Goats that eat the kids

Discussion in 'Health & Wellness' started by Guerreiro, Apr 8, 2010.

  1. Guerreiro

    Guerreiro New Member

    Apr 8, 2010

    I'm having a bit of a trouble here in my farm: two of the goats (murcianas) so far, eat other goats kids, that's right they eat them. They start with the ears and then go to then front feet and then to the back feet.
    Mine is a new esploration with only two origins and the only goats that are doing this are from one of the origins.
    I've talked to a vet who is my friend and he said he have never seen anything like this before. I've talk to a old friend, a man who has goats from 65 years now and he said he never saw nothing like that either.
    Can anyone help me please.
    By the way, one of those goats have had a kid of it's one and did not eat it.
    Thank you all.

    Miguel Guerreiro
  2. StaceyRosado

    StaceyRosado Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Oct 4, 2007
    Never heard of sucha thing -- goats are not carnivores they are herbivores. Something else is eating your kids. Goats do not eat goats. Now they will eat the afterbirth and lick off the birthfluids sometimes in this effort they have bitten an ear or two but they have no taste for blood nor can they digest meat like that.

  3. AlaskaBoers

    AlaskaBoers New Member

    May 6, 2008
    Wasilla Alaska
    are the goats that they're eating off of already dead? are there predators nearby?

  4. Shelly Borg

    Shelly Borg New Member

    Nov 2, 2009
    Redding CA
    I have heard of a doe chewing off a ear and once a foot on a new born. As they are only doing ears and feet they (in there mind) may be cleaning the kids.

    I do now that rabbits will eat young, even heathy ones if there is something messed up in the does mind. Do you know if they are inbreed?

    The best way to stop this if they are is to cull them. Please just do not sell them on to a new owner. They need to go to freezer camp.

    If you really want to keep them they need to go to there own pen. I would never put a young one in with them and if they do kid (myself I would noyt breed them) I would pull the kid at birth and hand raise it.

    Good luck.
  5. Guerreiro

    Guerreiro New Member

    Apr 8, 2010
    Thank you for all your opinions.
    On the quoat that it may not be the goats that are doing this I've personaly catch them doing it (of course I imediatly stop it). At first I also consider the hypoteses of being maybe some cat or other animal.
    Just the other day one of my goats had something like a stroke, she just become very stiff in motion and one of her eyes turn blind, since the vet said it nothing serious (at a contagious level serious) I left her with the flock so that she doesn't feel so lonely; the thing is that one of the "meat eaters" was starting to chew on the poor "girl" ears and I've to remove her (and yes I saw her doing it).
    The kids that were partialy eaten were not dead (at that time anyway).
    The strange part is that one of them had a kid of her one and did not eat him, as a matter of fact she's a very good mother.
    It seems to me that maybe there's some deficiency in the food. But the thruth is that in the other group of goats never ocurred nothing like this.
    Pardon my english (mistakes and such) but I'm Portuguese.
    Thank you once again

    Miguel Guerreiro
  6. myfainters

    myfainters New Member

    Oct 29, 2009
    Lancaster, CA
    What do you feed? Do they have free access to loose minerals and a protein block? What kind of hay? Any grain or pellets? When was the last time they were wormed? ( Worms might add to a deficiency)

    I've never heard of anything like this before... but I would definitely look into what their diet consists of and make some big changes. I would also cull the goats eating babies... it is unhealthy for their systems and will cause illness. Plus, I don't know how easy of a habit that would be to break on a goat that is already doing it.
  7. sweetgoats

    sweetgoats Moderator

    Oct 18, 2007
    Peyton CO.
    Maybe I missed it somewhere but where are you located at?

    I would for sure separate all the mom's and babies into their own pens. I am going to have to check into this more, but like Stacey said goats do not eat meat. I am not saying yours is not doing this I am just really wanting to know more about it.

    What kind of feed to you give? What type of mineral? What is the protein in them?
  8. kornhypknotic

    kornhypknotic New Member

    May 14, 2009
    Waco, TX
    Part of the signs of clinical phosphorus deficiency is a "depraved appetite for bones." Pg. 24-25 "Keeping Livestock Healthy" 4th edition by N. Bruce Haynes DVM

    If they are only eating the feet (full of calcium and phosphorus) and the ears (full of cartilage). Then I would suspect an imbalance in their calcium and phosphorus ratio. Probably deficiency in phosphorus.

    Can you have your soil and forage tested for the nutrient and mineral contents? Add a mineral block that has calcium and phosphorus (not just a salt block) and ask about testing your doe's blood for imbalances.
  9. sweetgoats

    sweetgoats Moderator

    Oct 18, 2007
    Peyton CO.
    Great information Jess.

