Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Goats

for people who love the littlest dairy goats

So we took in a couple Nigerian/Pygmy cross does from someone in town, and they are adorable. They do, however, have some minor issues.

1) I am 90% sure at least one doe is pregnant. Both does are as huge as a house, but one already has a fairly developed udder. When they get comfortable with me I will feel their bellies and see if I get anything. Is there any ways to tell if they are pregnant? I know udders are supposed to be a sure thing, but I with my family doubting me so much on it, I want to have other things to double check with.

2) The other doe has a lopsided udder. It looks  like she's developing one, both sides are fairly swollen, but one side is quite a bit bigger. I can't feel if it's hot or hard yet, will have to do that in a few days when she lets me. Do some goats develop udders unevenly? If not I'm worried about mastisis or a precocious udder.

3)They are fairly skittish. Is there any way I can be able to trim their hooves, feel their bellies, and just work with them in general without them being terrified forever? They are very receptive to food and each other: through tortilla chips, I have gotten the chance to pet and love on one of the does. Do you think that I can tie them up next to each other on the fence, feed them something, and do well enough with them?

4)They are quite mineral deficient. You can tell they need copper just by looking at them, they have all the textbook symptoms. And you can tell they need salt because one doe is licking her pee! I gave them some tortilla chips for the salt(quite a few actually). Anyone know any good, fairly cheap brands of mineral block or loose minerals containing copper?

5)They are huge. I don't know if it's because they are "pregnant" or if it's hay belly. If it is hay belly, anyone have any suggestions on how to get it down? I'm not going to severely cut back food, especially if they might be with kid. I even plan on graining them. I just want to get them looking good and healthy again.

6)The lady decided she would worm them for us...she used oral Ivermectin at 250 lbs...when the goats can't be more than 85. Will this hurt them at all? Is there anything I should watch out for?

Thank you all for reading all of my concerns! I just wanted to cover all bases with these does ASAP. I want to get them as healthy as possible by the time my original does come. Any and all advice will be appreciated!

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I always use the store brand baking soda for my goats.... $.54 a box.

Misty said:

Huh O.O It seems I was very misinformed. I wasn't planning on giving it to them directly lol, I was going to offer it free choice from a feeder or something. I wouldn't shove it down their throat unless I thought they had bloat. It's good to know that it doesn't block mineral absorption, I'll have my parents get a mineral block along with some baking soda. We lost both of our baking sodas in the move so we need to get more. I understand the nutritionists opinion as well, it makes a lot of sense. Thank you bunches for the info!

My goats love the Sweetlix Meat Maker minerals. Living in the Northwest I can only use it in the drier months since it absorbs moisture so bad. For me it is a better price to buy the big block $20 and I use the chisel method to hammer pieces off and then smash them for the goats. The little chunks they chew up. There is a loose version but it is much more expensive.

Deborah Niemann-Boehle said:

Loose minerals work best for most goats. If your goats don't have a need for a lot of minerals, a block could be okay, but most goats in the US really need their free-choice minerals in loose form. Goat tongues are very soft, so they can have trouble licking off enough. Some have been known to chip a tooth trying to get enough.

As far as #4 - licking their pee. I have one goat that does that often but she then curls the lip and is smelling. She is also quite buckish in her behavior.

Sweetlix meatmaker is one of the few that have enough copper for goats and truthfully I do not know of any block mineral that has the amount of copper they may need. There may be one, but I am not aware of one. Could you not just use the meatmaker and put out small amounts of it at a time? I have to do that! It gets very wet where I live so I don't put out large amounts! But I am scared to use any other type because even most of the ones labeled for goats do not have a high enough amount of copper.

As far as the doe goes, it probably isn't unusual with bucky acting does. I don't have any experience or advice for you on that one, sorry!

Yes Margaret, that is what I do - I take to chiseling every day or two to give them more. ^^

Margaret Langley said:

Sweetlix meatmaker is one of the few that have enough copper for goats and truthfully I do not know of any block mineral that has the amount of copper they may need. There may be one, but I am not aware of one. Could you not just use the meatmaker and put out small amounts of it at a time? I have to do that! It gets very wet where I live so I don't put out large amounts! But I am scared to use any other type because even most of the ones labeled for goats do not have a high enough amount of copper.

