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Sick Goat? help

 
Posts: 43
Location: Central Pa
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Fairly new to goats as pets and not livestock and i have a small herd of 5 nigerian dwarfs about 2 months old. My one doe is bloated or just full i have looked into it and looking head on the left side is what would be bloat but it is her right side that is sticking out an feels a little gas fill but she is perfectly fine infact wanting food. I switched from alfalfa an timthony hay to more of a grass hay a few days ago as they were leaving alot of the stemy parts in the feeder and i had added some beet pulp and alfalfa pellets to the goat mix with oats i was giving them a handful at dinner only. But when i noticed her stomach i stopped the pellets worrying that might be it i noticed the yesterday some dried poop around her tail as if she had scours. I keep baking soda free choice and they are on fresh grass with hay always full feeder. I looked agian this moring gave her half the recommended electrolytes for her size in a drencher she took it no problem was even jumping at me wanting some feed. I coudnt find any signs a diarrhea but i did find more of a some stool like the normal pellets were clumped/mashed together and a soft solid dropping came out other then that i can not find any actual signs she truly has scours. So its her right side is fuller looking head on and she has more just a soft stool that is leaving behind some poop on her tail. she is in good mood hungry eating with the rest and doesnt seem bothered and her eyes from what i could tell look just fine like the rest they get DE on there feed and just treated with a dewormer monthly application for extra measure about a week ago. She is the only one an seems in a normal mood?
 
pollinator
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When were they weened?  Most goats nurse 3-4 months.  Granted I weened my own bottle boys at 2 months because they were eating forage full-time by their own choice and the bottle had just become a treat to them.

Goats can get HUGE rumens.  They can get 3-goat-wide rumens.  And when they're super packed they do stick out on both sides.  Especially if they're surrounded in endless delicious food and they love to eat.  I have 2 goats that eat endlessly and keep huge rumens, and 2 that eat conservatively and never have large bulging rumens.  These two are also the most active two of the bunch.  Everyone's a thick healthy weight, I chalk it up to personality.  

In my own experience, goats are pretty tough.  Some folks have had experiences in the opposite.  I personally don't feed any treats/oats/beet/grains/etc.  They get to forage, and if there's no forage, they get grass hay.  My goats have sleek soft, silky coats, no fish-tail (lack of hair on tip of tail due to mineral deficiency), and are robust and healthy.  I do keep a cobalt mineral block out and supplement loose minerals high in copper.  It's been my experience that minerals are the most important supplementation for goats.  In the wild they roam huge territories and they will seek out minerals; licking rocks, eating gravel, and actually rooting up clay and minerals on the ground and eating them.  They don't get those opportunities in a pasture or pen.  They also LOVE bark, wood, and tree matter.  It's way better for them than grass.  They're browsers, not grazers.  

Any time my own goats get into grain they instantly get the runs.  They need fiber; long plant fiber.  Short plant matter, especially short wet plant matter, as well as grains and such don't have the fiber their rumens need and it gives them the sh*ts.  This has been my experience at least.

I guess at the end of the  day, in my opinion, if a goat is on its feet and wants food, it's fine.  A goat uninterested in food is a giant red flag though.  I would chalk the crusties on this doeling's bum up as just a part of childhood

I had one goat recently poison himself on false hellebore.  I rip that crap out whenever I see it, but he managed to get into it and eat a bunch.  He was projectile vomiting and feeling a little rummy; which was good, IMO, because his body was ejecting the FH plant matter.  Regardless though, he was on his feet and wanting more food, so I gave him a huge dose of activated charcoal and held my breath.  Next day he was right as rain, thank goodness.  Now I watch him and he'll sniff a FH plant and turn away in disgust.  Phew.
 
hunter miller
Posts: 43
Location: Central Pa
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i bought them all when they were weaned in may they have been at my homestead for over a month now. She is by all means wanting treats i had been feeding them a goat pellet mix from the store just a handful per goat in a through. i mixed with is whole oats, but i had just added beet pulp pellets and alfalfa pellets that were in the the horse section but i dont think that matters, i had just switched from a mix of alfalfa and thimothy hay to a more grass hay. They have free choice of mix minerals and baking soda and two water buckets i change out everyday. i have to clean the shed they use as a barn once a week as they like to spend the day in there then out in the sun. Im not sure she has seem to always had a full stomach and looking head on its her right but she is eating i can hear it moving in her stomach and she was chewing her cudd this morning when i check but i know scours can be a indicator to more serious issues but i only notice becuase there was some dried poop on her tail not alot and i can only find 'logs' that look like they are soft but no actual 'runny' droppings which is why i think it may be the feed? i didnt give them the pellets last night just the pasture and the hay i always make sure they have a full rack. As for worms i put DE on the feed and just gave them a monthly treatment i have copper pills to give them but not until they are 6 months and i have not seen any fishtailing signs of that. I am keeping an eye on her i dont like to see my animals sick but she was jumping at me like she does when i bring her feed should i continue to give atleast the beet pulp pellets to help the fiber?
 
master steward
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Location: Left Coast Canada
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Sorry to hear she's having trouble.

