Paintings By Goats
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Keeping and Raising Rabbits Successfully
by Sumer Starling
To prepare for your rabbits , each rabbit will need its own cage / hutch from the age of 4 months as they will fight if kept together . Bucks need a cage at least twice the size of an adult animal . Does expected to breed will need a cage / hutch 4 times their size in order to accommodate their litter . Each cage should have 1/2" x 1" wire covering the bottom , this keeps kits safe , and allows the droppings to fall through . The bunny should have a resting place to get off the wire to avoid sore hocks. A nest box given to young does can serve as her place to get off of the wire , a hay bin , and sleeping quarters . Most does when they are a few months old will settle into not using it as a litter box , while males rarely do and will do better with a simple board placed on the cage floor . Either way the resting place should be on the opposite side of the cage from the rabbit's bathroom , as most rabbits will pick a corner to use and use it almost exclusively . A container can be placed beneath the wire cage to catch the falling droppings so that they may be used as fertilizer in the garden . Rabbit manure is a great manure for plants as it is ph neutral , and need not be aged so it can be used right on the plants and not burn them . It can also be mixed as a manure tea to give excellent growth to spring vegetables . Droppings should not be allowed to accumulate however as they will mold , and mold isn't good for a rabbit's sensitive lungs . Solid bottom pens allow the animal to stand in it's own urine , and they are a maintenance nightmare . Cages kept on the ground are a breeding ground for diseases like pasteurella . An elevated wire bottom cage is preferably roofed and has three solid walls , the hutch should be placed with the screened door faced away from wind and weather .
Each rabbit should have a food dish made of glass or metal , plastic will be chewed . It should have a large water bottle affixed to the outside of the pen . Water dishes tend to be spilled and are unsafe for kits . Bottles should be checked often to make sure they are full , as rabbits drink a lot . To be sure that they are functioning properly , touch the bead to make sure that water comes out .
Rabbits teeth continue to grow throughout its lifetime , so it must chew to keep it's teeth filed down . Lending your rabbit a stick of edible wood will keep your hutch unchewed . Note : willow is a good choice , be sure to remove all leaves .
To feed your rabbits , offer them a maintenance ration of 1/4 - 1/2 cup rabbit pellets daily (I use purina ) depending on the size of the rabbit . Offer it grass hay in it's feed bin . Check your rabbit's weight occasionally , and especially after having kits , you should be able to feel it's spine , but the spine shouldn't be standing up in a high ridge , if it is , it's underweight . If you find your rabbit is underweight , you should double your pellet ration until proper weight is achieved . Your rabbit should be kept at it's optimum weight , neither fat nor thin for its best longevity . If you intend to breed , a fat rabbit may be unable to conceive . If kept in good condition , a female should live around 5 years , a male longer still .
Pure bred or Mixed Breed ?
The best piece of advice I got on raising rabbits , was from a successful rabbitry whose propreitor told me that the mixed breed rabbits far out perform the purebred ones . I have been breeding mixed breed rabbits ever since . So whether you're raising them for fun , or pets , for meat , or for profit , a mixed breed rabbit will do as well as any pure bred
Does and bucks of most rabbits are ready to breed at around 5 months old , though males are capable , it sometimes takes them longer to become emotionally mature . A doe that came from a good mother may be more apt to be a good mother herself , nevertheless you can and should expect high losses on her first litter , up to and including the entire litter . The vigilant breeder can often save the kits if the doe is watched closely by making sure that she has pulled enough hair and no kits are on the wire .
Rabbits are what's called an induced ovulator . This means that exposure to the buck induces her to ovulate 8-12 hours after the first breeding . At this time she will need to be re bred in order to become pregnant . Trouble with breeding can occur if the doe is stubborn or inexperienced , or if the buck is inexperienced . Stubborn does can be held with the rear end slightly elevated to prevent her from tamping her rear down to avoid being bred . This can also help with an inexperienced buck which can read which way to mount the doe . A successful breeding will result in the buck falling off onto the cage floor . Does should be introduced into the buck's pen when breeding . The buck should not be placed in the doe's pen because he will become distracted as he sniffs around the pen , and the doe may become territorial . One doe should be placed into a single buck's pen and left at the most only for a few days to avoid injury as they will fight . If the couple shows a lack of interest , placing a second buck or a second doe in the pen can induce them to become interested enough to breed . Remove the additional rabbit as soon as they show interest in breeding , don't leave them unattended . Hot days should be avoided when breeding rabbits , as the male is infertile at higher temperatures .
28-31 days , typically 30 days after a successful breeding , the doe will give birth , or kindle . About a week or two before this , you will want to help the doe prepare for the birth , a quiet cage to herself and a nest box will help . Choose a nest box equal to or 1.5x the size of the doe . it needs a bottom and 4 sides which are at least 6" tall . A box can easily be built from scrap lumber . Place her nest box in the corner of her cage which she does not use as a bathroom . Place clean dry bedding or her eating hay in it . Giving them too little hay just before kindling can cause them to pull too much hair, giving them too much hay can cause them to pull too little . The doe will chop up the hay very fine , you may catch her up to 2 weeks ahead of time with it in her mouth running in and out of the nest box. The doe may or may not appear to be pregnant at that time , sometimes a more rotund appearance may be detected , sometimes not . Careful manipulation of the does stomach sometimes may allow you to feel kits which are about the size of a grape , if you feel smaller items , those are probably her manure pellets in digestive tract . Some does will also pull a little hair at this time as well . But the bulk of the doe's nest building will happen the day before or the day of the birth . Does can give birth at all times of the day or night , but most births I have observed seem to take place at around dark . Check your expectant doe several times a day to make sure no kits have been born . Be sure ahead to see to it she is familiar with your scent , and used to you opening and closing her cage , so she won't be troubled with your movements or your handling of the kits . If she is excessively nervous , you can place a little vick's vaporub on her nose to mask your smell , this is also useful if you have grafted another doe's kits onto her . For this reason , I breed my does in pairs , so I will have a recourse if one doe messes up . I pair my best mothers with new Moms so she can take the kits if she fails . If this happens remove the kits from the bad mom and give them to the good mom who has already kindled . Some new does will deliver kits on the wire , and checking often for delivery can save the life of a kit . If it is cold and unresponsive , don't assume that it is dead , but warm it in a plastic bag in warm water , or with a hairdryer . This can cause damage to the kit if they are warmed too quickly . If the kit doesn't begin moving and sqeaking fairly quickly , it is probably dead . Kits saved from cold need to be watched for signs of frostbite on the toes which may include blackened flesh , wrinkling and curling of toes . If the kit isn't thriving , it will need to be put down . Kits on the wire will freeze even in warm temperatures . By keeping a close watch on your kits and doe , you can continue to breed even through the winter .
Some does will kill and consume kits or parts of them . I give new mothers three chances , if they have not had a successful batch of kits and cared for them properly by the third litter , I take them out of my breeding program . Kits that are born on the wire , once warmed can be placed in the nest box . Be sure she has pulled hair , hair acts as insulation in the nest box . If she hasn't pulled hair you can carefully pull some yourself from her tummy . The hair doesn't pull the same when you pull it as it does when she pulls it . It may come out in patches , leaving large bald spots if you aren't careful . (if the doe pulled hair early on in nest building before her due date , I steal the hair and put it in a ziploc bag , or if an experienced doe has pulled too much hair , i take some of it and preserve it in case of emergency . ) place the hair in the back of the nest box , and kits inside it . Check them later to see if they have been fed and are warm and active . Fat tummies and milk you can see through their translucent skin will tell the tale for at least the first few days . Don't worry if you don't see the doe in the nest box feeding them , she only feeds them a couple times a day , you probably won't catch her at it .
Count the kits a couple times a day to be sure none have crawled away in the nest box or hung on when mom jumped out crawling onto the wire or behind the nest box . Check them also to make sure the kits are not wet as they may urinate at the presence of the mother , or she may wet on them on purpose or on accident sometimes in the presence of a predator . If they are wet , dry them with a hairdryer , then remove the wet bedding and place them back in the nest . If the doe has pulled a great deal of hair more than she needed , I sometimes give it back to her at this time so she has dry nesting material again. If kits are sluggish unfed , scattered , or just not thriving and you think they're not being cared for , you can pull them from the doe and foster them on another mother with kits of the same age . You can also bring them into the house , place them in a box or dresser drawer , a heating pad without a safety shut off feature can be used to keep them warm , but I've had as good or better success at placing a rabbit hide fur side up in the box , place the kits on top , then place a second pelt fur side down over the kits as a cover , this way kits don't tend to over heat or grow cold having crawled away from the pad , and there is no fire risk .
In feeding the kits I have successfully reared them on an eyedropper filled with goats milk or canned milk , I do not recommend milk replacer because it can cause digestive upset. Best method however I have found is to take them twice a day to the bad mother , force her to lie on her side while they nurse , remove them when they are well satiated . Whether you are feeding them or she is , for the first couple of weeks , they need to be gently stimulated on their backsides to get them to urinate and defecate . The mother would potty them when she fed them , keeping the nest clean . Failure to do so will result in a stopped up kit that will not live . You can use a wet paper towel or a finger and gently wipe at the rear until it potties .
During lactation the doe should be fed a double ration of pellets , and her water bottle should be checked often as she will drink more water to keep up with her kit's demands for milk. If the kits have been taken from her due to negligence and her milk is no longer required , reduce or eliminate the pellet ration and replace with grass hay for a few days , check for signs that she is not drying up properly , her mammary glands being swollen or hot . Give cold compresses if necessary . If she is feeding her kits properly , continue her double rations until the kits are weaned .
Kits eyes will open at 10 days , and they will be able to hear just before this . At 2 weeks they will be running around the box , and you will have to watch for escapes , put them back in if they fall out , because they need each other for warmth . At 3 weeks they should be getting in and out of the box by themselves . Add more pellets to the doe's bowl to accommodate the nibbling kits . At this point the nest box will probably have to be changed out entirely , a little hay and some hair kept aside can be put back in the nest area to show the kits where to sleep . At 4 weeks , kits should be eating and using the water bottle , be sure they are doing both before pulling the kits from mom . I wean at 4 weeks , as keeping them longer with the doe is harder on her , as they will now nurse at will . To wean them and avoid the doe's milk not drying up correctly , I take all but 2 kits on their 4 week birthday , the next day I take one more , and the next day the last kit . At the same time reducing her pellet ration to normal . This causes her to drop milk production . Keep an eye on the doe for a few days to see to it she isn't too engorged or feverish , if she is , return 1 kit for a few hours to relieve the pressure ,or do cold compresses , the former being most effective . Keep and eye on the kits as well for the first few days , make sure the water level in the water bottle is dropping , and be sure they are all eating and making normal droppings . Kits should be fed as much pellets as they can eat for 5 months to gain proper growth . Don't give any treats for 5 months to avoid upset tummies , this includes grass hay . To recover the doe to proper body condition after her milk has dried off , check her weight , you should be able to feel her spine but it should not be standing up in a ridge , double her food if she is underweight until she returns to normal weight . Do not rebreed her until the kits have been weaned for at least 2 weeks . I have found that to avoid over crowding and to keep kits always in the grow out pen , you can breed a second set of does at the weaning date of the first set of kits , then you will always have kits available that are under 3 months of age.
Mini Pig Care
by Sumer Starling copyright 2021
Feeding your Pig
Pigs can eat nearly anything humans can eat , they all have their own preferences , and if a vegetable is refused raw , it will often be eaten cooked. Exceptions to what vegetables pigs can have raw include raw potatoes , they need to be cooked just as we would cook them for ourselves.
A pig's diet should be limited in salt and meat however , as too much meat can lead to bad behavior . Salt content needs to be limited because pigs have problems with salt and can get salt poisoning, especially when water is not readily available to the pig , and only made available after the pig has eaten, this can lead to salt poisoning , which if it is bad enough , can cause seizures and death.
Pigs should be fed a mixture of produce and leftovers , and feed designed for pigs. Mini pig feed, which is made specifically for mini pigs is low protein to help limit the pig's growth potential . We feed our pigs a 16% protein pelletized pig grower designed for standard pigs , so that the pig will get all of the protein it needs to grow normally . This is a personal choice in feeding your mini pigs. Regardless of what you feed your pig , we recommend to feed by weight , feeding your pig 3-7% of its body weight daily , depending on age , and condition . We feed 2 times a day , pig grain at one feeding , and produce at the other. Pelletized feed can be fed dry , but we soak ours in order to keep pigs from choking , and to enable us to feed milk , a favorite with pigs , without being spilled. We soak the feed at a rate of 4lbs feed per 3/4 or 1 gallon of milk to make a nice gruel . You can also soak your pig feed with juice from canned goods , broth , etc. I count the weight of the juice or milk in the 3-7% of the pig's body weight . Some pig owners free feed pigs , this can lead to excess waste in the pig's pen , of both food and manure , and also excessive growth of the pig , and excessive fat on the pig , as pigs will consume far more than their body needs. When feeding produce , or leftovers , be sure it has not spoiled , as pigs are vulnerable as we are to food poisoning , and you wouldn't want your pig to be sick. Pigs also very much enjoy and benefit from having some grass hay in their diet.
Water dishes should be spill proof , as pigs love to dump water dishes over . We recommend where possible not a dish but a water nipple that the pig can bite down on to gain needed water. This can be attached to a water line or inserted in a 5 gallon bucket. Water should be available to pigs at all times if possible to avoid salt poisoning , which is caused by a lack of water , and then a sudden introduction of it particularly after eating food.
Fencing and Yard
Pigs can be tough on fencing . We recommend pig's fencing be made of chain link pulled tight and well secured so that the pig won't slide under the fence , which is how they usually escape . Other good fencing includes security style panels and hog panels . We have also used recycled lumber 2x4 or 2x8 spaced close together with some success. If pig security is paramount and escape would be disastrous , a line of hot fence a few inches from the bottom of the fence may be a good idea though the fencing should be checked daily to see to it that the pigs have not dug a hole and tossed dirt onto it shorting it out. The pigs should have at least a small yard , bigger if you can make it bigger, preferably with some shade and a spot to make a wallow , as pigs have no sweat glands and in 80 degree weather can expire , the mud being useful to cool them . Some people use kiddie pools also or wet the pig with a hose to cool off.
Pigs can be kept in the house and potty trained to a litter box or to or to go to the door , they can also be housed in an outbuilding with an attached yard. We recommend a 4 sided structure with a door to lock pigs in at night to keep them safe from predators . Even the neighbor's dog can be a threat to your pig. You need a structure large enough for the pig to move around even on a wet day. Some pigs don't mind to be wet , others do, but all pigs are susceptible to pneumonia , and so proper housing is preferred .
Pigs love to play in water and dump water dishes , they are curious and mischievous , they chew on things , particularly on wood , particularly in the winter. Pigs like to root and dig , and can dig up substantial areas (this bad habit can be used for good by employing them in garden tilling.) Pigs don't have what is called Bite inhibition , something every other species has , it means that they don't know what is to eat and what isn't , so sometimes they will bite as a puppy does to see if the object is edible. so watch your fingers !! Also un spayed females can be moody around the time of their season .
Pigs and other Animals
Pigs should not be kept with prey animals ,as they are a predator , and will take advantage of a situation. If you keep them with chickens or small ruminants ,they may eat them. Pigs can be trained to get along with dogs , but probably should not be left alone with them , as pigs are both predator and prey , as an omnivore , they may bite the dog , or the dog , recognizing a prey animal , may bite the pig.
Pigs have some behavior that are similar to dogs , but they are not dogs , and you will love your pig much more if you realize it is not a dog , and won't expect it to behave as one. Many people get pigs as a pet and give them up because they have misunderstood the animal. Pigs bark softly when they are alarmed they wag their tail when they are happy, they hold their tail erect when they are upset , they clack their teeth when they are angry or upset , and raise the hair on their back when they are defensive. They have many other snorts and squeaks that mean many different things.
A Few Facts About Pigs
Healthy mini pigs should be 50-200 lbs adult size , any smaller and they are unhealthy or starved , with few exceptions . They need their hooves trimmed periodically , pigs don't like their hooves trimmed . One method is to hypnotize your pig with a method called forking . This takes advantage of a natural behavior of pigs , massaging one another with their noses behind the shoulder toward the stomach , this can eventually cause the pig to fall over and fall into a trance like state of relaxation and when they are like this , it's a good time to work on hooves . the term forking is because you can use a fork to just lightly tap your pig , (not hurting it ) but you can also just use your hand . Pigs are susceptible to internal and external parasites , and should be treated a couple times a year at least with ivermectin wormer to combat this , ivermectin horse paste can be used hidden in a treat that they like , but often they can smell it and don't like it , and it is not as effective as ivermectin injectable , both of these are dosed by your pig's weight.
for external parasites , they should be treated every 10-14 days for 3 treatments , for internal parasites 2 treatments is usually enough . Pigs can be vaccinated for certain pig diseases , speak to your local vet that 4-h kids use / farm vet for options . Mini Pigs live an average of of 15-20 years .Pigs can be taught tricks like a dog and trained to walk on a harness . Most things you want to teach your pig you should teach it before it is 6 months old . Pigs should be started in their new home in a small area and they will acclimate to humans better. Pigs will establish a bathroom in one corner of the pen , as far from their food and rest spot as they can , only if the pen's shape and size are not adequate will they use the bathroom where they sleep and eat, for this reason , and elongated pen works best. The bathroom can be established by you by seeding the area with the pig's manure and keeping it wet . You should learn to dominate your pig , by at once pushing it behind it's ear when you enter into the pen . This is how they dominate each other . Pigs choke easily , and they should be fed soaked food , food in smaller pieces , and have water available to clear a choke.
A pig that is a mother , or has had babies is called a sow , an unbred female who has never had piglets is called a gilt . An un neutered male is called a boar , boars grow larger tusks than the neutered males and females , tusks are used for fighting other boars , they can be trimmed every couple of years if desired . Neutered males are called barrows , unspayed females can be testy during their cycle every 21 days. Females can be spayed , but anesthesia does not always work out for pigs .
So You Bought a Pig From Us
We sell mini pigs that have been socialized , though pigs are naturally skiddish and some may not be as friendly as others , personalities vary greatly . Some will need more one on one time than others that they will have to get in their new home. Our mini pigs are dewormed 2 times as long as the pig was 6 weeks old at time of purchase . The parents were on site to be viewed , our Mother pigs are knee high , averaging 80 lbs , Our one boar is same height and weight as the females , our other boar (who is full bred kune kune ) is larger , at around 100-120 and a few inches taller than the other adults. We say this so that there will be no surprises as to how large our piglets may become in adulthood so our buyers will be prepared and adjust things like pen and housing size accordingly . Our piglets are all either 1/4 , 5/8 , or 7/8 kune kune , Kune Kune is a pasture pig of New Zealand origins with a larger size but a nice personality . Also in their ancestry is Potbelly and Juliana . Potbellies are known for their Pot Belly and swayed back . If your pig is a male , your pig has been neutered at 5-7 days of age unless otherwise specified . Females are not spayed . We always tell all of our pig buyers we will gladly assist you if you have any questions or concerns at any time in the future . And we will take the pig back upon request if you want to return it , but we will not give a refund .
by Sumer Starling copyright 2021
Goats are a dual purpose animal , Many people use them for milk and or meat. If you have a fiber goat like an angora they are tri purpose . We use our goats for milk and sell off kids for pets in order to reimburse for their mother's feed through the year . As far as breed that is up to preference . Meat breeds like Boers and Kikos typically are not used for milk , I've heard people say they shouldn't be ,but I have also heard other people say they do milk them , so that is up to you .
We encourage people to value mixed breeds as well , as your best milk goat may be a mixed breed brush goat somewhere grazing on a hillside . Our best goat was a former brush goat , Lucy was a mixed breed doe , that was at least part nubian , she was our herd queen and best milker , as she milks through . Most goats have to be bred and have a kid yearly . The goal is then to get them to milk for 10 months . A goat that milks through can milk for years , (7 in the case of our old girl) without being re bred after the kid is weaned. Lucy was our first goat, we got into milk goats because we had read a scripture in proverbs that said the lambs are for your clothing , and the goats are the price of the field , and thou shalt have goats milk enough for thy food , for the food of thy household , and for the maintenance for thy maidens . Proverbs 27:26-27
Milk is a whole food , and if you had milk and potatoes , you could live the rest of your life and not be deficient in anything , or so I've heard . I would have to at least add bacon and a little onions to have potato soup if I was going to live on it for the rest of my life . Getting goats turned out to be pretty convenient for me because I am one of the many people who are lactose intolerant , and goat's milk can be drank by people who are lactose intolerant because the milk is closer to human milk than cow , and the fat globules are smaller and more digestible. Most of the world drinks goat's milk and eats goat meat as opposed to cow milk or eating beef . Goat's milk contains less bacteria than cow , and if handled correctly (cooled quickly after milking , and having the buck far enough away , not keeping the milk too long ) it tastes no different than cow milk . If it tastes "goaty" you've done something wrong in its handling . Goat's milk is naturally homogenized , the fat globules are already small so the cream doesn't rise to the top like unhomogenized cow milk does. There is some evidence that mechanically homogenized cow milk can be bad for your health and the chemical produced during the process can break holes in your arteries . Goat's milk has been prescribed for years for health issues including ulcers and insomnia . Goat's milk soap is sworn by to to produce "the best complexion " boasts many an elderly lady, and those who suffer from skin issues can often benefit from goat's milk soap I tout our handmade goats milk soap as being better for your skin because it is a soap that adds oils to your skin , where soap from the supermarket is actually detergent rather than soap and removes oils from the skin .