As far as the doe goes, it probably isn't unusual with bucky acting does. I don't have any experience or advice for you on that one, sorry!

I've basically smashed up their block to chunks and powder now lol. It came right apart because of the moisture it accumulated. The goats prefer the chunks though, it's really easy for them to get minerals off now though because it's all falling apart. I'll put out baking soda tomorrow.  The problem is it might be general mineral block(friend just got whatever), not a goat specific one. However my doe, who looked to be copper deficientwith the rough coat and off coloring(we couldn't bolus her at the time as we couldn't afford it with moving costs) when I sent her off to a friends to hold until we moved, came back looking all nice and healthy!  Soft, darkening coat...All she had was that mineral block, grain, and grass, so I think it's a decent block. However I will order one ASAP.

And when my doe licks her pee is isn't curling her lip or acting bucky...she looks like she is actually trying to drink it or something...I looked it up and found that she was looking for salt, I'm sure the block will cure that now.

Glad it's better! I would suggest that before you get more minerals you do the research, cause like you said if it isn't specific to their needs, they could still die from a deficiency. And remember that even many goat specific minerals still don't have adequate amounts of copper. The reason I love my sweetlix meatmaker is that it comes in a bigger bag and is cheaper to by that way yet is one of the best available.

I don't think I will be getting loose minerals...they are quite a bit more expensive than just the blocks. Something my parents will not appreciate. I will just have to try and bolus them soon, and supplement them with copper-rich foods. I will get a good block though, and chop it up to help them out with it.

 I managed to feel the doe's lopsided udder a little....I didn't get a good feel of it though. With mastisis, would the whole thing feel hard or could it be squishy and then harder in the middle? Are udders supposed to be completely squishy, or are they a bit more solid in the middle normally? I couldn't really feel it, what I did feel though was squishy. I It was kind of warm, but not hot. I would just treat it, but I have two concerns. I don't think I can handle her easily enough to treat her, second it says you have to wait a month after treatment so the babies can safely eat. If she is pregnant, she'll most likely be due within the month. Will this be a problem?

Looking at the sticker price is not a good indication for what you are actually paying for minerals. If a block mineral has 1/10 as much copper as a loose mineral, then the goat would have to consume 10X as much to get the same amount of copper. You need to read and compare the labels. Mineral deficiency is not something to mess around with. We had about 1/3 of our herd not getting pregnant, not staying pregnant, or aborting at all stage of pregnancy when they were not getting enough copper. Selenium deficiency also causes similar problems with fertility. There is no such things as a "good, cheap" mineral.

Every doe's udder has a different texture. That's why you'll see some website describe one as buttery soft and another as meaty. It is impossible to know what's normal for this doe since you just got her. The difference between the two sides could mean something, but then again, it could be scar tissues from a previous case of mastitis. You just don't know.

I have just discovered this about the udder. One doe (not the greatest producer for sure) has a very soft udder. Her daughter has a much different feeling udder, more like the "workhorse" udder. very different feeling.

Deborah Niemann-Boehle said:

Looking at the sticker price is not a good indication for what you are actually paying for minerals. If a block mineral has 1/10 as much copper as a loose mineral, then the goat would have to consume 10X as much to get the same amount of copper. You need to read and compare the labels. Mineral deficiency is not something to mess around with. We had about 1/3 of our herd not getting pregnant, not staying pregnant, or aborting at all stage of pregnancy when they were not getting enough copper. Selenium deficiency also causes similar problems with fertility. There is no such things as a "good, cheap" mineral.

Every doe's udder has a different texture. That's why you'll see some website describe one as buttery soft and another as meaty. It is impossible to know what's normal for this doe since you just got her. The difference between the two sides could mean something, but then again, it could be scar tissues from a previous case of mastitis. You just don't know.

Just wanted to give you guys an update! I got my new ND doeling from Anna two days ago and I love her! She isn't taking the bottle well but we're working on it. I also finally have enough of my own money to stock up on some goat things! Such as vaccinations, wormer, etc. And yes, I am getting minerals lol! I'm getting the meatmaker, I wish I could get a cheaper brand but since it's a great brand I'll let it be. Thank you for all your help!

Congratulations! :)  Good choice on the minerals, too.

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