Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Goats

for people who love the littlest dairy goats

Hi friends! I am new to the page and have had goats for two years, but this is my first year where my doe has kidded and I am nervous! She had two babies three nights ago. This is her first freshening. I am worried the babies are not getting enough milk as they seem really boney to me. They are going to the bathroom and slightly playful though still a little wobbly. My doe seems engorged and uncomfortable though a good mom? I did want to milk her, but I am nervous at how much weight she has lost. I am feeding grass hay pellets, alfalfa squares free choice, one cup of Dumor goat feed/oats twice per day sprinkled with a mineral supplement. What do you recommend? Thanks! 

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If she appears to be engorged, you should definitely milk her to make her more comfortable and to make it easier for the kids to nurse. 

If you check her eyelids, are they bright red to dark pink, or are they white or light pink?

Is she pooping pebbles or is it more like a dog or diarrhea?

Has she lost that much weight in two days, or was she boney before kidding?

Thank you Deborah for replying. I waited to reply to your email to make sure I didn't have additional questions which of course, I do. I think I was "over worrying". The babies are much more active and I have been spending more time out there to make sure they are nursing regularly and they seem to be. It is odd though, she stays away from them at night. She is a backyard goat and she prefers to sleep on the deck by my back door leaving the babies asleep in the straw in the shed 60 yards away. I was worried she wasn't nursing them in the night but I set up a baby monitor and it seems she wanders in there, nurses them, and then leaves again. Have you seen this? I went to start my morning regiment this morning and found she was pretty well empty before I got there. I guess once I know she isn't suffering from anemia and/ or over-infestation of parasites after the little ones are two weeks old I will close the babies in the shed at night and let her sleep on the deck and then milk her in the morning before letting them in with them? I think that is what your book suggests? 

My doe's poop looks normal, just little pellets, but I am going to check her eyelids tomorrow. I looked at the wrong thing. I need to look at the inner lower lid right? She was a little over weight before the babies and of course huge during the pregnancy and now to see her so little is a little shocking, but when I run my hand down her back she isn't overly skinny. Her spine does not stick out but her hips do a little. I milked her to sooth the engorgement. I am going to check the lids tomorrow morning and then figure out the next step I suppose.  

I would not have been able to get this far without your book!!!! 

That is very strange. I've never heard of a doe that didn't want to sleep with her babies. I have some goats that sleep next to their daughters for years, even after they become moms. I'd lock her in there with the kids. I'm surprised they haven't been following her. I don't know what your pasture is like, but they could easily get lost in the night if they're out wandering around. Twelve years ago, I had a kid that kept getting separated from its mother and lost, and that was the last time I let a doe and her kids run around the pasture together from day one. The dam ultimately quit letting the doeling nurse. One time the doeling was lost for so long I thought for sure she'd gone through the fence and been eaten by a predator.

My book says that you can start separating her overnight a couple of times a week when the kids are two weeks old. If this is a first freshener, I would not be separating her very often from her kids, as it is highly unlikely that she'd be able to make enough milk to feed you and two babies. Here is a post that I wrote that includes a pretty detailed explanation:

I'm so glad you've found my book helpful!

Thank you for correcting that. I was wondering as a first time freshener if she would be able to milk and nurse two kids. Thank you for the link to the other discussion. Very helpful! I am going to go get her in with the kids now. I thought it was odd! 

I personally would not lock the babies away from mom at a couple of weeks of age.   I don't separate at night until  they are 4-6 weeks and eating other foods well.  I have two girls feeding quads - I substitute one each of their babies and I would not separate them at all.  I think I kind of play it by ear.  A good milker -I will take her am milk but FF - I don't.  I hate stressing moms or babies.   If your mom is thin - I wouldn't stress her with having to make enough milk for you and the babies.  Everyone does a little different - hard and fast rules don't really work with us nor does it work with the goats.  

Most of my moms like to snuggle with their babies and if I go out after dark they are all in separate areas with little ones, and some have a last years daughter joining in.  Family groups.   I do have one doe that hides her little ones under the feeder - when we go for a walk in the woods she will take her little ones back to the barn and then return alone.  After they are a little older they snuggle with her.  She has always done it that way. 

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