hermaphrodite?

Discussion in 'Goats' started by allenslabs, Dec 28, 2005.

  1. allenslabs

    allenslabs Saanen & Boer Breeder

    Messages:
    1,387
    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2005
    Location:
    IN
    How do you tell if a female goat is a hermaphrodite?? Of the 6 that I bought 3 were triplets. 2 had kids last year and 1 didn't. The 2 are very petite and pretty whereas the other is quite beefy. She is somewhat small back there but otherwise has everything. I've not felt around for any testes or anything but plan on it tonight. I did a search on the computer and most of the things I got were about hermaphrodite porn or something. Kinda gross.
    So for you all that are smarter than I and have seen more.......... any guesses?? She LOOKS bred but that could also just be fat as my others that I already owned were fat before bred. Would LOVE some input!
     
  2. Sue

    Sue Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    98
    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2002
    Location:
    Missouri Ozarks
    I had a ewe lamb born a few years ago that turned out to be a hermaphrodite. She was a triplet, very large, and started looking quite masculine. The tip of her vulva turned up slightly and by the time she was four months old, you could see a testicle growing under the skin between her legs. She also exhibited male behavior by mounting the ewes and instigating fights. She was very tasty! Her mother always throws triplets and this is the only one we had in hundreds of lambs.
     

  3. chamoisee

    chamoisee Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,124
    Joined:
    May 15, 2005
    Location:
    Idaho
    Has your doe ever come into an obvious standing heat? I would check her morning and night (2x a day) for discharge for a month. This sounds arduous, but it isn't really...just make it part of your feeding/watering routine to check under her tail twice a day for any sign of discharge or dried mucus.

    If she was running with the buck, it will be harder, because then you either have to wait until spring to find out, or just get rid of her even though she might be normal.

    I have had 2-3 hermaphrodites, or perhaps they were just freemartins: Here is what I noticed about mine:

    *As young does they were attractive and pretty, feminine, but strong.
    *I never saw a really clear cut heat from them when fall came around.
    *If I suspected they were in heat, and threw them in with the buck, they freaked!!!
    *And if I held them still, the buck couldn't seem to get in...
    *The vulvas were little bitty...smaller than the other does, maybe 1/2"
    *and the teats were teeny, too!
    *As yearlings who never kidded, their necks and jawlines coarsened and they began to look more like wethers than does....and they started packing on weight.

    I should mention that I never saw any testicles or pea shaped growths or other secondary sex characteristics that they tell you to watch for- it was more subtle than that in these cases. Also they didn't smell or act 'bucky'- it was just that for whatever reason, they didn't come into heat, the buck could not breed them, and they were infertile, so I got rid of them. Both does had a buck as a littermate, and they were from the same family line.
     
  4. allenslabs

    allenslabs Saanen & Boer Breeder

    Messages:
    1,387
    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2005
    Location:
    IN
    I'll be looking for some signs but if she is normal then I'd have to wait till spring I guess...... bummer.
     
  5. Tracy in Idaho

    Tracy in Idaho Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    879
    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2002
    Save yourself some guesswork and just take a peek inside with a speculum....you could make one out of a piece of PVC pipe if you filed the edges down smoothly. First I would simply lube up a finger and try to insert it into her vagina --

    In the hermie that I had, her "vagina" only extended inside about an inch. Just far enough so that she could urinate normally, but there was nothing else there, just a dead end.

    If you can make, buy, or borrow a speculum and light, you can take a look and see if you can see a normal cervix inside, or if she even has a normal vaginal tract.

    My hermie also had VERY tiny teats, about the size of a pencil eraser, and was polled. Her vulva appeared pretty normal.

    Tracy
     
  6. Bluebutterfly

    Bluebutterfly Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    119
    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2005
    I never even knew that there were hermaphrodite people until 2 years ago when I saw a show about it on TV. I never even expected that animals can have that issue as well. I am new to goats. Is this a common problem in animals? I feel like I have been in the dark all these years. Is this something that is in their genes? Or is the cause unknown?
     
