diatomaceous earth. But everyone else seems fine. In fact the doe who's farthest along looks OK. I'm not sure, but they don't seem to look as good as they did a week ago, or at least not as spunky. Maybe it's the cold snap, it had been warmer then real cold last night.

We did run short on hay (alfalfa 60/40 grass mix) and had to buy new hay (pure alfalfa). I'm just wondering if one of the last bales had some mold I didn't see or ???? Could that cause a problem? I think the last half dozen bales of my old hay were from a different field and were the oldest and on the bottom, but they looked OK.

I don't know. I'm at a loss, sure is disapointing to say the least
"Understanding is the reward of faith. Therefore seek not to understand that you may believe, but believe that you may understand." ~ St. Augustine
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Old 03/14/07, 12:02 PM
Sweet Goats's Avatar
Cashmere goats
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: CO
Posts: 2,023
First off, I am sorry this happened.
The only thing I can think of is like you said moldy hay, or if one goat is the boss and head butted them in the stomach.
I hope you find the cause. I think it is really weird that TWO of them did this.
I am sure someone will chime in that knows something about this. I did have a goat abort a baby last year and it was hairless also, but I didn't even know she was bred. I had no idea why she aborted but I really was happy that she did. She was just way to young for me to breed her.
Raising Beautiful Cashmere goats, to produce the best quality cashmere.
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Old 03/14/07, 12:13 PM
Join Date: Oct 2002
Posts: 213
Well, I have have found another clue.

There was so much bedding scattered on them I didn't notice at first. But the bottom of the feed were chewed off two of them! The other had bite marks......

I don't know if a dog got in there and stressed them into labor or if one just happened along after the premies were born. The former would explain the fact that everyone doesn't look very spunky today, a little depressed even.

I'm just not sure what to think. We've had problems with our neighbors dogs doing in the barn before, but they've never hurt anyone. I think I'll find a way to put my livestock gaurdian at the doorway of the barn tonight and see what turns up.

Awe this is a bummer!
"Understanding is the reward of faith. Therefore seek not to understand that you may believe, but believe that you may understand." ~ St. Augustine
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Old 03/14/07, 01:32 PM
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Tennessee
Posts: 2,963
Honeybee, sounds just like dog attack. The goat is an easy prey animal to kill...all it really takes is a bit at the top neck base area, just before the shoulder blades, and they are dead. This is how bobcats kill them. Dogs, too, sometimes. Often, dogs will rip out the windpipe as a kill site.

The presence of kids incites the predator response in dogs that otherwise would not prey on the goats. I do not know if you had other kids around.

The chewed feet indicate that it was dog/coyote attack. Usually domestic dogs attack to kill but not to eat. They will nibble. They kill for fun, basically, which is why the abdominal cavity was not opened. Bobcat and other wild predators like to get into the abdomen to eat after the kill.

The strewn bedding indicates a struggle; the goat herd is in shock from the attack and they may have been run around a bit. Pamper them, and they will recover.

Been there; done that. I once had to bury a third of my entire herd due to "pet dog" attack. Took the survivors 3 weeks to overcome the shock.

Warn your neighbors plainly of what could happen to their dogs if they do not control their dogs. Then keep your neighbor's dogs OUT of the goats. Make the barn tight, and pasture, too. Ruthlessly kill any that you find have gotten in, or are trying to get in. Buy a livestock guard dog/animal (donkey, llama).

The safe way is to never let any dog in with your goats, ever, unless it is the guard animal.
Jim Steele
Sweetpea Farms
"To avoid criticism, say nothing, do nothing, be nothing." -- Robert Gates

Last edited by Jim S.; 03/14/07 at 01:35 PM.
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Old 03/14/07, 01:38 PM
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Tennessee
Posts: 2,963
Let me add that the No. 1 cause, in my opinion, of premature birth is lack of essential minerals at the extreme levels goats require them. No. 2 is high worm load.

You'll never know the exact sequence of events in this case, but do keep the dogs OUT of your goats for their sake.
Jim Steele
Sweetpea Farms
"To avoid criticism, say nothing, do nothing, be nothing." -- Robert Gates
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Old 03/14/07, 02:54 PM
Blossomgapfarm's Avatar  
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: North Louisiana/South Arkansas
Posts: 692
You should not have a problem with dogs getting into your barn. If they are in, eliminate them. You don't have to tell your neighbors that you shot their dogs - they will not believe their pets would hurt anything. But if you do not take care of the problem, you are going to be the one suffering losses. I am sorry you lost the kids. I know that is a disappointment.
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Old 03/15/07, 04:10 PM
Join Date: May 2002
Location: North of Houston TX
Posts: 4,817
Yes I agree that the birthing is what attracted the dogs to the barn, but had they been harassing your girls for a long time to be there to cause an abortion storm and then to play with the dead kids? The does would not have labored with dogs in the barn with them unless they were their LGD. Premies also do not have formed hooves, so the doe herself digging at the kids for response or licking can pull off the kertin like hooves that have not hardened.

Who was bred to the buck to kid after these two? I would watch them, with these not due yet, it wouldn't be the older doe, but if the older doe was bred right before these two, and then you have an aboriton of another doe on the place or weak kids born to a doe who is bred after these, than your answer is an abortive disease carried by the first doe bred. Takes some detective work. If you have any more abortion, send in the placenta for a necropsy answer or blood test the doe for abortive disease.

Do you have kittens in the barn? Vicki
Vicki McGaugh
Nubian Soaps
North of Houston TX

A 3 decade dairy goat farm homestead that is now a retail/wholesale soap company and construction business.
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Old 03/20/07, 11:56 AM
Join Date: Oct 2002
Posts: 213
Thank you for all the responses and suggestions. Everyone else is still in good shape, no more problems. Everyone was just wormed about a week or so before that, dusted with DE and I gave them fresh minerals about 2 days later.

How premature these kids were I'm not sure. They did have little hooves, but had half the hair a full term kid would. They were also smaller in size.

I don't think their moms could have done it as the hooves and legs to just below the knee were chewed off and there were puncture marks in the feet of the one that was unchewed. We had a black lab type dog hanging around on my neighbors place earlier that afternoon.

I suspect that maybe the premature births were caused by some mold or ? on those last few bales of hay that were from a different place than all our other hay and then maybe the dog was attracted by the births like suggested here. The dog may have already been hanging around due to the neighbors dog just having had pups. The kids wouldn't have lived anyway, but you can bet that if I catch that dog on my place again it won't be coming back. After talking with my neighbor I found out it's been a problem at their place too.

Thanks for all your support.
"Understanding is the reward of faith. Therefore seek not to understand that you may believe, but believe that you may understand." ~ St. Augustine
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