Precocious udders on FF

Discussion in 'Health & Wellness' started by adrienne, Feb 26, 2019.

  1. adrienne

    adrienne Active Member

    We had a rough 2018 with abortions, weak kids, trouble conceiving, reduced milk production. We live in a small town in the Andes and don't have access to labs or vets that know anything about goats so it's been trial and error. Eventually we had several newborns that wouldn't stand or suckle and figured out it was a selenium deficiency (despite always providing loose minerals). We started doing BoSe shots (oral isn't available here) and switched to a brand of minerals with more selenium. Our whole herd is looking better (skin, hair, condition).

    Five of our girls are now 2-3 years old and late last year we bred them for the first time. None of them conceived. Last month they went into heat again and all five of them developed little udders the day they went into heat. We bred them all for the second time and 4 of the 5 still have little udders. Is this a good sign? We've kept goats for 6 years but not many first fresheners.
  2. ksalvagno

    ksalvagno Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Udder development usually starts about a month prior to kidding. So I'm confused that they have udders when breeding.

  3. adrienne

    adrienne Active Member

    One of them is lactating, I know because it dribbles out when she lies down. Two of them just feel like glandular edema and one of them feels hard. Last time we bred them and they didn't conceive there was no development whatsoever at any point.
  4. toth boer goats

    toth boer goats Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2008
    Corning California
    Very strange.
    Can you have them preg checked?
    If they are not preggo, it just may be they are a good dairy breed, with precocious udders.

    Does the buck have a fishtail and his scrotum smaller than normal looking?
    If so, I would be giving a copper bolus to him.
    Any other mineral deficiency signs?
    Cop,per and selenium deficiency, can make the sperm count very low along with laziness to breed.
  5. adrienne

    adrienne Active Member

    We don't have anywhere nearby where we could get them tested for pregnancy (and no mail service) so it's always just wait and see. All of the 5 first timers are at least 50% saanen and one of them comes from a very heavy milking line and actually had a precocious udder at 8 weeks old. It went away after a while and hasn't been back until now.

    I have to admit I never knew to look for fishtails, so I'll do that tomorrow morning. We had issues with iodine deficiencies with the very first goats we bought 6 years ago and quickly corrected that. A few of our does had somewhat rough coats before but since starting the BoSe they've all improved.

    The buck's scrotum looks normal, though he was one of the ones that had a rougher coat before the BoSe. He has definitely never acted lazy.

    Most of the farm stores around us are for cattle, pork and chickens but I'll see about copper bolus availability. Thanks for the good info!
  6. adrienne

    adrienne Active Member

    So our buck has a fishtail! I looked over our whole herd and 2 does have obvious fishtails and a number of others have slightly fishy tails. I'm still confused about the precocious udders, but glad to be on the right track with our mineral issues. Now to figure out what kind of supplements are available here and what kind of dosing works best for us.
  7. Trollmor

    Trollmor Well-Known Member

    Aug 19, 2011
    Goatless in Sweden
    Be very welcome! I am amazed, that two new members from Ecuador join short after one another! :)

    Having a goat friend high up in the mountains, with little access to what we are used to, feels like an interesting challenge. May I begin with a very old trick from this northern part of the globe:

    In old times, there were many superstitious beliefs, among them the belief that a cattle owner must calm the local gnomes by sacrificing a coin into the drinking water of the animals. In the 18-hundreds, scientists told the people that this was a stupid belief, and made an end to the practice. But, lo, the animals got sick! Not because of any gnomes, but because the coins in question were made from copper. The tiny amount of copper that was drunk every day was enough to avoid copper deficiency! This was discovered many years later, but the teaching is that old beliefs sometimes have a kernel of truth.

    So, if you can get an object made from copper, you can try to make it give from itself to your animals. In old-time Sweden, it was obviously enough to just lay the coin into the water bucket. It kept the whole flock of cows, sheep, and goats healthy. In your case, maybe you should help the copper a little on its way, maybe brush it or heat it, I shall see if I can find a good method on some of my other favourite forums. (Of course you must also beware of getting too much of the good thing, but that much you certainly understand all by yourself!)

