Keeping Your Goats Healthy In Winter
As the summer comes to a close and the seasons change, there are a few things to prepare for to keep your goats healthy into the winter months. Depending upon your location, some of these may not apply. The rain and wind create a concern for pneumonia, wet coats and Coccidia. We will visit these 3 topics in detail below.
Pneumonia often arises from a change in the seasons, going from dry warm air to wet moist air and wind. It is important to watch your goats regularly for the signs and symptoms of pneumonia. Signs and symptoms include: runny/snotty nose, wet cough and a temperature above 103.5. Because pneumonia will be treated with antibiotics, we recommend having a relationship with a goat veterinarian who will be able to prescribe at least one of the medications needed to combat pneumonia. Check out our Common Health Problems In Kids Guide
Symptoms of Pneumonia
*Do your best to recognize the symptoms on Day 1. If you are uncertain that the goat has pneumonia, at least administer Vitamin B oral gel at 5mL/100 lbs (or injection at 4cc/100 lbs).
Symptoms: Runny or Snotty Nose with a Wet Cough and some Respiratory Distress (difficulty breathing). Take time to investigate the cough. A wet cough does not always indicate Pneumonia, but if you have a combination of the 2 symptoms and a fever (high temp), it is likely. Take the goats temperature immediately. The normal temperature range should fall between 101.5° – 103.5°. Keep in mind that your kids temperature could be higher if they have been lying under a heat lamp or in the warm sun. *If this is the case, a temperature over 104° is indicative of infection. Continue monitoring the temperature for at least 3 days. Pneumonia will require an Antibiotic Injection (SQ).
- LA 300 (extra label)- 5 cc/100 lbs (3 consecutive days); or
- NuFlor (extra label)- 3 cc/100 lbs the first day, then again 48 hours later; or Choose one for treatment; or
- Draxxin – 1.1 cc(mL)/100 lbs.
*1 dose of Draxxin takes approximately 12 hours to begin being effective and will remain in the system for 7 days. If the goat is really struggling it may be best to treat with NuFlor or LA300 for faster results.
*Administer Probios or other form of probiotics for 3 days following any Antibiotic treatment.
Keeping Your Goats Healthy In Winter: Shelter/Wet Coats
A nice shelter will keep your goats dry and block a good amount of wind during storms. At minimum, a 3 sided shelter with a roof will provide ample cover from the elements. Be sure to position the front open side of the shelter in the opposite direction of your normal wind pattern. Keeping your goats warm, dry and out of the wind will assist in deterring pneumonia and maintain their health throughout the winter. In some areas where the goat may be exposed to sleet (rain-snow mix) while eating, goat coats can be used during the daytime. A goat coat can be handy if you are still traveling into the backcountry. We recommend removing the coats at night if they are at home (not in the backcountry) or when the goats remain under their shelter to avoid horns being tangled in the straps. In other areas where predators are a concern, a fully enclosed shelter may be optimal unless you have a guard dog.
Wet soil conditions create a perfect breeding ground for coccidia. Your shelter can have a gravel floor (or other medium) to minimize moisture settling in the bedding area, reducing coccidia. Keep feed off of the ground and in areas that can still produce pasture grass, keep the grass above 5” in height. This will minimize the goats from coming into contact with the ground. We recommend testing your goats feces at least twice a year and administering preventatives or treatments as required. We recommend Midamerica Labs https://www.midamericaagresearch.net/ for fecal tests. You can view coccidia preventatives and treatments in the Goat Medicine Guide SMZ (Sulfamethoxazole & Thimethoprim) 800 mg tabs are our recommendation for coccidia and gastrointestinal issues.
Stock up on hay for winter! Store your grass hay in a dry covered area to avoid mold. Moldy hay is life threatening to goats. And, water tank heaters may be required in those cold areas. We definitely use them here in Idaho. Lastly, you will want to keep your mineral container full to encourage the goats to drink water during the winter months.
Did You Know?
Did you know by becoming a Goat Club Member one of the perks to our membership is getting your courses at 50% off! If you are here to learn from Marc, come and discover the benefits that will be valuable and helpful to everything owning goats. Especially if you are ready to start breeding your own goats and ready for this wild journey of goat husbandry.