Saturday, November 17, 2012

Founder In Goats

 Got Milk? Remember those commercials?
You would think this was one of those but it's only our Chicory stealing milk from the cats. Or is it? After all it is Chicory's own milk that they are lapping. Our Chicory has never quit loving the taste of warm, fresh milk.

When she kidded for the first time as a yearling, she went down badly in her pasterns and thinking she was lacking in calcium, the previous owners gave her, her own milk to drink. Not every goat will do this but I have known some who will nurse off another goat.

We do the same thing, give her all of the milk her little ones don't consume along with a little medical calcium booster after she kids. Sometimes we give a little calcium booster before and leave her dry for a longer period of time than we would otherwise do, four months.
Chicory also has difficulty in giving birth and the triplets she's had the past three years have all had to be pulled though the labor has gone better each year.
Why do we bother? Well, these problems aren't hereditary. Her mother did not have problems and none of her daughters either. They pop out their young on their own and narry a pastern problem.
But as she has grown older, a whole whopping four years old, it has become very apparent that she had founder when she was one. She use to have excessive growth of her hooves especially in her toes. I keep them trimmed from once to twice a month to keep her on her toes as much as possible. If this founder has anything to do with the pastern drop near kidding, I don't know. I can't find anything on it so it might be a separate problem.
How do I know it is founder? Well look closely at this front hoof. See how she is walking on the heels of her hoof. It is because of the growth of a bone in her hoof. There is an excellent article by Onion Creek Ranch just click on Founder  Below is an excerpt.

Laminitis and its subsequent result, Founder, are diseases found in intensively-managed herds of goats. The usual cause is simple -- improper feeding. One of the many bad effects of overfeeding processed/sacked grains or feed that is too high in grain-induced energy ("hot" feeds) is Founder. A goat that has foundered will walk on calloused front knees and will have very overgrown hooves; the animal will have difficulty walking flat on the soles of its hooves because the bones in the feet have rotated out of normal position, shifting weight bearing to its heels. The hooves may feel hot to the touch, especially near the coronary band where the hoof wall meets the leg. Acute Laminits/Founder produces hooves that are sore and hot; when the condition becomes chronic, the bones of the feet become malformed and the hooves are overgrown. Chronic Founder is the type most often seen in goats. Founder is is not curable but it can be managed -- with great effort -- for the duration of the life of the goat. The term "founder" derives from the sinking of the bones in the hoof.
When a producer overfeeds grain concentrates, one of the bad things that can happen is that the laminae of the hoof is affected. "Laminitis" is the term used to describe the initial outbreak of the disease when the laminae become inflamed and break down, releasing its hold on the bones in the hoof. "Founder" describes the resulting downward rotation of the third phalanx bone in the hoof. The laminae is a web of tissue and blood vessels that holds the bones of the hoof in place. When the laminae breaks down, the blood vessels will either collapse or flood the hooves with blood, releasing the bones from their proper positions. When the third phalanx bone rotates downward, it may actually penetrate the sole of the hoof -- making walking very difficult for the goat because weight bearing has been shifted to its heels. Usually the front feet are first affected, but a severely foundered goat will walk on its front knees with its back legs uncharacteristically forward under its body. Abnormal hoof growth also occurs. The toes turn up -- growing into a "pixie-shoe" shape. A foundered hoof has thick walls, extra material on the sole, and grows abnormally fast and irregularly in shape -- for the rest of the life of the goat.
Chicory has begun to moan when she puts weight on her front hooves when she walks. Not quite as bad right after trimming and so the amount of noise is more of a cue than how long her hooves look to whether I need to trim them.
I also notice only this year a difference when she is being milked and hence grained. She's never done this before. So I dried her up and ended the grain rations. Though she has never had a hot grain feed. I'm very careful to keep my goats intake of corn to a minimum. Their ration is mainly wheat, beet pulp, sunflower seeds, and oats. They gets lots and lots of hay.
Chicory was the only goat in the show herd I bought her from that was effected with founder and this can be the case with only one goat effected. I have to assume the founder was brought on by complications when she kidded along with her diet for she did have a difficult first kidding.
These problems are what brought Chicory down into our price range.
This fall Chicory has developed a congested udder that has baffled me to no end. She has a hard, but not hot, udder for five days and then it would be soft for one and then hard again for five more before softening. And I mean HARD. I knew it wasn't an infection but finally desperate I dose her with two rounds of mastitis medication in the both teats twice, three days apart. It was such a heavy dose she became a bit nauseated. Just like I thought, it did nothing. Will she be able to feed her kids this spring if I breed her? I'm not sure.
What choices do I have now? Carrying kids would make her feet hurt worse but I'd really like a nice daughter out of her.
I have a grand daughter and a great grand daughter.
 The grand daughter has become our milk producer. Meagan has a beautiful udder for a yearling. I'm not so thrilled with her split hooves. There is always something though. I'm down to milking once a day and still getting a half a gallon from her.
Yes, I have a daughter. She is growing so.... fast I'm worried about her foundering except she doesn't get but a tiny bit of grain just because I'm giving a little to two much smaller does to increase their size before breeding. I think Daisy here has her father's size gene. He is the largest buck the long experienced linear appraiser judge had ever seen. I only have Daisy, a daughter, because I became to busy to get her sold. Now I kick myself for selling the two I did. I should of kept one of them and sold Daisy here for I've seen one of the other daughters and I think she is better. I'm tempted to buy a doeling this spring from her if the owner will sell and of course she has a doeling. 
So now I'm thinking I will breed Chicory once more, hope she does well in the pregnancy and then decide whether to put her down this next summer. I will have five does, though very young, milking and hopefully that is enough milk. Too bad it has come to this since Chicory is only four years old and in her prime.   

I guess that is what I get for buying damaged goods. It was worth it though because she has given us nine kids and a wonderful personality that has given us a great deal of laughs and joy. Not to mention all the milk and education.

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