Our preference of milk goat as far as standards are concerned is a nubian for the high butter fat content , but in general we prefer miniature nubians or kinders for the high butter fat and the smaller more handleable size. Mini Nubians are a cross between a Nigerian Dwarf buck and a standard Nubian doe . Sometimes the roman nose and floppy ears come through great , other times you get slightly floppy "puppy ears" or long ears that stick straight out "airplane ears" either way , they milk well and sell fine. A little girl milks 2/3 of what a big girl does on average , and that 1/2 the feed and taking up 1/2 the space . Mini Nubians for the most part retain the long legs , slender "starved" appearance that is the classic body type of the standard Nubian . Kinders are a Nubian / African Pygmy crosses , and were bred for being a good miniature meat goat having a better meat to bone ratio than other goats . They also make great milk goats , and they have a big barrel like pygmy belly , the stick out "airplane" ears , and short little legs. They also inherit a good butter fat in the milk from both sides .
We like our "big girls" but love our little girls , because they are more efficient for feed and space as well as handlability. If a "little girl" doesn't want to do something , or go somewhere , you can pick her up and make her go if you have to . Ours are 30- 60 lbs . If a " big girl " doesn't wanna , at 80-120 lbs , you can't make her as easily , nor can you pick her up to put her anywhere . And if a little girl steps on your toe accidentally , you feel it , but a big girl , you're hurting
After having chosen your goat , you should now know how to handle it . Goats can be led on a collar and leash like a dog , there are those who walk them for exercise and adventure . Goats are said to be good pack animals , packing 25% of their own body weight , while your dog can comfortably pack 10% . Goats can also pull 4 times their weight . In the old days , little kids would go around with their cart goats , usually a wethered goat harnessed up to a cart , just like the adults had a horse and carriage . So a harness can be used on them , they make goat halters as well , but be sure not to leave it on them , as unfortunate accidents an occur, as I learned the hard way . Collars left on can have unfortunate results as well. If any of the goats have scurs or horns , I've seen my herd queen pick up subordinate goats by the collar and choke them until I ran to stop her. And when you are leading them by the collar , they can pass out if they pull too hard , and goats are pretty good at pulling when they are motivated. One way I sometimes handle a goat , a nubian or mini nubian in particular is by their ear. Use it as a handle or a leash , holding it gently The goat will only pull so hard against its ear, in Africa this is the method of choice to hold and lead a long eared goat . Be careful if you ever tie out your goat on a collar and lead , as it can as it can lead to tangling , and many is the goat that has strangled to death out on a lead line Only tie them out with caution , being sure there is nothing to tangle on , and supervise them while they are tied to avoid sad endings.
If your goat ever gets loose , try to lure it instead of chasing , a goat accustomed to receiving grain responds well to the sound of grain being shaken in a bucket or cup , they will often come close enough to be caught , or return willingly to the barn for the special treat . Most people that own goats develop a certain call that they use when you are trying to get the goats to come into the barn , ours is "Come on Girls !" in a high , loud tone , often accompanied by clapping . If you chase the goat it becomes the prey and you the predator in its mind . You will only provoke a flight response . Remember that your goat can probably run faster than you can. If a chase is unavoidable , try to direct the goat back toward the herd , the goat is a herd animal , and the herd means safety . It will feel more comfortable with others of its own kind . You can also put another goat on a leash and let it eat the grain that you brought , your escaped goat will soon join it .
Feeding Your Goat
Most people feed twice a day . Allow the goat to see you feeding it , so it will understand that you are to be trusted , and that you are its shepherd , the fastest way into a goats heart is through its stomach . We always recommend as general feeding practice to feed a good grass hay , that is the base and the biggest part of your goat's diet .Feed 1-4 lbs of hay per day per adult goat , depending on weight and condition , and then split that between 2 feedings . You don't have to get the most expensive hay , if you are on local hay , that's ok, but you'll need to supplement . The grass hay need not be weed free, but try to take note of the weeds that are in it , become an amateur botanist , and know local plant life , having a good region specific plant identification book is useful . Sometimes it an be a challenge identifying every weed , because in hay , they will be dried up and shriveled , and may be absent of flowers , leaves , or some other features . We had a small weed in some hay from the feed store that ended up being very dangerous for our goats , do not assume that feed store hay is safe , do your research as an amateur botanist . Learn what is poisonous and what isn't , If you find a weed in your hay , try to identify it before feeding . Don't worry yourself to death , just do your best . Often local hay men are feeding their own livestock and if they care about their animals , or their wallet , or your animals as their customer , they will be careful of what they allow to grow in their hay fields . But be aware , not all hay men are created equal . By and large goats are pretty tolerant of toxins , brush goats are often used to clear land before cattle are brought in , as they have a higher threshold for toxic weeds that may harm cattle , but try not to take chances , never purposely feed something you know is toxic . Some toxins or irritants are neutralized by drying , as in the haying process . Others are concentrated . Still other toxins are accumulative , and your goat may seem fine for a very long time , then suddenly reach a danger threshold when it builds up . A good grass hay will have some green in it , and not be all yellow . If it's yellow , then it has nearly the same nutrative value as straw , which is good for little . Get a grass hay that's seed heads are not full blown , an old dairy farmer I know told me , as the grass produces a seed head , all of the nutrients move up the stem to the seed , and there is nothing left but a dead yellow husk , describing what the bible calls the field being white unto harvest" If your hay is all yellow , it means your hay man cut his hay too late in the season . You may ask , can't I just put my goat out to graze or on brush and won't that be enough nutrition for it ? And the answer is no , goats need more than grass or brush . Think of when you mow your lawn , grass is mostly water . Mown grass shavings shrivel up to nothing when it is dry . A goat or other animal , especially in wet climates can starveto death on knee high grass . When we feed hay , we are giving larger quantities of dry material with a concentration of nutrition in it . There is nothing wrong with grazing or browsing your goat in addition to daily feedings of hay . Goats very much appreciate the fresh feed , but they need to be able to take what they need of grass hay as well. If you have a green pasture for your goat , try to limit how much really wet grass it consumes , as this can cause frothy bloat . Try feeding your goat hay before letting it out to graze , as this will limit the probability of bloat . Daily before letting your goat out on graze , check for any poisonous plants or mushrooms that may harm your goat.
When considering alfalfa hay for your goats , which is a good idea to keep a proper nutritional balance , be careful how much you give to wethers and bucks , as it can cause urinary calculi (stones) but it is necessary to keep the proper balance between calcium and phosphorous at a rate of 2:1 , however for bucks and wethers make sure alfalfa is no more than 25% of the diet , usually urinary calculi is more from imbalance than from the actual alfalfa itself , but be cautious . When considering to feed alfalfa to lactating does , as a dairyman of 60 years advised me , be sure it is first or third cut , because second cut does not have enough nutrition , and fourth or fifth is too rich in alfalfa leaves and will give them diarrhea . First cut is traditionally considered the premium cut for dairy animals , as it has been growing since last fall , and the longer something has been growing , the more it is packed with nutrition . It may however be stemmy , which the goats may object to . If you can't find a good cut or your feed store can't tell you what cut they have , purchase alfalfa pellets for horses , as a general rule , anything of fodder or medication that says horses on the label , is ok for goats . Alfalfa pellets also give you and insured protein percentage , whereas alfalfa hay can be widely variable . But the alfalfa pellets are a little large , and goats tend to choke on them , so soak them in water before feeding to soften them , soak them at least a half an hour . I pick up the pellets and make sure they easily break in half in my hand . A good way to avoid the nutritive pregnancy disorder pregnancy toxemia / ketosis is to feed wet alfalfa pellets , and top dress molasses . Molasses being fed is both the preventative and the cure for pregnancy toxemia / ketosis .
Grain is the other key feed requirement for goats. Do not feed whole feed grains , dried whole corn can damage the stomach . Whole grains of other kinds pass straight through the goat and are of little benefit to it some people feed rolled grains to combat this . Grain needs to be fed sparingly to bucks and wethers , as it too can cause urinary calculi. For boys , if you plan to feed it , then we use one that already has ammonium sulfate in it , or add ammonium sulfate to their water , this will prevent the stones forming . Some people also find apple cider vinegar useful for this , but we choose to minimize grain , and to use one with ammonium sulfate in it , we use purina medicated goat grower . Don't discount the necessity of grain in your buck / wether's diet . If the quality of the grass hay has something to be desired , and particularly in breeding season , he will need the extra calories , just take care in how much you give to him . Grain is essential to a lactating doe , and a doe preparing to kid. She should be fed a maintenance ration for the last several weeks before she kids to give her and the kid enough to support them . A standard doe should be given a maximum of 1lb a day and a miniature should be given a maximum of 1/2 lb , this should be split between two feedings . You don't want her to get too fat while pregnant , or for the kid to grow too large to be safely birthed , but you do want to adequately support her . After kidding and to support her milk production , we give a standard doe between 2-3 lbs of grain split between two feedings , and a miniature maxing out at 2 lbs per day . The rule of thumb for goats in milk is 1 lb maintenance , and 1lbs of grain additional for every 2-3 lbs of milk . But you can over feed grain , even to a lactating doe . So we follow a lower regimen to prevent acidosis and diarrhea . If they do get diarrhea , back off of the grain until their stool returns to normal . Immediately after a doe kids , feed her minimal amounts for several days so her system can recover . Grain in a goat slows down the system and suppresses good bacteria in the gut , while allowing bad bacteria like e-coli to grow . This is why our commercial beef is so bad about carrying e-coli . They feed mass quantities of grain to the cattle in feed lots , which is unnatural for their system . Both cattle and goats are ruminants , ( they have multiple stomachs) The first stomach is called the rumen , the rumen stomach needs plenty of roughage (hay and browse) to continue to function properly . Goats chew the cud , they instinctively eat quickly in the field or at the feeder , possibly because of fear of predators , and they don't chew their food well . Later when they are relaxed , and only when they are comfortable or unafraid , they will bring back up their rumen / cud and re chew it . This is the point at which they wil expel any foreign objects they should not have eaten . Having re chewed their food , they swallow it back down , eventually the food moves on to the other stomachs . The rumen stomach needs to keep the proper balance of good bacteria if the animal is to digest. All animals and humans have an inability to digest plant matter , they need bacteria to do it for them . Grain changes chemical environment in the rumen stomach , and can kill good and beneficial bacteria while allowing bad bacteria to flourish . Yogurt has historically been given to the flock by wise shepherds in order to keep good bacteria going in the gut . A lactating doe needs grain to keep producing milk for her kid and for you if you're milking . Feeding a 16 % protein ration pre prepared for goats that are in milk is a good idea . We use purina dairy goat . Stay away from anti cocci medicated feeds for milking does , these are grower feeds typically , also 16% but medicated , as the milk may be unsafe for you to drink . No harm to the goat , but dangerous for you . If a doe is having a tough time maintaining a healthy weight , while feeding the kid or after the kid is weaned , or any time of the year when she drops condition , I have found Wet COB (COB = corn , oats and barley with molasses) will put on weight pretty effectively , we feed up to 50% wet COB when needed , but be careful feeding too much because the sugar content can throw off balance in the rumen stomach . Check your goat's weight periodically , feel the spine up by the shoulder , if it stands up in a high ridge , the goat is too thin , and you will need to go up on grain to compensate . Whatever you decide to feed your goat , feed it as well as you can , the eye of the master fattens the cattle . Feed in feeders and not on the ground . Multiple feeding stations should be offered in order to avoid too much fighting . Do not use hay bags , goats are notorious for getting tangled in them . We don't free feed , to avoid excessive waste , and we feed twice a day fresh hay at the same times , because goats like predictability and routine feeding twice in smaller amounts minimizes waste , while feeding once in a larger amount will often result in the goat pulling it out on the floor and stomping it. Adjust to feed more in winter , as the animal will keep warmer when it has more hay to digest . Heavier stemmed hay is good to feed in cold weather as it takes longer to digest and warms the animal . If your goat is pulling the hay from the feeders and trampling it instead of eating it , back off of the amount of hay until it eats most of what its given . If it finishes too quickly , or is underweight , feed more . Don't depend on the goat's good sense to tell you when it's hungry , goats will over eat , and they never know when they have had enough . Over eating can lead to obesity , and overeating (typically on grain ) can cause over eaters disease , which is the flourishing of bad bacteria in the gut . Over eating can also lead to bloat . Feed the goat the best you can afford to , as my old dairy farmer friend said , you will get out what you put in . Don't feed them on the cheapest thing you can find , and ignore nutrition , and expect the animal to produce . The number one reason we refuse a person who wants to buy a goat from us , is because they don't want to feed it , they want to put it in a field , put nothing into it , and expect it to thrive . Put in what you expect to get out . If you want a quality product for your homestead , put something into it .
Kids start eating hay at just a couple days old , mostly playing with it , but they should be exposed to it from the start . They can be fed grain from 2 weeks old upward . When fed by hand , grain helps them tame down if they are skiddish . I recommend a 16% medicated grower grain , we use purina goat grower medicated. Again , watch how much grain you give them . Kids on grain seem to grow better and stay healthier , maintaining a proper weight more easily and making a smoother transition from milk .
To have a balanced diet , goats should have a loose goat mineral . Mineral blocks do not work for goats , their tongue is not rough enough , and blocks can damage and break their teeth . There are lots of good brands , just make sure its labeled for goats , because only goat minerals will have a high enough percentage of copper .
Additional Feed Information
Try not to change feeds quickly , always leave yourself some of your old feed or hay to mix with the new to make transitions easier , Too much of anything new, whatever it may be at one time , can make your goat sick , the best advice is , everything in moderation . Also , avoid if at all possible changing feeds at all during pregnancy and right after kidding , as this can trigger pregnancy toxemia / ketosis . Now a few words about mold ... be very careful about feeding moldy hay , and never ever feed moldy grain. Moldy hay can cause abortions , stomach issues and possibly death . However , as my dairy friend said , sometimes in a wet climate you may not have much choice . But don't MAKE them eat it , have options available .
A good practice , is to walk the fence line of your enclosure often to be sure it is still secure . Goats look for weak or vulnerable points in fencing through which to escape . The old adage being , toss a bucket of water at your fence , if the water goes through so will the goat . So while this of course is going a little far , goats do love to escape . Though in my experience a happy goat , a well fed goat , doesn't feel the need to. Good preventative of escape is a good fence . If a 5 year old child can crush your fence by standing and climbing on it , so will the goat . The only fencing I am prepared to recommend , is recycled board fencing , boards placed 4" apart , or chain link , with plenty of posts and pulled tight to them . If you have a large pasture , you may have no choice but to use something like woven wire due to cost , but be aware , that they may break it , bend it , stuff their head through the holes and get stuck (especially if they have horns ) and small kids may fit through the bottom easily and escape . Watch for places your goat can slip under the fence . As this is how goats generally escape .
Latches and Gates
Gates should swing inward to avoid the goats pushing on them and bowing them out . Gates should be secured with a latch that goats with prehensile lips can't figure out how to work . This can mean securing them with a carbiener or a snap clip , as goats can learn to work most easy latches .
Goats need proper housing , a four sided structure , a door where they can be closed in at night . The house should be attached at least to a small yard where they can have free access in and out during the day . The structure needs to be large enough that the goats can comfortably move around in it during rainy days because goats hate the rain . The structure needs to be dry inside as goats can easily get pneumonia , a wet goat is a dead goat . The shelter should be well ventilated but not drafty . There are many types of flooring you can choose from inside the barn . We chose a board flooring as I had already had tried a dirt floor and found it too difficult to maintain a healthy environment . We clean the inside of the barn and the yard daily , using either a 7"plastic shrub rake or a scraper with a shovel to scoop . You don't want your goats eating in their own manure , as it encourages parasites . Goats as a rule don't like to eat off of the ground , a God given gift that allows them to stay healthier . All manure cleaned up goes directly to the garden plot in fall and winter . We personally do not use bedding on the floor , as we've found the goats try to eat it , and it is much easier to clean without it . If you use bedding , we recommend using grass hay , the same hay they are being fed . If straw is used , they will eat it , and it has little nutrative value . Do not use wood chips , as the goats may eat them , and this could lead to digestive problems . Face your structure doors away from prevailing winds and blowing rain when possible . Where we live most storms come from the west or the south , so we try to face doors to the east or the north to avoid the pen becoming over wet .
Herd Dynamics and Breeding
Every goat herd has a leader , a "herd queen " If males are present , around half of the time , they will be dominant even over the dominant female . The female with the most kids seems to be more often followed as the leader , though not necessarily dominant her kids follow her , and goats tend to follow one another ,so if most of the goats are following one particular goat ,then others tend to follow the herd . Herd dominance can follow these lines as well , and herd rank does seem to involve having kids .If a doe does not kid , she seems to lose rank in the herd . Every fall during breeding season , there is a struggle in the herd for supremacy , to re-stablish dominance and for some to advance in the order of things , which gives the doe and her new kids when they're born , a better position in the herd . Herd dominance is continually being reasserted . The queen enforces the rules , namely where everyone feeds , ie , not in her feeder , and her feeder , is whichever feeder she chooses to feed at . She charges in , and most of the time , the goats scatter to a different feeder , or in some cases a different room entirely . As our barn has multiple rooms , so that a room can be closed off when needed for privacy of birthing and mother kid bonding. Herd rank isnt necessarily ruled by size of the goat . The largest goat isn't always in charge. I have seen a 30 lb knee high buck back down a 120 lb waist high wether , and make him cry and rn because he was being mean to him , kicking him ot of feeders etc. Our smallest milk doe , is dominant over all but the top 3 goats . You can tell heirarchy when you are feeding and particularly feeding grain . We feed grain individually , and let each doe out to have her turn , even when not in milk . Everything you do for yor goats , like milking , and grain reception , should be done according to herd rank . Watch herd dynamics for changes. If a goat is crowding the door , demanding to be let out ahead of certain others , butting them when they approach , let her go ahead of the goats she is beating back , as this signifies herd rank . In our herd , we had 2 herd queens , the retired herd queen retired after her last kidding season , though she continued to milk for years . She had the respect of queenship , but she didn't have all of the work . The secondary herd queen , was beating all of the others back , and Lucy was relaxing in her retirement . When the secondary herd queen had a tough kidding season , involving triplets , the original herd queen took it back , because she was unable to do her job. Our herd queen was the oldest member of our herd , though the herd queen isn't always the oldest or the biggest or the strongest , just the spunkiest . Goats are a herd animal and are more at their ease and comfortable in a herd . We learned when we got our nigerian buck , and placed him in his pen , that he would cry and cry , so we put a friend in there for him . Every buck needs either another buck or a wether for a friend to avoid the pain of a life separated from the herd . After we added a second goat to the pen , the 2 goats cried together , though they did cry less. Then , when we added a third goat , they stopped crying and felt satisfied . So we adopted a saying , two's company , three's a herd . As we tell people , we will sell you a goat , just one , (some people will sell goats only in pairs because they are a herd animal ) But we sell in singles with the caution that they will be lonely and need a lot of attention . Most people end up changing their mind after buying a single and find it is in fact necessary to come back and buy their goat a friend . A goat can make a good companion for lots of different kinds of animals , horses in particular , goats have often been kept with horses . The saying got your goat , comes from the fat that race horses , sometimes had a goat companion that travelled with them , and if you wanted to mess up the horse for a race , you would steal the race horse's goat friend . While you can keep mixed herds , the goat's best companion is another goat . They speak the same language , are encouraged to eat better , and certainly thrive when they are in herds , even if it is a mini herd . The herd queen seems to keep the balance , the herd seems to draw comfort from the presence of authority . I once watched the herd spook and run in a panicked stampede away from their grazing area and toward the barn . And the herd queen stopped the senseless panic . She turned the herd by stopping right in the middle of the stampede and challenged the second in rank , rearing up on hind legs , and offering to butt heads . The whole herd of panicked does stopped to watch the queens fight .
