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Goats/newborn pygmy, one of triplets


QUESTION: My African pygmy doe gave birth to an unexpected set of triplets today in her first birth.  She did very well, cleaned them all up, and hasn't seemed to reject any of them.  My concern is the firstborn is rather tiny, a lot smaller than the 2nd and 3rd.  The 2nd and 3rd have been up and nursing very well.  The little one at first couldn't find the teat and so I helped twice to get the teat in her mouth and she seemed to nurse okay for about 20 secs each time.  After that she seems to have lost interest.  I have tried to get her to nurse from the teat again and she just stands there and won't even open her mouth.  After waiting a couple of hours to see if she would go to the teat voluntarily I attempted to give her some colustrum in a bottle.  She would not suck, she would swallow with encouragement but not suck.   

I am wondering if I should bring her in and try to work with her over night with a bottle or just leave her with mom and sisters and see what happens.  She is a gorgeous little baby and I would hate to lose her but I hate to take her away from mama too.  She does stand and walk but she is a little more wobbly than the other two.

ANSWER: You need to bring the weak/little one in, absolutely, and start bottle feeding - milk some colostrum from the mom and the little one may need two days of the colostrum.  Would also give the little one for sure, and would also advise for the other two - one 200 mcg selenium tablet crushed and dissolved in a little hot water and to that add half the oil from a 1000 IU vitamin E capsule and all the oil from a 400 IU vitamin D capsule, mix, cool and give orally now and again tomorrow.  These are human vitamins.  This will help the little one stay strong.  This will also help with the suck reflex.  If the little one will not suck (advise use of a Pritchard teat for feeding), you can use a small syringe to get milk down her.  Also you need to keep her warm.  Hope this helps - let me know - Donna

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QUESTION: We just went out to check on them again and the little one was up standing, looked like she was trying to find the teat and I helped her. I did check her mouth for warmth and it was warm, not cold. She did suck a little before mom moved.  I was able to express 2 cc of colostrum from mom and did get this into baby, who protested but took it.  I have already given all 3 of them the vitamins you listed, had this list from you from when we lost Sam's mom and brought him in the house.  She was warm, snuggled up with mom and sisters when I left the barn.  It's getting down to 33 tonight and we have a heat lamp hooked up high, no one can reach it.  I am very reluctant to bring her in unless absolutely necessary.  We will be checking on them throughout the night and I will let you know how they do.  Thank you for all of your help :)

ANSWER: Thanks for the update.  Since she is the smallest one she is at risk for pneumonia and death from the cold, just advice, your decision.  I really would advise bringing her in though.  Hope this helps - Donna

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Sweet Pea
Sweet Pea  

The little one did okay the first night and her temp was 102.1 yesterday, a little low I know but she seemed to do better with mom.  She nursed some today but it didn't seem as if her suck reflex was strong enough to get enough milk if any.  I have tried to give her a bottle and she will weekly suck but still don't think she is getting enough.  We just brought her back to the house and her temp is 101.9.  We are keeping her here and warming her up.  I have given her the vitamins you suggested and I'm doing my best to get her to eat.   She is not holding her head up at all, her ears are droopy.  She is up walking around but is no where near as steady or strong as her sisters. What other suggestions do you have to maybe boost her up?  Boost her energy level?

If that is a current photo of the little one, she does not look well.  A temp of 102.1 is close to a fever (anything over 102.5 is a fever/infection).  Would watch that.  Would repeat the selenium/E/D again today and she may need a third dose tomorrow.  This will strengthen her muscles for sucking and standing, and straighten up her droopy ears.  If her temp was 102.1 after the first night, then that could be a fever if temps outside are cold.  Would again definitely keep her inside.  Is the mom doing okay? I would start her on oral antibiotics - duramycin or sulmet - tell me what you have available and I can give you dosings.  You can use karo syrup (about 1/8 teaspoon three times a day to boost her energy.  Many times when there is a smaller third kid they easily can get pneumonia or another infection at the time of birth.  Hope this helps - let me know - Donna


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Donna Ruelas-Semasko/Edelweiss Acres


All goat health care, nutrition, judging questions about all goats - packgoats, dairy goats, pygmy goats, meat goats, fleece goats.


27 years health care/nutrition of all types of goats, 17 years experience in packgoats, 20 years experience in 4H goat projects as leader, superintendent and judge. 20 years experience in putting on goat care/nutrition seminars.

NAPgA, The Evergreen Packgoat Club, 4H, ADGA.

Hobby Farm, many newspapers, 4H newsletters, Packgoat Manuals (youth and general), judging information pamphlets, seminar handouts about health care and nutrition.

4 years of college, ongoing education in goats.

Awards and Honors
Small Farm Award of Thurston County

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