Tuesday, February 9, 2010

After Kidding Doe Care

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!


Christy said...

Did you talk any about doe care while they are pregnant? I have one that is pregnant now, almost 2 months along and I'm wondering if there is anything special I should do for her.

~Tonia said...

Great Info!! I havent had to deal with Mastitus in quit a few years but thats something you dont forget for sure. It wasnt a bad case but still you could tell she was miserable..
Christy I am sure Brenda will answer your question but for me its just making sure she gets what she needs nutritionally and keep up on deworming. That is the 2 main things..
Cant wait for the next batch of Kidding Brenda!!

Brenda said...

Christy - I agree with Tonia that good nutrition is the best thing you can do for your pregnant does and developing kids...good hay, grain for energy, plenty of fresh water and minerals.

Don't forget that their need for carbohydrates increases in the last few weeks before kidding. This is due to the rapid growth of the kids.

I live in a Selenium deficient area and give my does 1cc BoSe injections SQ every couple of months or so. This combats white muscle disease and strengthens them for easier labor and delivery. Before giving selenium supplements, be sure to check if your area is deficient. Too much selenium is toxic.

Tonia gives her does raspberry leaf tea to strengthen their reproductive system. She picked up some for me this year and I've been feeding a little of the leaves to the does that are getting close to delivery. It's an herbal remedy that is good for pregnant women so I figured it sould be good for the goats too. Maybe Tonia will explain more about it.

I hope your kidding season is a great success!

OurCrazyFarm said...

Thanks for all the great information! It is especially appreciated as our does are in the midst of kidding. We have only raised goats for 3 years and I am amazed at how much there always is to learn. Good luck with your expecting mommas! Hope everything goes good for this round. Wish I could be there to help:)) There is not much that compares to welcoming new little kids into the world!

Brenda said...

Terri - You would be most welcome to come on over to help with the kids! Just let me know if you're planning a trip through southern MO sometime and we could have fun sampling the cheeses and playing with the goats!

~Tonia said...

Ahh Yes The red Raspberry.. Its is good for Labor, fertility, milk production, and all female parts and balancing hormones. This is what I have done is feed/or make tea with it about 2 weeks before breeding. Then about a month before due date start feeding or letting them drink the tea once a day. I use a Tablespoon per goat. It helps with labor as in strengthning the uterus to contract and help with expulsion of after birth. Its got Vit C so qwould also help fight uterine infections(Help not cure them). I am going to continue giving it to them when I am milking to see if it hels with milk production like they say. It cant hurt them. This will help all their female parts be in better shape for next year. I had a lot of tangled kids last year but Nutrition wasnt thebest on the farm we were managing and it showed!! One of the reason we are no longer there.
To make the tea..
I tablespoon per goat added to 1 quart jar of very hot water. Add enough Unsulphered molasses or Honey to sweeten it well. Let it steep for a while. I make mine in the morning and let it sit most of the day.. Then fill a 5 gallon bucket with warm water and add the tea mixture. I did this for 8 does. They usually drank it all and liked all the loose leaves up too. I dont strain it. They can eat the leaves wont hurt them!. I have regular water available too.

Laura said...

Really helpful and informative post. I want to do all I can to protect my investment, and I plain old am crazy about those girls. I am concerned about one of my pregnant does. I have been worming her with a pelleted wormer made for goats, she gets a 16% goat sweet feed once a day a mineral block lick and timothy hay. I feel like she looks really boney along her spine, like she is either wormy or malnourished. I am unsure what the problem is or if this is just a normal look for a pregnant Oberhasli. My gut is telling me something is missing. I thought she was farther along in her pregnancy but when I really sat down and figured out when she must have been bred it makes her due early March, so one more month to go.

Feral Female said...

Very informative post Brenda!

Deborah said...

Yes, this is a timely post for me. As we are awaiting our first kids. Having to learn as we go and trying to gather as much info as I can. Don't want to be caught off guard. Used your kidding kit list to gather my supplies (thanks). Now I can put together a checklist for afterwards. Wishing you lived close by, have a pregnant doe that I would love for you to advise me on. Tonya and you are lucky to be able to share with each other, can't beat a good friend. Hoping this new round of deliveries goes well for you.

Brenda said...

Thank you to you all - I heasitated with this post thinking that no one would find it interesting since there are no cute photos and the photos that would accompany this kind of post would be a little gross .... any way I'm glad I finally posted it. I figured that if I deal with these things that maybe some of you might also.

Tonia - Thank you for explaining the Raspberry tea!

Laura - Here's a thought for your doe that is losing weight - Their need for carbohydrates increases dramatically during the last few weeks of pregnancy. If you'll read my post "(27) Dealing with Pregnancy Toxemia and Ketosis" You might find your answer there. The doe's body starts conuming its self to support the growing kids inside her.

My advice would be to mix up some of the Magic mixture described in that post and start giving her 30 to 50cc with a dyrench syrenge 2 to 4 times a day. It can't hurt her and could prevent a serious problem.

It certinally saved Emily and her kids. Emily is now starting to get up and stand for a few minutes every day and getting stronger. I know she'll be back out with the main group of goats soon.

Linda said...

Brenda, thanks for the post. I don't use antibiotics quite so much, but it was a good and informative post.

Laura, the doe could very well be wormy. Pull her lower (or upper) eyelid back and see if the underside is pink. Preferably it should be very pink, almost red, but if it is a clean healthy looking pink, then it more than likely isn't worms and she just needs more carbs as Brenda pointed out. If you would like to know my methods of worming, just holler... my email is in my blog.

Brenda said...

Linda, I agree about not using antibiotics too often. I don't use antibiotics as often as this post sounds like. But, I watch them closely and I do use them if there's an infection they can't get over by themselves.

I also agree with the possibility of worms in the doe losing weight. I check their lower eyelid frequently and use an herbal wormer if the situation isn't too serious.

Another idea for the doe losing weight is external parasites. I had a doe not too long ago that just wasn't gaining her weight back after kidding ... even after being de-wormed.

I sprayed her with a dairy safe spray for flies and lice a few days ago and she is already putting on weight. Tonia told me that if I had this kind of problem that I should be able to see them. Well, I can't see any when I look through their hair ... but I want to be sure. I'm going to spray all of the does just to be sure there's not a problem.

Paula said...

I saw you on Linda's blog and thought I would stop by. What an informative post! Thanks! I am off to look around some more. I will be getting my first dairy goats this weekend and am trying to learn all I can.

Brenda said...

Paula - Welcome! Best wishes to you and your dairy goats! I have to warn you ... they are addictive! I've fallen in love with every one here on the farm!

Laura said...

Thank you for the helpful suggestions I will take the advice and see if I can't get her to gain some weight before she kids. She certainly seems active and healthy but thinner than I would like. I will post my results later.
Great discussion.

Good Goats said...

Completely agree with you on the doe care! I always remind people to remember the doe, even though the kids are so cute, the doe needs your help before AND after having those babies!