Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Kiko doe raises kids despite broken leg

CVK Sally II cleans up and nurses her kids while
her broken leg (left rear) dangles uselessly.

On January 30 my grandson Rylan and I were working goats. We were running them through the “tub” and into the alleyway so we could FAMACHA and just give them a good looking over. One very pregnant nanny who has never been a problem before decided she would jump out of the catch pen this time. She didn’t quite make it and her left rear leg got caught in the top rail. When her weight hit the ground, that leg bone snapped with a sickening pop.

It was one of those scenes where you see it happening in slow motion but you are frozen and there is nothing you can do except watch … knowing what’s about to happen. I cussed the goat as she ran down the hill, favoring that left leg as her foot dangled and whirled like an airplane propeller. The bone was cleanly broken but the skin was intact. I debated whether to splint her or shoot her.

I was able to get her into a small corral. After watching her for awhile, I decided she was too heavy and too wild to try and splint. I didn’t want to carry her to the vet. I decided I would keep her penned up and hope for the best. Hopefully she would have her kids and I could bottle feed them or graft them onto another mother.

I had heard of broken legs healing themselves, but I didn’t know about a break this severe. I also know that splinting a leg was not always successful. I once had a buck die from infection after we splinted his leg. Another Kiko producer told me her goat’s leg actually rotted off from infection. In many situations, it’s just hard (or impossible) to catch a wild goat and keep the bandaging cleaned for the amount of time it takes for a broken leg to heal. I decided my best course of action was to leave it to nature. She would either heal or not.

A week later the leg was still dangling, swaying with every step she took. She didn’t seem in pain and she was eating good. When I checked on her the afternoon of February 5, I discovered she had kidded — triplets. One doe kid looked like it was born dead but there was another healthy doe and a buck kid. The mother had cleaned them up and they already were nursing … as she stood there on three legs.

Less than a month later, the leg has healed. There is a knot where the break occurred and her lower leg is a little crooked, but she can put her entire weight on the leg and as you can see in the accompanying video, she gets around pretty good. She is successfully raising her two remaining kids.

I’m still not ready to turn her out in the big pasture with the other goats. She has done so surprisingly well so far, I don’t want to risk her re-injuring it with all the hills, ditches, fallen trees and bullies in the pasture. I figure in a couple more weeks she’ll be as good as new. Just another example of a good goat that was healthy enough to heal herself and raise her kids.

This doe is a 4-year-old 100% New Zealand Kiko that Mary McDonald and Sandy Rittenhouse of Rittenhouse Kikos purchased last year at the Southeast Kiko Goat Association sale in Perry, Ga. ( and brought here to Egypt Creek Ranch where I manage their herd. CVK Sally II was born at Chey-View Kikos in Kentucky. She is a TAY 007 granddaughter on the top and a JTV Goliath granddaughter on the bottom — some old genetics that have stood the test of time. In my opinion, she has endured the ultimate performance test. She’ll have a home here for as long as she wants it. Just don’t be jumpin’ any more fences!

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