Friday, December 3, 2010


About a year and a half ago I(Meghan's mom)made the error of purchasing an obese Nigerian doe for her. We didn't know the animal was obese when we made arrangements with Irish Whisper Goat Farm to purchase her as we had only seen an older photo of her. Her bloodlines were very good, so I arranged to meet the owner down in lower Michigan to pick her up.

When we met in a parking lot I was on my way home. We had to park my truck tailgoate to tailgate to get Leda out of one crate and into ours, because she was too heavy for the two of us to lift...way too heavy. Folds of fat encased her entire body and she had blown out abdominal walls, broken down legs and feet and was unable to walk very well. I asked the woman "What have you been feeding her?" and she said, "Alfalfa hay and grain.". This was a dry animal and I don't know when she last freshened as we never could get the previous owner to return our calls with more information.

So I drove Leda home and we put her on a strict diet to take the fat off her. It took a several months for her to develop a healthy rumen and drop much of her exterior fat. And she eventually did get to the point where she could move with the herd and actually run short distances on occasion, but she was always problematic.

She bred and we anxiously awaited her kidding. She developed ketosis about two weeks before she was due and we pulled her through. Despite keeping watch on her as often as possible she managed to kid between 2 a.m. and 5 a.m. one very cold night and I found both her kids lifeless and covered with shavings(appearing to have been laid upon). I managed to revive both kids with heat and numerous tube feedings. Leda delivered a partial placenta and acted odd but not sick. I checked and found the placenta near her cervical opening and felt things would progress. It turns out she had yet another larger kid dead in her that I failed to find which she partially delivered six days later. Once that kid was out she cleaned out well and never had a high fever or was off-feed.

We sent her to a friend's farm to graze and exercise for the summer and brought her home fit and sassy(but not fat)to breed yet again. Her kids were sold to a pet home, because the doe kid had an extra teat.

Leda went into heat and took on her first cycle. Unfortunately about a week ago she went off-feed and showed signs of labor and eventually aborted a single fetus. We had her on antibiotics and made sure she wasn't wormy, and she seemed to be doing much better until yesterday when she lost the use of one hindleg and then went down and couldn't use any of her legs. She wasn't eating, was shivering and shocky, so I put her down.

Meghan and I are both sorry we couldn't make things right for you Leda. And we hope sincerely that anyone who owns goats realizes that overfeeding them is just as abusive as not feeding them enough.