    Again, be very welcome in our group of goat lovers!
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  8. toth boer goats

    toth boer goats Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2008
    Corning California
    Yep, he needs copper, it may or may not be why he is not getting the girls preggo. But worth a try.
  9. adrienne

    adrienne Active Member

    Goats first came to Ecuador in the 1500s on the ships of Spanish explorers. I'd wager that most of the local mutt goats are descendants of those Spanish goats. Much more recently (within the last 15 years) Saanens were imported into Ecuador from Iowa.

    Our two bucks and several of our does are descended from the Iowa Saanens, the rest of our herd is made up of 50-75% Saanen/local mutt crosses. Here in Ecuador people generally don't believe in managing fertility. Not their own and not that of their animals. Dogs and cats multiply in the streets, teen pregnancies are status quo and goats are all kept in one big herd. Nobody marks due dates in their calendars, nobody sees any reason to separate their bucks or bulls from the rest of the herd. When animals begin to have fertility problems, they eat them. Most farmers are not internet users and aren't able to benefit from resources like this website. If it weren't for the internet, I bet most of our goats would be dead by now.

    The first farm store I checked this morning doesnt have copper supplements, but they're looking into it for me. Since Ecuador uses the US dollar, I just need to keep an eye out for pre 1982 pennies! Right now is the rainy season so our goats aren't drinking much water (and therefore wouldnt get any copper from the penny in the bucket), but if I sweeten it they'll happily drink.
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  10. Trollmor

    Trollmor Well-Known Member

    Aug 19, 2011
    Goatless in Sweden
    I got some answers in my thread up here in Sweden, that might be useful. Now let us see what the translation machine can do:

    "A goat owner far up in the Andes has problems with copper deficiency in their goats. I suggested that she put a piece of a copper object in the drinking water of the animals, but it might be too slow.

    Can anyone who knows about chemistry in here give a tip on how to get the copper dissolved just a LITTLE faster in ordinary water?"

    "If the pH of the water is low (below 7), copper dissolves more easily."

    "And if the water is hard, it will be difficult for copper to precipitate out regardless of the pH.

    If the goat owner's ordinary water is hard, then it may be easier to get the copper dissolved in the water if one collects rainwater for that purpose, and possibly mixes in a little of something sour.
    It is probably easier to get copper to dissolve if you start from oxidized and agile copper pieces than if you use perfectly glossy copper. And watch out for eg old solder joints that may contain lead.
    Just make sure that the copper content in the water is not so high that a human perceives metal taste, then it can start to be unhealthy even for goats."

    "Oxidized and agile copper is directly toxic and I would never use it.

    I would mix some apple cider vinegar in the water with an old (large) 5-öre coin in the bottom.
    Goats usually like the taste of apple cider vinegar yet so they like to drink that water."

    "What do you suggest for coins to goats in the Andes then? There are probably not many old Swedish 5-öre coins there."

    This latest maybe mainly written for fun. Karlsdotter obviously did not notice that these goats live far away.

    Myself, I was considering a small piece of copper tube, maybe used by plumbers in Ecuador as well as here. But, as torbjorn pointed out, do look out for weld or solder joints that may content other elements! And please notice that oxidized (green) copper is toxic, as well as lead (Pb). (Here, we call the water "hard" if it contents much calcium, Ca.)
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2019
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  11. adrienne

    adrienne Active Member

    That's great information, thanks so much!

    Our water is mountain river water that runs down from the cloud forests. I've never noticed any deposits on our water fixtures or other signs of hard water. We sometimes put apple cider vinegar in their water anyway, so the goats are used to it.

    I went to a second farm store and they also did not have copper bolus for sale. I'll keep searching for old pennies and I could always look around for copper things at the hardware store.
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  12. Trollmor

    Trollmor Well-Known Member

    Aug 19, 2011
    Goatless in Sweden
    Many things are made from copper. Tubes, electric cables, old-fashioned kettles ... Only look our for other elements - and oxidized parts!

    I like it very much to learn about goats and agriculture around the globe! :)

    PS When I think again of what you wrote - when it was raining a lot, my goats got too much water in their guts, and therefore they got diarrhea. The most effective cure was to offer them dry hay to eat.
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2019
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  13. toth boer goats

    toth boer goats Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2008
    Corning California
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