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During the past two weeks, it has rained so much and I have lost six kid goats. What can be responsible? The kids were between one month and two weeks old. — Adedayo Kolawole Festus
At that age, they are very sensitive to getting chilled when they are wet, and that could have killed them. Goats at any age can easily get ill with pneumonia, so that would be an issue as well. Do you have a place where all of your goats can escape the rain? — Marissa Ames
Yes, I provided good shelter but some will not go in there, or they get pushed out at night while am sleeping. — Adedayo
It sounds like you need to provide a secondary shelter. Goats that are more dominant will push out the more submissive goats, or those goats may be afraid to enter because the dominant goats are already in there. There’s nothing you can do about herd hierarchy, so it’s best to provide enough shelters that even the shy goats have shelter. — Marissa
I have a 1 1/2-year-old goat who has been dealing with severe diarrhea since July 30. Our vet has done multiple fecal tests and each has shown over 500 strongyles. She has suggested numerous medications but diarrhea has not improved. Any suggestions? — Becky, Michigan
I’m sorry to hear that! Has the vet confirmed that the diarrhea is because of the strongyles or is she perhaps sick with something else and the parasites might be a secondary issue? — Marissa Ames
She has only done fecals which did confirm strongyles but she has not even recommended any other testing. I have been reading dozens of blogs and understand that many people have success with pumpkin seeds so I started that. I have also been giving her probiotics and electrolytes. — Becky
That’s troubling. Often, worms and other parasites are secondary “infections” because the goat has other health issues and isn’t strong enough to resist parasite overload. That’s one theory why pumpkin seeds work: they don’t necessarily get rid of worms but they give the goat a nutritional boost to help her resist parasites.
I am currently editing a story that will be in an upcoming issue of Goat Journal, where a reader’s goat had diarrhea for months and nothing seemed to cure it. Then the vet suggested something called transfaunation, where rumen liquid from a healthy animal goes into the rumen of a sick animal to introduce all the right probiotics. — Marissa
Is that process painful? I imagine it is expensive but she is my baby. — Becky
I totally understand. I have several babies but I would go to the moon for them. It involves putting a tube down the throat, so though your goat won’t be a fan of the procedure, it isn’t painful. — Marissa
I have been conducting seminars in sheep and goat production and this is my second time I am getting this concern/complaint from farmers: rams and bucks are seen mating with does and ewes, respectively. This time this farmer is experiencing this problem where the ram is busier than the buck, and mating with does. Kindly shed more light on this trend. In Zambia, most farmers keep small flocks of mixed sheep and goats and practice a continuous breeding system where rams/bucks are not separated from ewes/does but stay together throughout the year. — David E. Daka, Animal Production Consultant, Lusaka, Zambia
Because goats and sheep are so close in breed, they will mate each other. A ram or a buck, when he wants to mate, does not care if the female is his same breed. I also see this with my male turkey trying to mate my chickens and ducks. So, if a farmer keeps sheep with goats, this will probably happen. It can be bad for the farmer, for several reasons:
– First, if the ram is dominant, as you described, he will chase away the buck that is supposed to be mating the does. Then the does won’t get pregnant at all.
– Secondly, sometimes the ram can get the doe pregnant. But because of genetic differences, the offspring is usually miscarried. Then the farmer has missed important months when that doe could have been pregnant with offspring that he could sell.
– And third, sometimes the doe does not miscarry and the offspring grows within her. This can kill the doe. If the offspring is born, it usually does not live long. The same is true of bucks mating with ewes. If the farmer has the ability to separate goats and sheep into separate pastures, it would be best. I hope this information helps. — Marissa Ames
Can you recommend a book on homeopathy, herbs, or something that can heal some type of tumor on goats that’s supposed to be highly contagious? My friend has goats with these tumors and she does not want to put them down. — Jon
Our contributor Katherine Drovdahl focuses on natural goat health, specifically on herbology. You can find her on firmeadowllc.com, where she sells her herbs as well as her book. However, from how you describe these tumors, I suspect she means caseous lympadenitis, or CL. She is correct that it is highly contagious, and it can spread to all mammals, including people. It is incurable and, though goats have been known to live to old age with this disease, she needs to be sure those she chooses to keep are in a separate pen where pus from the abscesses cannot touch any other mammals (or her!) and be sure she pasteurizes all milk from goats that could have come in contact with those with the abscesses. I hope your friend finds the best solution for her goats! — Marissa Ames
I have been treating coccidiosis in my goats for the last seven days with sulphadimidine 33.3. They are not responding to treatment. It is spreading to others. I need advice. — Raymond
Our default answer when treatment isn’t working is to “consult with your vet,” and I’m going to apply it here, too. These days, many coccidistats on the market won’t touch a tough case, and the Veterinary Feed Initiative has placed the stronger medications under strict lockdown (such as sulfadimethoxine/Albon). Calling your veterinarian to get a prescription would not only make these medications available to you but would also give you a professional voice to tell you exactly how much to give them and when to escalate treatment. In the meantime, be sure you dump and scrub water containers daily. Wash the sides with hot, bleachy water if you haven’t done that in a while. Be sure any wet bedding is removed and keep any young goats from consuming hay or other feed that may have become contaminated with feces. Good luck and I hope your goats turn around soon! — Marissa Ames
What type of shelter is required for my goats in cool and wet climate — Puebla, Mexico? — Robert Bodman
Moisture is going to be a primary focus when building a shelter because if the goats can’t get onto dry ground, you will have issues such as hoof rot, foot scald, staph infections, and fungal issues. But building a goat shelter isn’t difficult. Keep in mind two things: First, goats like a nice, open space, so if you build it too closed-in, they might not want to even enter. I like three-sided shelters for that reason: leave one side fully open and facing the most sheltered direction, then build three walls and a top. Be sure to slant the top so the rain falls into an area where the goats don’t have to spend much of their time. Also, build a raised surface in the shelter so they can get up and out of the moisture, and keep that surface covered with nice, dry bedding. Change out the bedding whenever it gets wet and soiled, to keep bacteria away. In emergencies such as hurricanes, some people put wooden shipping pallets inside the shelters to raise the dry surface even further.
Our contributor Tamsin Cooper has written a great story about building the kinds of shelters that goats enjoy most, and her information is based on scientific studies. You can find it here:
I hope this helps! — Marissa Ames