Basic care of
Goats is Easy ~ It's when something is wrong that it gets tricky
everyone comes running at feed time -
If they don't, something
use feed/minerals that say for sheep & goats!!!) Sheep cannot
tolerate the amount of copper that goats Require.
Do Not Feed Bucks/Wethers "Sweet Feed Grain". If they require
supplementation beyond hay, feed a grain pellet
or dry oatmeal, in moderation, is a good choice.
Goats love treats: Fallen tree branches, Grapes/raisins,
bread/crackers, and animal crackers are a favorite here.
Goats Love watermelon & rinds, and those un-carved Halloween
pumpkins. Cut them open and they will gobble them up.
Fresh, nutritious hay (with or without alfalfa - as needed).
Provide Clean water in a clean bucket (ice free in winter).
Loose minerals/mineral block that is available at all times.
Salt, available in a separate dish or block.
Well balanced grain product for your does. It gives them added
nutrients & minerals that they need. It is easy to over do it
with grain, so watch your animals condition to determine how
much/little they may need. During lactation, more protein is
Hoof trimming is
necessary every 4-6 weeks
Trimming is necessary
to keep your animal from developing hoof rot and leg/hoof
When you have a lot of animals, this can seem overwhelming.
Break it down to 1-2 animals per day, and they are
all trimmed again before you know it. Watch how your
animals walk & move to determine who needs trimming the most.
We vaccinate annually with c/d tetanus, and give Bo-Se and
Copper supplements as needed.
Watch your goats coat condition - A dull, course, or thin coat
can give you many clues to worm load or nutrient deficiency.
Watch your animals legs for any bowing (back or inward), as this
can indicate a nutrient deficiency.
animal has diarrhea, take a fecal sample to your local Vet
is the ONLY way to find out what you might be dealing
with... (Worm load & what type, or Coccidia).
This is the correct way to determine the problem, and also to
get the correct medication.
Worms & Coccidia are very common, and they are also the #1
killers of goats.
that I always keep on hand
Thiamine, Probios, Procaine penicillin, syringes &
Aged Animals may
require pampering & extra care.
(Goat Mortality is about 16 years)
Resistance to worms & coccidia may diminish as an animal ages,
allowing these invisible killers to steal what is left
of your animals health. Yearly fecal exams may become necessary, as
well as more frequent worming.
Feed should stay true to ruminant needs, as long as possible.
Roughage is of great importance to the ruminant stomach,
and that stays true with aged animals. Once you change to
a senior feed, there is no going back.
You must let their needs determine care, in regard to feed &
- Helps nervous and immune system functioning, joint
function and the proper absorption of nutrients.
spices (cloves, saffron, ginger), wheat, rice and oat
brans, nuts and sunflower seeds.
Necessary for proper bone and cartilage development, it
also works with iron to produce blood.
nuts, fruits and vegetables, legumes and whole grains.
Necessary for proper thyroid function. Also helps to
promote healthy skin, nails, hair and teeth and to burn
pineapple, raisins, cereals and grains.
- Assists thyroid function and acts as an antioxidant to
protect cells from damaging free radicals. Aids in
proper immune system function.
plant products that are grown in selenium-rich soil and
in wheat, corn and nuts.
Trace minerals are
important. A lack of these essential minerals can lead
to many types of disorders.
This is a huge problem with many species, especially
wild animals that receive no treatment. Wild animals that cross
your pasture or fly into your pens, infect the area, and this
transmits coccidia to your domesticated animals.
can carry it and show no signs, as they develop a certain
immunity, but if you have adult does that
babies, this can & will most certainly affect the kids.
Coccidiosis an infection of intestinal epithelium caused by protozoan
parasite of family Eimeriidae. (1 cell organism)
Coccidia is very difficult to control, as it is highly resistant
to environmental conditions, and disinfectants.
I have found
medications no longer work, such as Corid & Albon.
I am making this statement based on my own personal experience
using these medications, and testing after consistent
(vet recommended dosage amount and method of administration).
Coccidia's Effect on the Animal
Coccidia invades the intestinal wall, and goes through several
stages of growth & multiplication, which damages the tissue of
intestine. Depending upon the strain & animal
species affected, a coccidiosis infection can include severe
with severe lesions in the gastrointestinal tract.
Symptoms can range from diarrhea & a sloshy belly, to death.
through an extreme case of coccidiosis as a kid, can be stunted
in growth, and have issues with production, as an adult.
Sulfamethoxazole/Trimethoprim or Baycox
These drugs represent two of the most
effective ways to control coccidiosis in various
Toltrazuril affects many different stages in the life cycles of
the various types of coccidiosis of birds & mammals. It
produced excellent results for a range of animal species.
Toltrazuril "mode of action"
~ Damages all intracellular
states of Eimeria (coccidia). Toltrazuril does not affect
the tissue cells of the host animal, as was shown in light and
microscopic studies. Studies show that Toltrazuril
interferes with the division of the nucleus and with the
activity of the
mitochondria, which is responsible for the respiratory
metabolism of coccidia.
You may order Toltrazuril from a horse website I have found ~
(A bit expensive, but worth it)
I use 9-12 cc's (1x) on nigerian dwarf kids 3 months old, with very
good response, and no negative affects.
has been working, but
must also be given twice per day, for at least 10 days, possibly
is pretty much the same administration recommendation for Corid
and Albon, but with the benefit of actually killing the coccidia.
Things to watch for ~ New Goat Owners
If you have
purchased a bottle baby, and it loses interest in the bottle,
this is serious. It means that baby is not feeling
and you should act immediately. You must get that
baby feeling well enough to want to eat, because it's near
force feed a goat. Begin with Probios, and give it at
least 4 times a day. Do not stop feeding
milk to give it electrolytes.
Electrolytes are very
helpful but they also need
food/milk, to get the nourishment that is needed.
You can hold a towel
by the babies mouth, and put the nipple in it's mouth, and
squeeze small amounts of milk into the babies mouth. It
will be forced to swallow. Do not become
about this, as you can aspirate it by causing milk to go down
the wrong pipe, so do this with gentle care.
If you have
purchased a goat, young or old, watch the condition of the
animal, as you would with any animal in your herd.
If you see that the animal is not thriving, becoming thin, or
looking unhealthy, take action. You can begin with
fecal test to determine whether this animal is carrying worms or
coccidia (Both very common & a never ending concern).