If she stops eating, peeing or pooping it's serious.  If she doesn't do one of those for 12 or more hours, and you have a vet, best to take her in for professional help.

Many farmers around here miss the early signs of sickness, so it's really good you noticed it.  Are there any sudden changes - taking less than 6 hours to make the change - or is it more gradual?  

If you have a mentor (perhaps the person who you got them from?), then maybe they could come around and have a look.  They know the history of the animal and can advise what to do.

My first instinct is to suggest backing soda as free choice - which you are already doing.  It might help to put a little pinch of baking soda on her lips or gums so she can get the flavour of it and remember that she likes it.  

My second instinct is to wonder if she is pregnant.  The babies usually form up on the right side and look like bloat near the end of gestation.  This would also lower appetite and energy.  It also makes them a little bit dreamy and extra affectionate.  

My third thought is mineral imbalance - too much or too little?  When in doubt, cut back.  Mineral overdose will kill an animal faster than a deficit.  
Do you know the general mineral profile of your area and of where your goat's food is grown?  The commercial mineral mixes are generic so quite often we need to add or subtract from the mix to meet our local requirements.  

Maybe try giving DE as free choice instead of part of their feed.  There's a lot of different opinions on DE as a wormer.  I find that most worm issues can be prevented with pasture and diet management and that too much DE over time can affect digestion.  I keep stronger stuff like DE for when the animals show signs of worms.  But, as I said, opinions on this are divided, but it's something to try.

Did you mention salt?  There shouldn't be any in your minerals (even though salt is a mineral) as they can OD on minerals to get to the salt.  

Hope she gets better soon.
 
hunter miller
Posts: 43
Location: Central Pa
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Shes less then 4 months old so i dont think shes pregnant as my billy is the same age and shows more interest in food then anything, it seems it was yesterday that i noticed the bit of scat on her butt/ tail its honestly so little tho it looks like maybe she just had some very loose movements and it was not a clean movement. Like i said i checked this morning she was just as up an moving as the day before doesnt seem to be in any discomfort and i cant find any actually liquid scat anywhere, it could of just been she didnt get up to go in the night for all i know but being they are my first herd and not cheap i want to be extra safe i gave her some baking soda last night in a mix to help with her fat sides but i think they have always been a little wide as if she is an over eater. I gave her half the recommended dose of electrolytes this morning which she didnt seem to mind just incase it is something that simple. I have heard about over eating goats and since they have fresh grass she may of ate too much i will see how she is doing when i get home if her mood has changed but as off this morning she was normal acting and eyes still had pink in the skin like the rest. I may be over reacting to a simple messy movement but i would rather be safe.
 
r ranson
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how about salt?  What kind of salt lick do they have?

Has the weather changed much in the last week?

I can't remember if you said - how long since they moved to your home?  Did they change pasture in the last two or three weeks?
 
hunter miller
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Was just reading in backyard dairy goats book i got from on here they say to much nitrogen from greens can cause some bloat and sloppy poop which seems like the case for her but they have been on grass since the day i got them even before that.
 
hunter miller
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we never gave licks to goats on the farm as they have soft tongues compared to cows which is why i free feed minerals. I would have to check an see if salt is in the mixture but if it was going to be something like that wouldnt it effect the whole herd i mean i have a 'rut' that is smaller an was a difficult birth and required extra attention the seller told me but she is the sweetest one. the weather is central PA 70-80 in the days humid some and been into the 60 at night and they are in the same paddock they have been since i got them over a month ago 70*40' i actual mow it because they dont eat it fast enough and i do bag it when mowing as to not leave any clippings behind but this last week has been just nice weather im thinking maybe she gorged on greens too much as her overall behavior is still the same as the others and shes wanting food.
 
hunter miller
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Looking back at pictures from the 11th she was wide then im thinking she may be a over eater.
 
r ranson
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Most important - not all animals react the same.  I usually keep a canary or two in my heard/flocks.  These aren't the birds, but animals that are more sensitive to environmental or dietary stress - they get sick first so I can act before the other animals get sick.  You may have a canary with this goat.

Here's my sheep canary Gretta:



She was bottle fed but didn't get sufficient mummy first-milk so she is sensitive to changes in the flock.  

hunter miller wrote:we never gave licks to goats on the farm as they have soft tongues compared to cows which is why i free feed minerals. I would have to check an see if salt is in the mixture



If there is then change your mixture immediately!  If salt is mixed with other minerals than the animals will overdose (OD) on salt to get the minerals they need, or OD on minerals to get the salt they need.  Overdosing on minerals is far more deadly than mineral deficiency.  A deficiency will kill slowly, an excess will kill quickly - sometimes less than an hour from ingestion to death.   With livestock health, less is more.

