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We've had a horrible start to kidding so far! We started off with 4 dead kids (2 sets of twins). Full term, full coats, teeth, beautiful, healthy looking babies. Very dirty but otherwise looked normal. Both times the siblings were found some distance away from each other and mom worrying nearby.
I'm 5 months pregnant myself and started panicking that we had some infectious disease going through the herd. I called the vet who told me to stay away from the goats til we figured this out. We sent the 4 kids to the lab for testing to be sure. This has been trying for me because I am the primary goat herdsperson and home alone during the day. It pains me to NO END to be stuck in the house knowing my girls are out there kidding without me :(
Today my brother went out to check as a favour to me. He came to my house and said that there were new twins. One was healthy and alive, the second looked trampled. The doe was alone in the maternity pen with the guardian donkey. I flew out of the house with halter in hand. As I got to the pasture I saw the donkey standing over a new kid with ears pinned, teeth bared, stomping and trying to get the kid with his hooves. The wobbly baby was just out of reach under his belly so I hollered and ran as hard as I could to chase him off. He took off running and the baby seemed ok. I caught the donkey and moved him to a pasture by himself.
I had no idea that guardian donkeys could turn so vicious during kidding! Has anyone else had trouble like this before? Sheeeeeeeeesh! Talk about a costly mistake. DANG! I am relieved that it appears that my troubles were donkey related and not contagious and something that would endanger my pregnancy. (We are still going to go through with the testing on the original 4 to be on the safe side).
Anyway, this afternoon after I got the donkey out we had 4 more sets of healthy twins. 8 happy, healthy fiesty babies! Funny how they do so well when their "protector" isn't plotting their murder!
omG Tam how horrible!! The donkey killed 4 and you saved the 5th?
Guardian donkey? never heard of this how does this work normally?
(Tam I haven't heard of a lot of stuff around the farm....no offense)
We always think the worst too! - glad it wasn't an infection!
Poor little newborns....don't think I'd be feeling kindly to that $^%$ donkey
CONGRATS on all the others though!!!! what a busy place - plenty of great memories when you're retired!
Oh MAN! Your LGD (Livestock Guardian Dog) ATE your llama! That is horrible!! I am so sorry! We have two Maremmas who do a great job but they are SO noisy. I was really hoping we could eventually use donkeys instead of the dogs, but looks like we'll be sticking with the dogs. We haven't lost a kid to coyotes yet (friends to the east lost 25!) although they didn't do anything about the donkey attack. Maybe since they all lived together they let the donkey do as he pleased. Argh, live and learn.
Anytime something spectacularly crappy happens I just think "Wow, my autobiography is going to be adventurous!"
I have heard of that happening with gaurdian donkeys. They see this weird little thing that smells like blood and go to protect the mom from it.
so sorry for your loss and congrats on all the surviving twins.
Donkeys are great, but you have to know their uses for sure! Donkeys are superior at taking care of weanlings, either cow or horse but not so great around birthings. Alpacas and llamas can get confused too. Our alpaca stud went after our new calf last spring, thankfully mama-cow was big enough to correct him and after a day, he was protecting the calf rather than attacking it. As for goats, we've found the best protectors to be alpacas and mama cow. The goat kidded in the barn since it was winter. Our kids were born in January (a billy goat separation accident) and it was COLD! The babies learned very quickly to stand under that cow in all her bovine radiant heat. She would stand very still and check to make sure all were safe standing under her. The goat mama seemed happy for the break, since she was in a stall for most of the time in the cold and only out for a few hours each day.
But the donkeys are out with calves at weaning for companionship and protection, never at birthing time.
I'm expecting our first goat kids in the next few months, should I put our young donkey in the other field at kidding time? I was thinking about keeping the moms and kids in the barn for awhile after they are born. When should i let them out in the same pasture as the donkey? Our donkey was just born last spring so is not even a year old yet. We're in our year of first-time-for-everything!
I have heard of people having problems like that with donkeys. I lamb/kid in a seperate pen with a barn away from the donkeys just in case. So sorry to hear about your goats
Ravenwoodmama we had the same problem with our miniature donkey one year when I bought a bred ewe not knowing her due date, She had gave birth to a set of twins in the bitter cold of february. The ewe had her lambs in little shed and was guarding the doorway. I noticed the one lamb had a broken leg and the donkey was acting funny. Our donkey was bonded to our ewe but not to these strange little things. We learned our lesson quickly with only on injury. We splinted the lambs leg and it healed fine. But after that we always remove/relieve the donkey from her guard duty and put her with the heifers until the ewes are done lambing. The donkey never had a problem with the lambs once they are about a week old. Sorry to hear about your loss...don't be too hard on the donkey as it was just trying to do its job.
I would recommend removing the guard animal (llama, donkey..ect) until the lambs or kids are very mobile and then carefully reintroduce the guard animal under supervision.
krl The donkey was just doing the job you wanted him to do. He did not know what these strange new little creatures were and was protecting his charges from them. Just relieve him from his duties for a while and slowly under supervision allow him in with the new arrivals and all will be back to normal for you. It is a learning experience for him and you. I am sorry it had to happen this way tho. Good luck with the rest of the birthing season. Lou
Sad to say, but that is not an uncommon Donkey thing...especially if you have a male. That donkey will be of no use to you as a guardian now... replace him with a good dog, or a couple Llamas (females or gelded males ONLY)...if you want a guardian with your goats. Many donkeys are just fine, but the occassional one is NO GOOD...and you never know which one you have until something happens. I hope that baby survives...and you have no more losses!
goats since dinosaurs roamed the earth....
I would kid seperate and see how she/he does maybe across the fence, my donkey is fine with babys after seeing them through the fence for a few days. I find my donkeys are the BEST predator protection for the sheep/goats, I find they stay together where as the dog is busy guarding the barnyard and the llamas seem to only protect at their convience.
We need an emoticon with a goat on it :) I have 30 boerx goats as well as some SCI goats and our donkey loves them all during the summer and early winter, but we remove her as soon as kidding is upon us.
It was 2 years ago that I was looking out my kitchen window and saw a goat go flying through the air! that's when I realized the donkey wasn't 100% sure what was going on! So my husband went out and separated her and we haven't had a problem since - so long as we remove her to the next pen when kidding starts.
Once the babies are born and bouncing around, we'll let them out into the field next to the donkey and they can squirt under the fence to visit and squirt right back if things are not ok (it's a board fence). once the donkey has 'met' them, she's fine and a wonderful protector and we put them all in together. We actually have pictures of the donkey laying in the grass covered in baby goats - they are kind of playing king of the castle (king of the donkey?). I am pro-donkey for livestock guardians - we have not lost any goats to coyotes and they are all around us.
I'm so sorry about the kids and the baby llama. Very interesting lesson for all of us about how guardians can be good with weanlings but not great with newborns. I'm sure there are reasons for it (which I don't understand) and it's a topic worth pursuing- the guardian becomes the killer. How awful.