Coccidia & worms are in soil & grass, and goats nibble on
everything, including dirt, so it is always a possibility.
attention to the little things, before they turn into big
things. That is a tip that will save you money & misery.
And, if you have concerns.... CALL THE
Johne's Disease ~ Slow, inevitable Death
currently available in the U.S. This disease is a death
sentence. There is no cure.
eradicate Johne's disease. We need to be smart about it.
questions, look at housing & conditions, and ask for a copy of
If you wish to buy from a farm that does not test, offer to
pay for testing of the animals you wish to purchase.
I have done this many times. It is an expense, but I love my
animals & it is my responsibility to protect them.
All it takes is one infected animal to take out a majority of
your own. You make the mistake, and your animals suffer.
If a farm resists testing, there must be a reason, and you
should purchase from a different farm.
is caused by mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis
Johne's is a "FATAL" gastrointestinal disease of goats and other
ruminants, including (cattle, sheep, elk, deer & bison).
This disease has a 1-5 year incubation
period. Bacteria damage of the intestinal lining, resulting
malabsorption of nutrients and wasting. The animal will
become anemic, weak and develop a poor hair coat.
Diarrhea or clumpy stools may be a symptom. The appetite stays
good, so this is not a way to make a determination.
Johne's disease can quickly spread through a herd that has poor
waste disposal practices, or unclean pens/housing.
Goats can be
carriers of the disease and show no signs of infection until the
disease takes its toll.
The disease is passed through droppings, which can be consumed
by other goats that then become infected.
The infection is most commonly passed in the manure of infected
animals. The MAP organism usually spreads
from adults to kids, and occurs when a young animal swallows the
organism via water, milk or feed that has been
contaminated by manure from infected animals. Due to lack
of testing & reporting, it is unknown how widespread
Johne's is in goats in the U.S.
Johne's blood testing does not give a
definite result, as this is a disease that affects the
That is where it must be tested~!
There is a
very reliable test available through the University of WI,
Johne's testing center
School of veterinary medicine, in
The test is a direct PCR feces test, and takes approximately 1
week for results. This is a very reliable test.
It is affordable, if you submit your samples directly to the
Johne's testing Center, yourself.
You may do what is called
a "pooled" sample, which allows you to pool up to 5 animals
(submit & mark individually for each of the 5 animals), to be
tested in one group, for a single $30 fee.
Please check out
for further information, and for a pdf submittal form.
You may also call to discuss with the vet on location by calling
Caprine Arthritis Encephalitis
CAE can be
detected by a blood test ~ Be Smart. Don't buy untested
This is a disease that contributes to the early demise or
crippling of many goats.
It is caused by a virus that is carried
in both milk and colostrum, and is easily absorbed by a kid.
This virus does not cross the placental barrier, which means
CAE clean kids are born from infected does.
If kids are
pulled at birth (never nurse from dam), and are fed "heat
treated" colostrum and milk, they can be
saved from this crippling disease.
Young animals afflicted with this disease tend to exhibit
neurological symptoms. Weakness and lack of coordination
begins in the hind legs and progresses to include the forelegs.
Kids do not run a fever and remain bright and alert,
though most do not survive the disease.
Some kids may show signs
of arthritis or pneumonia. Older animals, usually
over a year, will develop swollen knees,
stifles or hocks with a
slowly progressive lameness. They lose body and coat
Pneumonia, wasting and udder edema also may occur
with this virus.
bugs on your goats
problem Winter/Spring, for some reason. Hard to see unless
you are looking for them.
They are tan and tiny, blend with skin color, and live at the
base of the hair so they can suck blood from
the animal, and lay their eggs at the base of the hair. An
animal can be infested, and with a winter coat,
you may never even know it, unless you see them itching against
fencing, and biting at their backs.
that lice are species specific, and you will not be troubled by
the same lice that your goats get.
However, remember that when treating lice in humans, you must
treat with the medication & then comb out the eggs,
strip bedding & wash in hot water and treat all living areas.
Treatment for Sucking Lice
treat with a shot of Ivermectin, or a pour on treatment that
kills sucking lice.
Dust your animals, so that living lice will be killed
immediately, and any that hatch, will meet the same end.
houses, pens & stalls. Dust their living area with
something that will kill lice.
Diatomaceous Earth for instance, will work ~ It is a remarkable
"all natural" product made from tiny fossilized algae like
plants called diatoms. It is a mineral based pesticide.
DE is approximately 3% magnesium, 33% silicon, 19% calcium, 5%
2% iron and many other trace minerals such as titanium, boron,
manganese, copper and zirconium.
Due to the nature of this substance, breathing of the dust from
this product, should be considered "Dangerous",
to you & your animals, and should be be carefully avoided.
I use cattle dust.
When purchasing, make sure that one of the
main ingredients is permethrin, which kills fleas & lice.
Continue to watch for any lice, and treat again when needed.
We will soon be into summer, so you will
also have the option of clipping your animals, which will make
the task of eradicating the lice much easier.
Know... Goats are ruminants
When a Baby goat/kid is born, the only developed
stomach chamber is the abomasum (true stomach)
Baby goats/Kids initially function as a
As soon as a kid starts eating solid foods, its
rumen begins to develop.
When the kid chews its cud, all 4 chambers are
functioning, and the animal has become a true
Chambers of a Goat:
Rumen ~ Largest chamber, representing about
80% of the stomach (fermentation vat)
Reticulum ~ 2nd chamber, looks like a
honeycomb & functions as a fluid pump (actually
part of the rumen, separated by a partial wall)
Omasum ~ Also called many ply as it
consists of folds of tissue for better
absorption (like leaves of a cabbage)
Abomasum ~ 2nd largest chamber & true
stomach, where actual digestion occurs.
Ruminants require the proper proportion of
roughage (Hay) to grain in order to maintain good
Adult goats that lack adequate fiber in their
diets, lose rumen capacity, and their digestive
systems begin to function
more like those of a single-stomached animal.
Too much grain in relation to roughage works
against rumen muscle tone.
When too much fiber is fed without necessary
amounts of energy to aid digestion, rumen
impaction may result.
Balance is best, even when you are feeding
additional grain during milk production, make
sure to feed a good quality
hay for roughage, to keep the rumen in proper
When a ruminant eats, food mixes with saliva and
is sent down to the 1st & largest compartment of
the stomach (rumen)
To help fiber break down, soft masses of "cud"
are sent back by the rumen to the mouth for
In both the rumen & the 2nd chamber (reticulum),
fatty acids and vitamins produced during
fermentation are absorbed
into the goat's bloodstream. In the 3rd &
4th chambers (omasum & abomasum), food is
and broken down so that more of its nutrients
can be absorbed.
draft free housing for your goat with bedding that is clean and
I prefer shavings over straw, as it is
absorbent, and easier to clean up.
Make sure that any enclosed space is kept clean and free of
strong urine odor. Fresh air is necessary even in the cold of
During those long, cold winter months you can also provide a
heat lamp or a goat coat on the nights that are below freezing,
but I believe they stay plenty warm with their thick winter
coats, and a draft free, dry house & a friend
or two to snuggle
up to for warmth.
through years of trial and error, that cattle panels are the
best fencing to use for goats.
Easy to install using steel
fence posts. Sturdy and strong enough to withstand your
You can buy gates made from the same
material as well,
or use a chain link gate or devise one of your own. You might want to
get the combination bottom style
if you are housing young goats
that can escape through the bottom panels. You can easily
attach screen or wire to the bottom
temporarily for those small
Once they are about 6 months old even most miniatures are too big to fit through the regular
I've found that it is difficult to keep goats from wasting hay.
Any feeder you have chosen, hay bag, hay rack, milk
Expensive feeder or whatever you might use, goats will eat
what they pull out of the feeder in their mouth,
and let the rest
fall to the ground where it is Now Bedding or
garbage for us to clean up.
Feeders should be at eye level or lower, as chafe falling into
the goats eyes can cause eye irritations & pink eye.
Loose Minerals should be available to your
goats at all times. Provide a feeder in a dry location. Baking soda
added to loose minerals, it helps expel gases from the
rumen. My goats eat their minerals like
There is a special buck mineral available.
However, I choose to feed all in my herd the same mineral,
but I add "Ammonium Chloride" to my buck minerals as it is a
preventative for urinary calculi.
When I hear constipated, I initially think it's a buck/wether,
it's most likely not constipated, but trying to urinate,
cannot, due to a urinary tract that is blocked by a stone.
However, if you have a doe that is constipated, look to
& water intake. Are they eating????
Have there been changes to the diet, or
changes in condition, due to giving birth or moving to
Feed is most likely the cause. Chemical changes
in the body, due to giving birth, can also impact the bodies
reaction to a change in diet. If you have a goat that is
or you notice that the stools are no longer little
pellets, but rather logs or clumpy stools,
try cutting back on the grain, and make sure minerals are
well as salt, to increase the animals water
Then you can gradually increase the grain intake again, so that
she is getting enough protein to produce milk for babies, and
still keep enough weight on, so that her condition stays nice.
doe that is too thin and run down is susceptible to illness.
attend a Dairy goat show, where all the does are being fed large
quantities of grain, to keep milk capacity up,
you always see clumpy stools, or logs around the show ring area
& in pens. This is a symptom of the additional grain
or a change in the diet, such as going out to pasture, eating
fresh grass, or a change from grassy hay to alfalfa.
a brain stem disease
the bacteria Listeria monocytogenes, which is found in soil,
water, plant litter,
silage, and even
in the goat's digestive tract.
There are two forms of Listeriosis.
One results in abortions, while the other causes encephalitis.
Symptoms of Listeriosis:
Can include depression, decreased appetite, fever,
heat tilting to one side, leaning, stumbling or moving in one
head may be pulled to flank with rigid neck, facial paralysis on
one side, slack jaw, drooling, and abortions.
Immediate treatment is critical.
There is no time to waste with Listeriosis. Recovery is more
difficult and time-consuming than Goat Polio. A goat can go
and completely recover its eyesight and overall health
if proper treatment is provided;
such treatment can take days or
even weeks, depending upon the severity of the illness and how
quickly treatment was begun.
Higher-than-normal dosage of procaine penicillin is needed
to cross the blood brain barrier to put sufficient amounts of
into the tissue of the goat's central nervous system (3cc's per
50 lbs), every 6 hours.
It is Very Important to Continue all treatment until 24 hours
*after* the last symptom has disappeared to avoid a relapse.
Give the procaine penicillin SQ over the ribs with an 18 gauge
needle so the goat doesn't become a pin cushion of holes from
repeated injections during this intensive treatment. It is
very important to use (Thiamine) along with the penicillin
Thiamine is an appropriate addition to treatment of any sick
goat due to the fact that any change in the rumen's environment
that suppresses normal bacterial activity can interfere with
thiamine production, and it must be replaced.
See below (Goat Polio) section, for dosage.
If you are seeing symptoms that look like Listeriosis or Polio,
such as head tilting & circling behavior.
Don't rule out the possibility of
Meningeal worm ~ Brain worm/Deer worm (See section further down
of Listeriosis (above), as they are basically the same.
Thiamine is the only effective therapy, and
treatment can result in improvement within a few hours
the disease is
caught early enough.
Thiamine (Vitamin B1 100ml) is
inexpensive at $30 per bottle, and can treat many goats.
It is a Must have, for any goat owner.
You can purchase thiamine without a prescription at
Dosage is based on the goat's weight
(4-1/2 cc per 100 pounds live weight for 100 mg/ml thiamine) and
be given every six hours on a 24-hour cycle until all symptoms
have disappeared completely to avoid relapse.
Thiamine, like all
is water soluble, so the goat eliminates daily what it doesn't
utilize in the rumen.
A sick goat's rumen doesn't produce B
hence the importance of adding them to the goat each day until
it gets well.
Initially thiamine should be given IM (into the
but can be given SQ (subcutaneously) or even orally after
several days of treatment. Some thiamine comes in 500 mg/ml
making the required dosage 1 cc per 100 pounds
thiamine is unavailable but the producer has injectable multiple
B vitamins, check the label for
how much thiamine (Vitamin B1)
is present. Injectable multiple B vitamins containing only 25mg/ml of
require four times
the 100mg/ml dosage (18-1/2 cc) per 100
pounds bodyweight, so the producer can quickly see the
obtaining the proper strength of injectable B vitamins.
to overcoming Goat Polio is early diagnosis and treatment.
Complete recovery is possible under such circumstances.
Since symptoms of Goat Polio can easily look like Listeriosis,
we recommend that procaine penicillin also be used.
