Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Mopple has a milk goiter

Mopple has developed a small milk goiter. When our first bottle kids developed milk goiters (Salem and Shiloh, today’s 250+ pound behemoths), I thought “Oh no!” But a milk goiter is not a goiter in the usual sense of the word: healthy, well-fed goat kids and hair sheep lambs often develop milk goiters while they’re nursing.

The best discussion of milk goiters I’ve seen is Karin Christensen’s article at Biology of the Goat: www.goatbiology.com/milkgoiter.html (note the good pictures of a Katahdin lamb with pronounced milk goiter on the page). Her explanation, based on the results of a 1988 study appearing in the British Goat Veterinary Society Journal: Milk goiter is part of the maturation of the immune system; it's a common, normal enlargement of the thymus gland.

Another unusually good article about milk goiter is this one at the Fias Co Farm Web site (this site is a best bet for reliable information about goats): http://fiascofarm.com/goats/milk_neck.htm. Click on Milk Neck Photo Gallery at the bottom—note that number 5 appears to be a Katahdin-Dorper lamb a lot like Mopple.

At four months of age, Bon Bon and Martok’s son, Curzon, has finally outgrown his milk goiter (it was a big one!). His twin, Jadzia, didn’t get one at all. Why some kids and lambs develop them and others don’t remains a mystery.

Speaking of Jadzia and Curzon, Edmund and Mopple have begun chumming with the twins during the day. Here are Curzon (red wether), Mopple and Jadzia (black doeling) in a picture taken earlier today.