Goats can get into pretty good scuffles , especially around breeding season ,(sept-may ) they butt heads together , and they end up with little bald spots on top of their heads like a friar , sometimes even a little bloody spot . When its the daughters of the head queens , we call these the princess wars. Dominant goat's offspring are aware of their mother's rank , and they are trying to battle it out , in this case a competition to see who the real princess is .Most goat tiffs need no intervention and they will work it out themselves , a squirt gun can be held handy as my goat mentor told me , to break up any real disagreement . Herd queens and dominant goats , also see to form defensive lines when predators are present . Once we had the opportunity to observe this for ourselves ,as there was a 180 lb bear stalking the goats from an elevated root ball of a fallen tree , and staring into the goat pen . The top ranking females did not call for a retreat into the barn . They see to be aware that they can be trapped inside , they don't go in when there is a threat but stay out . The lead does formed a front line of defense standing shoulder to shoulder . Lower ranking does and kids stayed behind them . They stood and sneezed , which is their alarm call , and kept their eyes on the bear . If you listen to your herd , they will often warn the presence of danger , watching the perceived threat with ears pricked forward , tails up (a sign of dominance) hackles sometimes raised , just as with one another in a dominance fight . They will sneeze , blowing a pretty loud blast out of their nostrils , and stamp their feet . Had we not been watching and listening to the signs , the bear may have had the opportunity to do much more than he did. Goats have no natural defense against predators even if horns are left intact . You are their defense , and as their shepherd , there wellbeing is your top priority .
For seasonal breeders , breeding season begins in september and ends in may ,though it can be shorter . A seasonal goats like some pygmies and nigerian dwarf goats can breed all year round . Prime breeding season is october - november , the bucks are smelliest at this point As with deer and elk , this is called the rut . The does have their heaviest heat cycles at this time . A few weeks prior to breeding , get your buck built up on grain , topping out at 1 lb per day for a standard buck , 1/3 to half of that for miniatures . And start "flushing " the doe , giving her a full maintenance ration , 1 lb for standards , 1/2 lb for miniatures , this will increase fertility for both sexes . Each doe comes into her heat cycle every 21 days , and remains in heat for about 2 days . Heat can be detected by clear liquid dripping from her swollen and pink vulva , persistent wagging of the tail , and sometimes vocalizing . If she has a buck nearby , she may go stand at the fence and wag her tail , for some reason feeling that he is attractive as he pees on his face and head . The gland on the top of his head produces a sort of a really smelly oil which is difficult to remove from skin and clothing . Salsa works to remove it somewhat ,(haha ask me how I know )But she just adores him If a buck is unavailable , or if you mean to use buck service (paying a buck owner to bring your in season doe to him for a fee) then you might obtain what is known as a buck rag from them , to help you percieve seasons . A buck rag is a piece of cloth rubbed on the buck to get his scent , especially up by his head . A doe who is in season will be interested , one that is not in season will be offended . Keep your buck rag in a ziploc or in a jar to keep his scent fresh . This is not fail proof . However nothing really replaces having a buck on hand for breeding season . It's much less guess work and much less hassle ,as you don't have to run the doe to him every time you think she may be receptive only to find she isn't . The other option being to leave her with the buck for a cycle or two , the drawback being you have no idea when kids are due . We have tried it both ways and far prefer it to keep our own buck . This way we have easy access to him , and by watching our does closely , we usually know when they are in season . Some goats on rainy days won't go out to see the buck because goats hate the rain . You can also keep a teaser buck in your doe herd to try to assist with this . That would be a wether (a fixed male) who will often have courtship behavior toward in season does even though he is fixed . By watching our does closely and knowing when they are in season , we only put them in with the buck for breeding , that way we know 145-155 days later , we will have a kid , and it takes the guess work out of it . We breed a doe for the first time at 8 months old , that way when they kid the following spring , they will typically only have one kid their first time as a mother. If you wait until their second year , they will usually have two . Young does often have silent heat cycles and don't give good signs of being in season . Sometimes even when you take her in with the buck . Some will stand at the fence and wag their tail at the buck , others will insist they are not interested at all even in a full heat . A teaser buck can sometimes be used effectively on a first year doe , and she may be less intimidated by him and show good heat signs when he courts her , but other times if you want to insure pregnancy , you must witness a daily breeding for 21 days in a row to be sure she will kid in spring . The buck's courtship includes urinating on himself , sticking out his tongue and wagging it at the doe , raising a foreleg to touch the doe , and chasing her with his head lowered while he whoops and hollers . Sometimes fighting with real or imagined rivals , challenging fences etc. A successful breeding needs to take place twice while the doe is in full heat and receptive to the buck . we breed them twice in a day , two breedings per time , and try not to allow the doe to urinate right away , or that can negate the breeding . If she is still in season the following day , we breed her again . If the breeding has taken and the doe is pregnant , 21 days later when she would have come into season again , there should not be any heat signs , if there is , then breed the doe again . However , up to 10 days through the 21 day span , the doe may come back into a mini heat whether she is pregnant or not and may show moderate heat signs , but she's usually not very receptive to the buck . You might look for a white plug in the vulva one or two days after a successful breeding to be sure she is bred, though this doesn't always take place . 3 months into the pregnancy , kids can be felt kicking on the doe's right side . the left side is the stomach . So always feel on the right side , just in front of the udder . You can sometimes accurately predict multiples by feeling kicks in different places on the doe. During pregnancy and before kidding , is a great time to acclimate your young doe to the milk stanschion . A doe already trained to the stanschion will make things much easier on you both when it's time to milk her . Train her to stanschion by letting her see you put the grain in the bin attached to the milk stanschion ,call her name , encourage her to jump on the stanschion . You may have to place grain on the stanschion , and then closer and closer to the feed dish with a very timid doe , or lift her up there and show her the grain in the dish . Once she grows comfortable eating in the dish on the stanchion , over a period of days , start closing her neck in the stanschion head hold so that she is restrained . She may panic , but should go back to eating grain again. Acclimate her to what will happen on the stanscion later when she needs to be milked . Brush her , and simulate all the steps of milking so she will not be as liable to protest as strongly when she is milked for the first time .
During the last few weeks of pregnancy if your does are not already on a ration of 16% protein grain , put them on it . And also give them a couple of tums per day , tums provides the necessary calcium to build up mom and to avoid / prevent milk fever (hypocalcimia) We feed our does on the stanschion at this time to retrain the veterans to the milking routine . We use the same herd rank system as during milking time . Everything should be done according to rank . Goats like routine and consistency , they love to know what will happen next , as it is comfortable and comforting to them . As kidding dates approach , does will grow more and more uncomfortable as tummies expand . Udder growth will take place , in fighting in the herd will often peter out , as it seems things are more settled , which is good , as being butted by another goat in the belly is the number one reason a doe might miscarry . Another reason for miscarriage can be feed related , moldy hay , or feed , or eating pine boughs , also of course a number of diseases and std's can Cause miscarriage . Does which don't like dogs will grow even more aggressive toward them as their time draws near . In the days leading up to kidding , your doe may pick a corner that she has decided to give birth in , she may stand with butt in the corner guarding it and driving out goats that try to come near . She may grow very affectionate with close friends and relatives or with you . 4-6 hours before kidding , she may groom other does kids where before she would push them away . We have one who steals her sister's kids during this time , encouraging them to nurse etc. You should have a birthing kit ready in days leading up to birth . Your kit should contain : sterile gloves , paper towels to wipe away the initial goo around the kid's nose and mouth particularly but also initial wipe down of it's body (keep these away from the doe , she may eat them ) , a bath towel , a heat lamp for the new kid , oil lube for lubricating around the doe in case she is having a tough time pushing it out , or if you need to go in , unflavored dental floss for tying umbilical cords , tie one inch from the body . use blunt tip scissors or medical scissors for cutting the cord just below where you tied it . iodine for placing on the cord 2-3 times a day during its first couple days . nose bulb so you can suction baby's nose and mouth , we have a lamb puller and a soft cord if we need it to help get baby out , calcium drench (we use cmpk ) and keto nia drench , and a drench syringe or a large syringe with catheter tip if you will be using preventative drenches . have a baby monitor available if possible so you can listen for your doe if she needs you . you should also prepare a birthing room if possible , which can be closed off from the rest of the herd in the barn . At day 145 , her first possible birthing day , start placing the doe in her special room at night only , so she remains part of the herd during the day , but has the comfort of a secluded place to be in case she kids at night . Hang the water bucket higher or have a small one gallon bucket so kids can't fall in and drown . Put the doe's best friend in the birthing room with her for company . Give them good hay , kid proof the birthing room and the main goat pen , looking for holes baby can go through 4 inches or larger , and cracks tiny feet can get stuck in and legs broken . Some does seem to go on about day 150 , but you don't need to worry if they go all the way to the end of the spectrum at day 155 . Those with multiples more toward the earlier date . Signs of labor include , vocalizing , restless , pawing in the corner , looking back and touching their stomach with their nose and talking to it , grooming you or their goat friend , trying to steal other does kids , nervous eating , later in the labor , they won't be able to stand up against the wall on hind legs , they'll stop eating and chewing their cud , they will grow increasingly anxious and nervous ,sometimes they will call out and complain when you leave the barn . They may grind their teeth , smack their lips , and press their head in a corner , walk stiff legged , lay down , get up , etc . At first signs of labor drench with keto nia and calcium , and repeat again 6-12 hours after the birth , if she is not already in her birthing room , put her in there . Do not leave the property at this point , watch for signs of physical contractions , her hind end will suck in , tail will arch , sometimes the back will arch , when you see them a few minutes apart , don't leave the barn . When they are finally ready , they will settle in a corner , almost never with front legs folded completely under them as usual , but they will brace themselves , back legs against the wall if they can . They will curl their lip in pain , and they will eventually start to push . Remove their pen mate at this point as they will be irritating to the doe. Some does kid standing up , some laying down . At any point here a long string of goo may start to hang out , while pushing , a bubble may appear , if it doesn't burst internally first , with a gush of liquid coming out . The bubble will be like a baby goat in a snowglobe . The doe may scream in pain as she struggles to produce the head . She will sometimes get up and run around , then lie down again repositioning , the bubble or the kid may go back in several times before it's out enough as the doe is settled enough to push . Correct kid presentation will be two hooves and the kid's nose between them . also acceptable is two back hooves . Incorrect presentation could be a tail and no feed , or a head and one hoof , or just a head , anything but normal presentation will require repositioning for the kid to born correctly . If you have to go all the way in , a doe will need a course of antibiotics as a precaution . In normal presentation , carefully take baby by the two feet , bursting the bubble if necessary , pull only with contractions , help the head be born by gently working it through the opening , working back the flesh which you have previously oiled or lubed . After the head is born , the kid will slide out easily , with or without contractions .
Clear baby's nose and mouth immediately with paper towels , as mom might be in a daze at first , particularly if she is still in labor with another kid .
You can tell delivery is imminent , when visible contractions (the vulva sucking in visibly ) are a few moments apart , delivery should be within the hour . Once she's down and pushing , if she's had no result , and will allow you to approach , do a finger check , place 2 gloved fingers inside the opening , and see what you feel. If its a bubble and she's still straining with no result , you can burst the bubble and check the presentation . Do not be shy to do a finger check , or to reach just the hand in , many kids have died because their owner was too timid . Based on what you find , proceed as stated , deliver with the contractions according to how it's presented
with any presentation correct or not , if baby is not out in 30 min. to an hour of hard labor with your assistance , consider calling a vet
Ring Womb / Failure to dilate during Labor
It is possible for a doe to start into labor , and then when she is not making progress to discover that the cervix has not dilated , that you can only get a couple fingers in , which is not a large enough opening for the kid to pass through , if this occurs , if it is an actual case of ring womb the only option is a c- section , but if it is false ring womb , stretching the cervix can help it open so that the birth can procede . Use some Lube , go in and try to encourage the cervix to open, In between contractions , insert a couple of fingers into the opening , be gentle , but apply pressure , and travel around the cervix , hopefully as it begins to open you will be able to get more fingers in , keep adding more fingers and working slowly around the cervix until you can get your hand inside , this process takes some time , but keep working on it if you can see that you are successfully widening the opening , be patient it could take 30 minutes. if you have been doing this 45 minutes and have made no progress , the doe needs a c -section or intervention by a vet . ,
if the uterus is torn during labor this is a diar situation for your doe . Though some people have said that small tears may heal up , or the vet may be able to help , from our research , most cases of torn uterus will not end well . if you are sure the goat has a torn uterus , you will probably need to consider putting the goat down to make sure they don't suffer . if there is still a baby inside stuck when you put her down , you will need to make an incision and get the baby out within only a couple minutes to have any chance of saving its life .
See Ketosis and Pregnancy Toxemia below in the health section
instructions for delivering kids with incorrect positioning below the videos
Goat Labor Pre Birth Behavior Nell ^^^
Goat Birth Nell ^^^
Special Instructions for delivery stuck kids and kids with incorrect positioning
Large kid / large head but correct presentation of a head and 2 front feet ;
to remove a large kid , use practical knowledge of how you would get into or out of a tight place if it was you personally stuck . First try using an outward and down pulling action . Try pulling to the left or the right so the kid goes through at an angle . Assist by pushing the skin of the vulva upward toward the rectum , this is most helpful when the kid is stuck in the pocket below the tail . If this doesn't work , try drawing one leg out , and pushing the other back just to the start of the opening , then push the skin of the vulva back and try to get the head through , then pull out the other leg and pull out the kid , once the head is through , the rest should be easy. You can also try pulling side to side the same way we would wiggle from side to side to get out of a tight space . You can put the doe on her belly on top of a hay bale front legs over one side , back legs over the other suspended to stretch her body out some , giving you more space to work the kid free .
head and one leg back
You can use a lamb puller or a soft rope tucked behind the kid's ears , around inside the mouth attach another soft rope to the one foot that's extended , push the head and the leg back in just far enough for you to get your hand around in there , reach down , find the second leg , carefully extend it , and bring it forward with the other leg and head , you're using the lamb puller or cords so that you don't lose the leg you have and or the head and you have a way to get it back . You can lay the doe on the same side as the leg that was out properly so that the turned back leg is upward , this makes it easier to manipulate the leg .
head and no feet presented
attach a lamb puller , same as above , push the head in far enough to get your hand in , bring the legs up one by one into position , hooves pointing outward with the nose , if you can't get your hand past the head , put her on a hay bale with the rear more up than the front and try again once you have the feet , then pull the kid out as normal
2 feet no head
This presentation is extremely difficult , and often cannot be rectified without a vet or without surgical removal , by all means do try , we have seen this only once in 10 years and almost 200 kids , and in the end we did remove the kid on our own without a vet's intervention , but only after it was dead , and it had to be dismembered . Place a lamb puller or soft rope around the front legs , push them back , find the head , try to pull it forward nose facing out , pull downward gently on the legs with the cord keeping ahold of the head , you aren't able to have two hands inside , so you are using the cord as your second hand . If the head does not come easily , it may be too big , or the kid could be on it's back , you may have to push it back and turn it so the legs are pointed normally ie faced downward , then you should be able to pull it out . If you can't get the kid out and she is in hard labor for 30 minutes to an hour , consider calling a vet because your doe is in big trouble at this point.
Hind feet only
This is widely considered a normal position and can be born easily , but also can get stuck at the rib cage . If it becomes stuck , wiggle left to right until it's past the rib cage . When it is past the ribcage pull the kid out quickly so that the cord will not get pinched which is dangerous for your kid .
Tail no feet (Breech)
You can use a hay bale for this , reach in , push the kid all the way back in , reach under , find the hind legs , one by one bring each foot forward into the canal . When the legs are out , pull out and down , she will need antibiotics with this maneuver .
Coming out sideways
With this presentation , you won't see anything , she will be pushing , with no result . Reach in , you may feel the back or the rib cage , try to find 2 legs , if you can determine back legs , back legs are better . use the legs to direct and turn the body , and pull out as described above . If you grab the front legs , you'll have to help the head come as well , this is more difficult . If it's upside down , you may have to do a slight turn to turn it right side up .
This could be twins , or it could be one kid , all 4 legs . You can deliver either by grabbing the hind legs and delivering backward , or grab the front legs and pushing back the back legs , you'll have to help the head come . You can attach a lamb puller to the legs before you push them back to position the head . If its twins coming together , locate the 2 feet that belong to the same kid by tracing it back inside the doe until you find where the legs attach , tie onto the 2 front feet of the one kid and push back the other kid , then escort it out of the canal , then deliver the second kid
Twins , one backward , one correct position Or two backward
Pull out the backward one first , if both are backward , just pull the closest to the opening , checking to be sure both legs belong to the same kid , then pull the second kid .
OK , so you have cleared baby's nose and mouth immediately with paper towels whatever position he might have been born in . First time mothers need to be monitored closely and you should try to be there at every birth , but especially with a first time mother , as she won't know what has happened , and will need help to get the kid out of the sack before it suffocates . Dry the kid with a towel and a hairdryer if desired .Some does take exception to the sound of the hair dryer and are disturbed. Tie off the umbilical cord with unflavored dental floss ,about 1-1 1/2" from the tummy. Cut the cord just below the tie , treat with iodine , retreat 3 times a day for 3 days in a row and watch for signs of infection .. If the cord snapped back short and is bleeding or pooling , ( if we feel it is too short we don't tie it off . ) You may have some success at pinching the cord with your fingers for a couple minutes to stop bleeding , keep a close eye on it to make sure the bleeding doesn't start again . Give the kid back to its Mom , and turn on a heat light with cord safely hung out of mom's reach and make sure the bulb is high enough that it won't hit her if she walks under it . If the mother is done giving birth , and it has been a half hour or so and no signs of further pushing , you can bump her to be sure there is no other kid inside . Do this by placing both hands under her tummy and pressing upward , let the stomach fall back down into your one hand . If there's a kid still left inside , it should feel like a baseball hitting your hand . If there is no kid , clean up the dirty bedding from labor , give fresh bedding so the kids an get to their feet without slipping in fluid that may still be on the floor . The doe will usually get to her feet , start talking to her kids , which will eventually stand to their feet , and try to nurse everywhere but where they should . You can encourage them onto a teat if you like , hold the kid and the teat , squirt out the first bit of milk , this will break the seal on the teat , making it easier for kids to nurse . It is essential for them to get colostrum as soon as possible . Nursing stimulates contractions to expel the afterbirth , they expel this a couple of hours later , and it is generally a good sign that she is really done kidding . She may or may not consume it . Try to be sure you see that it is delivered ,and not retained internally . Discard it when you find it , safely away from predators . If the afterbirth is retained , or you have reason to believe it is , sometimes you'll see a little bit of it hanging out , then treat with a 7 day course of antibiotics , our antibiotic of choice for this is LA 200 injectable , penicillin can also be used . The kids will usually sleep under the heat light for only the first day or two , after this unless it's really cold we turn it off. Multiple kids can be a challenge . Does can manage 2 or 3 kids , though 3 is hard , as she only has 2 teats to nurse them on . If you decide it's best for the kid and does to take away a kid or 3 in the case of quints , milk colostrum from the mom , and start them on a bottle on the first day , some kids refuse the bottle flat out . If the kids must be pulled for their own good , we had to do so when our lowest production doe dropped quads , and the kids won't take a bottle , try them on a lactating doe placing her on a milking stanschion , so she can't refuse the kid . Give her grain and let the kid nurse, though not too long as they can get the milk scours (diarrhea ) repeat this often , feeling tummies to be sure they are staying full . If bottle raising , raising on goat's milk is best , but next best is whole cow's milk from the store . most formulas do not work well for kids .
Kids will start playing and romping their first day born , check the sex of your new goats . A whole and a slit on the backside (2 holes) is a female , it is the same on a goat as on a dog , one hole (rectum) on the backside is a male . Weigh your new kids ,record their weight on their health sheet , having a health sheet for all of your goats gives you something to reference , and gives you credibility with future buyers . Record date of birth , markings , parentage etc on this sheet , as well as all future treatments and medications . If the kid is a female , count the teats , be sure there are only 2 teats . If she will be a milk goat in the future , you may have to look into removal of any extra (supernumirary) teats . Make sure the kid is peeing and pooing . The first kid poo is very sticky , and you may have to clean upthe bum afterward if the mother doesn't do it . The doe needs to be de wormed right after kidding , we use ivermectin horse wormer orally , off label for our goats , dosing the goat at 3 x what's recommeded for a horse by weight , ie a 50 lb goat would be wormed as if she were 150 lbs , this is to be sure that it gets through the rumen . De worm the goat again in 10-14 days , this is vital , it catches any worms that may have migrated from the lungs , if you don't reworm , the animal can go down when the worms come back with a vengeance . Deworming after a birth is crucial as the doe is in distress , and parasites may take advantage of her system being low . We do not deworm often , only once or twice a year , so that the worms won't become immune to the de wormer . All after care for the doe will be the same even if she miscarries rather than delivering full term . In the first days , the kids will begin playing with and nibbling hay , have hay available from day one . Leave the kids and Mom alone in the birthing room together to bond for for 2-3 days . The kid gets it's feet under it , and it avoids the doe panicking when she joins the herd too soon . During the first day or 2 an orphaned goat may be introduced to a doe that has just delivered , and she may accept it . Does don't like other doe's kids as a rule , and they will try to stop their kids playing with them . They will give thisup in time , but they may still discipline other doe's kids , by nipping a tailor ear if they are annoying her .
At around 5 days and no later than 7 days , you will need to disbud the kid . See our disbudding article and video below . The first 2 days after the birth , limit the doe's intake of grain , because her system can't handle it . A couple of days after kidding start the doe on a maintainence ration of grain , plus a milk ration , see graining section above for amounts . At 14 days old , the kid's rumen comes in . If you plan to milk the mother for your own use , the colostrum taste is out of the milk . Some people drink colostrum for their health , but it has a flavor I don't care for , so I sample the milk to be sure it doesn't taste like colostrum before i begin milking for my use . We do not recommend pulling the kids to bottle raise so that you can have the milk , as it an remove the doe's natural mothering instinct , and can leave the kid mentally maladjusted though friendly . During the first few days after birthing , the doe may be over full in her udder and uncomfortably tight , you can milk a little off for her comfort , and in a few days the kids will be sucking her dry . If there is only one kid , be sure it is using both sides of the udder. If it is only nursing on one side , the other side will go dry if you don't milk it . Put the kid away at night at 14 days in order to get some milk in the morning before reuniting them . We used to put kids away at 10 days on recommendation of our goat mentor , but discovered at 14 days the rumen is coming in . As they can eat hay more efficiently now , they won't cry as much . Be sure the kid is using the water bucket before shutting them away . We recommend a short bucket so they can't fall in . You should start hand feeding grain to aid in growth , once they get the hang of it , place grain in with them . We use purina medicated goat grower , 16% protein . Screaming and crying is normal with kids shut away , this must be gotten used to , its part of the weaning process . You can place them in with an older kid , or a dry doe as their comfort , to minimize their crying and stress . Having put the kid away , the doe's udder will be full the next morning . Do not let her wait more than 12 hours from separation from the kid to be milked . The doe may have discharge still for a couple more weeks , you may have to trim the hair on her tail because of the bloody discharge . Examine her overall health while in the stanchion . Brush her with a soft horse brush , this removes loose hair or debris so it won't fall in your milk , and also discourages external parasites like lice . Lice can be treated with powder marked for horses , make sure to retreat in 10 days. After a doe has been brushed and is munching on her grain , (give her half of her daily ration in the a.m. and half in the p.m ) using a bucket of warm water , with a drop or two of mild dish detergent , and about a cap full of bleach (this takes the place of udder wash or teat wipes etc) wash the doe's udder and teats with a soft cloth , use a dry cloth to dry her . Now take a container , this is called a strip cup , place it under the doe , and prepare to milk off a couple of squirts from each teat . The first couple of squirts are bacteria laden and should be discarded . Goat's milk on average has far less bacteria than cow's milk , but still , examine the strip milk for anything unusual . Look for stringiness , cheesiness , or blood that may indicate mastitis . Home cure for mastits is to feed the doe her own milk , over grain like cereal works well , or drench with her own milk orally . If the milk has been determined to be normal , begin milking into your milk pail , the milk pail should be stainless steel , which does not impart off flavors as plastics and other metals do . You can milk one or two handed , in succession , or timed together . Milk at a rate of 60 squirts per minute to immitate the kid , and gently bump or massage the udder to drop more milk down intermitently . To milk the doe , close or lock off the upper part of the teat by holding it between thumb and forefinger , you will feel the pressure now lower in the teat , like a water balloon. Hold firmly , don't let it back flush , squeeze down in succession with your other fingers , and squirt it into the pail . If you are new to milking , don't worry if it squirts the wall , the stanchion , or dribbles down your arm . Don't grow discouraged , this is normal . In time you too will be aiming your squirts at the bucket accurately , or even into the cat or dog's mouth . If the doe is a new milker , or sometimes even an experienced doe , it will need to be retrained for the new season . She may be resistant to being milk . She may kick at your hand and the bucket , jump up and down , and be trying to slip out of the head lock on the stanshion , she may also squat . These behaviors can be curbed or overcome by holding the back leg that she is kicking with , by holding the bucket and milking one handed , be ready to move the bucket from danger . If the doe steps in the milk it must be discarded . In order to discipline the doe for bad behavior in the stanshion , use the correction methods and discipline used in the herd. Grab the tail or grab the ear , you can milk one handed and hold an ear to remind to behave . You can take a switch and lightly tap the leg she is kicking with . If she's squatting , hold her up with one hand and milk with the other . For a well behaved doe , milking the doe generally only takes around minutes beginning to end . Sometimes around 120 squirts , I've counted . Bump the udder when she slows down . When it pretty well stops , and you can't get more by bumping , she is empty , or as close as you're going to get . Wash the doe's udder again and dry her , and remove her from the stanshion , giving her a little treat . After kidding , the goat will continue to go up in production for a while , and as the kid grows up , she will slacken off on her milking . You may reduce grain as appropriate , leaving her maintainence ration , but reducing the allotment of grain based on how much milk she is giving as stated above . Be sure to keep her on grain while milking , she won't produce well , or sometimes at all off of it . Keep an eye on your doe's condition , don't slacken off of grain if her weight is low . Check her weight using a thumb and forefinger along the spine by the shoulders , if it stands up in a high ridge she's underweight . Kids take a lot out of their mom , and she will spend the rest of the season recovering . 3 years old is her peak in production , after this she will give less milk . At around years , some does begin to grow harder to recover body condition . And while retiring at 10 years is recommended and in order for the doe to live until 20 , hard keepers you may consider for early retirement , or to see if they will milk through , ours milked 7 years without a kid before she gave out on us and was well into her 18th year of age . They are only supposed to milk 10 months or so after kidding if you're lucky .
You may wish to wean the kid at either 2 or 4 months , emergency weaning is at 1 month , only do this if you must . The longer the kid stays on the doe's milk , the bigger and stronger it will grow . For the sake of the doe's earlier recovery , we wean our kids at 2 months old. At weaning , all of the milk is yours . It is up to you to milk her every 12 hours without fail . The easiest way to lose milk is to milk late . The hour of day doesn't matter as long as it's 12 hours apart , the same times every day . Doe's should milk for up to 10 months , but toward the end of lactation cycle , she'll be producing little enough , that it won't be worth your time or grain to milk . We call it quits when she is giving less than 6 ounces twice a day . To dry out the doe safely , take her off of her grain , this will stop her production . Milk her halfway out the first day , and leave the rest. Milk as normal in the second milking of the day . The next day , only milk one time that day. And the next day , milk only once again , you will see her production dropping steadily if she is drying out . Now skip a day milking altogether . Do this a couple of times , then as long as she is drying out good (you're getting only a couple ounces a day ) quit milking her altogether . If you follow these proper protocols , your doe will dry out healthy . If you try to quit cold turkey or dry her too fast , she can become sick . If she is still milking well into fall , you may re breed and continue to milk her until 3 months into the pregnancy , at this point you will need to dry her out .
At around 1 to 2 months , kid's systems begin to transition to move to solid food . Scours (diarreha ) may develop . Coccidia preventative should be given starting at 3 weeks old , and every 3 weeks until the kid reaches 6 months old . We currently are using toltrazuril (baycox) at a rate of 1 cc / ml per 5 lb , but in the past , we have used sulfamed , We do not recommend Corrid . we also do first worming at somewhere between 1 month to 6 weeks old , we use ivermectin , but this is controversial because it crosses the blood brain barrier , using horse paste , it will be a tiny measurement , you will dose at 3 x the rate per pounds as you would a horse , just as with adult goats , ie 10 lb kid recieves wormer for 30 lb . remember to re worm 10-14 days later . To measure wormer correctly , take off enough for say 100 lb , if its at 10 lb kid , you will split this approximately in 3 parts to acheive approx. 30 lb wormer dose each part .
To wean the kid , we take the kid to spend the night in the wean pen earlier an earlier in the week before weaning . Then we take them to the kid pen / barn , a seperate pen with their own outdoor and indoor area from Mom and let them spend the night , do this for 3 days , bringing them back in the early afternoon to see Mom , then finally , don't bring them back to see Mom at all . The Mom and kid may call back and forth for a few days . Give the doe and kid extra comfort and attention at this time , this will bond the kid to people more now that it's missing its mother . You should also if possible have an older kid or young adult in with the kid herd , this stabilizes them , they don't cry as much , though they may still cry quite a lot . Babies are now ready for new homes , and you can now rehome them by advertising . We always seek homes for our kids that follow our care methods .
Toys for adults and kids
Toys for enrichment should be provided in the kid pen . Think about things to leap on , as they are accustomed to using Mom as a jungle gym . They will leap on and off of her belly when she is lying down , on her back while she is standing . Make ramps for goats to run up and down , platforms to stand or lay on , a teeter totter is one goats of all ages enjoy , a big black rubbermaid feeding tub in the yard is a great place to lay and soak in the rays of the sun .
Treats can be given to goats to train them or just for their enjoyment . Try not to give too much of anything new , especially be careful with anything that is sweet , even natural fruits , the sugars can throw the ph in their rumen off . Edible tree branches with the leaves on them , they love to eat the leaves and strip the bark and then rub their heads on them afterwards . cut up fruits and veggies , they love watermelon and use each other as a napkin to clean off their faces , I've seen goats given too big a bite of apple use their goat friends , or most often one of their older kids as a table . They lean it against them while they eat it so it won't drop onto the ground . Goats hate to eat something that has been on the ground , and they won't eat after you , so don't try to share with them . You have germs and cooties according to most finicky goats ! haha . Kids are a little more unsure when trying new things , and you may not find them as maliable as adults . Once they learn what they like , look out , they may try to knock you down to get it !
Teach your goat manners , you need to be respected as herd leader . Lower ranking goats don't jostle , trod on , or jump on , respected leaders . Don't allow goats to jump on you , just as you would train a puppy not to jump . It's cute at 8 lbs , not so cute at 60-100 lbs . Never encourage or allow your goat to push on you with it's head or butt you , again , cute when they are little , very serious when they are big . Lots of people have a story about why they don't like goats , because a goat that had big horns butted them when they were a child . To curb bad behavior , grab the ear , this simulates herd dominance tactics , where an ear will be bitten by a dominant goat , grab the tail , this is dominance too . You can take a twig , use your cleaning tool , tap /nudge the goat away , make sure they know its serious . If all else fails use a squirt gun , goats hate water .
Knowing your goat's behavior will assist you in determining what is happening in the herd and curbing bad behavior .
Raised Hackles = Afraid or dominant
Tail up = Afraid or dominant
Chewing cud = Relaxed feeling OK ( bringing up and chewing cud at a rate of 1-1.5 times per minute is normal )
Ears pricked forward = Interested
Goat with Straight ears (ears slightly limp and inclined downward = Relaxed
Tooth grinding = Pain
Lip Curl = Smells / tastes something interesting usually taking it in to taste hormones , but can also mean pain like in labor
Head Butting = Dominant
Standing on hind legs at a goat or human = Dominant
Stamping feet = Afraid / nervous , possible predator
Sneezing = dust in the nose , or Predator present , Afraid , also bucks sneeze as part of courtship , it can be hard to tell the difference , look around and see if you see a predator or other behaviors that indicate predator presence such as lining up shoulder to shoulder and all looking in one direction .
First hoof trimming should take place at just 1 month old . Hooves should be trimmed every 2 weeks to 1 month to avoid discomfort and damage . You can place kids or adults in a stanschion if you have one . Place grain in the grain bin and lock the head in . We use hoof shears / pruning shears by zensport . Trim the outer wall of the hoof away , on both sides of the frog , this will be more awkward on the inside between the toes . I point the shears toward the toe on the outside wall and toward the heel on the inside wall . trimming it even with the soft part of the hoof in the center called the frog , do this by gently folding the front leg back , support the leg in one hand by the ankle , scrape out any mud or debris so you can see the frog clearly . Be sure you do not pull the front leg too far outward from the body , as this can cause the muscle to tear . Hold the leg close to the animal's body . If it struggles , wait until it is still . You don't want you or them to get injured . Look for signs of hoof rot while working on hooves . This can come in the form of a foul smelling cheesy white substance , or a separation of the hoof wall , or a peeling away of the hoof . Also extreme overgrowth this can also be founder . In either case cut away the infection , treat with clorox bleach or hoof medication or home remedy of water with lavender and tea tree oil . Sterilize the hoof shear with bleach before moving on so you do not infect other hooves . To trim back hooves , hold the back leg backward from the animal supporting it at the ankle . Wait for the animal to stop kicking , and cut the back hooves there too . An overgrown hoof can become a serious discomfort as it grows over the frog . Our first milk goat Lucy , came to us having been a brush goat , and no one having cared for her hooves . Due to probable founder , which is caused by stress and diet , she was wearing platform shoes , and nearly unable to walk . I would cut away at it steadily , until i could see pink on the frog , just before making it bleed . It has taken years and though much improved the circumstance is still not righted .
Shaping the hoof :If the hoof is grown to be too long and narrow , you can redirect it to broaden by nipping off just the very tip of the hoof . If by accident you cut your goat's hoof too close or at an angle , it may bleed . Cornstarch staunches bleeding , as does alum , stop bleed is commercially made for this purpose , and in a pinch a cobweb . Always keep a few hanging around the barn for these very sorts of emergencies . The goat may be tender footed for a few days and may bleed off and on during the first day , watch them to see if you need to stop the bleeding again . Take this as a learning experience and try to do better next time .
We castrate no sooner than 2 months old , they may be castrated as early as a few days old , but this is very bad for their longevity and health due to urinary calculi . Castrating at 2 months or later allows the urinary tract to develop , but you don't want to leave them so long that bad behavior ie "bucky" behavior develops or pregnancy results in your young doelings . As bucklings can be capable at 3 months . Try to castrate just before removing completely from Mom . This way they will have a day or two of Mom being there to comfort them . You can do open castration or just band the goat with an approved band used for this purpose , and a tool for stretching the band called and elastrator , this is bloodless , but you will have to watch for signs of infection around the band . Pretreat the kid with baby aspirin or baby ibuprophen or banamine 15-30 min ahead (NEVER USE TYLENOL ) If you are going to give a tetanus anti toxin shot as a precaution , this is the time to do it , If you are going to vaccinate with a CD&T shot , that will need to be done ahead of time , you will need to consult vaccination schedules to know when . To band , you should soak the band in alcohol and dob alcohol around the testes before applying the band . Have an assistant hold the kid upright so that both testes are descended , otherwise you could end up with one retained inside the the body . Work the opened band around to the top of the sack , release it from the tool . This cuts off circulation and it pinches . Some goats cry and roll around , others act like it's no big deal .
Why castrate ?
If you castrate you are going to have a pet worthy kid . You should only leave males intact if you plan to breed them yourself , or have a buyer for an intact buck . An intact male is not a good pet , and you may cost it a good home . A wethered male makes the best pet , and will live almost twice as long , because the rut is very hard on the buck , and is very stressful . Also you do not want intact bucklings in with your doelings , as unwanted pregnancy may result . We only had this happen one time , with two intact males we were keeping for breeding but had thoughtlessly left too long in with a doeling . The doeling was sold , and later thought to be pregnant . When we were asked if she could be pregnant , we did the math , and figured out she might have been . A very unfortunate and embarassing mistake , and not something you should do if you want to be known as a legitemate and responsible breeder .
A tale of Two Tontos : the difficulties of selling a buck
One year while selecting a buckling to keep for breeding , we selected one buckling , then far later into the season selected a second buckling we preferred , we named them both Tonto , Tonto One and Tonto Too , as they looked nearly identical except for one had floppy ears , by this time , the first buckling we felt was too large to fit through our bander , so we decided to simply sell him as a buck , 5 years later , one of the Tontos finally has been sold ... Know your market , do not keep unwanted bucklings intact . Market them for a short period only before weaning as intact , then wether them so you don't get stuck . Let your customer base know , to let you know if they want a buckling before a certain date when you will be castrating , if no takers , castrate .
You and you alone can make the decision of whether to vaccinate your goat . Most vaccinations recommended are for tetanus which goats can get via injury or at castration and disbudding ; and over eater's disease , which is caused by large quantities of usually grain being consumed and bacteria flourishing , these are covered by CD &T vaccine . Others are available , but these are what most people do . If you choose not to vaccinate , you can also keep anti toxins on hand in case these events do happen
Disbudding / Horn Burning Baby Goats
by Sumer Starling
Disbudding / Horn Burning Baby Goats
by Sumer Starling
Why disbud ?
Goat owners have a lot disagreement on disbudding . Some goat owners believe horns can protect the goat from predators , this is not the case. Goats have no natural protection against predators , Your vigilance and proper predator control as their shepherd is their only defense . Other people don't disbud because disbudding can sometimes leave a scur (a partially grown back horn that will easily fall off at times) Scurs can grow in inconvenient and sometimes dangerous ways like back toward the head (but please note that these can be trimmed to keep them away from the head we use either the hoof shears or a small butcher's bone saw to trim horns , being careful around the eyes ) . Still others keep horns because they simply like the look .
In our opinion , the benefits of disbudding far out weigh the risks . Horns are dangerous to your goat , and other goats in the herd , as well as dangerous to people , whether intentionally or unintentionally on the goats part . Horns can get caught in fencing which can sometimes result in the goat's injury or even death , When they butt another goat the horns give them added impact which can lead to abortion in a pregnant goat , injury , impalement , abcess at injured tissue , etc . They also can pick up another goat that is wearing a collar (this is why we no longer use collars) They can strangle the other goat and we have seen that nearly happen . Finally they can injure you just by brushing past you and injuring you with a horn , many times i have been badly bruised by an unintentional swipe . For these reasons we always disbud every kid born here. When making this decision for your goat , you need to consider the future of this goat , even if this is ok with you , if you ever decide to rehome it , this could be detrimental to the goat's future family and impact whether or not they end up keeping it , possibly causing this goat to be bounced from home to home its entire life . This responsibility is yours , and the decision is permanent because other dehorning methods are extremely painful and brutal , and are not recommended .
Disbudding your goat
Should you use a vet ?
Use only a vet that knows goats if you are going to use a vet , most vets don't know goats , this procedure takes seconds , a vet that does not know goats , may try to put it under anesthesia . Goats do not deal well with anesthesia . You may lose your goat if they try this while disbudding or dehorning .If the vet will agrees to disbud , request that it be done without anesthesia . if your vet refuses to do this procedure without anesthesia , find another vet .
Disbudding at Home
Be aware that disbudding paste is a no no , it is caustic , can get in your goat's eyes , and it is widely considered to be ineffective , just don't do it .
You will need to Burn the horns in order to effectively kill the root
First step in disbudding is deciding what kind of disbudding iron you will be using , make this choice well ahead of birth , because your kid needs to be burned before 7 days old . Choices are an electric disbud iron , many people use a Rhineheart 30 x or 50 x and are happy with it .We choose not to use an electric iron because we found that it seemed like it wouldn't reheat fast enough and hot enough , they can go out in the middle of burning etc And you are limited because you need to be near an electrical outlet , with a non electric iron you are more mobile . We prefer to use a non electric iron , ours is handmade , you may be able to purchase one , have one made , or make one yourself , they are pretty simple . Traditionally a disbudding iron would be heated in a very hot fire , but to insure it gets hot enough , we use propane , you can use a propane burner , or a small propane torch . we use a small torch that screws onto a little bottle of coleman propane
- Equipment list , in order to burn your goat's horns , you will need :
- A Disbudding Iron
- propane burner or small torch if you are going non electric and propane
- leather gloves for you and the person holding the baby to protect you from the heat of the iron .
- A kid box , ours is handmade , but you can purchase them , its for holding the kid still while burning. (picture will be posted)
- a soft flexible cool pack / ice pack (frozen)
- scissors or clippers to clip hair before burning
- steel wire brush
- lawn chair
ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW THE PICTURES
Step by step instructions
First , be sure your kid's horns are detectable with your fingertips , but still beneath the skin , the kid should be less than 7 days old , we burn at 5 days old , this is especially important in males because early burning is more successful . But also pain receptors are not fully in until after 7 days , burning before that will be much less painful for your baby , and much less traumatic , and they will heal faster. Some people prefer to burn at several weeks old , but it just doesn't pay to wait . Get it over with early, you'll be happier with your results .
Having determined that you can feel horn buds at 5 days old , you will need to trim the hair close to the head over the horn buds and around them , the kid will often scream far more about the haircut that you know very well is not hurting them one bit , than they do about the actual disbud. The reason for cutting the hair is so that you can easily see the horn buds , and during burning it will cut down on the smoke you'll be dealing with .
Heat the iron red hot , sometimes it is hard to see if it's red hot or not , some people do a test burn on a piece of wood , to make sure , but then , you'll need to re heat to get it good and hot again after your test . If we are using a torch we usually have a brick there to rest the iron on while heating / in between burns , if we are using a propane burner we just rest it back on the burner in between burns . Whether using a torch or a propane burner , make sure you rotate your disbudding iron to make sure it is hot on all sides of the tip . Now you're ready to burn
Your helper will be sitting on top of the kid box with the kid inside , Have your helper hold back the baby's ears from the horn buds with one hand and with the same hand firmly press against the kid box to hold the kid still , and hold it at it's ribcage with the other hand down inside the box . You (the person burning ) will be sitting in the lawn chair facing your helper who is holding the kid . With one hand the bottom of the kid's face (muzzle) still , with your other hand you will hold the iron . Line up the iron centered with the horn bud , press gently down and hold still for the first one or two seconds , this gives you a groove to hold the iron still and keep it from slipping . Be careful not to put much pressure on the kid's head ,it should just be gentle pressure . After the first couple seconds , begin to gently rock the iron in a circular fashion , rotating your wrist , this completes the ring around the horn bud in an even fashion , because the kid's head is rounded not flat , if you don't rock the iron , you will not get a good burn . Your helper is responsible for counting aloud while you burn , and that count will start as soon as you touch the iron down on the kid's head , if there is a bunch of smoke , your iron is either not hot enough or you left too much hair on the kid's head . Some people burn in 4 second increments , all the way up to 12 seconds , we have tried several lengths of time , and decided 8 second increments works best for us . Burn the first side , count one , 1,000 , two 1,000 etc until you reach eight , take the iron off , helper places a cool pack on the kid's head , while the burning person brushes off the iron with the wire brush to remove debris from the burned hair , and places the iron to re heat . The cold pack is to keep the kid's head from getting too hot , which can cause undue swelling / dangerous conditions for the kid's little brain . When the iron is reheated to red hot again , repeat the burning process on the unburned side , again , for 8 seconds , the kid is going to scream and cry and struggle while you are doing all of this , this is difficult , i won't lie to you , but remember he also screamed when you cut his hair , so try to keep it in perspective , this is a procedure that is quick , and it will make his life better in the long term , you are doing this for his own good. Moments after the burn is done they will be back playing and being a kid .
So now you have done each horn bud once , and used the cold pack in between each burn , you will do each side again , 8 seconds again , using the steel brush , reheating the iron and using the cold pack on the kids head in between each burn . When you are done burning you should have a nice even copper ring on both sides , some people burn to white but that is the skull , it may be more effective , but it can also be more risky and cause more swelling to burn to white . If your ring is not copper all the way around , it may be necessary to touch up areas that did not get burned as well . It should be noted here that if you left too much hair on the kid's head that then burned and melted down , you may not get the perfect copper ring because of the charred hair , but you are trying for the copper ring , that is ideal (I will put pictures below with a kid that has his haircut , and one showing copper rings) . If at any time during burning you hit a blood vessel and horn buds are bleeding , quickly burn the area that is bleeding to cauterize it . We did not know this the first time it happened to us , and we tried stop bleed , corn starch , etc . nothing worked until we used a cobweb , which is an old emergency method to stop bleeding , but if we had realized , we would have burned the bleeding area to cauterize and could have avoided a very stressful situation.
Keeping the cold pack on the kid's head , take him back to his mother , or if he's a bottle baby give him a bottle for comfort . Be aware that some mothers will not be happy because the kid smells funny , so give the kid to her butt end first so she can smell his hind end first and know he is hers before she smells his burned head . Watch mama closely after kids are burned , make sure she is still taking care of them , because this has been known to cause mothers to reject kids .
Be aware that the kids may have some swelling from their burn , a swollen eyebrow kind of look , this is normal . They may also be somewhat less active for a day or two . Do watch kids for abnormal behavior up to a couple weeks after burning , they can get brain swelling . We have burned almost 200 kids and have never had this happen , but it is possible .
Don't put anything on the burned horn buds the first day , because it can hold in the heat , we want the heat to leave the head , not to be held in. The following day , we put neosporin or antibiotic ointment on the burned horn buds to prevent infection . Repeat for a few days , watch for signs of infection over the next couple weeks . Signs of infection include increased sensitivity , cracking ,discharge , the scab / cap , may loosen or partially scrape away , if it's infected , remove the scab only if it is easily removed , clean and treat with antibiotic ointment .
3 weeks after the burn , look for signs of regrowth , check all around the old burn , new horn growth can sprout up in a different spot , if you find even the tiniest indication of a new horn growing , you need to reburn . Burn only the side where you find the regrowing horn , but keep checking the other side. If the horns come back after the second burn , we leave them , usually they will only be small scurs at that point. Please note that if your goats are even part Nigerian Dwarf , burning horns is much less successful than with other breeds , especially in males , they just have a very persistent horn growth , not much to be done about it.
Other people do extra things that we don't do
Please note that there are many methods and opinions surrounding disbudding / horn burning
Ours is not the only way , just our way , and our own preference .
Some people use pain control , usually Banamine which helps with pain control and swelling , but this is a prescription , and you will need a vet to get it from . if you are going to use Banamine it should be given 30 minutes ahead of the burning to give it a chance to take effect . dose is 1 cc per 100# injected sub q , so if it's 1 cc per100 lbs , for baby its going to be a very small dose , example 1 cc per 100 lb translates to .1 cc per 10 lb , but you'll have to work it out based on the weight of your baby. , banamine can also be given orally
Some people also give a dose of tetanus anti toxin to prevent tetanus from disbudding / horn burning .
Anti toxin should not be confused with toxoid which is a tetanus vaccine and is not recommended for kids under 7 days old (usually given at 8-12 weeks unless mother was unvaccinated in which case it can be given at 7 days ), and also does not take effect for 10 days . we do not vaccinate , and we don't actually use tetanus anti toxin preventively , but we are adding tetanus antitoxin to our medical supplies to use in the event that we need it for treatment if tetanus ever crops up.
tetanus anti toxin should also be given 30 min before burning , this is a 5cc dose given sub q
Also , Some people use blue kote or silver spray to seal off horns after burning , but we like to leave burned horns untreated with anything until the next day , and even then we only use antibiotic ointment .
we have posted a disbudding video below to help you visualize what a disbudding will be like , though the baby goat is not actually being burned in the video , you'll get the general idea.
copyright Sumer Starling 2021
Disbudding / Horn Burning Baby Goats. instructional video ^^^
Closed or Open Herd ?
This also is your choice , we remained a closed herd for 10 years . Being a closed herd means you bring in the amount of goats you are going to bring in , and you don't bring in any more from outside sources . This prevents disease transmission and unecessary risk to the herd . If you will be a closed herd , be sure you start with enough bloodlines that you don't have to worry about too much inbreeding . After 10 years of being closed , we opened up to bring in registered goats , and immediately brought in a virus that ifeted the entire herd . Our quarantine pen was full of hay . If you are going to bring in goats it's a good idea to quarantine , but you would have to quarantine for months to be sure . But still , some diesases may not show up for years like CAE or CL .
Try to keep things out of your goat's pen that it may get into , chew on , get stuck in , or make mischief with . Ropes can be something to chew that will ball up in the rumen . Goats dont eat everything including tin cans , but they do chew on things like electrical cords , been there , done that . Think of the sorts of things a small child would do , and try to head them off at the pass . Look for cracks in the floorboards goat hooves can get caught in .
Blossom under the floor
a little doeling named Blossom liked to jump , we had a half wall that was hollow , just a 4 inch gap at the bottom , our barn floor was also hollow . One day Blossom jumped over the half wall falling to the bottom , and crawled unde the floor . We nearly had a disaster , but I caught hold of a hoof and was able to pull her out ! GOATS LOOK FOR TROUBLE , AND THEY FIND IT !
Safety concerns with eating
If goats eat grain too fast , place large stones or tennis balls in their dish to make them eat slower , as they will choke . Never use hay bags . Many a goat has strangled in a hay bag , they just are an unwise choice for goats . When you build your feeders , keep in mind that heads can get stuck , space rungs apart properly so that they don't .
We sell goats at the price the market will bear , not so low so that you will not recover any of the money you have invested in the mother for her care , and not so low that it will attract meat buyers . There is nothing wrong with someone eating goat meat , but you will need to determine if that is ok with you . We don't personally sell at meat prices because many times traditional cutural slaughter practices are not in line with our ethics . In order to sell goats you need to find somewhere to advertise . We personally advertise on craigslist , we advise putting the ad in the farm section rather than the pet section because craigslist does not allow "pet" sales . We advertise in several towns because people will travel to buy goats . If you are breeding goats for milk , you need to breed every year , in general a person should be sensible in goat keeping . You can't keep all of the kids , cute as they are . You need to recover cost in cash or product . With nearly 30 kids a year , we generally sell out , but are not adverse to keeping one or two kids in the kid pen to help transition young kids the next year . Try to think ahead about what you will do if kids do not sell , try to have a plan in place so you have an idea of what to do . Be aware that giving unsold kids away for free could effect your future ability to sell kids in your community , it can create an environment in which people will wait for free kids instead of buying . You teach people how to treat you with your pricing , and you also teach them how to treat your goats . If your prices are too low , you may attract bad homes . Also be aware that taking kids to auction is an option but you will have no ability to screen potential homes or control pricing , and the auction may not have your same ethics , also be aware that meat buyers do frequent auctions Again , there is nothing wrong with eating goat meat , most of the world eats goat rather than beef , but you will not have control or influence over how that animal is dispatched . You may also choose to harvest the unsold kids yourself for meat , many people do . This option will likely only be financially viable up until 18 months of age because of your investment in feeding the animal .
So you Bought a goat from us
if your goat was not a bottle baby , before they leave here ...
your goat has been
- Disbudded at 5 days old
- recieved coccidia preventative starting at 3 weeks old and every subsequent weeks
- wormed at 6 weeks old and rewormed at 7.5 weeks
- little boys have been wethered (banded) at approximately 2 months old unless you bought a requested buckling
when you bought a goat from us , you agreed to follow home requirements for the goats health and safety .
if at any time you find you cannot keep the goat you bought from us , you are welome to contact us and bring him or her back to us , we do not give refunds however .
Requirements for Goat Purchase
These Requirements are non negotiable !
They must be confirmed before you can buy a goat From us !!
1) the goat must be fed good grass hay twice a
day , just graze and brush is
not enough to keep a goat healthy , we feed high
quality grass hay , hay should be green
in appearance and not yellow to assure proper nutrition
we also feed alfalfa hay (first or third cut not second )
or alfalfa pellets , and grain , these are especially
important for pregnant and lactating does And growing kids .
2) the goat needs to have adequate housing ,
not a dog house ! Needs to be with a fenced
outdoor area that they have free access to from their shelter , goats
hate the rain , they need enough space
to stay warm and dry during bad weather and to have plenty
of space to move around ,must be a minimum of 6’x8’ shelter needs a way to shut
goats in at night to protect them from predators , For that reason we require
a four sided shelter with a door .
3) goats need to have regular hoof trimming every 2-4 weeks
4) we will not sell a goat to anyone who intends to keep
a goat in the house , being outdoors is very important for a goat’s health
(temporary in house for bottle babies is acceptable, but not for permanent)
5) if you are buying a milk goat from us , you will need to milk her twice a day
or dry her up in a safe way for her health , or buy her with her kid
to keep her from getting sick
6) if buying a bottle baby , source of milk needs to be figured out and secured
at your house before picking up baby , we recommend goat’s milk for the most
natural diet , if goat’s milk is unavailable , quality whole cow’s milk from the
grocery store is still more digestible than nearly every milk replacer on the market
formulas tend to clog up their digestive system , and complications from this is one
of the number one killers of bottle babies .Newborns are going to need more
frequent feedings and cannot go long periods of time without a bottle ,
homes for babies need to be committed to a feeding schedule that is best for the baby.
Goat normal Vitals
normal goat temp 101.5 -103.5
respiration 12-20 per min kid 20-40 per min.
pulse 70-80 bpm
rumination cycles 1-1.5 per min
An ounce of prevention is wrth a pound of cure . Do not allow goats to overeat on grain , secure grain so it cannot be obtained withut supervision . Do not allow goats to graze on wet grass , and feed them hay before grazing.
Large , tight belly , kicking at the sides
1. remove grain and graze , also remove water for 12 hours if this is dry bloat from grain
2. Feed hay and give baking soda , either dry or mixed with water and applied in an oral drench , provide baking soda free choice
3. Give a drench containing 1 tbsp. powdered plain tide laundry detergent , not additives or bleach , soaked in water , or diluted Dawn dish soap .
4. Milk of magnesia 15 cc per 60 lb
5. C&D Antitoxin shot (not to be confused with toxoid)
what if nothing works ?
call a veterinarian , be sure they have a small tube , not just a horse tube to release the gas
Cut treats in small pieces , place large stones or tennis balls in grain dish of piggy type goats that scarf their food and are liable to choke
Slinging rumen (may appear like vommitting) , tossing their head , gaping mouth , foaming at the mouth , struggling for breath , leaping in place , they may hide , passing out
1. Choking is no joke , do not leave the goat while it is choking , give it space to try to work it out . Remove them from the stanschion if they are in the stanschion giving them room to sling their head
2. massage the throat , pat the rib cage
3. use a catheter syringe full of water to flush down the throat
4. heimlich maneuver , achieve the same for as a human , sit the goat on it's rump , sharp upward thrusts with your fist at the bottom of the ribcage.
5. use a pre prepared pvc pipe with a hole drilled in it to wedge in theie mouth . slip a flexible slender plastic hose through the hole in the pvc , and shove it down the throat to unblock the obstruction
what if nothing works ?
keep trying but call the veterinarian
Keep a clean pen . In wet then warm conditions , Cocci thrives . Use coccidia prevention from 3 weeks to 6 months of age .
Weight loss and or dark or black smelly diarrhea , possible blood in stools . Goat stands hunched , may refuse to eat . Any age goat can get Cocci , but kids 3 weeks to 6 months are most likely. The best treatment is prevention in most cases.
Treatment / prevention :
SEE WEANING KIDS SECTION WHERE THERE IS A TABLE WITH DOSAGE FOR DIFFERENT MEDS FOR THIS PURPOSE THAT ARE VERY HELPFUL
what if nothing works ?
see a vet
Over eater's disease / enterotoxemia ( caused by clostridium perfringens type D)
Do not feed too much grain or graze . Stress can exaserbate .
Off feed , stomach pain , diarrhea
1. C&D antitoxin given every 12 hours as needed 5cc for prevention 10cc treatment
2. antibiotics penecillin 1cc per 20 lb sub q injection (probiotics following antibiotics is a good idea to encourage good bacteria)
3. milk of magnesia 15 cc per 60 lbs every 4-6 hours
4. Banamine 1 cc per 100 lbs sub q
5. B complex 1cc per 25 lbs to support the goat
What if nothing works ?
see a vet
Do not over feed
reduced rumen sounds , diarrhea , off feed , secluding themselves , possibly teeth grinding
1. Stop grain (or milk in the case of a kid) , give kids electrolytes instead . Keep hay available , give adults electrolytes . Keep off of grain for several days .
2 . C&D antitoxin , kids 5cc preventative 10 cc treatment , adults 10 cc preventative 20cc treatment
3. milk of magnesia 15 cc per 60 lbs every 4-6 hours
4. probiotics and b complex 1 cc per 25lb sub q injection
what if nothing works ?
Compromised Rumen can lead to over eater's disease if left untreated , follow with overeater's treatment if that happens .
Weather related overheating stress
Goats should have access to shade and water , if the pen has no shade , make shade for it . Give them access to their shelter at all times .
Panting , weak , down , high temperature
1. Move to shade and offer electrolytes
2. Wet down neck and armpits , do not wet the whole goat , cool them down slowly
What if nothing works ?
tube 50 lb goat 1/2 gallon of fluid , or sub q IV the same
Ketosis / Pregnancy Toxemia and Hypocalcemia / Milk Fever
These are primarily pregnancy disorders , feed alfalfa hay during pregnancy . Do not over feed grain , but feed moderate amounts . Last 2 weeks of pregnancy through 1 week after kid is born give your doe several ultra strength tums a day . Offer CMPK drench during kidding 1 oz at first sign of labor and 1 oz 6-12 hours later . Keto nia drench 1 oz at first sign of labor and 1 oz 6-12 hours later . Also remember not to make feed changes during the last part of pregnancy , this can trigger these problems .Offer a good loose mineral mix with 2:1 calcium:phosphorous at all times.
Ketosis / Pregnancy Toxemia
off feed or decreased eating
Separating herself from the herd
may lay alone or struggle to get up
eyes may be dull
Muscle tremors & seizures
possibly swollen ankles
might grind teeth
her breath and urine may have a fruity smell. This is from excess ketones, which have a sweet smell
Hypocalcemia / Milk Fever
bloat or constipation
The doe may be unsteady
unable to stand
Weakened contractions during birth
Decreased body temperature.
may stop ruminating, peeing or pooping
Shivering after milking
1. CMPK drench 60 cc 2 hours later 30 cc CMPK drench , then 30 cc 3x daily until she's doing better
PLEASE NOTE CMPK CAN IRRITATE THE GOAT'S THROAT
2. 50/50 blackstrap molasses and water 60 cc 2 x per day or 30 cc several times a day
3. Propelene glycol 60 cc 2x per day
4. OR you can use Calcium gluconate 8 oz. given orally. Repeat 5-8 oz, three times a day until the doe is eating and symptoms are subsiding.
SQ Injections of 40-60 cc of Calcium Gluconate. The injections should be broken down into at least 4 injections in different sites. Do not give more than 10 cc per injection site. The injections should be given slowly.
5. in milk fever if you are milking the doe don't take too much milk off for the next few milkings
6. fortified vitamin B complex injection sub q daily to help with appetite
What if nothing works ?
keep trying , keep treating , it may take time to get her up on her feet
trim regularly , every 2-4 weeks . Sterilize hoof shears between goats . If you find hoof rot , sterilize hoof shears after each foot . Keep pens clean .
cheesy white smelly substance , holes in the hoof , black smelly discharge between hoof wall and the frog , speration of hoof wall , extreme overgrowth of hoof .
1. trim infection away
2. natural treatment water with lavender oil and tea tree oil
3. clorox bleach on hoof and shears
4. commercial hoof rot treatment
what if nothing works ?
Keep working on it , keep cutting away , treat and keep watching for symptoms . Use antibiotic injections LA200 1cc per 20 lb sub q daily for 5 days
Treat all new goats coming into the herd with powder treatment labeled for horses , check for symptoms , or treat pre kidding by 14 days , to be sure lice will not be passed along . Lice are frequently seen in winter and early spring . Brush frequently to distribute natural boy oils .
Scratching , cowlicks on the hair , bald spots , visible lice or nits . moe the fur backward to see the parasites , check several goats , particularly dark colored goats .
1.powder with powder labeled for horses , important , re treat in 10 days , and then again in another 10 days to get hatching eggs . Concentrate on the back along the goats topline , udder area and top of the head .
2. Cyclence 1cc per 25 lbs down the topline , make sure to retreat 3 weeks later, pregnant goats and kids over 7 days can hae this one.
3. Ivomec injectible 1cc per 40 lbs sub q , retreat in 3 weeks (don't use this on kids under 6 months)
what if nothing works ?
keep treating , you'll get them, re treat in winter .
watch for symptoms in goats coming in . Keep goats away from pigs as they are known to carry mange mites .
Crusty skin , thickened and elephantine , Loss of hair , Red or raw spots , may itch , may be concentrated around the head
1. Topicals usually unsuccessful but you can try olive oil and tea tree oil in spots
2. Ivomec injectible 1cc per 40 lbs sub q , once a week for 3 weeks (don't use this on kids under 6 months)
what if nothing works ?
Goat's abcess at injury sites , avoid injury . Either bruising , scratches , scrapes , pokes , even injections can cause abcess . Purchase goats from herds without CL infection .
A hard lump under the skin's surface , softens over time and grows larger , hair loss occurs before bursting
1. Wait until hair is lost at abcess site , try to avoid letting it burst on its own , this way you will have control of where and when it bursts avoiding contamination of your goat pen and your herd . Wearing gloves , test the abcess by squeezing with a paper towel , when the abcess bursts , dispose of puss and gloves and if possible isolate the goat as some infections are catching . Inject the open sore with iodine repeat daily for 3 days , Squeezing puss out until it seems empty . Watch for reappearance after the wound is healed .
2. Not every abcess is a risk factor to the herd . CL is a contagious disease that can run through a herd , it is characterized by green puss , which smells putrid and awful . CL appears only in certain locations on the animal running along the lymphatic line . A variety of bacterias can be responsible for non CL abcess
What if nothing works ?
abcesses can be reccurent , try to prevent them. or if you are worried about the origins you can have them tested for CL .
Diarrhea or Clumpy Manure
Do not allow overeating , overindulging in milk , grain , graze , or fresh foods the goat is unacquainted with . Use a regular deworming schedule , (we tend to deworm only a couple of times a year . ) as worms can cause diarrhea or clumpy poo .
Treat kids for Coccidia prevention .
Goat manure is usually formed in small round pebbles , watery loose manure , or clumpy poo can indicate a problem . Milk scours are pale , Coccidia is indicated by dark black and smelly poo , Overindulgence is brown or green . Treatment is dependent on cause.
1. Remove grain /milk / graze
2. peopto bisomol 2-5cc kids 10-15 cc adult , do not use immodium it can kill the goat
4. scours treatment home remedy : (make fresh daily) 1 cup yogurt or buttermilk , 1 raw egg ,1 tsp baking cocoa , 1/4 tsp baking soda , administer several times a day 30 cc adult , 15cc kid , electrolytes may be needed: you can use pedia lyte ,gatorade if you have to , or homemade electrolytes 2 tsp salt , 1 tsp baking soda , 8 tablespoons honey or corn syrup , 1 gallon warm water ,mix well ,refrigerate what you don't use .
5. Coccidia treatment (refer to the coccidia poster above )
What if nothing works?
Reasses cause of diarrhea / clumpy poo to be sure it isremoved or treated for .
Milk on time , check strip milk , be sanitary in hand washing and udder washing , keep a clean barn .
Flakes , chunks , stringiness, or blood in milk . Salty taste in milk , Red , hot , swollen udder turning deep purple or black , (watery milk with flakes in it can indicate staph bacteria , watery with yellow clots indicates strep or staph bacteria , watery brown with mealy flakes indicates e coli )
1. You can get a California mastitis test to be sure you are dealing with mastitis , but these are not always readily available and they are expensive.
2. Milk frequently even if it is hard to do
3. Feed 30cc of her own infected milk to the doe (easiest over grain) , do this a few days to build antibodies naturally .
4. Masteo blast 10day treatment
5. penecillin G procaine infuse 1-2 cc per infected side by removing the needle and squirting into the udder through the teat opening every 12 hours for 3-5 days (you can get a teat canula for this purpose ) . note: some goats are allergic to penecillin
What if nothing works?
Keep trying , consider it could be a foreign body like hay , use antibiotic injections until infection is fully gone to keep from going sceptic , use dexamethasone and vitamin C
The number one cause of spontaneous abortion is injury . (in fighting in the herd) Try not to bring in new goats in breeding season or while goats are pregnant . Avoid stress like chasing . Avoid feeding moldy feed or feed conatminated by cat feces . If one abortion occurs in the herd , you may have no reason to worry about disease , if it is 90% you may need to see why .
Premature expulsion of the kid . The kid may be partially consumed by a doe trying to clean up what she counts as afterbirth . Yo may find a bloody spot on the floor and see blood and birthing fluids on the vulva of a doe not yet due to deliver . This is one good reason for hand breeding and knowing your due date .
1. Remove the dead kid . Watch for a retained placenta ie. no placenta found on the floor , or something hanging out of the vulva . wait 6 hours , if still no sign of placenta or if there are signs it is retained , (most abortions end in retained placenta )
treat with injectible sub q. antibiotic 5-7 day LA 200 is what we prefer . Untreated retained placenta can lead to infection and future breeding problems .
Treat umbilical cord with iodine 3 times a day for 3 days after the kid is born .
Occurs 3+ weeks after exposure . Swollen joints , high fever , off feed , navel may be infected .
1. Baytril 100 4cc per 100# injected sub q daily . OR- penecillin 1 cc per 20# daily , OR - Nuflor 3cc per 100# injected sub q daily OR 1cc per 20# injected sub q daily . Whichever antibiotic use it for 10 full days
2. Follow antibiotics with probiotics
What if nothing works ?
Try another antibiotic , reasses diagnosis
Try to treat all injuries / wounds when they occur , joint ill is when infection has gone septic .
Attacks the bladder , the kidney , and has swollen joints
Same as navel ill above
Eye infection / eye discharge
Do not have hay feeders too high so goats must look too far upward
Eye will weep , goats will close one eye , fogginess on the eye , irritated third eyelid .
1. Check eye thoroughly for foreign bodies peel the eye lid back bottom and top , check corners especially , a piece of hay can easily become lodged deep in the eye . Sometimes it takes a deal of looking to see it . If it is located , pull it gently free , flush the eye with water
2. use raw milk in the eye 2 times a day to treat infection , (note :this has also been used with success in humans to treat pinkeye )
3. Terramycin cream or ointment or neosporin (without pain reliever ) in the eye daily multiple times , use 5-10 days until clear .
4. If eye infection is persistent and bad enough , use LA 200 injection 1 cc per 20 # injected sub q 5-7 days
what if nothing works ?
continue treatment in the eye , some infections get worse before they get better . The eye can become entirely cloudy before clearing up suddenly after days of treatment . Be sure to use topicals repeatedly through the day . If you feel there is no progress you may want to consider consulting a vet .
Check pastures often for plants and mushrooms toxic to goats , acquaint yourself with local toxic plants . Do not allow goats near natural or manmade toxins as they do not know better than to consume them .
Goats cannot vomit , they may appear to do so during poisoning as they sling their rumen .
1. activated charcoal 1-3 cc per 2.2lbs
2.C&D antitoxin kids 5 cc preventative , 10 cc treatment ; Adults 10 cc preventative 20 cc preventative
3. Milk of magnesia 15 cc per 60 # every 4-6 hours
4. Rhododendron / Laurel plants , plants with Cyogenic compounds HOME REMEDY (this works , we know /)
1/4 cup cooking oil (for lubrication )
1/2 cup strong black tea (this is the antedote )
1 teaspoon of ground ginger (for pain )
1 teaspoon baking soda
drench together 1-2 cc at a time , keep on giving this again and again because the goat will continue to spew it up , keep feeding it in until the goat stops spewing .
what if nothing works ?
keep trying , or call a vet
Goat Polio - Thiamine deficiency / Listeriosis
These two ilnesses share sypmtoms , treatments for both should be given
Avoid using corrid or be sure you use it properly and follow up with fortified Vitamin B shots 5 days AFTER use , avoid high sulphur intake , avoid spoiled feed , and vegetables contaminated by untreated manure . there are some types of toxic ferns that can also cause polio . (Bracken , Nardoo , Rock Fern )these effects can be accumulative and become very serious .
staggering , blindness , eye twitch , circling , seizures, diarrhea , tremors , teeth grinding , fever , drooling , abortion
1. 500 mg (1cc) thiamine every 4-6 hours first shot given intermuscular , additional shots sub q ,
2. Procaine penicillin (NOT penecillin 48) - 10 cc / 100 lb SQ every 4-6 hours
LA200 1 cc / 22 lb SQ every 12 hours for the first week and once every 24 hours the second week
3. Dexamethasone preferably , but will cause miscarriage in pregnant animals
Banamine maybe used in bred does OR if Dex is unavailable
Dexamethasone 6 cc per 100 pounds given IM decreasing daily.
First Day 6 cc per 100 lbs injected into the muscle (IM) , second day 5 cc IM , third day 4 cc IM , fourth day 3 cc IM , fifth day 2 cc IM , sixth day one cc IM , seventh day nothing .
If the goat is over 100 pounds, drop dosages daily by two or three cc's. 200 pound goat first day 12 cc IM , second day 10 cc IM , third day 8 cc IM on , fourth day 6 cc IM , fifth day 4 cc IM , sixth day 2 cc IM , seventh day 1 cc IM , eight day nothing Dexamethasone must be backed off slowly instead of discontinuing suddenly don't use Dex on kids under six months old unless on the advice of a veterinarian
Banamine 1 cc per 100 lbs SQ once daily for 3 days, then reassess
Treat for 24 hours after all symptoms stop.
4.give probiotics 3-4 hours after giving antibiotics.
5.Be sure the goat is getting plenty of food and fluids.
You may need to feed a smoothie of nutrients, tube or give IV fluids, but you must keep up the goats’ strength with food and fluids.
If the goat is down, move often, from side to side, massage muscles and make a sling to get them up for short periods of time, then down a bit to rest, and repeat, gradually increasing time in the sling daily.
Keeping the body active even with help with serve the goat well once recovered. Loss of muscle is hard to regain.
NEVER allow the goat to lay flat on its side...prop up with hay bales, bl0cks or whatever you have.
Keep up with treatment every 4-6 hours round the clock until there have been no symptoms for a minimum of 24 to 48 hours.
Once you have the goat well on the way in treatment, check your property for mold or other causes for polio/listeriosis.
Don't have goats in too closed an area with lack of ventilation . Watch for inhaled debris which can cause mechanial pneumonia . Avoid letting your goats get really wet , make sure they always have shelter available . A wet goat is a dead goat .
Self isolating , hanging head , arched back , coughing , raspy breathing , yellow / green discharge from the nose ,eye discharge , off feed , fever .
1. Treat Fever by using ice packs , do not wet the entire goat . Offer electrolytes .
2. Tylan 200 1cc per 25 lb injected sub q 2 times a day 5-7 days
3. Nuflor 3cc per 100 # sub q daily , 5-7 days
4. Less effective antibiotics for respiratory , LA 200 1cc per 20 # sub q daily 5-7 days , penecillin G 1 cc per 20 lbs sub q 2 times daily 5-7 days , penecilin 48 1 cc per 20 lbs sub q once daily 5-7 day
5. in addition to antibiotics , give B complex 1cc per 25 lbs sub q daily for appetite
What if nothing works ?
If you come to the end of antibiotic treatment cycle and no improvement , you can add anitbiotic extra days , switch to another antibiotic , or consult a vet .
Localized Staph infection on the skin
Prevent moisture in barn stalls , clean and sanitize often .
puss filled pimples , usually on the udder , inside of the legs , and underside of the tail
1. Wash with chlorhexadine or iodine , do not pop the pimples , as it spreads the rash .
What if nothing works ?
Dry pimples out with isopropyl alcholol 70% , keep pens clean and dry , wash hands , change washing rags between milking does , be persistent . Staph can be tough to get rid of , only use injectible or oral antibiotics if you must .
Tetanus antitoxin (not to be confused with toxoid )1500 units sub q before you disbud / castrate or when injured
Muscle stiffness , unsteady , altered voice , erect ears / tail , unable to eat or drink , convulsions , death due to repiratory paralysis .
1. If confirmed to have tetanus , give 3,000 units (a 10cc vial)
2. penecillin 1 cc per 20 lb sub q 2 times a day
3. banamine 1cc per 100 lb sub q
What if nothing works?
Tetanus can be a long recovery in goats . You can consult a vet
Use a proper 2:1 ratio phosphorus to calcium feeding and mineral . Wether male goats when urinary tract is developed , 2 months old minimum . Reduce goat grain intake , use ammonium chloride to reduce probability 1/4 tsp per 75 lbs daily . Give males apple cider vinegar in his feed or water .
Goat barely dribbling when peeing , hunched in pain , restless , tail flicking , grinding teeth , vocalizing .
1. 1 tsp ammonium chloride per 75 lbs every 1 hours for 2 days , then 1/2 tsp per 75lbs every 12 hours for 3 days , followed by a 1/2 tsp once per day for 3 days . followed by preventative dose . Ammonium chloride replacement 3 tablespoon lemon juice , 1 cup water give 20 cc 4 times the first day , 3 times the next 2 days , then 2 times a day . OR apple cider vinegar at the same dose as Ammonium Chloride . If you do not have ammonium chloride available , fruit fresh from the grocery store canning isle may be helpful , vitamin C may provide support .
What if nothing works ?
If peeing has stopped or down to a dribble , massage the sheath to help break up the calcium stones , you can snip the pizzle with sharp scissors to allow it to pass stones , you may wish to take to a veterinarian , but ultimately if urination does not improve and it is suffering , you may want to euthanize it .
Internal Parasites / Worms
Keep pens clean , Avoid overcrowding , deworm when goat is overstressed or after kidding , deworm regularly at at least once a year . and reworm 10-14 days later .
Weight loss , changes in manure with clumping or diarrhea , Dull coat , inner eyelids (famacha) is not pink but pale , weakness , lethargy , bottle jaw .
note: if worm load is thought to be heavy , do not use injectible or pour on wormers as too many worms dying at once can kill the goat with toxins from the dead worms . Do not use natural wormers / herbal wormers as they are largely ineffective , as is diatamateous earth .
We use ivermectin horse paste at a rate of 3x the body weight of the animal , example for a 50 lb goat worm for 150lb .
Tapeworms need special wormers , such as praziquantal in horse wormers like equimax . If internal parasites have caused anemia , you may need to treat the anemia alongside the worms .
What if nothing works ?
Worms can become immune if certain wormers are used too often , change wormers .
Buy goats from closed / clean herds , some people advise pulling babies from new Moms and bottling . Note : false positives and negatives can occur in testing .
Conjested udder , swollen joints , weightloss , pneumonia , CAE develops in kids by age 2
There are only theraputic measures to treat symptoms , CAE is contagious and has no cure . If goats are known to have CAE , then cull.
Give bottle babies goat's or cow's milk rather than formula
Baby not pooping
1/2 to 1 Tablespoon cooking oil in 1/2 to 1 Cup of warm water with a few drops of dawn dish soap , use as an enema , massage the tummy , encourage walking , when he has a BM and most of the enema comes out , add more .
What if nothing works ?
It can take multiple enemas and 30-40 minutes or longer to get good results
Sub Q - pinch up the skin and lift off of the body , push the needle into the skin , we prefer to use size 22 x 3/4
Only hormones or steroids need intermuscular ,you can give injections sub q even if the bottle says IM , you can do a sub q injection anywhere you can get a pinch of skin except on the rump where there is a nerve .
Preventative : Keep a close eye on new kids and compromised adults
Low temperature , normal is 101.5 - 103.5
1. Cayenne pepper in honey or molasses orally 4 times per hour the first hour , then 2 times per hour after , then put
put the baby or adult under a large towel or blanket , place hairdryer under it to warm the air . Keep a hand in with the goat to be sure it isn't too hot . Rub the goat to stimulate it .
2. Keep the goat propped on it's sternum , don't let it lie on it's side . Give adults strong coffee with molasses .
Note : After they are warmed , fix why they got cold . Never feed a chilled kid a bottle . Warm the kid to temperature first .
Putting down a Goat
Despite our best efforts in goat care , sometimes a goat is in too much pain / suffering , and it is time to euthanize them . My belief is that when possible , you should know how to put down your own animals in case a vet is too long a time away . In the case of a goat , a .22 caliber rifle is the best course . Point the barrell at the back of the head at the top of the skull , aim down toward the mouth . Use high velocity bullets to dispatch . And of course , when available and if it is your preference , use a Vet . Do your goat the service of a proper burial , some bad shepherds will leave the carass afield . Do the decent thing , and the last service you can do your goat as it's shepherd.
Prevention : Look for ground nests and nests in trees near grazing areas and the pen and eliminate them
Symptoms : Localized Swelling
Liquid Benadryl given orally 5 ml (teaspoon) for very young kids 15-20 ml for adults
Prevention : Keep a low stress environment , manage pain correctly , keep goats away from predators .
Symptoms : Shivering , cold extremeties , fast breathing , low temperature , normal is 101.5 - 103.5
1. If injury caused , give tetanus antitoxin 5cc kids , 10 cc adults
2. B complex injection 1 cc per 25 lbs
3. Banamine for pain 1 cc per 100 lb if injury related .
4. If the goat is shivering with a low temperature , cover them , if they are shivering with a high temperature do not cover them
5. Dexamethasone 1cc per 20 lb intermuscular , only once .
6. Keep the goat in a quiet low stress environment
What if nothing works ?
Call a Vet
Injury / Open Wounds
Prevention : Keep from predators , patrol environment for nails screws loose fencing etc .
1. Treat for shock as above
2. Cleanse all wounds with iodine , don't wrap deep or puncture wounds or use topical meds that will prevent it breathing as moisture can cause infection , assess if the wounds need stitching . Super glue can work , Krazy glue works best . But for very large wounds , vet care may be sought . Keep wounds clean and dry . You may treat wounds with Banixx , idoine , vetrycin
3. Antibiotics like LA 200 for deep wounds or broken bones ,use probiotics after . Daily B complex injection , watch for flies that may take advantage
What if nothing works ?
If infection is present and antibiotic doesn't work , or if wouns are too large / deep , or if you are overly concerned , call a vet
Prevention : Isolate infected goats , use quarantine methods for new goats
Symptoms : Scabs and pussy sores around the face , ears , feet , privates and teats caused by a contagious parapox virus , lasts 1-4 weeks , may go off feed due to sores on the mouth
1. Wear gloves , there is no cure and it is contageous and itmust run its course regardless of treatment . Treat sores with iodine or vinegar and water 50/50 topical
2. treat with chlorhexadine
3. Clean all feeders / water bucket with diluted clorox bleach
What if nothing works ?
Sore mouth just has to run its course ,be patient
Johnes / paratuberculosis
Prevention : Testing can be done but is unreliable , Watch for symptoms in new animals coming in .
Symptoms : Johnes is a bacterial wasting disease which is contagious , it is contracted through fecal oral contact , weightloss , possible diarrhea , watch for abnormal stool .
Treatment : There is no treatment , seek a farm vet to confirm if you suspect it , but rule out other causes for weightloss before panicking
Scurf/ i.e. dandruff
Prevention depends upon cause , brush the animal to distribute natural body oils , be sure you are on a goat mineral , properly balance nutrition in a 2:1 calcium phosphorus ratio , be sure your goat's diet is sufficient in nutrition overall , also be aware they do some seasonal shedding that can cause dandruff .
Prevention : You can try to buy from a tested herd
Symptoms : Scraping / biting at the legs and sides Note: try to discount other causes for itching before assuming it's scrapie
Treatment : There is no treatment this is a wasting disease , consult a vet for possible confirmation
Medicines & Dosage chart for goats
WARNING -NEVER USE TYLENOL ON GOATS
1. Banamine : fever reducer , inflammation and pain reliever : Dosage : once per day for a maximum of 3 days 1 cc per 100#
💥 UPDATED DOSING 💥
2cc/100# SQ or ORALLY once a day
1cc/100# SQ or ORALLY twice daily (every 12 hours)
For up to 3 days safely
2. Aspirin : (Do not use if internal injury is suspected or if the goat is bleeding as it is a blood thinner ) Dosage 1 -325 mg pill per 1# or 1 adult regular aspirin per 10#
3. Ibuprophen Liquid children's is best (also a blood thinner don't use if bleeding ) Dosage : 1cc per 10 #
4. Dexamethasone : Inflammation control , Dosage 1cc per 20# injected intermuscular NOTE : THIS CAN CAUSE MISCARRIAGE IN PREGNANT GOATS , ALSO IF DEX HAS TO BE GIVEN AT LENGTH DO NOT STOP SUDDENLY , WEAN THE AMOUNT DOWN SLOWLY AS SEEN IN THE POLIO/ LISTERIOSIS SECTION
Dexamethason ( dex) dose depends on whats being addresed.I found this helpful post.
taken from : Goat 101 Saanendoah info
CAUTION: Do not use in pregnant does, it can cause them to abort.
USES AND DOSE RATES: use the smallest dose that achieves the desired effect in order to limit adverse side effects. In general, anti-inflammatory doses are 10 times the physiological levels, doses to suppress the immune system are twice the anti-inflammatory dose, and doses to treat shock are 5 to 10 times the immunosuppressive dose.
Used as an antinflammatory it prevents the development of the inflammatory response. As an anti-inflammatory and pain reliever for joint and bone injuries (dose rate: 1/2 to 1ml/20 lbs). (The relationship between dexamethasone and delayed bone healing without infection remains unresolved.)
For head injuries or "brain burn" following too vigorous disbudding (1-2mg/20 lbs).
For shock (1-2mg/20 lbs). To : 1. Increase capillary blood flow (improved circulation), 2. Decrease absorption of endotoxins, 3. Decrease production of Myocardial Depressant Factor 4. Decrease organ damage.
Following stroke or other cerebral vascular accidents (1-2mg/20 lbs).
Combined with thiamine (B1) to help reverse brain swelling associated with polioencephalomalacia .
Ketosis (4-8ml). Glucocorticoid reaction. The gluconeogenic effects of dexamethasone, when administered intramuscularly, are generally noted within the first 6-12 hours (faster via IV route). Blood sugar levels rise to normal levels within 12-24 hours. Acetone bodies are reduced to normal concentrations usually within 24 hours. The physical attitude of animals brightens and appetite improves, usually within 12 hours. Milk production, which is suppressed as a compensatory reaction in this condition, begins to increase. The recovery process usually takes from three to seven days.
Allergic reactions to insect bites or other allergins (1/2 to 1ml/20 lbs).
As supportive therapy in mastitis, metritis, traumatic gastritis and pyelonephritis, while appropriate primary therapy is administered. In these cases, the corticosteroid combats accompanying stress and enhances the feeling of general well-being.
As supportive therapy while an animal is recuperating from severe debilitation and therefore eats better during the very critical period of early recuperation (dose rate: 1-2 mg/20 lbs 5-8ml to an adult doe, repeat in 12-24 hours ).
As supportive therapy in inflammatory conditions, such as arthritic conditions, snake bite, acute mastitis, shipping fever, pneumonia, laminitis and retained placenta.
To induce labor (parturation) before 144 days. Dex is the drug of choice for increasing the chance of live kids when inducing labor/paturation before 144 days.
May be used in animals with acute or chronic bacterial infections providing that the infections are controlled with appropriate antibiotics or chemotherapeutic agents.
CAUTIONS: Because of the anti-inflammatory action of corticosteroids, signs of infection may be masked. Overdosage of some glucocorticoids may result in sodium retention, fluid retention, potassium loss and weight gain.
DO NOT USE in combination with medications of the NSAID class (ie, Banamine (flunixin meglumine), aspirin, phenylbutazone (bute) [note: Bute may reduce the effects of corticosteroids], etc.) the combination of these medications could lead to bleeding in the stomach or intestine.
CONTRAINDICATIONS : Except for emergency therapy, do not use in animals with chronic nephritis (kidney disease). The existence of congestive heart failure, diabetes and osteoporosis are relative contraindications. Do not use in viral infections during the viremic stage.
WITHDRAWAL : Meat none. Milk 72 hours.
STORAGE : Store between 2-30°C (36-86°F).
Dex should be given IM
1. Baycox 5%, ( Toltrazuril 5% ) 1 cc per 5 # at 3 weeks old..booster in 10 days if needed (preventative start at 3 weeks old and dose every 3 weeks until 6 months old )
2. Dimethox 40% injectable given orally (albon , sulfamed ) 1 cc per 5# day one 1 cc per 10# day 2-5 Undiluted
For preventive, some prefer doing 1 cc per 10# for five days...see what works for you.
This also comes in a powder form labled sulfadimethoxine..a 107 g bag. To mix, dissolve
into 3 cups water. store in the refrigerator, dose as you would above
3. Dimethox 12.5% orally 3 cc per 5# day one 3 cc per 10# day 2-5
4. Albon 5% orally 8 cc per 5# day one 8 cc per 10# day 2-5
5. Corid liquid (Amprol) we do not recommend this treatment
1. Ivermectin horse paste 3 times the horse dose ( treat a 50 # goat as a 150 # horse)
2. Equimax (praziquantal + ivermectin )horse paste 3 times the horse dose ( treat a 50 # goat as a 150 # horse)
this one works for tape worms
3.Valbazen NOTE Do Not Use on Pregnant Goats 1 cc per 10# orally, for tape worm..use 3 days in a row
4. Quest or Quest plus 1cc per 100 # orally , make sure to dose correctly the margin for error is slim
1. Nuflor( PRESCRIPTION ) 3 cc sub Q per 100# once daily
2. Tylan 200 (OVER THE COUNTER ) 1 cc per 25# sub Q twice daily
3. Tylan 50(OVER THE COUNTER ) 4 cc per 25# sub Q twice a day (only recommended for kids dose would be too much for big goats)
4. La 200/300( over the counter) or Biomycin (prescription )...1 cc per 20# sub Q once daily ( try to get Biomycin, same medicine but stings less ,LA200 stings and some goats react very badly to this sudden pain thrashing screaming etc be prepared when giving LA200
5 . Know your Penicillin for proper frequency...Regular Penn and 48 Hour Penn
Penicillin G Procaine 1 cc per 20# sub Q twice daily
Combi-Pen 48 1 cc per 20# considered a long acting med is 1x a day for goats.
Pain, inflammation, fever reducer
B complex 4-5 cc per 100# sub Q once daily as needed
Fortified B complex 4-5 cc per 100# once daily sub Q as needed
B complex Plus 4-5 cc per 100# once daily sub Q as needed
Thiamine (B1) 100 mg is 4 1/2 cc per 100#, 25 mg must be given 4 times the dose...
B 12 4 cc per 100# sub Q once daily as needed
Vit C... 1000-3000 mg a day...you can give more if needed, they will pee out what is not needed.
BoSe, injectable selenium, 1 cc per 40# sub Q
Cod Liver Oil contains high amounts of vitamin A, Vitamin D, and certain enzymes. It cures and prevents contracted tendons, rickets, and muscle cramping… dose is 0.1 cc per 2.2 pounds twice daily for 3 days then twice a week for 2 weeks
Replimin 3 cc for small breed 5 cc for large breed, adjust for kids according. use 3-4 times a week then once a week
Red Cell 6 cc per 100#
Injectable pig iron 4 cc per 100# sub Q ( always have Epi, Dex or benadryl ready to give)
Tetanus antitoxin 2 cc for kids and 4 cc for adults
CD &T 2 cc sub q all ages and size...should not be given before 2 1/2 -3 months old as immune systems are not ready for it to be effective
Benadryl 5 ml (teaspoon) for very young kids 15-20 ml for adults
Nutra-drench 2 pumps once a day for no more then 2-3 days..Nutra-drench is caustic and too much for too long can cause the goat to stop eating..just give enough when needed for a boost.
Dextrose Solution (50%) - This over-the-counter IV product in a bottle is used orally with weak newborns by slowly dropping one or two cc in the mouth and under the tongue for quick energy. Can be mixed half and half with water and offered short-term to weak goats or kids who are either having trouble digesting milk or have overeaten on milk (Floppy Kid Syndrome) and need to be taken off milk for several days until the toxicity caused by undigested milk has been successfully treated. ( per TMG)
CD Antitoxin...kids 5 cc preventive, 10 cc treatment....Adult 10 cc preventive and 20 cc treatment...every 12 hours
Activated Charcol: You have very little if any risk of Over dose on AC..please, if treating for poison..don’t fuss over dose..do your best to get close and give ASAP..
1 Tablespoon of Powder= 10 grams
AC tube: Sheep & Goats: 1-3 mL per kilogram (2.2 lbs) body weight.
Activated Charcoal for for diarrhea:
*Horses, cattle 50-200 Gm;
*Foals, calves, pigs, sheep or goats 15-5-gm
*Piglets, Lambs, Dogs, Cats 3-10 GM
*poultry-birds 1-2 gm
Dosage for poisoning : 0.75 Gram per KG of body weight, aprox 1 tablespoon per 30# body weight
Milk of Magnesia 15 cc per 60# ( 1/4 cc per pound) orally every 4-6 hours as needed
Pepto, 2-5 cc for kids 10-15 cc for adult
DO NOT USE IMMODIUM MD IN GOATS, It can stop the peristaltic action of the gut, causing rapid and painful death.
Spectoguard...1 squirt 2 x a day for 3 days or 2 squirts a day for 3 days, stop when stools are solid, follow each dose with probiotics 3-4 hours after dose then once a day for 3 days after compete
Cylence 1 cc per 25# down the top line..safe for pregnant does and young kids
these are ordered from most likely to least likely see each section of the medical section for treatments
Diarrhea - 1. feed 2. worms 3. bacteria 4. coccidia 5. overeaters 6. compromised rumen 7. wasting diseases like Johnes
Pimples on skin - 1. localized skin infection 2. sore mouth
Weight loss - 1. feed related 2. worms 3. loss of condition due to disease or pregnancy / or nursing kids 4. coccidia 5. CAE or Johnes disease
Swollen Belly - 1. Bloat 2. unintended pregnancy (kid is carried on the right , stomach is on the left )
Lump on Skin - 1. abcess caused by bacteria or rarely CL 2. bee sting 3. spider bites 4. injection site 5. injury 6. tumor
Swollen joints - 1. systemic infection like navel or joint ill or even hoof rot 2. CAE
Swollen Jaw - 1. Rumen in the cheek 2. Worms 3 . Abcess
Decreased urination or straining - 1. Urinary calculi 2. Dehydration 3. Constipation may look like straining 4. if it is a female , is it giving birth ?
Vomiting - 1. choking 2. Poisoning
Baldness / patchy coat - 1. Natural shedding goats shed 2 times per year , sometimes heavily to the point of baldness
2. skin infection 3. localized results from LA 2OO shots 4. Lice or mange mites
Milk has strange consistency / color and off flavors - Note: vitamin B shots can cause the milk to be yellow and have a chemical smell 1. Masitis 2. Foreign body in the teat causing infection
Itching - 1. Natural shedding 2. External parasites Lice / mange mites 3. Scrapie
Seizures - 1. Passed out from being led on a collar 2. Polio 3. Tetanus
Coughing - 1. getting up the rumen 2. cold / virus 3. pneumonia
Snotty Nose / Nasal Discharge - 1. foreign body 2. cold / virus 3. pneumonia
Tooth Grinding - 1 . chewing rumen 2. pain 3. compromised rumen 4. urinary calculi
Lack of appetite - 1 . stress / pain 2. problems with teeth 3. navel ill / infection 4 . compromised rumen 5. pregnancy related ketosis 6. coccidia 7. Sore Mouth
Lowered Milk production - 1. Natural lactation curve 2. stress or fear 3. disease / parasites
by Sumer Starling copyright 2021
Our First Sheep
We first got into sheep by accident , two men came to look at a goat we had for sale , and while they were here they mentioned that their sister had sheep . We had just gained a spinning wheel and we were learning to spin yarn . So I was interested in obtaining more fiber , as all we had at that time was some red alpaca from our cousin's farm . So I asked him what they did with the sheep's wool , He told me his sister would never sell the sheep , the ram had cost her $400 and it was very expensive . I reiterated my interest in the wool , not the sheep . He asked if I wanted them to bring the sheep here . No , I answered very plainly . The man left saying he would be back in 3 hours for the goat . 3 days later , he showed up with 3 sheep tied up in the back of his vehicle . The black ram's large curved horn was wedged against the window . At first when Dad told Mom they wanted to sell us 3 sheep , she stood at the door and misunderstood , thinking my Dad said a 3 speed , as in bike , she said we would only pay $30 . When it was discovered to be 3 sheep , not a 3 speed , I was fetched for my opinion . The man said his sister was moving , they must sell the 3 sheep . And he asked would we pay $100 cash each ? I knew the animals were well worth that , but didn't really want 3 sheep or even one by point of fact . We told him no , and he kept trying to convince us . We kept telling him no , we didnt even have anywhere for them . We had forgotten about the little buck barn we weren't using , which was very small but okay temporary housing for a few days . He informed us we could just let them run around the yard and tie them up . We wouldn't have to shelter or feed them . We knew of course , that wasn't what one should do with any animal . Seeing we weren't convinced , he lowered the price . I went down to get my sister , by the time I cam back , the 3 sheep were running around on a leash , all over the yard , flying like a kite . And I said , oh no ! What are they doing out of the car ? The man said see , they are good pets ! But the 3 sheep were plainly wild . He lowered the price again , and the whole time , the Lord kept saying to me , take the sheep , be patient , I'm going to show you something . So finally he arrived at $30 per sheep , which was coincidentally the original price Mom was willing to pay for the 3 speed bicycle . We at last gave in to what the Lord wanted do , and my sister , having brought the money with us , paid him $30 a head . The men drove away and we were left walking down the driveway aimlessly with 2 pregnant ewes on a rope , and a ram flying like a kite on a longer rope . We had no idea of where we were going with them , of where they would live , or of what to do with them , beyond being patient as the Lord had told us to be. We soon started to work on new housing , and within the first week , one of us was rammed by the ram . Dad was beding down hammering in the new pen , adding final touches , "keeping an eye on the ram " according to him . The ram was restless because of Dad's presence and the absence of the lead ewe , Ramses , as we later called him , was very attached to the ewe named Annie , and whenever he was separated , he would roar like a lion and go crazy running around . Well he was acting crazy , and as Dad was "keeping an eye on him " the ram charged and Dad never saw him coming ! Dad said it felt like a mack truck hit him in the hip . He said he hardly knew what had happened . Shortly thereafter , the sheep being settled into their pen , we set about our first sheep shear . The sheep had never been sheared , or at least not in a very long time , and we had never sheared anything before . It was a sheep rodeo . We knew enough to restrain the ram for his shear . We put him on our goat milking stanschion , he promptly broke it trying to ram us . So we repaired it and went on. Under all of that matted wool , filled with dead bugs , pine needles and dirt , were 3 skinny sheep that had only been fed on vegetables and grass . Little Bit was Annie's only surviving lamb , the other lambs including her twin had been eaten by coyotes . And their goat friends had been eaten by bears . Annie was very pregnant with twin lambs again . All we knew about them is that they were now our sheep , and we were now their shepherds , and that began our journey . Not just with sheep ownership , but with a far deeper relationship with the Lord , and a better understanding of his role as our shepherd .
Special Care of Sheep Wool
Sheep should be sheared at least once , to twice a year , and may need to be crutched in between times for health . Crutching is the trimming of wool near the backside and possibly underside of the sheep . Sheep are just as vulnerable to pneumonia as goats are , and in rainy weather won't run for the barn as a goat will . But rather , they will stay out and get soaking wet . This is not because a sheep is stupid , this is simply because the sheep cannot feel the wet and rain like a goat does , because it has all of that wool . It also has the reverse problem in summer , as sheep can drop dead at 80 degrees outside from being overheated due to the wool . So steps should be taken to keep sheep cool in the shade in the summer , as well as protected from the rain in other seasons . Shepherds often shear very pregnant ewes just prior to lambing . First , so that the lamb can find the milk , and also in order to get the sheep to stay near the barn where it's warm instead of having their lambs out in the field . If your sheep is standing out in incliment weather , you may need to go put it in the barn , and shut the door so it will stay dry . Once sheep's wool gets wet , it can stay wet for days . In breeds like merino , can get musty . Sheep's wool contains 2 components , a detergent like substance , and a water proofing oil called lanolin . This is one of the 2 reasons that people are allergic to wool . I once had a foreign lady stop and look at our yarn and go away disappointed because she wanted yarn that hadn't been washed at all , which had all of the lanolin still in it . Because in the old country where she came from , the children wore leggings knitted of unwashed sheep's wool , and the lanolin served as waterproofing so they never got we walking to school in the snow . Sheep's wool is an excellent insulator and stay's warm even when wet . It is used in some places to insulate houses to good effect . It is used in making nappies for babies that wicks moisture away from them , while at the same time helping them to potty train better . Wool can also be used to staunch bleeding on a cut sheep in a pinch , or on a hoof clipped too short . Sheep hooves are not the same as goat hooves , they are very slow growing , they need only be trimmed a couple of times a year and you have to be very careful not to cut them too short or they will bleed .
Feeding Your Sheep
Sheep are a small ruminant like goats , and they have multiple stomachs , this is largely where they similarity ends . Special care must be considered in sheep when considering their feed , stay away from anything that contains copper . Copper toxcicity can kill your sheep . They are unable to process it as goats do , even naturally occuring copper in high mineral areas can give a sheep copper toxicity through their hay . Any loose mineral you may want to give should have no copper in it . Often just what is in their daily ration of feed is high enough . Sheep are only tolerant of 30 parts per million of copper . Do not buy mineral blocks , they can break their teeth , and do not buy minerals labeled for cross species , as these will almost always contain too much copper .
Contrary to popular belief , your sheep , while it likes to graze , and seems to mentally need to graze , grass is not always enough depending on environment , annual rain fall , and time of year etc. . Hay should be fed in addition to pasture . I do a combination of graze , hay , and grain in order to assure that that the sheep is getting what it needs . Ideally hay should be given first , before the animal is let out to graze , this helps prevent bloat . The sheep should also not be allowed to graze on grass that is too wet . If they are allowed , limit their time on it and be careful how much lush spring grass they are allowed as well . Sheep raised for meat and fed on graze alone , can render an unpleasant taste that some don't care for . In addition , as sheep age , those given graze alone , have a propensity not to live as long , because as they age , front teeth on the bottom (they don't have front teeth on the top ) break off , and grass slips between the teeth in the gap . The sheep then becomes malnourished if the other front teeth aren't removed and the sheep eventually will starve . You can tell a sheep or goat's age by the front teeth . The first year , the two middle teeth will be the tallest , which makes it a two toothed ewe if a female . The next year , the teeth on either side of the two middle teeth will be the same height as the middle teeth , showing it to be a two year old . And so on , up to the age of 4 , when all of the front teeth are of equal height . So you can accurately age the animal up to the age of 4 . after which , the teeth wear down from friction with heavy grazing , and close grazing particularly . ( Being left on the same patch of field so long that the sheep is eating too close to the ground , both shortens their teeth , and is bad for them picking up pathogens. ) Sheep are also well known for picking up parasites and being highly susceptible to them , partly because of how short they will crop the grass , as well as grazing in amongst their own manure . Sheep's graze should be changed often . I tie my sheep out , and let them graze a circle around the heavy truck tire , or stationary object , being sure to keep a close eye on them so they don't tangle . By moving them daily , I can better inspect their graze area for things like poison mushrooms . I can keep them on good grass that is uncontaminated by their own waste . This is a good way to do it if you don't have rotational pasture available . Sheep like to graze in a flock , so I give each sheep a grazing buddy , the sheep it gets along best with . Be sure it doesn't have room to tangle lines with it's friend , or tie them on a coupler . In this way I also get my lawn mowed , and the sheep gets its daily graze which is essential to health and happiness . Of course do not use chemicals on the lawn where your sheep will graze . Be sure there is nothing for them to get tangled on , and never leave them unattended , as they may find trouble to get into , and may choke on a line where it is tethered .
Supplements for ewes and lambs
Maintenance ration for a ewe should be 1/2 to 1 lb per day , ideally 16% protein . If in milk give maintainece ration of 1 lb , plus 1 lb per 2 lb of milk estimated . Lambs should be given lamb grower 14-16% protein ideally , starting at around a month old , this will help them grow , feed around 1/3 lb + per day each . Try not to over feed grain as it can cause over eaters disease (enterotoxemia ) . You may also choose to feed Alfalfa hay to supplement nutrition , this can be a good source of calcium , but be aware , it can also cause photosensitization and limit it accordingly .
Handling Your Sheep
To handle your sheep , whether moving them to fresh graze , or transporting them for other reasons , a collar might temporarily be put on , but should later be removed to prevent accidents . I recommend a quick release snap on collar , in case the sheep gets into trouble for some reason . If they pull too hard while leading them , you should cup one hand under their chin while holding the collar to prevent being drug across the lawn . You can also use a dog training collar like a halti face collar , don't bother with a gentle leader because they fall off . They also make a sheep or goat halter that you can buy , but those also should not be left on . You can also handle your sheep by a scruff of wool at the back of the neck .
Considerations for the Ram
Handling the Ram
To handle a ram , you should train it to allow you to take hold of one of it's horns if it has them . I take a horn in my one hand , and transport him where he needs to go . If he gets too rambunctious , I cup my hand under his chin . They cant out run or out pull this type of hold . Try not to tip the head too far up and back , because they seem to try to choke on their rumen . If taking your ram to be tied to graze , know how long your ram's lead is once he's tied out . When coming to retrieve him , stop just short of where his lead stops short , he will readily come to you if he knows something good like grain is waiting at the barn . Then you won't be within his reach when he comes , and you can take his horn or collar without being in danger . Give the ram no opportunity to ram you . When you go to get him out of his pen , carry a rod with you . A rod can be as simple as an old broken shovel handle . This is for your protection just in case . Never trust a ram . If he will come to the door , having been trained that going out to graze is a good thing , crack the gate just enough to reach in and grab a horn . Have the ram in your control as much of the time as possible . Don't allow him to get a running start at you . The closer you stay to your ram , the safer you are from his horns . The more distance he gets , the harder he can ram you . I was rammed only once by our ram . I had snuck in and removed the ewe to put her back with the flock . Before I could slip out of the gate he charged me , and he was going to charge me again , had I not escaped quickly. To prevent such encounters , always carry a rod , be aware of where your ram is , where his focus is , discipline immediately at any sign of disrespect . If he tips his head at you , give him a quick pop in the nose , the nose is sensitive . The goal is not to injure the ram , but to prevent future injury of yourself and others . Never make your ram into a pet , never trust your ram or turn your back on him , and never never have a bottle fed ram lamb that you intend to later use to service your ewes . I always tell people , we don't tolerate mean buck goats , but a ram is a ram , and he cant help it , they call them a ram for a reason .
Feeding Your Ram
Special concerns for a rams feeding requirements should include being sure he has adequate nutrition , but also taking care he does not develop urinary calculi . An imbalance of calcium and phosphorus can cause this . Feeds that are high in calcium like alfalfa hay , and most grains will promote the formation of stones in the urinary tract , which can become quite serious . To avoid this , if you feed alfalfa hay , give him only a very little each day , like a few handfuls . Alfalfa is also known to cause photosensitization . If you feed your ram grain , feed him a grain low in calcium , or feed it sparingly . A ram needs grain in breeding season to be in top form . About the same maintenance ration as a ewe , 1/2 to 1 lb per day . You can reduce this amount when he is no longer in rut and expected to breed ewes . To combat urinary calculi , you can add ammonium chloride to water , or apple cider vinegar . Don't give him free choice baking soda or minerals , as those also contain calcium .
