Posted by: clemscritters | February 17, 2010


This past weekend we lost one of our original boer goat does.  Sally was the dominant doe, pushing everyone off their grain and hogging it all for herself, pushing everyone off the hay until she was full.  A week ago she seemed to be a little off her feed; on Saturday she was down and unable to get up, with a very low temp.  An awful day followed… vet visit .. worry and anxiety, and finally knowledge of what had happened.  I learned why people warn you not to over-grain animals.. I’d always heard this, but never knew WHY and no one ever explained it – until this weekend and it was too late for Sally.

Apparently the balance of nutrition is very important, and over graining results in an imbalance.  The fetus of a pregnant goat (or sheep) in the last half of the pregnancy sucks the calcium out of mom’s system.  If her nutritional balance is not correct, she can develop ketosis and hypocalcemia, which is what happened to Sally.  She died around 4 AM on Saturday.  I feel awful, knowing that it was me who did this.  Of course our other does are fine, but they are getting much less grain now.

All while this was going on and I was learning my lesson at the expense of this doe, I heard the original Clem (my dad) in the back of my mind repeating – “you’ll kill that animal with kindness” which is something he frequently said to me when I was growing up.  I never understood until now.  Now I know what he meant.    Thanks, dad.  again.  You continue to teach me even though you’ve been gone for more than 10 years.

Sally was a good girl with a lot of personality.  She lost her kid last year and I wonder if perhaps she had a propensity toward this condition last year too, and that is why the baby doe died.  I guess I’ll never know the answer to that question, but some things I’ve learned are:  (1) don’t over-grain and (2) if someone wants to know WHY, tell them.


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