Weak Kid

(White Muscle Disease)

Our last doe scheduled to kid in 2003 (next bunch start in February 2004) had twins Christmas Day around 1 p.m. This is a doe we bought a few weeks ago who is scared of her own shadow. She was always the last in to eat, so she seldom got grain. Fortunately we have an excellent (green) pasture for her as well as some green weeds remaining on the creek bank. She also has salt/minerals available to her at all times. But, the “pasture-raised” results showed in the babies.
These kids have outstanding pedigrees - Oscar and Bodacious Protea both top and bottom (great grandparents) with EGGSfile on top and Sasquatch on bottom. They are perfectly marked - well worth saving.
The problem: lack of size and energy at birth. Or, very small, weak kids!

Most of our kids weigh between 8 and 10 lbs. at birth. Nothing beats prenatal nutrition! Mothers on pasture may not gain much weight and may not be candidates for ketosis, but I'd rather have mothers on feed and have big, healthy babies instead of tiny, sickly ones.

These babies were born in the hay field. We found them when they were minutes old and moved them to the barn. We allowed the mother 2 hours to get them up and nursing. She did an excellent job cleaning them up, but she couldn’t get them to stand. We milked her and fed the kids colostrum with 6 cc. syrings (18 cc. at a time every 2 hours). The little doeling weighed in at 5.5 lbs. (this was after she had been force-fed colostrum and then nursed on her own).

The tiny buckling weighed just under 4.5 lbs. after we had given him over 50 oz. of colostrum. He could not stand - his legs were too weak to hold him up.
We took him in to the vet's on Boxing Day (26 December 2003) after he survived the night and 18 degree weather. His blood-sugar level (even though we've been giving him GoatAid and Neutra-Drench) was in the 30s (60 is normal for a goat). So the poor little thing got 12 cc of dextrose - and we were given 4 more syringes to give him should his temperature drop below 100. He also got a 1/2 cc BoSe and 3-days worth of .10 cc excenel. Neutra-Drench and Probios were also prescribed.

We put the doe on the milking stand, and put 2 oz. in a bottle for him. He didn't want to take the bottle (and we never want a bottle baby if we can help it), but the taste of milk did make him hungry. So, while mom was on the stand, we allowed him to nurse all he wanted. He could by then push himself up on his rear feet, but the front end wouldn’t go up at the same time. When his fraidy-cat mother would stand real still, he could nurse - until she panicked and walked away. Most of the time by the time he scooted into position, the sister had been nursing and mom decided enough was enough.

We kept working with this little boy. Our vet encouraged a heating pad for him to sleep on, but agreed heat lamps were better than nothing. Mama and babies had a sheltered area all to themselves in the feed-room area of the barn.
After two days, he figured out he could scoot – pulling himself with his front legs while using his rear legs like a swimmer doing the breast stroke – and could maneuver all around the barn. The motion was almost frog-like the way the rear legs were spread out. We tried wrapping his rear legs with Vetwrap to provide support, but his mother would not let him nurse, or near her, with the Vetwrap on his legs.
When he was 5 days old, he went back to the vet’s. At that time he got another .1 cc of excenel and another ½ cc of BoSe. It was apparent at this time he was getting stronger but still couldn’t stand more than 15 to 20 seconds without the rear legs spreading out. He had gained 1 ½ pounds (but his sister had gained 2 ½ pounds during the same 5 days), but so much of his calories were being burned just trying to get to mama to nurse.
On day 6 – HOORAY – he was up and walking on his own. Success.
We have since learned that the BoSe does not always have enough Vitamin E to do the job. If a kid is born to a previously treated doe and still has weak muscles, we have found that puncturing a Vitamin E capsule (1,000 mg) and squirting it into the kid's mouth will produce positive results within 12 hours.

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Ken and Pat Motes
Clear Creek Farms
33 South Clear Creek Road
Fall River, Tennessee 38468
Phone: (931) 852-2167
Fax: (931) 852-2168

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