  7. Rachel K.

    Rachel K. Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    231
    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2005
    Location:
    Dyersville, Iowa
    Bluebutterfly,

    Its actually not that common. Its just something that can happen sometimes.
     
  8. Jillis

    Jillis Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,680
    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2005
    Location:
    Northeast Kingdom of Vermont
    Same thing happened when I googled "black sex link chickens." :eek:
     
  9. homebirtha

    homebirtha Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,259
    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2004
    Location:
    Maryland
    The hermaphrodite issue can happen when a polled doe is bred to a polled buck. The offspring can have several problems, including hermephroditism. I believe it can only happen with two polled animals?? The gene for polled is dominant, so if an animal is horned (or disbudded, of course), it cannot be carrying the polled gene, so could not create a hermie.

    The other thing that can happen is a freemartin, which can happen with a buck/doe twins/triplets or more, if they were in the same horn of the uterus. I think it's pretty rare though. I guess, theoretically, it would be more likely with triplets or more, because if it was only twins, they'd be in separate horns of the uterus... I think. I don't know much about freemartin issues though, so someone else might be able to give more info.

    Anyway, neither of these is very common, and the hermie issue can be avoided all together if you don't breed polled to polled. HTH.

     
  10. allenslabs

    allenslabs Saanen & Boer Breeder

    Messages:
    1,387
    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2005
    Location:
    IN
    Hmmmm...... I didn't get to see the parents to these does as these girls are going to be 2 in the spring and he has a different buck and the momma died not long after they were born. I'll have to ask though. I don't know if I could even fit my finger in there as it is a really small opening. I've got a picture I'll try to upload onto the web page I have in my signature. It might not be till later though. Thanks a lot all!!
     
  11. homebirtha

    homebirtha Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,259
    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2004
    Location:
    Maryland
  12. goatkid

    goatkid Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    2,133
    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2005
    Location:
    Montana
    I don't know that I would want to look in the vulva of a goat who may be bred, but I would consider letting my vet do it. I have one beautiful doe who actually went best doeling in show in '04. She was in with a buck for over a month last year, but had no kids in spring. Due to not lactating this season, she is heavier than the other yearlings. I have put her in with a buck this year and have observed him breeding her about a month after she was in with him. If she doesn't have kids next spring, I will have my vet examine her. I can't see any sign of hermaphroditism. I had one goat that didn't kid one year and then had a baby the following June. It took her a couple months in with the buck before she conceived.
     
  13. Tracy in Idaho

    Tracy in Idaho Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    879
    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2002
    Taking a look into a pregnant goat isn't going to hurt a thing. You aren't going to penetrate the cervix or in any other way bother her. It's no different than a pregnant woman getting a pelvic exam or having sex.

    Most folks don't have the time/space/feed/or want to wait 2 years to find out if a doe is a hermaphrodite or not. The easy solution on this doe would be a) take a look -- if everything looks normal, then b) send in a blood sample and you'll know for sure if she is bred or not.

    Sometimes they just don't breed as doelings -- I had one of these myself last year. If not for the fact that she was a very expensive purchased doeling, she would have been gone. This fall she is confirmed pregnant. Even though they come into heat and breed they are not yet fertile...for whatever reason.

    Tracy
     
  14. chamoisee

    chamoisee Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,124
    Joined:
    May 15, 2005
    Location:
    Idaho
    Seconding what Tracy said, it won't hurt the doe to explore the vagina with a well lubed finger, assuming that she is duly restrained in a milking stand and you are very gentle.

    That's not a good sign. Is she smaller than her herdmates of the same age?

    I forgot to mention that the two does I had were both dehorned and had scurs (so I know that I didn't disbud naturally polled goats) and both parents has been horned as well. To further complicate the issue, polled parents don't always produce hermie daughters, it's just a lot more common in that circumstance.
     