Salt must be given separately from minerals.  A lick might include SE, Colbolt, or occasionally other single minerals, but that's only if the species and local soil mineral conditions warrant it.

Salt is a vital substance for goats.  If you have non-iodized salt in the kitchen, put a teaspoon in your hand and see if the goats lick it.  Another sign they might be salt deficient is if they are licking metal or your skin.  

It's possible to OD on salt too.  That's why I prefer a lick because it slows down the consumption.  Goats generally scrape the 'lick' with their teeth.  Nothing to do with licking.  In general, powdered minerals are useful if you need to increase their mineral levels quickly (like when changing a pasture, lactating, or other stressors) but in general, a lick (one for minerals and one for salt) is sufficient to keep them healthy.  

Salt will generally double water consumption so it's good to check the water supply often.  
 
pollinator
Posts: 233
Location: Tasmania
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You could also try cutting out goat pellets and all grain for a while and seeing what happens. I personally try to avoid feeding grain to kids, and use it only for pregnant or lactating does. Soaked grain is more easily digested than unsoaked.

Pellets are really bad for a goat's digestive system, it could be that in small amounts they're fine for most of your goats, but your 'canary' goat could be reacting to the pellets.

Seaweed/kelp might help as well. Or possibly dolomite lime (you might need to put a small handful down her mouth in case she hasn't figured out how to eat it free-choice). Apple cider vinegar in the water, or as a drench, is usually a good idea too.

So many good suggestions in this thread already, it's really good that you noticed the more subtle and early signs of sickness, and I hope you will find some way that resolves it.
 
r ranson
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Kate Downham wrote:

Seaweed/kelp might help as well.



Where I live it is vital to include Selenium (SE) in the goat's diet, usually by feeding them kelp meal.  Otherwise, they get problems with reproductive systems, infections, mastitis, digestion, muscles, and other issues.  People in my area usually inject SE shots, but it's expensive and giving shots to goats is not my favourite hobby.  

However.  If the hay comes from the interior of BC, then a lot of farms suddenly have a problem with SE overdose (OD).  Low SE leads to general poor health issues.  Extreme SE deficiency takes a few months to kill most animals.  But a SE OD can kill an animal quite a bit faster.  

A friend of mine lived on the coast where we have pretty much no SE in the soil.  She moved to the interior of BC  where there is an extremely high SE in the soil, with her flock but did not adjust her minerals to the location.  She lost a lot of sheep before she discovered what was wrong because she kept adding more and more minerals to their diet to try and fix the problem.

Most people live where there's poor SE and goats needs are very high.  But it's good if you can find out your local soil content - just vague ideas about the common minerals and deficiencies will do - before adding extra to the diet.  

Because the feed supplier mixes the minerals for an area west of the rockies, they err on the side of caution and add only a tiny amount of SE to the mix.  If they added enough for the Costal regions, it would kill animals nearer the mountains.  So we have to add extra to the diet.  For maintenance, I choose a molasses lick so they don't go overboard and OD on SE, but if they are nearing birthing or lactating, I put out a separate dish of kelp powder for them to munch on.
 
hunter miller
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Location: Central Pa
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I had been giving the pellets only as a dinner time snack and had added the beet pulp for extra fiber.
Update: I checked her several times last night and cleaned the shed out still no signs of any liquid scat and checked her this morning before leaving for work, it appears that she may of just eating something that didnt agree with her and caused a loose poop and seeing how this morning when i went out they literally are sleeping on each other at night (even thought there is plenty of room) im thinking she may of just had a messy movement because im seeing no new signs of scours just the dried scat that was on her the other day even that little bit didnt look liquidish. Im thinking due to the nice weather we had for the last week they were out grazing more maybe she gorged on too much greens as she is always the last out of the feeding through cleaning up the pellets the others didnt want. she is a over eater for sure ill have to watch that but she was perfectly happy this morning despite me waking them.
Ill find a small salt lick if not ill add free choice to one of my feeders also.
 
r ranson
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Hay or pasture is generally sufficient for a non-working animal.  

I feed soaked beetpulp to my aged alpacas and llamas to help them bulk up on weight in the fall and winter.  It's 'hot' food for them in the summer and makes it hard for them to stay cool.  They get barley flakes in the summer - about 1 cup per 200pounds of liveweight.  But these guys have digestion problems.  One has no teeth and the other has trouble with cudding (where he can't swallow his hay because it makes too big a ball in his mouth).  

Is there something wrong with your goats' hay or fodder that they need extra fibre?
 
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