Seeking feeding pregnant doe advice

Discussion in 'Goats' started by enjoy the ride, Dec 26, 2006.

  1. enjoy the ride

    enjoy the ride Well-Known Member

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    Hi- I have a very, very wide doe who is a very easy keeper (Boer- surprise surprise!)- she is 3 months pregnant-.
    Last year year she was also pregnant- I had been giving her about a half cup of grain twice a day. Towards the end of her pregnancy she stopped eating much and got stiff in her walk. I drenched her with calcium drench and within 2 hours she was better- I gave her more for two days and had no more problems.
    The kids were lost when they got tangled and the vet wouldn't come out- by the time I got her to the vet's, the kids were dead. One of them was very large. The doe was treated with antibiotics and was fine.
    This year I have not grained her at all- I have only been giving free choice hay (grass-alfalfa) in the last month. In order to avoid ketosis, I understand that feeding her some grain in the the 6 weeks before she kids is good.

    When and what would you all feed in that case? She really doesn't have any browse although she could graze on grass if she would stir herself to leave her pen but she really doesn't,
     
  2. DocM

    DocM Well-Known Member

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    Her inactivity isn't good. Make sure her water is across the pen from where she couch-pototoes all day so she's forced to get up and "stir" a couple times each day. I grain my meat does with nutrena meat maker or whatever it's called for about a month before they kid, only about 1/2 lb a day and I work up to that from a handful. Make sure she's getting some exercise. Have faith that this year's kidding will go smoother. Sometimes things "just happen" and then we worry to much the next time around and forget to let nature take some control. She shouldn't be quite so lethargic at 3 months, she still has a long time ahead of her.
     

  3. enjoy the ride

    enjoy the ride Well-Known Member

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    Doc M- thanks- I do usually drag her butt out once a day but even then the only exercise she really gets is when she runs back to the hay feeder. LOL
     
  4. Jan in CO

    Jan in CO Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Doc is right, she needs exercise! I have one of those Boer-blimps, too. She is HUGE, looks like she swallowed another goat and it's lying sideways. She has short legs, too, which makes it more obvious. I should cull her as she has a very 'pinched' nose, which constricts her breathing, but she's a good mother and a sweet thing, for the most part.

    Study all the sites with pictures of birthing, what to do to assist, and be ready to do so. Keep your nails short, have lube on hand, antibiotic bolus' to insert in her uterus after you go in and assist, etc. Even the most experienced goat herder loses a kid now and then, but the more you know, the easier it will get. I've been lucky to have a couple friends who had goats before I did, and have helped me a lot. Now, I'm much more confident about being able to handle problem deliveries.

    Good luck! Jan in Co
     
  5. copperpennykids

    copperpennykids Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I would suggest you get her some good alfalfa hay and slowly put her on it 100%.
    Alfalfa is loaded with calcium, something she needs a lot of the last 2 months of pregnancy. Now I know some will say, that it will make her fat, but not if she gets some exercise, which you know she needs anyway.

    A doe without sufficient calcium available to her can have poor/weak labor which then leads to a difficult kidding. It can also lead her into hypocalcemia and ketosis.

    I would also give her just a little grain (a handful or two) and work up to about 2 cups at the end of her pregnancy to provide energy.

    We NEVER give grain unless the goat is on alfalfa, to keep the calcium/phosphorus ratio at 2:1.

    I would recommend that you go to DairyGoatInfo.com and read the article by Sue Reith about hypocalcemia so that you get a better understanding of the whys and hows.

    Additionally, you didn't mention if you are selenium deficient where you are (?) but around here everyone gives their does a shot of Bo-Se 3-4 weeks before they kid.
    We also try to keep them on a high selenium/high copper mineral throughout the year.

    All of these things just get you a healthier doe and may help avoid future kidding problems. it may all go smoothly this year, but I like to take a proactive approach, and with over 50 kids being born here last year feel that it really pays off.

    Camille O'Connor
    Copper Penny Boers (home of the National Champion % Doe)
    Copper Penny Pyrenees
    Whey-to-Go Saanens
     
  6. DocM

    DocM Well-Known Member

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    LMAO. I have a lamancha-blimp too. She's due in late Feb, looks like she's due tomorrow, everyone who sees her says "wow, is she going to have quads?" She's a freakin' pig. She snorts her way to the feeder, pushing all others aside, and snaps at other goats who get too close to her staked out feeding area. Funny thing though, she's surprisingly fast for a fat girl. She's got great depth of body and a really pretty head, and it's always sweet how the judges keep trying to find "nice" things to say about her, um, girth. "She looks like a real easy keeper" is the most frequent er, compliment I hear.
     
