Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Goats

for people who love the littlest dairy goats

Anemic first freshener and an unsuccessful vet visit

I am worried about my little goat. I am feeding her rolled oats, alfalfa pellets + timothy pellets, supplemented with MannaPro Goat Balancer. I am slowly transitioning her from the oats to Dumors Sweet Goat Feed.  She has some access to brush on a daily basis. 

She is nursing two month old babies and I noticed her body condition has been pretty boney. She looks like the skinny goat in "Raising Goats Naturally" on page 66. Some of her hair on her rump has skin crusties at the base of it but they do not move. Her coat is still shiny. She is active. She is nursing her two babies but seems to always be uneven in her udder with one side a good bit heavier than the other. I have not attempted to milk her because I am worried about her body condition and as discussed in a previous post, she will not be able to handle the babies needs and my milking her. Her eye lids are a light pink but under her tail is kind of pastey looking. 

I think it is worms and maybe copper deficiency with the hair looking scaly? I haven't wormed her in two years because she has always been just fine.

I took a fresh fecal sample to the vet this afternoon (I caught it on the way down and was super proud of my poo catching abilities) but he would not take the time to look at the sample. He said, "If you aren't worming her every two months it is worms." I said, "But how do I know what wormer to buy if I don't know what kind of worms?" He said, "just get the kind that kills the dangerous ones. Give her one click of Ivermactin every two months." He said it wouldn't affect the baby goats she was nursing.

I ordered some Goat Copper Bolus from Amazon but it won't be here for a few days and I am hesitant to wait. Any opinions on this?

Thank you so much!  

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Sounds like you have a good idea what's happening. That's really sad that your vet is not willing to work with you -- and that he doesn't know about dewormer resistance. There has been so much written about that in the scientific literature for the past ten years. 

Two months after kidding is when most does look the worst because they're producing milk at their peak. If she looks lopsided, there's nothing wrong with milking one side enough to even her out. But if her kids are two months old, and the kids have always  nursed more on one side, she could be semi-permanently lopsided -- just for the rest of this lactation.

If she looks like that goat on page 66, there's a good chance she is also dealing with internal parasites. Poor body condition and anemia are generally caused by different types of roundworms, which all dewormers will work on, assuming you don't have a problem with resistance in your herd, which you probably don't, if you don't use dewormers regularly. Although the dewormer won't be a problem for nursing kids, there is milk withdrawal for human consumption of the milk. That will vary based upon which dewormer you use. Definitely only use a dewormer orally -- NOT injectable -- if you want to consume your doe's milk within the next few months. Injectable dewormers have a very long milk withdrawal period. You can find the withdrawal period at FARAD.org. Keep in mind that the way you administer the med is what determines the milk withdrawal, so if you buy ivermectin injectable but give it orally, you need to look up the oral withdrawal time. Also, you give twice the cattle or sheep dosage of dewormer. If you let us know which one you get, we can provide more info.

Congrats on your poop catching ability! And good luck with your doe.

Thank you Deborah! I bought IVERCARE (ivermecti) Paste 1.87%. It is for horses? That is what my vet told me to get but if anyone has had issues with this wormer please let me know. I don't mind being out the $5 it cost me in order to be safe. That back says "each weight marking on the syringe plunger delivers enough paste to treat 250 lb of body weight. My little goat is between 40 and 60 pounds I will need to weigh her. She is a mini nubian so maybe a little heavier than a nigerian.   

If she's a mini-Nubian, she's probably closer to 90-100 pounds. Pure ND does are usually around 60 pounds.

With the horse dewormers, you normally double the goat's weight and dial it down to that as close as you can eyeball it. Thankfully, these drugs have a fairly wide safety margin, so you don't have to be too exact.

Thank you for the help Deborah. That is interesting that a mini nubians be heavier than a purebred nubians? Is it because of the stocky build of the Nigerian? She is pretty little and I can lift her without an issue so I am going to put her on the scale tomorrow and use your directions here. Thank you again! 

Sounds like you have Nubians confused with another breed. Nubians are a standard size breed, and does can weigh 150 pounds. Nigerians are not stocky. Pygmies are stocky. Nigerians are supposed to be more dairy. Do you perhaps have a kinder -- that's a cross between a pygmy and a Nubian and would be more stocky. But they would be in the 100-115 pound range. Sounds like you need to weigh your doe. You don't want to under-dose her. That's a cause of dewormer resistance.

