I know that this time of year most of our focus is on the cute kids, but making sure the does are healthy is also a great concern....one that I take very seriously. (for photos of cute kids ... see my earlier posts on kidding)
My does are my production partners here at the dairy ... they give the wonderful sweet milk that the cheeses and yogurts are made out of. And, their milk only tastes its best when the does are healthy and free from infection.
One of the first things I do for the does after kidding is to give them a good de-wormer. They are very susceptible to worm overload at this time when their hormones are going through changes right after kidding. This is a very important thing and not to be overlooked.
I know everyone has their own opinions about what kind of wormer to use and how to administer it. And, I'm not trying to change anyone's opinions.
With that said... I've had good success with a 1cc injection of IvermecPlus per 100 lbs. (usually 2cc per doe) This is labeled for cattle, but I've used it for my goats for some time with good results. I like it because it takes care of the liver flukes too. I withhold the milk from human consumption for a week after giving this wormer.
It is important to give injectable wormers as injections and not orally. If given orally, it can kill the worms too fast and cause a goat to bleed out. So, it is best to give a wormer orally only if it is meant to be given orally. I give the injection into the skin just under the front leg. I pull out the skin where the front leg meets the body and using an 18 gauge 3/4inch needle inject the wormer SQ - into the loose skin. This allows the wormer to work more slowly than giving it orally and over a longer time period.
One of the things I keep a watch on in my does for after kidding is the health of their udder. Dairy breeds give a lot of milk ... more milk than most kids will usually nurse out completely ... that is if the kids are left on the doe after kidding. I leave the kids with the doe for the first few days.
Even if the kids nurse frequently, the doe's udder can still fill too tight between their feedings. If the doe's udder feels tight, I milk her completely out twice a day from the first day they kid. I make sure the kids have just gotten their fill before I milk her out though. She'll make more milk by the time they're hungry again. If her udder feels nice and soft, then the kids are doing a good job of taking enough milk to keep her udder healthy.
Something I've noticed is that the kids sometimes prefer to nurse only one side. That lets the other side fill too tight and it'll need to be milked out to keep the udder healthy and keep the doe comfortable.
Making sure the doe is milked out is a good way to prevent mastitis and relieve the swelling or edema that often accompanies freshening. If she still has any hard swollen areas in her udder after milking her ... rubbing Peppermint Oil on the hard areas will help the swelling to go down ... usually in only a day or so.
If the udder is fevered or hot to the touch, she may have mastitis and will need aggressive antibiotics to get her over it. If she has mastitis, she will probably also have stringy or clumpy solids in her milk when you milk her out. Vet consultation or treatment would be recommended. Mastitis is serious and can kill if left untreated.
If she is having a hard time letting her milk down and massaging the udder doesn't help get the milk flowing , I give her a 1/2cc injection of Oxytocin in the muscle at the back of the back leg. Oxytocin is the hormone that they naturally release when they let their milk down. I find that giving them a little help is sometimes necessary if they're nervous or tense.... or new to the milking parlor and can't let their milk down. It is important to get them milked out completely to keep their udder healthy and performing to their best potential.
Another thing I watch on a doe that has just freshened is her discharge ... to watch for uterine infection. I watch for any puss or bad odor in the discharge. Normally the discharge will look bloody and sometimes like a gel. But, if it has a bad odor or looks brownish or infected with puss, aggressively treating with antibiotics is necessary.
If she retained any of her placenta or had a stillborn kid, she will probably develop a uterine infection and will need antibiotics.
If I've had to assist the delivery of the kids by entering the doe with my hand, I will automatically start her on antibiotics to prevent uterine infection.
Depending on the size of the doe ... to fight uterine infection ...I use 6cc to 10cc of Penicillin injections (IM) into the muscle at the upper part of the back of the back leg. I give it to her everyday (usually 2 to 5 days) until she doesn't show any more signs of infection in the discharge.
I withhold the milk from human consumption for at least 48 hours after the last dose of antibiotics.
Okay - so this was a post without any photos ...I'll do better next time with lots of photos ... I only hope this information will help someone with the health of their does after kidding.
The next group of 7 does are in the kidding pens and we're on labor watch for this weekend. So ... more photos of babies soon!