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How To Care For Your Goats

Generally speaking, goats are fairly hardy animals. There are a few things, however, that can take them down.

One thing that can cause a goat to become is basic mistakes in care. One thing many new goat owners forget is to provide baking soda for their goats.

Yes, goats eat baking soda, and it keeps their gut working properly. Always have a mineral feeder or small feed tub with plenty of baking soda available for them that they can eat free choice. They’ll eat what they need when they need it.

Obviously, it can get really expensive if you feed them those little boxes of baking soda you find in your supermarket. It is much more cost effective to check with your local feed store and get livestock-grade baking soda. It is sold in large fifteen, twenty, or fifty-pound bags at a cost far less than food-grade baking soda.

The Joy Of Keeping Goats…

Some of the most common diseases of goats and their treatments are:

  • Anemia: The most common killer of goats is anemia. It is brought on by an overload of worms. The cure is simple: prevention. Make sure you worm your goats regularly, and also have fecal checks done by your veterinarian regularly to make sure the worming program is working. In some areas of the country, worms become resistant to certain types of medicines.

If you use holistic worming procedures, it is even more important to make sure the program is working, because as much as you want to keep your livestock healthy without chemicals, worms are far more destructive and can decimate a herd quickly.

  • Bottle Jaw: This is also an illness brought on by worms. A goat with bottle jaw will have a very noticeable swelling under the jaw and/or down the throat. Bottle jaw not only creates an anemic condition, it can also block the airway and make it hard for the animal to eat. The cure for bottle jaw is also a good worming program.
  • Coccidiosis: This is a bacterial disease that causes extreme diarrhea, and while any animal in the herd can get it, it often attacks the very young and very old the hardest. Very young or old goats that contract severe cases of coccidiosis can fade and die quickly without immediate intervention.

Here again, prevention is a lot better than treatment. Keeping feeding and living quarters clean and sanitary can go a long way to preventing coccidiosis. Because the illness can progress so quickly and kill fast, it is better to avoid coccidiosis than to treat it; however, if you find yourself with a kid or older goat with severe diarrhea, contact your veterinarian to get sulmet for them and keep them hydrated.

Adding probiotics to their food (yogurt works well) and also mixing electrolytes with their water will help them recover faster. Electrolytes found in most sports drinks not only add the elements needed, but tastes good to the sick animals, encouraging them to drink more.

Recognizing a Sick Goat

The first step in recognizing a sick goat is to know your animals. For the most part, a noisy goat crying for no reason is an indication of a problem. However, some goats are particularly loud (Nubians for example), and knowing what is normal for your goat will help you determine when things aren’t right.

Often if you know your animals and their habits well, you can catch illnesses before symptoms even surface and get a head start on treating them or getting them veterinary attention. Since many common goat illnesses are swift and can be deadly if not caught early, it is very important to get them the proper attention fast.

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