    I was thinking Calcium also. I would for sure get these does some Calcium. If you need to take some Calcium pills crush them and give them as much as they would like, that is if you do not have a calcium drench or Mineral Max,
  10. toth boer goats

    toth boer goats Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2008
    Corning California
    wow what a sad ordeal ... :( ..I agree ....separate the kid eater and give calcium... If the behavior doesn't stop... I recommend getting rid of the goat..... :hug:
  11. Guerreiro

    Guerreiro New Member

    Apr 8, 2010
    Good day,

    On the acount of the goats feeding I feed them pellets of two tipes of food one for the non production goats that as 16% protein and the other food for high production goats that as 21,5% protein content.
    I also feed them barley hay at discretion and twice a day alfafa hay.
    They have acess to mineral blocks that as a lot of minerals as content.
    Someone ask where I'm located, I'm located at Portugal in a region known as Ribatejo about 100 km NNE of Lisbon.
    I'm sorry for my ignorance but what is to cull a goat???
    Once again I state that there are two groups of goats but only in one of the groups this is ocourring. The feeding system is equal the two groups; exactly the same system, only the origin of the goats are diferent: the "meat" eaters came from Albacete in Spain and the others came also from Spain but from Cartagena.
    I'm inclined in two ways: by one side maybe the goats are being over zelous in the cleaning of the kids (which may not be the case since one of them didn't do this to her one son), on the other way I was also more inclined in some food problem. I'll try the Phosphorus and calcium upgrade.

    Thank you

    Miguel Guerreiro
  12. kornhypknotic

    kornhypknotic New Member

    May 14, 2009
    Waco, TX
    Hello Miguel,

    A cull goat is a nice way of saying a goat that we intend to kill for one reason or another.

    It sounds like you are feeding all the right things. Since the ones who are eating their kids all come from the same place I would be inclined to think that they came to you deficient in something and that, even though you are feeding them the right things, they are so deficient that their bodies cannot recover the appropriate amount of minerals even with the supplementation. They might need a little extra help. I would take one of them (your favorite one . . . the most valuable) to the vet for a blood test to check her electrolyte and mineral balance in her blood. Something is very wrong with these girls. Upgrading your calcium probably will not do the trick. It sounds like, if it is a nutritional deficiency, then it's a very serious one. They probably need veterinary intervention in order to fix the problem fast. Supplementing on your own doesn't sound like it will work at this point.

    Also, you cannot just upgrade your calcium without also examining your phosphorus. The deficiency I mentioned earlier is a phosphorus deficiency, not calcium. Signs of calcium deficiency are very different than the signs I mentioned above and include - brittle teeth, easily broken bones, and muscle weakness. The calcium-phosphorus ratio in the blood of an animal is what is most important. Excess calcium can inhibit phosphorus uptake (stop phosphorus from being absorbed in the body) and visa versa and that can cause even more problems. So don't just go and give each girl an extra shot of calcium without taking into account their phosphorus as well. For this you would ideally need to get some blood work done on at least one doe. Either that, or you can supplement them with both calcium and phosphorus at the same time.

    Another option is the one you already mentioned - over-zealous cleaning of kids. Although, if that were the case, I would anticipate that the moms would be licking the umbilical cord until the babies' intestines come out or that they would be over-cleaning baby's anus . . . not the ears and hooves. Moms don't usually care too much about those areas on the baby (I have never seen any mom even notice baby's hooves let alone try to clean them), but pretty frequently someone will notice that momma cleans a bit too much around the baby's belly button and she opens up the delicate wall of skin that holds the intestines in . . . then she continues to lick the intestines, easily confused with carnivorous tendencies.

    Are you letting the momma eat the afterbirth? The afterbirth is full of good nutrients and hormones and nature gives mom the instinct to eat it because it helps provide her with a lot of nutrients that she lost during kidding.

    This is an extremely interesting topic. :chin: I would investigate where these does came from and have your veterinarian examine some blood work to see where you stand as far as dramatic nutrient deficiencies. Continue separating the kids from the moms of that herd and keep these new girls separated from your own herd. If it is a psychological problem (over-cleaning kids) then we don't want the does in your original herd to get any ideas. Keep us updated!

    Edit: I just thought of something - if the person who owned the goats before you got them was feeding them bone meal or some sort of meat diet then the does could have gotten a taste for it and are now just craving meat in their diet. I think this is kind of an unrealistic idea though . . . but it is an idea. I would call the person you got the girls from and ask a lot of questions:
    What were they fed?
    Were they ever fed any meat product, byproduct, or bone meal?
    Did they have access to a mineral block with calcium and phosphorus in it?
    Have they ever eaten their kids before?
  13. Guerreiro

    Guerreiro New Member

    Apr 8, 2010
    Thank you very much for your answers and your time. Yes I let them eat the remains because I know is good for them. I'll follow your opinion and do some blood testing to check their electrolyte balance. So far only two goats have showed this behaviour in a group of around 200, but doens't mean I'm not concerned.
    About the animal based food, because of the disease of the "mad cows" in Portugal and Spain (as well as other countries) it is no longer allowed to feed those tipe of based food to this animals. However knowing the Spanish as I do I do not wonder if they do it any how ... just joking!!! Or not!!