  15. goatkid

    goatkid Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    2,133
    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2005
    Location:
    Montana
    I guess I have been afraid to probe too far into Bluebelle's vulva. I have looked into the opening where hermies are supposed to have the pea like thing ( I observed one in a friend's goat, so I know what I'm looking for). Bluebelle doesn't have this and everything looks normal to me. Since I did see my buck breeding her and she was receptive, I'll keep her around and see what happens this spring. Hopefully, she'll freshen. If she doesn't, I think I'll let the vet take a look at her and also culture her for infection. I wouldn't do this with just any goat. I lost Bluebelle's mother a few months after her birth. Mom had a very nice and capacious udder. Bluebelle has her dry leg and did exceptionally well when shown as a kid. I didn't show her last summer as she already had her dry leg. If it turns out she's sterile, I think my neighbors will take her for a pet and weed eater. I do have her older half sister and 3 doelings out of her full brother. Bluebelle was the runt of a set of triplets and she very well my have not been mature enough last year to get pregnant according to an experienced goat breeder friend.
     
  16. allenslabs

    allenslabs Saanen & Boer Breeder

    Messages:
    1,387
    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2005
    Location:
    IN
    I think my best bet will be the blood sample as I wouldn't know what I was looking for so basically I'd just have my finger up a goats but for no reason which would just seem somewhat odd! HAHA! Lets hope the sample doesn't cost too much. But hey I have purina points I need to send in and might as well get the vet certificate.
     
  17. allenslabs

    allenslabs Saanen & Boer Breeder

    Messages:
    1,387
    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2005
    Location:
    IN
    Ok I got brave and lubed up and went in with a glove of course. I used my middle finger which is maybe 3-4" and it went in as far as I could and could have more but my finger just wasn't long enough. Her teats are around 1" long maybe longer. I felt and there were no other objects but also didn't feel any type of udder forming. I felt around on the yearling due sooner and she had SOMETHING forming but it didn't have a lot to it.
    Ok so there is my story.............. any thoughts?
     
  18. witchysharon

    witchysharon Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    171
    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2004
    I believe it can only happen with two polled animals??

    Most often this condition is found in polled goats, but it 'can' happen in horned breeds. My theory is it may be more common in horned breeds (tropical breeds such as Pygmy/Nigerian) that cycle all year round (more hormones/more chances of hormonal imbalances/more problems with the intersex issue like hermaphroditism). In any case it does happen in horned goats, but not very often.

    You can do a vaginal canal exam, but you'll probaby need someone (or two) to securely hold the goat. You can order a A.I. Speculum from caprine supplies ($6) and do the 'exam'. You will also need a small narrow focus flashlight if you want to *see* what (if anything) is in the vaginal canal and make a positive ID.

    Wash the vulva, dab on some KY on the vulva and the speculum. Insert the speculum slowing with a twisting motion upwards following the slant of the rump. If everything is 'normal' the speculum 'should' go up into the vaginal canal nearly the entire length. If it only goes in a short way and is met with a blockage (which could have a 'hole' in it) then that is 'penile' tissue and you have an hermaphrodite.

    Speculums...go to

    http://www.caprinesupply.com/

    type the word speculum in the "Search our site" box and click 'search our site'. There are a few different ones, but the AI speculums are the cheapest.
     
  19. chamoisee

    chamoisee Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,124
    Joined:
    May 15, 2005
    Location:
    Idaho
    Huh. They sound normal. I think if they were mine, I'd pen them up with a buck for a month. That way if they aren't bred yet, they will be.
     
  20. mpillow

    mpillow Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    9,569
    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2003
    Location:
    CHINA
    I have a doe that will be three yo when (if) she kids for the first time...despite full exposure...
    I'm fairly certain she "took" this time as I saw the deed and she was doing the goopy tail wag....and my buck is not very smelly anymore...a sure sign that all the girls are bred...
    She has always been femmy and dainty and whiny :rolleyes: and she is a triplet so hoping she'll throw trips...all girls :angel: She owes me for last year :grump: