How to Treat Sick Baby Goats
How to Treat Sick Baby Goats: written by Rosie Ramsey, Founder of Successful Goating with Rosie. Posted with permission, edited by packgoats.com.
TOO MANY DEAD BABIES …
I see so many babies dying at just a few days old. This is very concerning. It isn’t “normal” to just loose newborns. They are either not getting enough milk (#1 cause) or they are getting too cold.
I see so many asking how to treat FKS – Floppy Kid Syndrome but, actually this is pretty rare. Most of the floppy kids I have seen in the groups do not have FKS but are dying instead from being malnourished.
When you have a newborn having a seizure or laying flat out the first thing to do is get a temperature. In many cases the seizure is from hypoglycemia, malnourishment, or hypothermia.
It is OUR responsibility to make sure the kid has gotten colostrum. Just because one latches on doesn’t mean they are capable of finding the teat and getting enough milk in the next hours and are in the safe zone.
Get up and go check on babies every couple of hours for the first few days, you fill stand a better chance of saving them over not finding them for 6, 8, 12 hours.
Post-Birth Complications of Sick Baby Goats
Feeding – Make sure the wax plug has been removed so each teat is flowing well. Then recheck the teats at least daily to make sure the kids are nursing and the teats have not replugged. Squirt some milk to make sure udder isn’t congested too. I [Rosie] had a kid go down because all seemed well. On day 5 I realized the does udder was very congested and very little milk was available even though her udder looked full.
Colostrum – is very very important. Without it the goat can have lifelong problems and can even die from lack of colostrum. If your doe doesn’t have colostrum you need to have colostrum REPLACER, not SUPPLEMENT, available.
Poop – You want to see the initial dark colored poop (meconium) change over to yellow (milk poop) the first day. If not, then a plain warm water enema should help. [Meconium is extremely sticky and can be difficult to remove]. Colostrum has natural laxative properties to help prevent constipation. Keep the babies butt clean of the superglue poop, this can actually plug up the rectum and baby cant poop. [Vaseline or other safe non-stick application to the area around the rectum can help keep meconium from sticking].
Legs – bent legs are not usually a selenium issue. If you have leg issues give the contents of a Vit E capsule, colostrum, warmth, and time before giving any drugs. If most of your kids are born with issues then you need to evaluate the minerals and feed and dose the does during pregnancy.
Temperature – IF you have an issue – [Measure] temp first and if the baby is under 100° F you need to get it warmed immediately. Get it in a warm bath wither put inside a trash bag with its head out or just submerge in very warm water 103-105*. Do NOT feed the baby until temp is over 100° F. While 101° F – 103° F is better sometimes it is hard to get it that high. So, get them over 100°F and get very warm milk in them asap. The milk will help warm them from the inside. Just make sure baby is completely dry (blow dryer).
Poor Instincts – If you have a doe that consistently does NOT raise all her kids, then stop breeding her. These maternal instincts need to be strong in your herd. Give the doe a chance and don’t pull a baby right off the bat. Also, if she is mean to a baby, I [Rosie] personally would never breed her; she would be a cull animal.
Finally, don’t forget to dip those navel cords as this can help prevent ill joint. Joint ill is a very painful infection that often creates long term effects IF they recover. Lets see how many we can keep out of the grave this kidding season. – Rosie Ramsey
Packgoats.com: For more helpful information on raising baby goats through their first year of life, check out the How to Raise a Baby Goat Course.