    Miguel Guerreiro
  14. sweetgoats

    sweetgoats Moderator

    Oct 18, 2007
    Peyton CO.
    It is not legal here either, but more then that, it is not GOOD for the goats to meat meat at all.

    I do not believe I would let them eat the remains at all, I would take the bodies away.

    I don't know if it is available there, but I would get the goats a loose mineral, not blocks. The loose they will get more mineral faster, the blocks they will burn a hole in their tongue before they can get all the minerals they need (if they are lacking). Also get more and that will cause broken teeth, and that in turns will hinder them being able to graze.
  15. kornhypknotic

    kornhypknotic New Member

    May 14, 2009
    Waco, TX
    Just to quickly clarify, Miguel . . . do you let the moms eat the remains of the placenta/afterbirth or the remains of the baby kids? Don't let them continue to eat the babies because that's a behavior you don't want to encourage in them. But the placental remains are good for them and definitely let them eat it.

    People still feed animal based foods to dairy cattle here in the US too (I only assume that factory goat farms also feed it to their dairy goats). I guess it's an under-the-radar way to get the protein in their diets up. It's a terrible thing. I'm glad it's outlawed.

    If those two are the only culprits I would isolate them from all the others and take them to the vet for some diagnostics. If it's just a bad habit on mom's part, we don't want them to give the others the same idea. And, if it's possibly a disease that's causing it we don't want it to spread. If it's the vet says that it's just a bad behavior that they've learned it would probably be best to cull/kill them or never ever breed them or let them be around babies and other goats weaker than they are.

    Do you notice any other signs of bad health in these two does? Poor hair coat, little interest in food (for anything other than their babies, that is), not drinking water, lying down a lot, crying a lot, head-pressing, staggering, weakness, collapse, trouble seeing, swollen eyes, staring off into space for long periods of time, seizures, aggression toward other adults or self, excessive chewing on wood, bark, metal, or plastic, painful joints, mouth sores, etc. Do you notice absolutely anything else out of the ordinary, even though it may not see important?
  16. toth boer goats

    toth boer goats Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2008
    Corning California
    I agree with Lori and Jess...letting them eat the carcasses...isn't a good idea in good nutrition for goats ....... using other types of grain related proteins..other vitamins such as calcium ect is best.... :wink:
  17. kornhypknotic

    kornhypknotic New Member

    May 14, 2009
    Waco, TX
    My teachers at the vet tech school use the Merck Veterinary Manual for good information. Kirk is another good manual (but it's not online, it's an actual expensive book). They say, "If you can't Merck it or Kirk it then Ferck it." Lol :p

    Check out what the merck veterinary manual has to say about Phosphorus deficiency:
    http://www.merckvetmanual.com/mvm/index ... 182502.htm

    A "depraved appetite" is called "pica" in humans. It's when an animal will obsessively eat something that it really should not be eating. It can be soiled bedding, clothes, hair, rocks, bones, sticks, screws, metal washers, even meat. There are a very very few cases of horses displaying a 'depraved appetite' by becoming carnivorous (ever read Shakespeare's Macbeth Act 2 Scene 4? the horses ate each other and it freaked everyone out . . . sorry my dad's an english teacher :help:).

    This site doesn't mention meat, but it does give some very clear treatments that I would try asap! Once again, it appears to be primarily a phosphorus deficiency, or sometimes iron, protein, or salt.

    Check this out too:
    http://books.google.com/books?id=VDjTAA ... &q&f=false


    This is Hungry the cow and the unfortunate rabbit who crossed her path (who knows if it's photoshopped or not) :shrug:
    http://pandasthumb.org/archives/images/ ... he_cow.JPG
  18. keren

    keren owned by goats

    Oct 26, 2008
    what an interesting thread and I'm sorry I've missed it.

    jess is right, although I will say that I've seen it happen with calcium deficiency too, I know its not what the textbooks say and it doesnt follow the theory, but then again what does in livestock and particularly goats?

    honestly with the small scale this problem is at 2/200 is only 1%, I would just get rid of these does and their progeny, and keep an eye out. If other goats start displaying the same symptoms I would then address the calcium and phosphorus levels in the goats. But for just two to be showing it, they are obviously not coping with your system like the others are, so they are going to be the least profitable goats for you. So instead of putting more input money into them by giving them additional minerals, I would just get rid of them and focus on the animals that are producing money for you without the added input costs.

    Does that make sense?
  19. kornhypknotic

    kornhypknotic New Member

    May 14, 2009
    Waco, TX
    Did you find anything out?