  7. DocM

    DocM Well-Known Member

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    Well, by all means, take her farther out each day so she has to run a long ways back to the feeder!
     
  8. AllWolf

    AllWolf We love all our animals

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    The does needs plenty of exercise because if the doe gets to huge she will have trouble kidding. Your doe still needs hay, grain, loose goat minerals and lots of fresh drinking water to help her produce the milk she needs for the baby/babies.

    Good Luck. :)
     
  9. Sher

    Sher Well-Known Member

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    LOL..blimps..I had two 50/50 Nubie/Boer does that blimped this year. They both carried triplets. I do not grain my boer cross does until after they kid.

    We are blessed to live where alfalfa hay is plentiful and that's what they are on year round. I don't grain them until after kidding because it seems those boer girls tend to gain quickly. I don't want huge babies in there trying to get out..so I opt for a smaller kid and then grain mom afterwards. Hope this makes sense.

    Beside moving the water..ya might try throwing her hay away from where she "lives" . . we have done this. Just to encourage everyone to get up and move. Instead of putting the bunk where they are sleeping and hanging out..we put it down the fence line quite a ways .. it does help some.

    Good luck on those babies!
     
  10. enjoy the ride

    enjoy the ride Well-Known Member

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    Sher- you know I never thought about that-I've been planning to build a hay feeder with a cover for them- but I think I will add one without the cover out somewhere so when it is dry I can feed them there. I only have a couple of acres so it won't be too far away- but better than nothing. If she's forced to leave the pen, she will spend some time grazing I hope.
     
  11. manygoatsnmore

    manygoatsnmore Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Did you have a huge buck kid and tiny does in there last year? Seems like I was reading that a lack of either selenium or iodine (help me out here, folks) can cause that. We had it happen a few years ago to a doe - the doelings had died in-utero, and the buckling was so huge that I had to pull him (after untangling him from the other kids). He was vigorous at birth, but we found him dead the next morning. I wonder if I should have given him antibiotics right away (I would, if I could take a do-over), as he was in the womb with the dead sisters.

    Definitely need to get her up and walking around. Does she lead well enough for you to take her for a hike every day? Just walk her down the road a way and back? Be a great time to improve her leading if necessary...always a good thing. :)
     
  12. Vicki McGaugh TX Nubians

    Vicki McGaugh TX Nubians Well-Known Member

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    I really hope you read the Sue Reith articles. Unless young and bred and still growing herself, no does need grain while early bred. Once 100 days the kids, the size of small pups, need to grow to 8 pounds and the doe puts on udder and colostrum...she needs energy and calories to do this, this is when you move them slowly from the non grain diet to grains, but it is done from nothing to her full milking/nursing ration over 50 days. Moving to a better quality hay the last 50 days of pregnancy, keeping your grass mix hay for the rest of the year would be the best move you could do. Fixing your feeding managment before she is 3 months pregnant is the key, calcium must be part of your goats diet daily, only when nursing or late pregnant does energy and calories come into the diet of a grown doe.

    Just like in us, if you are fat you have less muscle tone, you have less energy, you move less, you have longer labors, without enough calcium you do not have active labor to push out kids agressively. When you ruin does like this you must become more skilled and much more agressive yourself about labor in your does, give her calicum (CMPK orally or use the injected) her whole labor, get the kids out before she pushes and pushes them up tight into the cervic. If you have a good due date, kid her out in the morning when your vet is in her office, don't wait until you have a train wreck before getting help. Vets get very bad raps mostly because folks want them to bring their goats back to life, they don't bring them in quick enough, or call another breeder to come help soon enough. A doe who has kidded before should only actively push for about 3 minutes before you have presentation of kids, if you don't you already know you have problems. Some does you can tell you are going to have problems because they are up and down, and rubbing their sides on the barn tying to reposition kids before they even start in labor. A doe like yours who is already down at only 3 months pregnant is likely already in hypocalcemia, and only the misstreatment of this will ever get you a doe in true ketosis. And giving proplyne glycol and CMPK to a doe for 60 days is going to be expensive and time consuming.

    Vicki
     
  13. enjoy the ride

    enjoy the ride Well-Known Member

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    Vicky- I'm very confused about what you're saying. The doe I'm writing about is a big girl- she's as thin as I can get her without starving her- she's just very, very broad and thick. Definitely not svelte. She has always been lazy- she's not any lazier now than she always has been. She has a mineral mix,baking soda and the best grass/alfalfa I can buy.
    I think that last year I overfed her wiht a goat ration. But since she kidded last year, I have been trying to keep her weight under control- which is very difficult. I was thinking that one of the babies being very large was a problem for her (both kids were boys.) But I don't really know. They did die because the vet kept telling me when I called that it takes a long time for goats to have their babies- this was all at 8:30am while he was in the office. after an hour of watching the baby's foot come out and go back, he was still telling me to wait- I simply told him I was bringing her in now. Let that rap fall where it may. That was not my purpose in writing- I was just trying to point out that I am worrried that maybe my overfeeding led to too big a baby.

