Help! Bowlegged goats

Discussion in 'Goats' started by waygr00vy, Oct 10, 2005.

  1. waygr00vy

    waygr00vy Sunny Daze Farm

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    I have several Nigerians and pygmys, and although one was born slightly bowlegged, it seems to be getting worse. Also, another nigerian who wasn't really bowlegged when I got her, seems to be getting to be that way. Is this a vitamin or mineral defficiency thing? They have access to a mineral block and grass, and they get a small amount of grain as well. They have been wormed regularly and had their shots. They are both young (one 4 months the other 8 months) , none of the older goats seem to be this way and I also have a young buckling who is fine. Any imput? If its something I am doing wrong or am failing to do I would love to know now before I have a whole herd of bowlegged goats! Any advice is appreciated!! Thanks! -Carissa
     
  2. Jen H

    Jen H Well-Known Member

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    How much calcium are they getting? Is there any calcium added to the mineral block or grain? That would be the first thing I look at. Alfalfa is high in calcium, so adding alfalfa hay or pellets is probably the easiest way to get that to them.

    Are they kept primarily indoors? If so, they might not be making enough vitamin D to absorb the calcium that is present in their feed. If they're outside alot, vitamin D probably isn't an issue.

    Goats need a 2:1 calcium: phosphorus ratio, and require vitamin D to absorb those minerals. They're getting the phosphorus from the grain you're feeding them, so up the calcium and make sure they get plenty of sunlight.

    I'm sure others will chime in with more ideas, but at least you have a start!
     

  3. goatlady

    goatlady Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Your goats are exhibiting all the signs of ricketts which is a disease caused by a vitamin D deficiency. According to the Goat Medicine book page 99-100 ricketts is "characterized by a failure of mineralization in newly formed bone matrix at the epiphyses of long bones. " It is USUALLY caused by a complete lack of vitamin D i.e. never out in the sunshine..."However, chronic deficiencies or either calcium or posphorus in the face of adequate vitamin D can also produce the condition." "...nutrient ayalysis followed by correction of identified deficiencies." Grass is not the first choice of food for goats as they are kin to deer and prefer browse - shrubs, small trees, leaves, twigs. They have an entirely different digestive system compared to cows who do well on grass. Goats need more nutrition than grass alone can usually furnish. Jen has given the calcium to phosphorus ratio and her suggestion about the alfalfa is excellent, but it's only going to stop the bowing not change it. They will remain bowed as they are now if they get the minerals they need.
     
  4. Laura Workman

    Laura Workman (formerly Laura Jensen) Supporter

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    You might also be looking at a copper deficiency. Goats need a LOT of copper. The mineral you are feeding, free choice, should have at least 1000 ppm of copper. (Trees, weeds, bushes and other deep-rooted plants that are the natural food of goats carry far more minerals than grass or alfalfa, thus the need to supplement.)
     
  5. waygr00vy

    waygr00vy Sunny Daze Farm

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    The field they are in also has brush, trees, vines, etc. and i have seen them munching on it. They are out all day, with access to shade if they want it, so lack of sunshine and Vitamin D shouldn't be the problem. I will have to check my mineral block to see how much copper is in it. I usually give them alfalfa in the winter when the forage is not so good, but haven't lately. I will definitely start doing that again. Thanks for the advice. I've had the goats for about a year, but still learning alot!