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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At the store I actually compared both products and found the block to be lacking in some minerals. If I was going to buy the block, I might as well have bought the Purina loose goat mineral for cheaper, even that has a higher mineral ppm. Thank you for the info though, I'll check into other block brands to see if any of them have sufficient nutrition :) 

Well, I gave them the minerals, and they loved it! All of my does ate it, but, like Rachel said, they stop eating it. Not sure why, but they do. From the smell I was worried they would eat it like grain. I mixed baking soda in with it to help prevent bloat, because three of my does won't take any free choice baking soda, so I have to give it to them mixed in with stuff. 

You don't need to mix the baking soda. If they aren't eating it, they don't need it. The only reason to have it available, is for them to help themselves if they have a rumen imbalance. Your girls that don't eat it must have healthy rumen!

A member here, Julia Johnson, gave me a heads up on some awesome minerals that dont absorb moisture for our drippy winters in Oregon. It is Payback Goat Minerals Plus. The cal/phos content is so high - the vet said "Wow". fyi for the winter..... ^^ the feed store I use carries payback, but had to order it for me.

How do they know if the baking soda will help them? I haven't mixed it in their food in a while, I only ever do it when one of my does feels particularly gassy. Since I mixed it in their minerals I won't be mixing it in their food anymore. And I'll look into that Melissa :) It sounds great for the winter!

It is hard for people to understand because our systems are often bombarded with tons of artificial ingredients that have been engineered to be addicting so that we simply want them for no good reason. Animals tend to be very smart about what to eat and when to eat it. For example, if they eat a little bit of something and they then feel really bad, they won't eat more of it. This is one area where most people can understand -- most of us can't eat something after we've thrown up that food. That's nature's way of protecting us from poisoning ourselves. The inverse is also true when one has only natural foods from which to choose. My 20-year-old daughter told me a couple years ago that one time when she was home alone she felt like she had a cold coming on, and she was craving brussels sprouts, which happen to be high in vitamin C. Since I quit consuming processed foods quite a few years ago, I do actually crave things like carrots and salad greens and water -- and 25 years ago, I was a 2-liter-a-day soda drinker!

Animals are actually quite capable of finding something to make pain go away. In experiments with rats, when they shocked them and provided a lever in the cage to stop the shock, the rats figured it out rather quickly! So, most goats do figure out that eating baking soda will make their stomach feel better if it's upset.

Animal nutritionists do NOT recommend that you add baking soda to the minerals because the high sodium content of the baking soda will cause the goats to consume less minerals, and you could wind up with a mineral deficiency. You can get two-dish mineral holders at Tractor Supply for $5. Put loose minerals in one dish and baking soda in the other.

We don't have a Tractor supply here...but I'll look into getting a separate feeder for the baking soda. If not I'll have them in the same dish but not touching. Thanks for the info, it really helped me understand!

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