Better to cover both possible illnesses with appropriate
treatments when symptoms are so similar than risk the goat's
Gazing ~ Similar to Goat Polio, in that it is due to a
severe deficiency of Vitamin B "Thiamine".
The reason can be due to hay/alfalfa, grain or pasture, that is
much too rich for the goats system.
Goats can quickly regress from star gazing, being listless, and
going down, to ending up dead.
Thiamine can turn this
animal around very quickly. I always keep it on hand.
You may purchase Thiamine without a prescription @
A 100ml bottle is $30, and a must have for your goat care
Meningeal worm ~ Brain worm/Deer worm
meningeal worm is an internal parasite (Paralaphostrongylus
tenius), usually completing it's life cycle within deer.
However, goats are at risk to this parasite, due to the fact
that they prefer to eat much as deer, foraging on the same
type of things, such as leaves from the ground. The life
cycle of the meningeal worm requires slugs as it's main host.
As you can imagine, slugs are very easily ingested while goats
are feeding on leaves from the damp ground.
We've all seen tiny slugs on the underside of damp leaves found
on the ground, and there you go.
A goat that
ingests an infected slug, is at serious risk of this larvae
migrating into the brain or spinal cord.
This larvae wanders through the central nervous system, causing
inflammation, damaging nerve tissue, causing
many neurological symptoms. The symptoms depend upon how
many larvae are present, and the portion of the
brain or spinal cord affected. Slight symptoms may include
weakness, limping or lack of coordination, while more
Serious symptoms may mimic brain diseases such as polio or
Listeriosis. As with Listeriosis or polio, severe symptoms
may include blindness, head tilt, circling and lack of appetite
or inability to eat due to symptoms.
the meningeal worm would require finding the parasite in the
This would require testing of the cerebral fluid. Since
goats are not a "natural host", fecal testing will not
show eggs or larvae of this parasite. Diagnosis, therefore, is
based on symptoms & medical history of the animal.
Since goats are not a "natural host", they will not shed larvae
or eggs of this parasite. Therefore, you may
see 1 individual in your herd affected, and no others.
usually involves high, repetitive doses of (levamisol,
ivermectin, albendazole, fenbendazole, thiabendazole).
This, along with steroids & other therapies, have been used.
Treatment is uncertain. It may be possible
to kill the larvae before it enters the central nervous system,
or to cross the brain blood barrier, but no
treatment is certain. One thing is certain. Once
nerve tissue is damaged, it cannot be repaired.
is your best avenue in regard to meningeal worm. This
involve keeping your goats out of areas in which they might
ingest slugs from leaves that are damp.
High & dry, well drained ground would be best. Dark &
damp, wooded areas are high risk, as they are highly
travelled by white tailed deer, which are the "natural host" of
One deer can easily shed hundreds of thousands of eggs in their
fecal matter. The larvae is highly resistant
to environmental forces, such as extremes in temperature.
Info on Meningeal Worm @
There is a system
designed to control the parasite
Haemonchus Contortus in sheep & goats. This parasite is
one of the most problematic among small ruminants. The
parasite sucks large amounts of blood from the true stomach of
the animal, and the result is a severely anemic animal.
Famacha, involves checking the under eyelid of the animal
for color. You want to see a healthy pink/red coloring to
the eyelid and eye tissue. If you see pale or white, you
at an animal that is definitely carrying a load of
these worms, and you would want to treat that animal.
Beware of wormers that are
not safe for pregnant animals. If they are labeled as
such, follow instruction.
Do not worm a pregnant animal
with such a product, as you seriously risk losing the kids.
I believe it is important
to worm a pregnant doe about 1 month before delivery, with a
wormer labeled safe for pregnant animals.
It is a time when she
is more susceptible to any risk of worms and the possibility of
transmitting them to the kids.
You should always worm a
doe within days after kidding as well. Some worms are just
waiting to infect those newborn kids,
and you must protect them!
Treatment for Poison Ivy ~ A product called Rhus Tox, which is sold in
health food stores for arthritis.
It comes in little tablets & 5 tablets of the 30c Rhus Tox
dissolved under the tongue
several times a day will clear a poison ivy rash faster than
makes you immune to poison ivy allergies as well.
Very common in grazing stock and goats are particularly susceptible. Iodine is
related to the functioning of the thyroid gland.
Thyroid hormones are
required for the normal development of the fetus. Thyroxin does not pass from
mother to fetus.
The fetus has to make its own. The iodine status of the doe
during gestation is therefore very important.
(Iodine does pass from doe to
fetus across the placenta.) It is evident that thyroid
hormones are very much involved
in the normal growth and development of the
fetus and thyroid gland deficiencies can result in a higher proportion of weak
or still born kids being born than would otherwise be the case. Prevention Supplementing with iodine can be
by feeding out as a supplement in troughs. Drenching should take place 4 weeks
before mating, 6 to 8 weeks
before kidding and 2 weeks before kidding.
Can be the result of low levels of the mineral in the soil and in
on the soil.
This is primary copper deficiency. However,
both the feed and the
soil can have adequate copper but its absorption
can be interfered with by
minerals known as copper
antagonists: lead, iron, manganese, various sulfates,
and molybdenum. This is secondary copper deficiency.
Congenital copper deficiency is the term used to describe the kid who did not
receive sufficient copper in utero.
Copper is essential in the proper
development of the central nervous system, correct bone growth, and hair
Copper-deficient goats have difficulty conceiving kids and, if
bred, abortions are not uncommon. Kids who appear to be fine
at birth but
develop symptoms at around three months of age are said to have the delayed form
of copper deficiency.
Secondary copper deficiency tends to be more responsive to
treatment than primary copper deficiency.
Insufficient weight gain, poor appetite,
and weight loss are seen in copper-deficient goats of growing age.
display more subtle signs of copper deficiency. They are generally unthrifty,
anemic poor milk producers,
and sometimes have diarrhea.
The most visible
sign of copper deficiency in adults is loss of hair, and/or hair color.
Copper is essential
for melanin production that causes hair pigmentation.
Hair discoloration occurs
when copper-containing enzyme is missing. On a black goat, you might see
behind the rear legs & thin tail hairs, to the point that you can see the tail
stub through the hair.
Other symptoms which may indicate copper
difficulty in conceiving kids, delayed shedding of hair coat,
extreme hair loss, lowered libido in males, slight hoof deformities, bent legs in yearlings,
and other immune-deficiency
problems such as frequent bouts with pneumonia,
mange or fungus-type lesions, and lice infestation.
