Posts Tagged ‘goat care’

I pray that you never have to do it…but just in case you need help with a newborn kid that has been chilled – wet and very exposed to harsh winter temperatures, unresponsive (or nearly so), I am repeating a post that may help you:

Reviving A Chilled Newborn Goat Kid

Best wishes with your kidding season!


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As the fog lifted this morning I enjoyed the beauty, the quiet, and the cool air.  It (the cool air) did not last long, but I am still purposely treasuring summer, despite the drought and the heat.  Winter will be on its way before we know it. 

I mentioned drought because, as you can see in the photo, between the sidewalk and the trench to the right of it (not quite filled in yet from our well installation last spring), there is no grass, and what is available is brown. 

The goats are struggling to find grass to graze on. 

The goats are on hay, which is important to their well-being.  A good alfalfa blend is fed twice a day on our farm during times when pasture is scarce. 

I also feed minerals from a bag, but a truly top-notch mineral for a goat is browse.  Goats are browsers in their natural habitats (mountains and hill-sides).  A large shrub or tree, a deep-rooted plant, supplies an immense value of natural minerals to a goat.

I made a track around the farm this morning, slicing off branches from various trees such as apple, maple, and spruce. 

The goats had a feast, one that was healthy-as-it-could-be.

Fall is a great time to gather up leaves for goats.  Have you seen a goat chase after a leaf? Sometimes they catch them as they drift down from a tree, before the leaf has been able to float to the ground.  It really is an entertaining sight.  Exercise, fun, and minerals combined into one great escapade!

When feeding browse, be aware that certain plants, especially ornamental yard plants, are highly poisonous to a goat.  A good reference point is the list of edible and poisonous plants at the Fiasco Farm website.

Enjoy your goating…or even if you don’t have goats, I hope you enjoyed a few tidbits on raising goats!

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Reviving Chilled Newborn Goat

I have a method for reviving a very chilled newborn goat (kid).

Sharing of my method is not intended to replace veterinary advice.

Planning the breeding of a goat to ensure kidding occurs during warmer weather is optimal, but sometimes the best laid plans do not fall into place.   A dam may become confused with twins, triplets, or she simply may lose interest (or never gain it with a newborn).  What that being said, there is a necessity for knowing how to revive a very chilled newborn goat kid.

Facts first:

  • Normal goat temperature is 102-104
  • A newborn kid will not retain its own body heat until it has nutrition in its digestive system (colostrum)
  • A newborn goat kid must receive sufficient colostrum within the first 4 hours of their life (to retain body heat, get their digestive system working, immunities built, and to protect from health problems that can occur within their first few days or weeks)
  • A very chilled goat kid cannot, and will not, nurse.  Do not attempt to drip liquids down their throat.  If they are very chilled, to the point they cannot nurse, the liquids will more than likely reach their lungs and drowning can occur, or pneumonia will set in very rapidly.

A thermometer is the best method for taking a goat’s temperature, however, inserting your finger in a newborn’s mouth, touching the back of their tongue area, is a very good indicator of the kid’s temperature.

When a chilled newborn kid is found, depending upon how cold they are, how wet they are, and if they have had any colostrum, they may exhibit signs of near-death such as extreme legarthy, slow respiration, drawing of the head to the left, or a weak heartbeat.  In all of these cases, run, don’t walk, to begin reviving the kid.  Minutes are left in the newborn’s life!

