Friday, February 20, 2009

Milk Toxemia

I thought of this topic, because of Brandy's babies . . . more on that later.

Milk Toxemia can be a silent killer, in a way. Milk Toxemia is when a doe overfeeds her babies and they die from that. It may not make much sense, but it is a real threat.

Often times it will occur in small litters - I've seen it in litters up to 4 babies. The doe has so much milk, but not enough babies for it, so the kits get way too much milk. This is a concern for the first week to 10 days particularly in small litters with a doe who is a heavy milker.

One of my chocolate foundation does, Vail's Swissy Missy, was classic for this. I lost 3 of her 4 babies in her first litter to this. Yeah, I learned about Milk Toxemia the hard way.

Swissy was known for small litters. I think her biggest litter was 5, but she typically had 2 or 3. So, with each of her litters, a day or two into it, I would take the babies away from her and only give them to her once a day, until the babies were 2 1/2 to 3 weeks old. She was such a great mom, she would sit in the box feeding the babies for awhile. So, there were times that I had to take the babies out of the box while she was still in the box. She'd realize they weren't in there and jump out and then I could take the box out again.

Her daughters have continued her trait of being an excellent mother and heavy milker. I really like it if they have large litters or for fostering purposes. Thankfully, her daughters have not followed her trait of having small litters, so milk toxemia has not been a concern.

Sugar has always had large litters of 8-10 babies, with one exception of a litter of 4 (and she did not over milk, thankfully :)).

Brandy has always had 6 babies in her litters, which has been great. But, Brandy's current litter is only 4 babies. This morning, with the babies being 4 days old, I noticed that their bellies are massively full. Brandy has been feeding them well! I took the babies from Brandy and will only give them to her once a day until they are older.