Copper deficiency may play a
role in Floppy Kid Syndrome if the dams were copper deficient,
leaving the kids
with only enough stored copper for a week to ten days after being born.
be given to pregnant does about 1 month prior to kidding, and that way the kids
Severely copper-deficient goats are sometimes given copper boluses,
however I've found that copper granules mixed into
peanut butter is a much easier way to get it into your goats. I then swipe a
finger through the mixture & put it on the
goats tongue or the roof of its mouth.
possible to induce copper toxicity in goats, so DO NOT leave your peanut
container unattended, as most goats
love the peanut butter, and want to eat more of the mixture than they should get.
Copper accumulates in the liver.
Red/brown urine may be a sign of copper poisoning.
NOT use products labeled "for sheep & goats" because they are
insufficient in the amount of copper needed by goats.
"Overeating disease". This occurs when specific bacteria
(Clostridium perfringens, type C or D), infects the rumen
when an animal is suffering from indigestion. This
bacteria quickly multiplies, taking advantage of the acidic
produce its own toxins, poisoning the animal.
When the balance of bacteria in the stomach is thrown off (by
eating too much pasture or grain...etc.), C. perfringens
become prolific and produce toxins. Animals
suffering from this disease may exhibit twitching,
a swollen stomach, teeth grinding and fever.
There is no effective cure. It is usually fatal and
does not respond well to any treatment.
This can be prevented by annual vaccination of c/d tetanus, and by avoiding
abrupt changes in your goats diet.
Animals on pasture or those at risk of getting into the grain
shed and devouring the rations should be vaccinated.
Young nursing kids are at risk, especially if their dam is
producing lots of milk.
Goats kept on dry lots with absolutely no chance of getting
excess grain may not need this vaccine.
Many disorders of goats are now associated with selenium
include white muscle disease, which can exhibit symptoms
such as "Floppy kid", or a stiff kid.
Other signs are retained placentas, infertility,
slowed growth and other related problems.
Young animals exhibit the most symptoms, while older
animals may have equal problems that are not as clinically
apparent. Selenium deficiency affects the muscular system,
although other systems may be affected as well, including
the liver, gastrointestinal system and reproductive system.
Animals affected from birth to 3 months of age may show
difficulty in rising and unsteadiness standing or walking.
Animals with affected heart muscle may exhibit pneumonia like
symptoms that will not respond to treatment.
If you have a goat that has a continual cough, without other
cold symptoms, you may be dealing with a deficiency.
Older animals may have weak pasterns as their only physical sign
of deficiency. Some animals don't grow properly, and
this is usually evident by 4 months of age. The lack of proper
growth is often accompanied by a liver disorder.
Pregnant does are more readily affected by a selenium deficiency
since they must supply selenium for both themselves
and their kids. Some does will fail to "take", when bred,
others will absorb the embryo if there is a lack of selenium.
Selenium deficient does can have difficulty during delivery due
to lack of uterine tone, which is needed to expel kids.
To prevent this deficiency, use an injectable selenium (Bo-Se),
as per the need of your animals.
Caseous Lymphadenitis (CL):
point, CL was the most common Caprine disease in the U.S.
It is caused by (Corynebacterium pseudotuberculosis).
This organism has a thick outer wall and survives well even in
harsh environments. It can enter the body through lightly
abraded skin. It is carried to the local lymph node and the node
becomes abscessed. 75% of the abscesses occur in the
head and neck area. External abscesses are not uncomfortable to
the goat and rarely cause clinical signs, though they
are unsightly and may rupture. The pus emitted from a
ruptured abscess will spread the disease to other goats.
It is best to surgically remove the smaller abscesses before
they rupture. If surgery is not an option, isolate the goat
the abscess ruptures. You may lance the abscess, but don't
do so without first determining that it is definitely an
To do this, you gently insert a needle into the possible abscess
and draw back on the syringe plunger. If it is an abscess,
pus will fill the syringe. Some lumps on the body are
caused by hernias and should not be cut open. Some lumps
caused by c/d tetanus vaccinations, which leave a lump, and
should not be treated as CL.
If you do determined that a lump is CL, and you proceed to lance
it, you will need to flush the wound with iodine
and peroxide twice daily, so that the wound heals from the
inside out. Do not allow the outside of the wound or
to heal too quickly, or the whole process will repeat.
Keep the wound covered with antibiotic ointment and bandage to
thoroughly. Do not return the goat to the herd until the wound
CL is far easier to prevent than to treat,and retention of an
animal with this ailment is a decision not to be made lightly.
You should always have
Bloat Release or Therabloat on hand as well as Probios, which
replaces good bacteria
needed to help
the rumen function
These items are very reasonably priced, and if you
have need of the product, it can easily
save your goats life and
save you a hefty vet bill. If an animal tends toward
bloat, feed the most course hay you
find as the softer grassy hay seems to aggravate this
condition almost as much as grazing on fresh grass.
oil can be used as a treatment if bloat
occurs although the Therabloat or bloat release is the better
What I found is that tubing to release air is
very tricky and doesn't always work, as the
object is to get the
far enough into the stomach to release the air.
for me was to use
a 16 gauge needle through the outer wall into
You can see where the rumen is located,
is usually always the most distended area when the animal is
high up on the left
side of the stomach.
Shave a small area of hair, use alcohol to clean the skin very well, so that you don't carry
anything through with the needle.
Poke the needle all the way through, and you should be able to hear the air releasing, as if from a balloon.
Massage the stomach to help the air free
itself, and when the animal has been relieved, and you can see
stomach is once again flat, remove the
I have always given (1 cc) of penicillin
in the muscle for 3 consecutive days
after this procedure
to fight off any bacteria that might have
been introduced. You do not want your animal to get peritonitis.
There are no surefire answers, and I am
certainly not a vet, only experienced through necessity in
dealing with this problem.
I have only had one
animal that has ever suffered from this condition, and it continued to worsen
until we had to
euthanize the animal.
A contagious eye ailment. It is spread by flies, so is
more evident in summer.
Hay chafe that falls into the eye, can cause eye infection that
leads to pink eye as well, so feeders should be
at eye level, rather than above the animal.
Signs of Pink Eye:
The eye will look cloudy.