    However, it did make me want do as good a job this year with her as I can- I have my birthing kit and have read everything I can.

    I simply wanted some advice as to whether I should start feeding her grain and when- I was thinking of trying alfalfa pellets with some whole oats. I want to give her the best shot at a good delivery this time - I've read that overfeeding a pregnant doe is dangerous. So what is the right way to do this?

    Hopefully this is a link to her picture-
    http://i40.photobucket.com/albums/e201/4humboldt/369c441e.jpg
     
  14. Vicki McGaugh TX Nubians

    Vicki McGaugh TX Nubians Well-Known Member

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    You got the response from us because we all know what goats look like who are grained everyday, pregnant or not, nursing or not, wide with lots of internal fat. Does like this are slugs. They get fatter during pregnancy, which makes them more sedentary, which causes the metobolic disease you are talking about...treating her for ketosis her last pregnancy. She gets no exercise which means all the excess energy and calories you feed her go to growing large kids, a good thing to a point. But a doe who is not getting exercise is then not getting muscle tone to be able to actively deliver the kids, or put them into good presentation to deliever them. When you have a doe you know is like this, the only grain she ever needs is during the last 50 days of pregnancy and while nursing, and even then she may only need 1 cup a day. She does need a constant supply of calcium to grow the bones of the kids, keep her metobolically healthy and fill her udder. If she doesn't get enough calcium in her diet her labor will be all the more sluggish. This is why the kids were big, the doe had a weak labor that could not push out the kid, who was also presented wrong.

    This time you need to be there for her labor, she is already not getting exercise so a repeat of bad presentation is likely going to repeat itself, as she starts pushing, give her maybe 5 pushes and then put your hand in and feel for face/teeth and two front hooves, that feel like soft rubber, do not let her push and push without good presentation, get in there and fix it. If she does not have good strong contractions pushing your hand out of her vagina, than give her CMPK under the skin. If during the end of pregnancy she stops eating like last time and repeats the walking problem (pretty classic signs of metobolic problems), use the info on hypocalcemia so she does not go into ketosis (usually a missdiagnosis anyway).

    The point is we bring on metobolic disease ourselves, it is not hereditary it is all managment, and Sue Reith's articles give very clear information on how to prevent this, and treat it once a doe has it. Prevention is always key, but prevention starts after you wean her kid. Vicki
     
  15. enjoy the ride

    enjoy the ride Well-Known Member

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    Well- I've tried alfalfa pellets/whole oats and tums- Tim won't even try either of them. She really is not a big eater- she's just big. She never would eat more than a fourth of a cup of grain when I gave her grain and that only if it was a sweet feed. So I think I will have to try alfalfa hay.
    I was reluctant to do this as I have really tried to keep her weight under control and she was eating alfalfa last year when she had trouble anyway.
    But I think I will try to feed her straight alfalfa as I really think she is more in danger from the lack of calcium than from a weight increase at this point.
    I also think that I will try feeding her away from the shed on days it's not raining (here it rains alot!) That was a useful suggestion that I got on this site - thank you.
    I would like any (please -non-accusitory) advice on what would be the best grain source for her to help balance the alfalfa calcium. I had to put the extra calories into her with molassas but it at least would as something to balance the calcium. I was think of trying a COB- not my favorite thing but I don't like the goat builder feed that is the only thing I can get here specifically for goats- I don't like "mystery" pellets.

    Also If anyone has anything else that you think I could try, please let me know.
     
  16. Vicki McGaugh TX Nubians

    Vicki McGaugh TX Nubians Well-Known Member

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    (please -non-accusitory)
    ..............

    I really have never understood this. You come on a forum and ask specific questions, then when someone types out a response it's accusations? It's simple answers to questions, I don't know you to be accusing you of anything. I do know if a does calcium level is not dealt with in pregnancy and before and after birth you have metobolic distress (hypocalcemia and milk fever, left un dealt with, or given only propolyne glycol she will go into ketosis and most kids can not live throught the stress of a mom in ketosis).

    If you are feeding alfalfa in any form and it is still happening than something in her diet or not in her diet (defficency) is not abeling the caclium to be anything more than just utilized in her blood, not stored for when she needs it in crisis (big kids in the last 50 days of pregnancy or milking flush the fist 12 weeks of lactation). When I say it's our fault when we have problems like this, it is because we are the ones giving the goats this diet poor in whatever it is she needs, or too much of something that predisposes her to pregnancy problems by being fat etc..