My method:

  • Place the kid in a sink of water (as close to normal goat body temperature as possible).  Keep the newborn’s nose and mouth out of the water.  Maintain the water as close to temperature as possible.  If the kid is very chilled you may find the water cools down quickly.
  • Maple, corn syrup, or molasses.  I keep a bottle of maple or corn syrup in a cabinet next to the sink.  As I hold the kid in the water, I pour a couple of teaspoons of syrup into a small bowl.  I dip my finger into the syrup and rub a small amount into the kid’s cheeks.  Repeat several times.
  • As the kid’s body temperature nears a safe level they will begin to jerk or shiver.  Until the kid begins to do either, their body temperature is probably not climbing.
  • Once the kid is more alert (temperature nearer to normal) I pull them from the warm water, quickly wrap them in a dry towel, and begin drying their coat with a hand held hair dryer.  Caution, light massage is a good thing, but never be overly rough with towel rubbing, etc…, kids can only take so much when they are already exhausted.  When drying the coat, to avoid burning the skin, do not hold the dryer too close, or in one position.  Use sweeping movements.  I try to gently massage with one hand, while holder the dryer with another.
  • Once the kid is dry their body temperature has probably increased greatly.  They should be more alert, but will likely still be showing signs of impending death.  At this point I administer liquids through injection.  Using a 20 gauge needle, 1/2″, I begin injecting Dextrose (use the 5% solution, and/or the Dextrose solution manufactured specifically for injections), SQ (under their skin), in the area between the shoulder blades.  Pinch the skin to form a “tent” and inject just under the skin.  The kid can survive off of the SC liquid for several hours.  I normally inject 3 ML Dextrose, repeat, until a “hump” has raised between the shoulder blades.  Within 15-20 minutes you will notice the hump going down.  This means the body is absorbing the liquid, a very good thing.  If the kid has not revived fully, revive this process as new fluids are needed.  The kid’s body will absorb all of the liquids it needs via the injected liquids.  I also keep Lactated Ringers on hand (a bag of saline IV solution purchased from the vet).  In extreme cases, I will rotate my injections between Dextrose and Lactated Ringers.  Keep the kid wrapped in a dry towel, and make sure they are in a warm location.
  • Again, do not try to force liquids down the kid.  They will develop pneumonia, and they cannot nurse (or swallow properly) until their body functions resume to a normal level.  Once the kid is hydrated and their body temperature is normal they genrally want to nurse.

Revival of a chilled kid is a gradual process.  Do not expect results in 5 minutes.

Once you have had to do the process several times, you begin to notice the heartbeat (just by touch), respiration (by watching the nose and chest), and how the kid looks in the eyes as you go through the revival process.  Goats have what looks like an angry, not bright, look to their eyes when they are not well.

One last note, always keep frozen colostrum on hand.  You never know when you will need it this type of emergency.

If you need help with anything I have said here, please let me know!

Do not forget to talk to the kid as you work with them.  They respond to voice.  Goats give up easily when they do not feel well…your voice may just be enough reassurance to help them cross the bridge to a healthy long life!

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Iris 9-2-07

One of the questions that I receive frequently is, “How do I dry off a dairy doe?”

My best advice is to stop milking her.  If the doe was on grain while she was being milked, either cut the grain out of her diet, or cut the amount down considerably. 

A doe will continue to produce some milk as long as you milk her out.  The method of gradually cutting back on the milking schedule to dry a doe off never works for me.

Best bet:  cold turkey, stop milking. 

I have only had one case of mastitis in my milking herd.  The doe never had mastitis again in subsequent years.  For that particular doe, when I took her out of milk each year, I infused her teats with Tomorrow (a long-acting antibacterial product).  I infused and did not milk again until she freshened the following season.

Always watch for signs of mastitis:  doe is off feed, doe is standing away from the crowd, udder is hard/hot/swollen.  Keep in mind, however, the udder will swell for 3 or 4 days after you stop milking.  It takes a few days for the hormones to kick in and say, “No more milk!”  The body then begins to resorb the milk from the udder.

With a very thin doe, I do continue feeding some grain after I dry her off.  In most cases, however, worming her (if needed), and offering her good quality hay will put the weight back on.   I do not feed grain again until late in pregnancy, the 2nd or 3rd month.  Increase gradually as the due date nears.  A good quality alfalfa mix hay is a sufficient supplement otherwise.

I hope you found this article helpful.  Please let me know if you have additional questions.

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