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Goats/Kid with crooked spine?


QUESTION: Hi, We have a Oberhasli doe that kidded yesterday morning to a very strong, active, healthy doeling. A big girl, too. BUT this little doeling was born with a crooked back- it seems that at where her shoulder blades are is where her bone turns into an angle. Not a sharp angle, but enough that it's noticeable. She almost looks like a hunchback. She nurses great, walks and plays around already, and is otherwise very healthy. We gave her her selenium right after being born, and her mama had been given selenium a month before kidding, plus she's always on free choice minerals. Can you tell me what could've caused this, and will our little baby girl survive it? I'm afraid that as she grows up, it'll affect her more and more. It would be nice to see her grow out of it, instead!  Thank you!

ANSWER: So the back bone is not pushed to one side or the other, it is just "humped" up a bit past the shoulders?  

Was this the doe's first kidding?  No skeletal abnormalities in any of the dam or sire's ancestors that you know of?

Has the doeling pooped out her first "toxic" waste black sticky poop?

Did the mom happen to eat any sweet pea flowers or stems in her hay or in her pasture during the time she was pregnant?  Sweet peas can be found in many hays and if eaten enough of can cause skeletal abnormalities in the kid goats.  

If the mom was on the small size for breeding (90 pounds or less) then as you say this was a big girl, the size of this doeling could have literally "squished" her inside her mom and caused the skeletal changes - but these sometimes are not permanent.  

Did you use my human selenium/D/E oral formula or did you use paste or injectable? If you gave the doe Bo-Se or the kid Bo-Se or the selenium gel, then many times this does not work as the goats also must have vitamin D at the same time in order for the selenium and E to work together.  Even having free choice minerals available that contain selenium, some goats need more than others.

Let me know about the questions I have for you and I will get back to you - thanks - Donna

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Yes, this was the first kidding for our doe. I don't know if there's any skeletal abnormalities in her ancestry, but she's perfectly fine and we did get her from a reputable breeder... We own the buck, and he's fine too- our other does have kidded beautiful babies from him. The doeling has definitely pooped plenty of times. No, it's not really a hump, it seems the back bone curves to the side- right where her shoulder blades are. I can actually gently straighten it with my hands and she shows no sign of that hurting her at all. But it's pronounced enough that when standing over her, she looks like her back's been broken. There is definitely a chance that the doe got sweet pea flowers in her hay, or even in the field she grazes in. We've got all kinds of wild flowers/weeds/etc. growing in our fields. The doe has many acres to graze from, and we hay our own fields for the winter months. I use your human selenium/D/E oral formula for all my goats and kids. Our doe, Blessing, is alittle on the small side- not tiny, but more "dainty" then our other girls. She's the smallest in the herd. She was 1 1/2 years old when we bred her to our buck, so is now 2 years old. I had to assist with the birth- she couldn't deliver this doeling on her own, although she definitely tried. I do know our buck and our doe come from the same lineage (they're not brother and sister or anything like that, though)- could that have anything to do with it?

Thanks for all the info.  Re "small side", in Oberhasli, especially, one should breed by the weight of the doe not the age.  Most 1 year olds are 80 to 90 pounds - if they are not over 90 pounds I wait until they are - sometimes up to 2 years of age - this allows their pelvic bones to become widened.  When you helped with delivery, did you pull out and down with each of her pushes?  Did you have to twist the kid goat to get it out of the birth canal?  It could be a birthing injury too.  With that said, the kid goat's bones are very flexible and so usually can and will go back to the correct shape.  Inbreeding and line breeding in goats is fine - it is not like in dogs where you have serious genetic abnormalities.  It is possible too that this was from eating sweet pea flowers - eating too many can cause the skeletal issues.   

Has she pooped the first poop (we call it the toxic waste/black and stretchy stuff)? Let me know about that.  

Should not be a selenium deficiency, and glad you used the oral formula.  You can re do the dosing one more time now and then may want to re do in 10 days - as a help to the bones/ligaments/muscles at the back area.  

Since you were able to "straighten" the area out a bit, it sounds like it might straighten out with growth.  As you said, the kid is otherwise healthy, walking, eating, etc. and that is always a good thing.  

Hope this helps - let me know.


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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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