    I suppose we could all answer "Geeze I am so sorry she is having these problems, better luck next time????" But I never found this type of post to be helpful for me, nice but certainly not helpful.

    She may not do well with this pregnancy or delivery because of how she has been handled again during her dry period coming up to this point. In Sue's articles she tells you how to successfully feed a doe so she doesn't get to this point...although we can save the doe and perhaps the kids at this point, we can't make her better. For next season, take away her grain of anykind once she has weaned the kids, get her calcium levels up with good alfalfa hay or alfalfa pellets. Deal with whatever mineral defficencies you have in your area...selenium (E if you are up north and the goats go all winter with nothing green) copper..etc. this will help her better utilize the calcium you want her to have. Then start her on some grain at 50 days to kidding, hopefully with these changes she will do better, but some does are hot house flowers, they just aren't easy keepers. We can all improve our chances of having herds full of easy keepers by feeding our goats correctly. I don't offer molassas to my girls, so they don't get to pick and choose what they will or won't eat, and none have ever choosen to starve to death :) Vicki
     
  17. Oldntimes

    Oldntimes Well-Known Member

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    Hi Vicki,
    So you are saying with bred Sr. Does just Alfalfa pellets and hay, of course loose minerals and fresh water is all they need until they are on their 100 day bred??
    What about first time fresheners. Are they to be on the same scheduel, or do you grain them because they are still growing? If you grain them with what and how much.
    Thanks :)
     
  18. Vicki McGaugh TX Nubians

    Vicki McGaugh TX Nubians Well-Known Member

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    My does were bred in Sept and October and were milked until right before Christmas, but yes, as soon as they were dried, no grain. Alfalfa, minerals, grass hay and water are a constant. Once 100 days pregnant they get started very sloowly back onto grain...starting with 1/4 pound each and moving slowly every week until when they freshen they are eating 1 pound of grain once a day (nights) because it makes for more day time kiddings. Once they kid and are coming to the milkstand grain is only offered there, alfalfa is offered in the bunker feeders in the barn stalls. They then get more grain as they milk more.

    My first fresheners are only 12 to 14 months old when they freshen so they are fed grain from their birth until they have thier babies . Alfalfa, minerals, grass hay and water are a constant. When infants they are started on a meat goat pellets, they stay on this grain until about 100 days pregnant, then I slowly move it 1/2 meat goat pellet to 1/2 milkstand grain, until they are eating 1 pound of milkstand grain when they freshen. Once the last FF has freshened, like the milkers, no grain in the bunker feeders with thier minerals and alfalfa pellets, only on the milkstand. Makes them want to go to the milkstand also. This year they are going to be fed straight grain mix, like the milkstand grain. We kept them on milk so long last year that the medication in the meat goat pellets was not needed, doing the same with the milk this year, so nixing the meat goat pellet and mostly because I hate feeding by products feed tags.

    On the milkstand the girls are challenge fed, to milk but to also stay in good condition fed the least amount of grain. Some of my larger coming 6 year olds don't get but 1 pound of grain a day period, one, gets about 1/4 pound of grain and the rest alfalfa pellets on the milkstand because she is a cow on grain. If I fed alot of grain the whole dry period, or any where near as much grain as they wanted the whole year, my girls would be pig fat. My grain mix is mostly oats, some barley, some corn, does have a small alfalfa pellet in it, some soy (or rice bran) for fat depending on the brand I get and a really good mineral mix in it. Vicki
     
  19. Oldntimes

    Oldntimes Well-Known Member

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    great thanks so much!!!!
     
  20. copperpennykids

    copperpennykids Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Enjoy the Ride -

    To specifically answer your question on what grain to feed to "balance" the calcium in the alfalfa, Normally, any grain will do. We prefer oats mixed with barley and BOSS for our dairy goats.

    However, in your goats' case, it sounds like her ratios are already out of whack (the metabolic problems) and why she may not go for the grain (sometimes goats are good at avoiding things that make them sick). So I would just give her the alfalfa and for her energy source, give her the nutridrench/propylene glycol.

    If it was me, I would probably also give her some MFO until I saw some improvement in her symptoms.

    Then, at about 30-45 days before kidding I would start introducing a simple grain and increase it slowly until she kids, always watching her and backing off if you start seeing negative signs (ketosis etc.)

    Really hope that this doe pulls through for you and you get some nice kids.
    Don't give up-- "It ain't over 'til it's over!"