Thank you Deborah! She weighed in today at 62 pounds. Her mother was a nubian and her father was a Nigerian. She is in my profile picture. She is pretty small. One of her babies I think looks more Nigerian and one looks like a Nubian with the floppy ears. I bought her about two years ago on craigslist and I suppose it is possible her mother was a Kinder. You never know who you are buying from when you buy from craigslist. She was marketed to me as a mini nubian and has many nubian characteristics and I did see a picture of her mother, but it could be she is a different breed than I think. Interesting! Thanks again! 

Yeah, sounds like mom was probably a Kinder or a mini-Nubian herself ... and dad had some pretty small genetics to pass along. That would be a perfect weight for a ND. If they were selling on Craigslist, the seller may not have even know what breed their goat was, if they don't have registered goats. Nubians are one of the biggest and meatiest of the dairy goat breeds. In fact, some people consider them dual purpose as they have pretty meaty kids.

Just realized you said she's in your profile picture. Is she the mom or the baby? That mom is not a mini-Nubian unless there is something wrong with my computer screen. Mini-nubians have floppy ears. The mom in that pic looks like it has upright ears.

She is the one in the profile picture. She was bred to a mini nubian buck. The baby pictured is one of hers, the other looks more like a Nigerian. The brown baby has long legs compare to the other and my doe has long legs compared to my Nigerian wether. The seller told me that since she was only a second generation mini nubian, she would have helicopter ears, but that her babies, if bred to a nubian, would have floppier ears. As the generations increase so does the floppiness of their ears according to the seller. This explanation seemed to check out but you may be very well right, her mother may have been a kinder or a mini nubian. She is much more vocal than my Nigerian and not nearly as athletic as her is. 

I wish there was a way to see the profile pic larger, because even on your page, where it's a little larger than on this page, it looks like your doe has erect ND ears, although her topline and rump looks like a Nubian. She is probably some combination of ND and Nubian, but what's worrisome if you're breeding her to a real mini-Nubian buck is her size. I'm glad she didn't have any kidding trouble because she's very small for a mini. Basically, these are typical weights ...

Nigerians 50-70 pounds does and 60-80 pound bucks

Minis -- around 100 +/- depending on what they're crossed with

standard size goats -- 125 up to 225, depending upon breed and whether they're a buck or doe. 

How much does your buck weigh?

When it gets dry I will take a few body pictures but I am so disappointed she might be a Kinder. I didn't know all that much about the breed other than what I read in a few books. I wanted a mini Nubian because it seemed you get all of the benefits of the Nigerian's personality with the mini-super milk production of a Nubian and the easier to milk teats.

I knew she was small but I didn't think she was oddly small. I waited until she was almost two to breed her though because another goat friend saw her and said she was too small to breed on her first birthday in their opinion. I bred her to another "backyard buck" who is close by, but in looking at his pictures now maybe he wasn't  a true mini Nubian either. He looked like a Nigerian with floppy ears. He was her size. They had a Nubian buck, but he was a giant compared to her so I chose the small one.

She did have some trouble birthing though. She had triplets which I didn't think first fresheners generally did!!!! The first one was born backwards and he was bigger than either of the other two girls. It took her several minutes to push him out. I had read your book and one other and when she didn't progress after a few contractions I gently tried to see if I could find a leg. All I felt was a boney butt and I didn't want to hurt her so I called the vet. While I was on the phone she pushed him out. He was born non responsive and I did all of the things I think I was supposed to do. I suctioned his nose, I held him head low and back legs up and did the light cradle swinging motion. I put him on my lap and rubbed him with a blanket. All this while the other two were being born. It seemed terrible because he was PERFECT. I wondered what else could have been done? It was heartbreaking, but I was so thankful she was ok and the other two were in good condition. I am wondering if I should even consider breeding her again? I don't know what she is....I thought I was breeding for a better goat by breeding her to a "mini nubian". What is your opinion? I know you have TONS of other posts to answer. Thank you so much for your help.   

As long as you breed her to a ND buck, she should be fine because 60 pounds is typical ND weight. It's challenging when dealing with unregistered animals because you don't really know what their genetics are. So, if you're using an unregistered buck, I'd be sure he was at least 3 years old because that's usually when they've stopped growing, so you won't discover that he grew another four or five inches after breeding your doe.

What you describe doesn't really sound like a problem birth. After all, she got the kids out without any assistance. Unless a kid is super small, it takes more time for a doe to push out a butt-first breech because the circumference is larger than if it were head first. When a kid is coming breech, if the doe stops and takes a breather when it's halfway out and the cord is already broken or pinched, that can cause death from suffocation. Once the hips are out, you can usually get a grip on the kid and pull. 

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