You will notice that the animal holds it's eye squinted shut,
and it seems
that the eye is causing them pain, which it is.
You must treat this problem immediately & aggressively to avoid
to your other animals, and
to avoid more serious eye problems, such
of penicillin per day - for 3 days.
I put penicillin directly into the affected eye, twice per day.
fluid out of bottle with needle, then remove the needle,
put a drop or two into the affected eye.
You must continue
drops of penicillin directly into the eye until all cloudiness is gone,
and the animal shows
no tenderness & is not
sensitive to light in the eye.
This treatment, when completed diligently, will stop pink eye
dead in it's tracks before any other animals
are affected, and before the animals suffers over much.
Urinary Calculi or
Male goats, especially wethers, are at risk of urethral obstruction from small
The Male goats penis is long and has an "S" shaped curve (sigmoid flexure).
The urethra, through which the urine passes, is
small in all males and may be smaller in wethers because of stunted development,
which causes bladder stones to lodge and
obstruct the urethra. The goat will strain to urinate, exhibiting
discomfort when lying down, and occasionally cry out in pain.
Dampness and occasional crystals may be found around the opening of the penis.
As the ailment progresses, the urethral
tissue swells around the stone and no urine can pass. The bladder fills to over
normal capacity, and if the obstruction is not
relieved, either the bladder or urethra will rupture to relieve the pressure.
This is painful and often fatal.
It is easy to mistake a straining goat as constipated, causing many goats to
mistakenly be treated with laxatives.
Caused by an improper ratio of calcium to
phosphorus in the diet.
Corn contains high amounts of
phosphorus, thus is not good for bucks.
Sweetened Grain is
a contributor to this factor in males, and should be avoided as
added to free choice trace minerals is a good preventative and
definitely worth your time & expense.
The additional salt/minerals consumed will result in the buck
drinking more water, therefore flushing out his system.
have plenty of fresh, clean water available. Especially in
the warmer summer months, make sure to refill water buckets
every day, as stale warm water is not as quickly consumed as
fresh, cold water.
Anti-inflammatory drugs and smooth muscle relaxants may enable
the goat to pass the stones. Treatment of the blocked goat
requires removal of the obstruction.
If the stone is in
the urethral process, an extension of the urethra, located at
the tip of the
penis, it is simply
amputated with scissors ~ I recently had a fellow goat
enthusiast call about her little male, that had granulated
debris at the end of her little bucks penis. He was acting
oddly, and backing up in an odd manner. She took him to
and it was determined that he had exactly this type of
obstruction, right at the tip of the the penis. She said
managed to get the little guy to extend, and the vet was able to
snip off the blocked tip. The little guy was then able to
empty is over distended bladder, finally. It bled a bit,
but not overly much, and stopped on it's own. He was saved.
If stones are
caught at the sigmoid flexure, they must be removed surgically.
If the obstruction cannot be relieved, surgery can be performed
to create a new urethral opening under the goats tail and
bypass most of the penis. This procedure "perineal
urethrostomy", will eliminate the breeding capabilities of the
If there are stones remaining in the bladder, the vet can
perform a cystotomy to remove the stones at the time of surgery.
~ Pregnancy Toxemia
This is pregnancy toxemia attributed to low blood sugar.
Most often seen in late pregnancy, and first weeks of lactation.
Usually brought on by a combination of an increase in grain,
and the inability for the animal to eat enough roughage, due to
the large area that multiple kids take up in the stomach area.
Doe will be lethargic and go off feed. Cut back all grain
intake until you have this issue resolved.
Do not be afraid to give high doses of of propylene glycol (6-12
cc's), 2-3 times per day.
Feed only roughage until the animal is eating well, then you may
Propylene glycol cannot hurt them, and it will turn them around
quickly, which is what is needed.
Always keep propylene glycol
on hand for kidding season.
Home remedy for
White or brown sugar, corn
syrup, molasses or honey can be used in a pinch.
that I give:
c/d Tetanus - Dosage is 2 cc's. First
year it must be given twice. Booster 21 days after initial
& Vitamin E) - most areas are deficient in this trace
mineral. Dosage is 1.25 ml per 50 lbs.
Use a weigh
tape for adult animals,
and use a scale for younger kids as the tape isn't precise enough at
I give Pregnant Does
their Annual c/d Tetanus & Bo-Se shot 1 month before their
If the doe is given these vaccinations at
least 3 weeks before delivery, the kid is covered by this
they are about 8 weeks old. I still give 2 cc's of c/d Tetanus at disbudding.
Always keep epinephrine
with you any time you are giving shots.
You never know what might cause anaphylactic shock, and you must
Epinephrine is to be given in the muscle at first sign of anaphylactic shock
"seizure" (1/2 to 1
c/d tetanus: 2 cc's at disbudding, 2 cc's at 8 weeks, and another 2 cc's
21 days after that.
This completes the yearly vaccinations
required for this kid. After the 1st year, only one shot
is needed per year.
~ Where to vaccinate
c/d tetanus shot should be given sub Q (under the skin),
leaves a bump that lasts quite a while.
Because of this,
many people have started giving this shot I.M. (in the muscle).
This is not the correct way to give this shot.
the muscle distributes the medication too quickly and doesn't
give the proper protection for this vaccination.
give the c/d tetanus shot sub Q for it to be an effective
vaccination. I give under the skin along the ribs, where
the lump is out in the open, away from lymph nodes. That
way it is easily explained, as all my goats receive this shot in
same location, and I can easily see if the lump becomes
infected, so that it can be treated accordingly.
BO-SE is selenium with
vitamin E. This shot is to be given I.M.
I give my Muscle shots in the muscle along the rib cage, as the
risk of hitting a large vein is lower
than when given in the rear leg.
does and does in milk require plenty of calcium so that they do
not begin leaching calcium
from their own bones to
replace what they are
producing in milk for the kids needs.
You may want to provide a
calcium drench, but be careful to use
the proper dosage.
Doe in Milk:
Keep a close watch on your
does condition, and if it begins to deteriorate, take action
You might want to increase grain ration (slowly), or feed a better quality
Protein requirements are high during
production of milk, especially for the feeding of multiple kids.
Feed your doe appropriately, based on her needs, determined by
Also, look to worm or coccidia load. Treat accordingly, as
this is the natural cycle of worms/cocci.
Kids systems are very susceptible to these natural killers.
If the doe they are nursing from, has a heavy worm load or
coccidia, you should know that the kids will be
infected with the same.
refrigerated. Penicillin should be given (I.M.) in the muscle.
I give this shot in the muscle along the rib cage.
When given, you must draw back on the
syringe to be sure you do not see blood before giving this shot.
If you draw blood into the syringe, it means you have hit a vein.
In this situation, withdraw the needle and try a different spot.
this shot directly into a vein, you will KILL the animal.
Also, always have epinephrine (1/2 to 1 cc - to be given I.M.)
on hand when giving this shot, as it is higher risk for
anaphylactic shock reaction.
Must be refrigerated. If ever you need it, you will
need it immediately.
You will not have time to run to the
refrigerator to get it.
(1/2 to 1 cc - to be given I.M.)
This shot is given to save an animal having a
negative reaction to any vaccine.
Goats need roughage to keep their rumen
working properly. Hay should be the main diet.
Grain provides a lot of protein in a small
amount of feed and because of this, should be fed with great
Feeding grain to a wether, for instance, can lead to
urinary tract blockage.
Grain is a necessary supplement to the
pregnant does diet, as is Alfalfa which provides much
I usually start graining about 1 month
prior to expected kidding date, so that they don't become too
but it will help them right at the time they will need to
begin producing milk for their kids.
As a doe becomes larger in the last month of
gestation, the stomach is restricted and she cannot eat as much,
so you must
make sure that what she is eating is high enough in
protein to fill the requirements for her and her unborn kids.
If not, you risk Hypocalcemia and ketosis. A pregnant doe should get
plenty of exercise and fresh air, and stay in premium condition
Long range consequences
of nutritional imbalance:
You effect the condition of the fetus as well as the kid (after
birth), if you have not fed the doe appropriately during
The long range effects last beyond birth, and
can cause a kid that was malnourished during gestation to have
problems that could
have been avoided. I learned this
lesson the hard way, purchasing a doe that was pregnant.
The doe was extremely
undernourished when she came, 2 weeks
prior to kidding. She was not able to provide milk for her
kids and one of her kids
died before birth. Another kid
that I received from the same breeder as a 9 week old, was never
right, and her legs began
to bow at 20 days of ownership.
I had started supplements and the best feed upon her arrival, as
she was so thin and tiny, but it
did little to no good, as the damage
had already been done.
This doe went on to have multiple
problems, which eventually led to her being euthanized at 9 months
Clean, fresh water must be available always,
as goats will go off feed without it, and will choose
drink out of a dirty water bucket. Use an electric bucket
in the winter as goats will drink water
that is a little warmer
in the winter, and they cannot break through even the thinnest
of an ice coating and
will go without if it freezes over.
trimmed as overgrown hooves can cause leg and feet problems.
Trimming should be done approximately every 4-6 weeks, but
younger kids hooves tend to grow a bit quicker, so keep an eye
When it's muddy & wet outside the last thing you probably want
to do is pick up their feet, but it is the best time to trim
as the mud really softens them up, and they should not
be left in mud with over long hooves, because this is the
for foot problems to develop due to mud &
bacteria being trapped inside.
Those young goats can sometimes put up quite a fight when you
are trying to trim those back feet, and you or your goat can get
jabbed with those sharp tipped nippers. I have developed a
very easy way to stop the kicking & fighting of those young
If you have them on your milk stand, simply sit
under them so that their back legs can stand between your legs.
This way you can trap the foot you're not trimming, while you
trim the other. It helps to support them while you have
foot up, and it gives your back a much needed break from
leaning over. You will find that they do not kick and
struggle as much
using this method. It's a little messier, but if
you're wearing your barn grubs, as you should be, it really
Wearing light, soft leather gloves while trimming hooves is also
a very good idea.
It will save your hands from blisters &
maybe a snip from the nippers too.
Check coat and skin
occasionally for mites, fleas or ring worm or any other nasty
If you see any bald spots
always check it out
as it can be caused by any one of these problems.
your goats ears
occasionally for ear mites. Head shaking can be a clue.
the winter/spring it's not uncommon to have to dust your
goats for mites.
In an effort to avoid immunity to wormers it is very
important that you worm when necessary.
quickly find out if your goats carry any worm load by having a
fecal done, or by purchasing your own supplies
to check for
worms. The vet or yourself can collect fecal matter
from the goat and you or your vet can do a worm count.
also want to check for coccidiosis. Worms & coccidiosis are invisible killers
and can take a goat down quickly.
Many people check the
gums of the animal for paleness, which indicates worminess in
goats, but to be sure of what
type of worm you need to treat
for, a fecal is your best indicator. There are wormers on
the market to treat for
different types of worms. You can
find this information in any of a number of
that sell these products.
This is a procedure that many people abhor and cannot bring
themselves to perform. The option is to take your animal
vet or find someone locally that can perform this procedure for
you. I do my own disbudding, as it can get costly
being that it
may have to be done more than once, especially on young bucks,
and sometimes for persistent growth in does as well.
in mind that you may need to touch up horns if you see growth,
but it is well worth the effort, as animals with
horns cannot be
taken into a show ring. You can read about dehorning in
Hoegger or Caprine
goat supply catalogs,
and they give a pretty good description of
I use the Rhinehart X30 electric dehorner.
This is another, not very
pleasant task, that many would rather not have to perform. Some
have opted to microchip instead.
with that can be a floating chip
that can't be located, and having no identification for that
It's still a good idea to tattoo for backup
identification. But I have found that even the tattoo's can fade
away and cannot be read.
At this point in time
ADGA does not accept micro chipping as the only means of
identification. Tattooing can be tricky.
will probably want to have the guidance of someone that has done
it before. You must be very careful to place the
correctly, in the correct ear and such. You
will want to have a piece of paper to test the tattoo letters on
actually tattoo the animal's ear. Make sure
that you can read an ear tattoo
before taking an animal into the show ring, as
judge must be able to identify that animal by the tattoo in
case of a win. In my experience tattoos don't
stay for long,
especially in dark ears, and many times must be
done again. If you have to re-tattoo, be sure to have the papers
to show that the animal was re-tattooed, just in case any ghost
impression of the previous tattoo is visible.
I've found that
green ink works the best, especially in the dark ears.
can read about the procedure for tattooing in the above
mentioned catalogs. You would do well to order
Hoegger (800) 221-4628
/ Caprine (800) 646-7736.
Fungus - Very contagious. Hair loss and scaling.
Transmitted through direct contact, even to humans.
antifungal creme applied directly to area. May need
treatment a few times a day until gone. You can use
antifungal foot creme purchased from Wal-Mart, as well as the
higher priced products for treating fungus.
This fungus can be
transferred to your animal through soil or wood that emits a spore.
Virus - Very contagious. Scabs or open sores on lips,
face, ears and sometimes udders. Contagious to humans,
use care during treatment. Treat with ointments or cremes to
help soothe pain. You can choose to isolate effected
animals and let it run it's course, generally 2-4 weeks.
As sore mouth heals & sores dry up, scabs fall off.
scabs are very infectious. It is very important to
completely disinfect pen area.
You must be sure to clean up ground,
bedding and feeding areas, as well as fence panels that may have
Tube feeding a
If you are at risk of
losing a kid that is down, cold, and will not suckle, you must
take action quickly.
Get it warm. Fill a sink with warm water & submerge all
but the head (Only in a warm house). Blow dry completely,
and hold in a warm blanket until the body temp comes up.
Then you can attempt feeding. Try bottle feeding first,
then if the kid won't take a bottle, you can try feeding slowly
with a syringe, orally.
It is Very important
that a kid receives colostrum as it's first meal as it provides
antibodies that the animal needs, and it
activates the proper
balance of naturally occurring microorganisms in the stomach.
If you need
it, you can use a save-a-kid
syringe. They run about $5.00 for the tube and syringe.
Feed through the tube
slowly until you've gotten 25-40 cc's
of warm colostrum into the stomach.
Tube feeding: Assemble your supplies.
Measure your tube from nose to the chest floor &
mark with black marker. This is the maximum depth you need to insert the
Hold the kid securely & dip the end of the tube in water to soften
it. Insert the tube from the center of the kid's mouth,
over the tongue
and down the throat until you reach the mark. They should still be able to
cry with the tube inserted.
Very important to get the tube in the right
spot. If you pour fluids into the kids lungs, it will die. Test to
make sure the tube
is in the stomach & not the lungs - listen at the end of the
tube to see if you hear breath sounds (you should not), or stick
the other end
of the tube in water to make sure it doesn't blow bubbles, which would indicate
that you are in the lungs.
Time is an important factor. You must get colostrum into the kids within
24 hours or you don't stand a very good chance of
saving the kid. After
you are sure that the tube is in the right place, attach the syringe to the end
of the tube.
The liquid should flow freely down the tube. If not, withdraw
the tube about 2" and push it back in. It may be up against
the wall of
the stomach or kinked. If the liquid flows freely down the tube, slowly
add 2-3 ounces of fluid into the syringe.
Let gravity push the liquid down
the tube, hold the syringe up above the kids head. Much easier done with
After all the feed has flowed through the tube, add about 10 cc's of water to
rinse the tube before removal, as milk or
medication that aspirates as the tube
is removed, can cause pneumonia, but a little water should be absorbed.
sure to cover the end of the tube as you are removing it. This keeps the
fluid from leaking as it is being pulled out.
Be sure to rinse all your supplies very
well with hot water & Betadine.
Needles & Syringes:
For these miniature small ruminants I never use a needle
longer than 1/2 inch.
You can order these needles
separately or by the box from many goat catalogs, as well as the
syringes you would need. I would recommend having plenty
on hand at all times for your needs.
Never use a
needle more than once!
You may re-use the syringe, and I do when I'm giving shots to a
bunch of animals at the same time.
I would also recommend
having different size syringes as well, for dosing
You should keep 6 cc & 12 cc syringes on
hand as well as the more common 3 cc syringes.
Clean bucket & Surgical soap (dish soap in a pinch) ~ just in
case you need to assist.
Lubricant in tube, that you can throw into hot soapy water to
Rubber gloves. Dishrag to wash up doe prior to assisting.
Iodine for dipping naval cord of kid. Bottles & nipples
for those of us that bottle feed.
I keep a plastic tub w/towels & soft, warm blanket near kidding
stall for newborns.
I keep the
bin under a heat lamp, and when the kids are dried off, they are
placed in the bin to stay warm
and out of the way until the doe is done kidding. Then they are
trundled off for their first feeding.
weak kids. The 1st thing kids should have in their belly is
Do not feed or tube a cold kid ~ You must get their body temperature
If you have to assist by turning or pulling a kid ~ be sure to treat
doe with penicillin shots (2 cc/1 x per day - 3 days)
Powdered kid milk
We Never use
it ~ But some may want to try, so read below.
Be very careful to mix the
appropriate amount with water for feeding, as an improper mix
can cause diarrhea.
If you continue to have a problem with
diarrhea and you've eliminated other causes look once again to
the kid milk replacer.
You might want to try using whole
cows milk instead, if the milk replacer is causing illness. You may want to cut back
on the amount of milk you are feeding, and supplement with
hay/alfalfa to compensate for the reduction of milk.
Keep a very close eye on the condition of your kids at all
times while experimenting with feed levels and different brands
are using kid milk replacer and having a problem with the health of
your kids, stop using it immediately.
If kid milk replacer
is a grayish color & the smell is off, do not ever use it to
feed your kids.
Rhododendron Poisoning ~
It's Worked for others!
1/4 cup cooking oil, 1/2
cup strong, strong, cold tea (6-8 bags removed) "English tea", 1
teaspoon ground ginger,
1 teaspoon baking soda. Mix all
together and drench goat with the complete mixture.
Kick start for weak
Karo syrup in 2 pints of
water, or give black coffee.
These should be followed up
with colostrum which every newborn requires.
3 cups whole milk, 1 beaten
egg, 1 tsp cod liver oil, 1 Tbs sugar.
Colostrum Trick :
colostrum in ice cube trays & put into a plastic freezer bag.
This way you can thaw a cube at a time
for a kid that should
need it, and keep from wasting a very valuable resource.
For CAE Prevention :
145°F (63°C) for 30 minutes for
For Johne's Prevention : 162°F
(72°C) for 15 seconds for flash
Information to be found at
Information to be found at
Boer Goat site.
Always remember that it's
better to be safe than sorry.
Call for HELP if you cannot handle a health matter with your animal.
Waiting too long can mean the difference between life and death.
Pleasant Prairie, WI
Tested Animals ~ Johne's & CAE