Housing the Ram
Housing for the ram needs to be a little more robust than that of the ewe. If you decide on board fencing , place the boards to the inside of the posts so they won't ram them off , have all gates open inward so they won't ram them off the hinges . Check fencing daily for damage to it , or uprooted posts . Chain link is a good fencing choice for a ram . But being flexible , dont stand too close to it , and dont allow guests to reach over it toward your ram . I would advise toward plywood siding on the house rather than metal siding . Don't use metal siding to avoid him ramming it and bending the metal . A board or plywood floor is good for keeping the ram up off of the wet . Place all feeders near an outside wall so you don't have to go inside to feed him. To close his exterior door , and shut him in at night , you may want to consider to set up a gear with ropes and pulleys so the door can be closed from outside of the pen . The least time you spend in with the ram , the more safe you will be . Place his water bucket where you can easily refill it from outside of the pen . If he has horns , be sure you remove the handle on the water bucket so it won't get caught on his horns .
Breeding Season and the Ram
When handling the ram between the months of September and February , be especially careful , because it is breeding season and he will be in the rut . This is a testosterone driven time , and he only thinks of females and fighting . If you will let him run with the ewes , which is probably the easiest way to breed sheep , as a ewe's season can be difficult to determine . You may want to train the ram to return to his pen using a treat , so you can safely clean in the ewe's pen . Some people recommend closing the ram away from the ewes at night , to give them both a rest and so they can eat in peace . However, this can cause missed cycles . Whatever amount of handling you will do with your ram , always be careful . If you can't keep a gate between you and him , try to keep an object between you . Your 5 gallon manure bucket will work , or a good strudy stick . So if he charges you won't be without recourse .
Breeding season for sheep is September to February . There is 18 days between heat cycles . This is a good time to look to your fall shearing , or at least crutching of the sheep , so that you can be sure the ram has good access to the ewes , as wool that is over long can inhibit him doing his job , both on his end or on hers . Trim his belly wool to be sure it is not getting too wet with urine . Be sure that there isn't any sign of pizzle rot . If there is any redness , irritation , open sores , We treat with an antibacterial , you can use iodine , bannix , neosporin . Best to catch this early before it becomes more serious . On the ewe's part , be sure her hind end and tail is trimmed up good so that extra wool won't inhibit breeding . In the weeks leading up to the breeding season , feed your ewe and ram a maintanenece ration of grain to make them more fertile , this is called flushing . The ewe generally shows very little sign of heat . She may stand by the fence near the ram , giving that certain look "making sheep's eyes " at him . Sometimes a tail wag , though I've rarely seen it . This is about all you can expect to see . As the signs can be so subtle , you may have to put the ram in , and leave the pair or the flock together through a few heat cycles . I leave mine in for a minimum of 42 days , a heat cycle is every 18 or so days , they are only in for about a day or so . So in order to have the best chance at a good outcome , ie spring lambs , you need to leave them at least that long to do their job , hopefully . Marking harnesses can be purchased to tell when the ram has bred a ewe , but this may only show you an attempted breeding . Gestation of the sheep is the same as goats at 145-155 days , at 3 months along , you will be able to start feeling the lamb kicking on the right side of the ewe just in front of the udder . You should be able to detect udder growth that also reveals her for being pregnant . Kicks of lambs can be harder to feel through thick wool . The sheep may start looking pudgy , which also shows she is pregnant . 3 weeks before her lambing date begin feeding her a maintainence ration of 1/2 to 1 pound of grain per day . This is to support the ewe and lamb . You may want to limit grain from 3 months along to 3 weeks before due date , being careful to minimize grain at that time , so that the lambs won't get too big giving them a hard labor . These are projected due dates , be sure to record any breedings you witnessed , but you may not have a due date if you did't see anything , just a due date range from when the ram went in to when he left the ewe pen . So in this case , as a precaution feed on the lower end of the maintainence of 1/2 lb daily in my opinion this is a good option . Starting at 2 weeks before the due date , you can also feed a few tums a day to support her calcium needs , and prevent hyocalcimia , but not all ewes will eat them , try breaking them up and feeding with her grain . Try to avoid any quick or drastic feed changes during pregnancy , As ketosis ( pregnancy toxemia ) may result . If you aren't already , you may wish to feed some alfalfa hay or soaked alfafla pellets in addition to any grass hay and grain . This provides added calcium , feeding a feed with molasses in it will help prevent ketosis as well . The ewe will start to become discontented or loud in her last few weeks of pregnancy . Extra good quality feed , sheep grain and adequate grass will help keep her complaining down . Be sure to be on time with her feeding , this will also help with her complaining .
If your weather is mild enough to shear your sheep prior to lambing , then that may be best . If it is still too cold to shear , ust crutching them may be enough . You want her to be trimmed up on the back side so her wool won't be dirtied as much during birth . You also want her belly wool trimmed up so the lambs can easily find a teat and aren't sucking on the wool. Some shepherds shear sheep earlier to force them to be cold enough to come into the barn to do their lambing . We wait until the weather is such that the sheep can do without its wool , and leave them a little long so they don't half freeze . Whether crutching them or fully shearing them , we shear pregnant ewes on the stanschion so that they won't feel in distress being handled. I once had a ewe which thought it was time for the lamb to come because I had sat her on her rump while shearing her belly . She felt the pressure and started to try to push as if she were in labor . Overall its the least amount of stress to shear in the stanschion . Some sheep will require assistance while lambing , others will not . We try to be there with every birth but don't always manage to do it . Signs of a ewe getting ready to give birth are a swollen udder , milk in the teats often , nesting behavior such as scratching in the corner of the barn or yard , laying down and getting up again , baahing with discomfort ( they give a soft sort of grumbling growl which they use to call the lambs . ) touching her side with her nose , urinating and turning to look at the puddle to be sure theres not a lamb in it . At first sign of labor , if you plan on giving a keto nia or calcium (CMPK)drench , you should go ahead and dose her at 1 oz of each , followed by a second dose 6-12 hours later . If you don't catch her at first signs of labor treat her anyway as soon as you know she has lambed . Also worm her after lambing , we use horse wormer dosed at 2x the weight rate for horses , this is off label use , reworm in 10 days . Finally the ewe will usually give birth lying down , curling back her upper lip in pain as she braces herself and begins to push , she may cry out in pain . You should be on hand with a bath towel , sterile gloves , iodine , unflavored dental floss , blunt tipped , scissors , oil to lubricate her if the lamb isn't coming , paper towels to remove the fluid as it works better than a towel , a little clean bedding on the floor of the barn goes a long way as well . The first thing you should see on a proper presentation is 2 front hooves and a nose between them , or two back hooves . Any other presentation may require you to go in and resituate the lamb so it will present in this way . If the bubble around the lamb has already burst , take hold of the lambs 2 legs in your hand , pull with the ewe's contractions , pull when she pushes . Pull out the lamb and clear his face immediately with the paper towels . If necessary use a nose bulb to clear his airway gently . Give him a quick wipe down with the paper towels , then give him to his mother . She will grumble to it softly while cleaning it , and the lamb will answer . In a moment dry it a little better using your bath towel . Watch for signs of a second lamb coming , beginning to push etc. If there is no sign of them in about an hour , she's probably done . The afterbirth should be delivered in a couple of hours , check to see it was delivered and not retained . Tie off the umbilical cord with the dental floss about an inch from the navel , cut the end with blunt tipped school scissors to minimize bleeding . Dip in iodine to dry and sterilize , repeat again a couple of times a day for the next couple of days to avoid infection . If infection develops and the navelis swollen , treat with iodine and neosporin . Special note for lambs , do not place lambs under a heat lamp as its wool will cause it to overheat . Help the lamb to a teat if he needs help , squeeze the teat to milk a little off to break the seal . You can sometimes tell it is nursing and getting milk when it wags its tail . Check your lamb to see if it is a male or female , this will look similar to a dog on the back . If you are going to dock tails for health , it is vital you dock a female's tail . Lambs will need their tails docked at 3 days old . I use a castration band with an elastrator tool . Leave enough of a tail to cover the private area of a female to prevent infection . About the same length on a male . Banding the tail between the vertabrae makes the best result , you can feel between the bones for where to band . Trim the hair away , rub the area with alchol or iodine , then band . We dont leave the tails long as this will promote such ails as fly strike , leaving a large enough area that may collect urine and manure , flies will flock to this , maggots and infection will follow . So in our opinion tail docking is necessary for the sheep's health in long tailed breeds. If your lamb is a male , in a couple of months you will want to castrate him unless he is to be used for breeding . For whether you will use him for a pet , a fiber animal , or for meat , he should be castrated . We castrate ours by banding them , though open castration methods can be used as well . Watch the tail dock area and the castration site for signs of infection . Eventually the tail , and the sack will fall off , and you can treat the site with a little iodine or some antibiotic ointment . Little lambs are naturally skiddish . You should make an effort in the first few days to work with them so that they will come to trust you . At 2 weeks old they can be hand fed sheep grain to encourage them to interact with you . Keep an eye on the ewe's behavior for the first while to be sure she isn't falling victim to ketosis or hypocalcemia , abnormal behavior after birthing needs to be checked against these two . At 2 weeks old when the lambs rumen has begun to come in and it is drinking water , you can start separating the lambs from the ewe at night if you mean to milk her . Letting them back together in the morning after she has been milked. I personally wait until the lambs are a month old to do this as it is very traumatic for the ewe and lamb , and there is much more calling back and forth than there is with a goat . The ewe will call for the lamb even all night because lambs stay closer by their mothers than do goat kids . If you will start to milk at a month old , you may be sure the colostrum is well clear from the milk . Colostrum delivers antibodies to the lamb , colostrum is also said to have some health benefits for humans , but its taste is very salty and we don't care for it . Though the colostrum is gone , the flavor can linger in the milk for 2 weeks to a month . A month old is emergency weaning age for a lamb anyway , and that leaves before 4 and 5 months of milking time on the sheep . Sheep milk far less time than the goats at 10 months , but the product is much richer . We use our sheeps milk exclusively to separate off the cream and use for ice cream , it makes a smooth rich product , and in yogurt it has its own refreshing flavor with no flavoring required to be added. Milking your sheep is a little different than milking your goat . The udder is softer , and you want to grab further up on it than you would on the goat . Baby goats and baby sheep feed differently . I have heard it said that while you can give a baby goat to a sheep to nurse , you never want to give a lamb to a goat or it will ruin the goats udder . I try not to keep mixed flocks as goats seem to be disturbing to the sheep , and sheep are very wet as well .
please note that at this time we do not have a sheep health section , but many health issues are the same as with goats ,so some answers may be found in our goat health section
Sumer Starling copyright 2021
Ducks are a rewarding and interesting addition to any homestead . Duck eggs usually fetch nearly twice the price of chicken eggs , and many who are allergic to chicken eggs can have duck eggs . Do tell your egg customers that they are duck eggs , as some seem opposed . Ducks are very engaging and seemingly more emotional and intelligent than chickens . But there are a few things that should be considered when keeping water fowl , which we discovered the hard way. They should not be kept in with chickens or other ground birds , as the ducks are too wet , and the wet they create with their droppings and love of water and splashing , makes unhealthy conditions for other birds . I have lost several good laying hens and a years worth of chicks as well as a hen house floor before we finally decided to separate the ducks into their own pen . There is also the old adage of birds of a feather flock together , which seems to be true . The ducks don't seem particularly happy to be in with the hens . They seem more at their ease and happier in their own separate flock . Remember a happy bird lays better for you . additionally some say ducks need higher protein , some use flockraiser and other higher protein feeds , it is also said that they shouldn't be given medicated chick start , as they may get too much of the medication . Housing considerations : Ducks should have an outside run surrounded by chicken wire to avoid sticking their heads out at predators or ducklings slipping through . Ducks should not be housed on wood flooring , but plastic or concrete . I found snap together plastic type sheds with plastic floors or big plastic dog houses work well . Wood flooring rots out very quickly as ducks are very wet creatures . If you do have plywood floors , water should not be given inside the house , and since they require water near their food to avoid choking , you may not want to feed them in the house either . Dirt floors allow predators to dig under and expose the flock to danger . Ducks should be shut away in their house at night to avoid losses by predators . Ducks do not seem in my experience to respond to light manipulation as laying hens do to keep them laying year round . You can try it , but they just seem to have a "laying season " about april to october , which is of course when they would naturally be nesting and hatching babies . Ducks should be provided with a pool large enough to swim in , particularly in summer and fall . Change the water often , for while they are the ones that muddied it , ducks don't like to bathe in or drink dirty water , and shouldn't be made to . When choosing your ducks consider what their use will be . Do you want them for egg production , meat production , simple enjoyment , or all 3 ? For self sustaining meat production as well as some eggs , I would advise toward muscovy ducks , these also have a great personality they are not nervous , and they're largely silent . While not the most handsome ducks , adults have red caruncles over their faces , muscovy hens are superb at setting nests and raising ducklings . They are certainly fussy however and secretive about nesting sites . I recommend placing a dog house with a door at some out of the way corner of the pen , add hay to it to make it appealing to lay eggs in . This way you will be able to close her and the nest up at night , and she can set but still be safe from predators while incubating eggs . Muscovies are almost silent making only a soft hiss , they do not quack except when they are angry . The females can fly , but males are too heavy . So until they know where they live , wings should be clipped and a tall fence maintained to prevent escape . Care should be taken in handling muscovies , they are large and very powerful , with extremely sharp claws that can do significant damage . They like to perch at night but don't always . Muscovies lay around 130 eggs per year , as opposed to the 200+ of other more productive ducks . They are a very large , fast growing and meaty bird for butcher which are very lean and similar to beef in taste , and they are not entirely useless as layers . When keeping mucovies and other breeds of ducks in the same pen , one should be advised that any offspring will be sterile . If you plan to use them for breeding or sell the offspring to anyone who may wish to breed them in the future , you may want to bear this in mind and keep the species separate . Additionally , muscovies seem to have their own duck language which other ducks don't share in . They practice a ritualized snapping in the air and head bob which means something to other muscovies , but not to mallard derived ducks . Mucovies are the only duck breed that has no mallard DNA , genetically they are more similar to a goose than to a duck , this is why offspring crossed with other breeds are mules . For egg production , a Indian runner duck , or a pekin duck , khaki campbell etc. lays far more eggs per year , but these can be very nervous and excitable as well as noisy. The upright penguin like stance of the runner duck , however , provides plenty of comic relief after a tough day on the homestead . Runner ducks are pasture ducks and not quite as keen on water sports as other breeds , but they do a lot of preening and use water to straighten mussed feathers . Deep water dishes should still be used , plastic kiddie pools are a good pond substitute , or shallow storage containers . But when having ducklings remove all water more than a couple inches deep , and shallow enough sides that ducklings can get out after they've gotten in , otherwise they get cold and drown . In the old days ducks were plucked gently by loving house wives in need of downy feathers for stuffing pillows . They would hold them on their lap and pluck feathers gently , leaving the bird unharmed . There seems to be a good market for duck and goose feathers and down in the online world .
Sumer Starling copyright 2021
At first glance keeping doves may not seem worthwhile to the homesteader , but while the meat is just a little bit of meat , it also requires very little grain to produce that meat , little enough that during the great depression , doves were often raised for meat , they were cheap to feed , and meat was expensive to purchase . When I first started keeping doves prior to GMO corn , I was raising them easily and successfully on cracked corn alone . After GMOs , protein levels in corn dropped through the floor , and it no longer seems to be adequate fodder to keep pairs in breeding condition . I started feeding layer pellets for laying hens and production resumed .
Dove parents are monogamous , except for occasional cheating , and sometimes a strong willed female who insists to engage in polygamy . Both parents participate in rearing the young . The doves I raise are laughing , or ringneck doves , which come from Eurasia . They come in several color morphs , white , pied, peach and brown . All of them have a slight ring around their neck . There is no distinguishable difference between the sexes , except that males seem to have a slightly larger breast . Sexing must be done by chemical testing or by behavior study . The male has a deeper , throaty coo , and tends to laugh more , which is a territorial trait . The male is the only one of the pair that does an intimidation coo , where he bends low with his beak almost touching his perch , then rises up on tip toes , standing almost straight upward , as he advances toward his mate or rival , cooing at them . If this fails to solicit the desired response , he laughs and pecks at the other bird , sometimes pulling out feathers . Occasionally 2 males will engage in wing slapping fights , with one or both wings upraised , and hitting each other about the head . I've seen black eyes result from this sort of fighting , and having been slapped a time or two myself , I can see why , as the wing slaps can be quite powerful . The male will also be seen during courtship feeding the female from his crop . This is similar to how both parents feed the young , on pigeon's or dove's milk . Dove's milk is a regurgitated food that increases in grain size based on the age of the squab . The female has a softer coo , and often responds to the male , or tucks her head behind her wing in reply to his courtship . Doves are mature and able to breed at 5 months old , at that time they will begin to choose mates . They can be very choosy in what dove they want to breed with , and choice cannot always be forced . I've seen doves fall in love with the opposite sex and refuse to give them up , even when placed apart for months as a new mate is sought for them . To encourage breeding , a nest box should be provided , or if conditions allow and it is safe for them to do so , especially in a small pen , you can let them nest on the ground . I give my doves a box about 5x8 " and put grass hay in it , leaving some grass hay on the floor of the pen so that the male dove can select the pieces he finds acceptable for nest building . He will present the chosen hay to the female at the nest box . After breeding , 2 white eggs are produced . If there are 3 eggs , there is a second female laying in the box , or you have 2 females and no male , and they are confused . The second female should be removed , because successful hatchlings won't be likely with more than a pair in the nest . Parents share incubation duties , I've heard it said that the father takes the day shift as it is more dangerous for predator attacks . And the Mother , the night shift . They call to each other in a coo when the changing of the guard is to take place , and will often sit together when the chicks are hatching . The male will feed the female on the nest sometimes and continue to bring her nesting material early in the incubation process . She will carefully fold the hay in place beneath her . The incubation time is 16 days on doves . After it is up , the tiny naked and blind baby dove , just about the size of the egg appears . Parents feed it partially digested feed until it is 6 weeks old . At this point , it is well feathered and able to eat on its own . Some parents are so fond of sitting on eggs that they will stop feeding the baby early to lay another clutch . You must be watchful of this happening . Feel the baby's crop , if it is empty all day , it is a good bet the parents aren't feeding it , and it must be fed by hand . I use whole canned corn warmed to room temperature . Take baby's bill between thumb and forefinger of your one hand , and shove in a few kernels of corn with your other hand . Give the baby time to swallow , and then repeat . Do this until the crop is pretty full but not over full , and baby seems satiated . The babies will wiggle their wings and squeal at their parents when they are hungry . They often chase them around , they will do this with a human sometimes during hand feeding . At around 2 or 3 weeks , baby will start falling out of the nest box , and I always put them back to encourage the parents to care for it . By 4 weeks , if they continue to fall out , I makes sure they are perched on the edge of the food dish so they can start experimenting with eating on their own . Before I wean , I always make sure they are eating well . The food dish should be kept full for breeding doves , and should be fairly shallow . Doves are ground feeders , so the dish should be placed on the ground . In an aviary situation , doves like to nest high , so the nest box should be elevated . A large water dish that is fairly shallow should be kept nearby and changed daily as they perch on the edge and soil the water . Doves enjoy a good daily water bath to keep their feathers in order . Doves are one of the only birds that don't tip their head back to drink , so they need a little bit deeper water supply to quench their thirst . Water should be shallow when babies start to fall out of the nest , because nestlings fall into the water dish and can quickly get hypothermia and die . Doves should be placed so that they have ready access to sunlight , it is the only way that they can absorb vitamin D . Grit also should be supplied to properly digest their food . Doves can be raised in an aviary , a large cage , or a hutch . I have raised them in all 3 conditions , and I lie them for different reasons . Doves in a hutch are less vulnerable to predators , rats particularly will readily dismember and eat them , they favor the crop area . Doves don't care too much for being on wire , but wire can be covered with bedding . In any case the cage should provide the dove with some opportunity for flight . Doves love to fly . A cage at its very minimum should allow the dove to stretch its wings out to full length in every direction . Doves should be provided with a perch to rest on , as they feel safer and more confident with one than without . Doves make good pets , they live for many years , my oldest pair is 13 years old and still producing . They can be readily sold for $5-$20 and even more . I always recommend doves for beginners and children as they are very gentle with humans and are very hardy . Be careful in keeping doves with other birds , they are often not able or willing to defend themselves .