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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Please help me figure this out!

I have six goats, have been a goat owner for about a year, and was approaching my first kidding season. I had two pregnant does - one due on the 23rd of this month, and the other (I think) due nearer the 29th. Both were third-time kidders with successful past kiddings.

Yesterday morning - the 12th - was going to be busy, as my family and I were leaving to attend a funeral an hour and a half away at midday.

I went out to do the morning chores pretty late (probably past nine) and let pregnant doe #1 (Sassy, due on the 23rd) into the milking room to have her breakfast. I thought that as I had only a week and a half to go, I'd better start checking her ligaments and get this figured out.

I checked her, and the ligs were GONE. :think: I guessed that meant we would have kids in a day or two. Her udder had been filling, but wasn't balloon-tight like folks describe it.

I let her out of the room, and decided to get fresh hay and leave Sassy shut in while we attended the funeral, just in case. AS SHE WALKED AWAY there was suddenly a smudge of blood on her vagina. She trotted out to the middle of the rocky pen and there was a huge amniotic sac (??) - round, dark and red, coming out. I legged it - tethered the dogs, shut up the cat, and grabbed a barrow of hay. By the time I got the hay back - wanting to get her in the pen - there was a filthy baby on the ground.

My first instinct was to check it's mouth and nose - all was clean, and it was breathing. BAM. Another sac, another baby...I didn't even see it happen...not quite sure how. Maybe I was grabbing rags then.

Checked this baby - all breathing, all clear. Huge relief and happiness. I had been expecting a long labour and dreading having to pull! They were bleating and trying to get up...so cute! And they were doelings... a milky brown one (no #1) with a few black markings and a cream one (no #2) with grey patches.

After ten mins of elation, I noticed baby #1 looked wrong. She seemed to be having some trouble breathing...her tongue was hanging out a little...nothing obvious, but I had a bad gut feeling. From then on, she got worse and worse. Her heartbeat and breathing were very weak. We massaged her, dried her, moved both babies and mama inside, dried them off, and tried to keep her warm and encourage mama to look after her - she was pretty disinterested.

Baby #1 was weak and floppy. Within about half an hour maybe, she slipped away. We were sad, but concentrated on kid #2. She had seemed fine, but now started going downhill.

Mama was NOT doing her job, so I kept rubbing baby with towels, cuddled her on my lap with a hot water bottle, massaged her...no improvement. I kept getting drops of milk on my fingertips and putting it by her nose and mouth, but she was not interested. After another 30 mins or so, I got desperate and started trickling colustum into her mouth, and had a friend massaging her little throat to help her swallow. Mama, meanwhile, was pigging hay and afterbirth! :GAAH:

We lost that baby too. Eventually her little tongue went blue and her heartbeat and breathing got too weak, and she just slipped away. :blue::blue::blue:

I was sad, but Mama was well (a blessing!) and eating and drinking, so I had to bury babies and run to get the muck and mucus and poop and afterbirth off me in time to get to the funeral.

Mama is great this morning, happy, well, temp 102.2.

Here's my main worry - I have mama #2 to consider. What went wrong with the first kids?! I need to try and figure it out so I can be prepared for the next kid/kids.

I am seriously thinking it may have been fescue poisoning, as we had naively been feeding our goats the lovely-smelling, golden, perfect (!!!) hay all year clueless. I only even discovered fescue toxicity while researching last night. And my two one-year-old Nubian doelings have had a nagging cough, which has bothered me but seemed causeless, and now I am attributing to Fescue.

Do you all think it was fescue toxicity, and if so or not, what can I be doing for mama #2 and her soon-arriving babies?!

She is a Boer/Nubian/Something cross, has been kidded twice before, and has had singletons both times.

I am not in a Selenium-deficient area. I have been feeding the Mamas hay, goat pellets once a day, free-choice minerals, free-choice fresh water (of course!!!) and they have been going out to browse since the weather warmed up.

Please help me try to rescue the next babies in advance! :help: I will be posting this in the medical section too to increase views and potential help for my babies!
 

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How sure are you on her due date? If you are certain than I would think they were premature and their lungs weren't fully developed, hence the breathing issues and tongue going blue. They do a LOT of developing right at the very end and lungs finish up pretty close to delivery day. As mentioned there really isn't really any way to be sure short of a necropsy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I am almost exactly sure of the breeding date for two reasons - I only had those two does in with a buck, and that for only a week (he was very grouchy and I was glad to send him home..) and I went with the first date I saw him breed each doe (for doe #1, it was about two minutes after putting him in with the gals...) and then counted 150 days! :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
War Pony - would being 11/12 days early really make that huge of a difference? I know this sounds mean, but it would be wonderful if it was just prematurity as that means my next kids may be ok! Would there be any particular cause for the early arrival? :(
 

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Yes. It can make that much of a difference being premature. Hopefully that is all it is. I would still remove any fescue hay.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Ksalvagno - I had just bought new hay but need to check whether it is Fescue too. If so I will ban it and let them graze brush without hay while I track down some Bermuda.

Here is a pic of the beautiful babies before I realised they weren't going to make it...very newly-arrived.
 

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I'm so sorry for your loss. :hug: I would guess preemie birth. the only way to really know what's going on is to have a necropsy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Karen - they were covered in that yellow mucus (so was I). I was surprised by the colour but assumed it was normal. Maybe that is a clue??!! Their soft little hooves were yellowy too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
You can see Mama's nose in this pic, for size comparison. They were tiny, but perfectly formed. I have no idea if they were unusually small, and didn't weigh them as I was too busy fighting to keep them alive. I should have weighed them afterwards.
 

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Yes. A necropsy would probably give you some answers. I have never seen yellow before so I have no idea why. I'd probably look more into what all the fescue can do.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I'm trying..it's hard. Most info (and there's precious little of it) is about horses and foaling. They are generally OVERdue, LARGE foals, and have to be pulled! :-/ But the weak lungs and struggling with breathing sounds right.
 

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I wonder if mom had a uterine infection, hence the yellow.


Sent from my iPhone using Goat Forum
 

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Does chlymidia cause yellow sacs like that??? Idk, just a thought because late term abortions can be a sign. So sorry about your loss.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I'll research that, AvyNatFarm. Would it be considered an 'abortion' if they were born live though? Just found an article that sounds interesting:

Quote:

"...In general, any sort of stress to the fetus in the time shortly before delivery can cause the reflexive passage of meconium. This is of no consequence. If, however, the kid(s) is in great distress, not only will it pass meconium, but it may have deep gasping respiratory movements and pull the meconium down deep into the bronchial tubes of the lungs (meconium aspiration syndrome). This can cause serious problems of pneumonia and collapsed lungs (pneumothorax)..."

Baby #1 had runny poop (meconium!) all down it's legs. Suspicious?
 

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I've had kids pass the meconium in the sack but it didn't stain them yellow, it was darker. That doesn't mean it wasn't meconium, it very well could have been. 11 to 13 days in an animal with a relatively short gestation like goats can make a huge difference. It is hard to say what could cause premature labour.. dietary, nutritional, stress related, getting headbutted in the wrong place at the wrong time or just who knows? Hopefully it was just a one time thing and the rest of your experiences will be better.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Oh, and on a different note - I froze yesterday's colostrum for any bottle babies to come, if needed. Mama needs milking twice a day - is it ok to use today's milk for human consumption or will it still have colostrum in it?

I'm hoping and praying it was one-time as I really don't want mama #2 to lose her babies too. :(
 
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