Pregnancy Toxemia Problems
Does with Pregnancy Toxemia can be a source of very high maintenance for a breeder. In the 2006 kidding season, we only had one doe come down with it however in the 2005 kidding season we had many more does come down with it. During the 2005 kidding season we lived in Central Texas with around 10 acres for our animals and little browse in the pasture for our animals. We mainly supplemented our animals with grain and hay. I now believe that we probably fed our animals too much grain during the breeding and kidding season. When we moved to Northeast Texas and had lots of browse in the pastures, we reduced the amount of grain we were feeding them by one half.
You may notice some of the information on breeding will talk about flushing the does 30 days before and after the breeding period. This is not the normal flush most people think of where embryos are taken from one doe and placed in recip does. This is a grain flush where does are fed more grain in hopes of the doe producing more kids because of the protein being fed to them during the breeding period. Pregnancy Toxemia is normally associated with does having a large number of kids, three or more, and unable to supply them and her self nutrition during the pregnancy. Especially during the last few weeks before birthing when the kids are requiring so much nutrition. The South African breeders developed the Boer breed to have a high fertility rate and it is a requirement that we believe is important but the fertility rate should come about without any "high maintenance".
We believe that there are some management techniques that are available to help with this problem. We were not able to follow them before moving to our new farm because we just did not have quality pastures and relied on supplemental feeding of pellets. With the availability of more and better pastures, we have seen a decrease in the number of does having pregnancy toxemia. However, even at our old farm, we had does having quads at birth and never have a problem. That is a good indication to us that some bloodlines are better than others at having high fertility rates with no down side of pregnancy toxemia. Therefore we are implementing the following management techniques to help minimize pregnancy toxemia in our herd: