Two baby goats without their mom

whitecloudfarm(z 5-6 West. PA)March 18, 2009

We have two baby pygmy goats, a little over two weeks old, and the mother died over the weekend. I think from complications from the birth (a third baby was breech and did not survive). The babies are healthy, fed off their mother for two weeks and we have been bottle feeding them for four days now. They seem to be doing well, but would like to know what to watch for.

At first, I did not think they were getting enough milk from bottle feeding, but they seem to be taking in much more now that they are used to the bottle. We are using a powder milk replacer for lambs and goats. They are already eating hay and leaves. I also started to give them some pellets soaked in the milk replacer, and mashed apples in the milk replacer. I started giving them small amounts of this solid food because I didn't think they were getting enough from the bottle at first and they liked to eat it. Now that they are doing better on the bottle, I only give them small amounts of this solid food. We feed them the bottle at least four times a day.

I have read alot on this forum about baby goats, floppy kid syndrome, vitamin deficency, etc. But where can I buy the supplements. A website?

Any experience you may have will be helpful. Just want to know what to watch for and be prepared. Is there a website about goats?

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brendasue(6)

Baby goats will always act hungry. Feed them the recommended amount, then leave some hay free choice & they'll start to nibble. I wouldn't give them apple at this age, particulary since they've only been on the bottle for 4 days. Show them hay is good to the best of your ability. Right now they are still single-stomached animals, and their rumens are just starting to function. You don't want to be changing their feed quickly or in quantity as they can get very ill. Moderation is the key. Jack Maulden, google it (Boer Goats) has a recommended feeding schedule on his website if you don't have one available. We dam raise whenever possible & only have had a few bottle babies so I don't remember it.

You are correct they should have solid food available at all times-preferably hay, leaves are good too. After feeding, feel their stomachs. They should not feel hard, nor empty. A little squishy. Compare before and after feeding so you know what I'm talking about. In another week you should be able to knock the feedings down to 3x a day, then 2 later. Offer a bowl of fresh water, but not too much as you don't want them to fill up on all water & not take the bottle, they've actually been known to starve in this manner. Keep a low sided water bucket low so they can't possible drown!

Was the mom vaccinated at all? CD/T is a good vaccination to give them for overeating disease. They don't need it but it is common practice. If mom wasn't vaccinated, they should get 2cc sq(under skin) at 1 month, 2 months, and 3 months (21-28 days apart). If mom was vaccinated, they should receive 2cc at 2 months & then 21 -28 days after. Then yearly after their initial & booster shots.

They are really too young to be showing vitamin deficiencies, unless mom was deficient. Selenium deficiency is the worst offender but usually shows up as hard sacks or weak back legs at birth. Offer a free choice LOOSE GOAT mineral, preferably one made for your area, they won't eat much maybe you could buy some from a local until they get bigger. Goats are not the same as sheep, so you should be giving them goat products. Many feed stores (in this area, anyway) don't understand this so do your homework! Make sure those pellets are labeled for GOATS, NOT goats & sheep.

Scours are common with milk replacers. We've fed whole cows milk with no issues at all. If you get scours it's probably the replacer, then switch them slowly to whole cows milk, controlling diarhea with pepto. This is a common mistake with people new to bottle babies, so be aware.

Watch for the runs, listlessness, inability to stand, couphing, runny nose, noises in their chest, runny eyes, or staying off by themselves, or a fever. Classic symptoms of an issue either starting or that have taken hold.

Supplies can be found at hoeggers, caprine supply, jeffers livestock, and many others found online. Tractor supply & Agway depending on your area carry some items, selection can vary.
Brendasue

    Bookmark   March 18, 2009 at 6:52PM
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brendasue(6)

Correction to my post: Selenium deficiency shows in the sack being THICK, not hard, and weak back legs. The kids have a hard time breaking these thick sacs.
Brendasue

    Bookmark   March 18, 2009 at 6:55PM
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whitecloudfarm(z 5-6 West. PA)

Thanks for the information. Very helpful. Some clarification for me. For Selienium deficiency, what do you mean by 'sack'?
Where is the baby's sack, or are you referring to the mother's milk sack?
The baby's are doing well. I will stop with the apples (even though they love them). They are nibbling on hay and leaves and grass on their own. They seem healthy so far. They will probably be our most people friendly goats with all this extra handling they are getting. Our dogs are going to get jealous.
Thanks again.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2009 at 8:38AM
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brendasue(6)

Selenium deficiency usually shows up with thick birthing sacks, and weak legs on the newborn. A shot of Bose usually fixes this problem within hours, though can usually be prevented in deficiency areas by either giving a shot of BoSe (vet script) 3-4 weeks before due date or providing selenium & vitamin E powder free choice.

The reason I wouldn't give the apples is because diahrea may be misdiagnosed as either from the apples or the formula which oftentimes can cause scours, sometimes several days after starting the formula, sometimes immediately. If a kid scours it's important to know why they are scouring (diahrea) so it can be corrected ASAP.

I forgot to mention coccidia prevention. Many do the prevention as they have not the facilities to keep the kids from eating contaminated bedding/grass/etc. If kept in a clean & dry environment coccidia cannot multiply easily. scours are a classic symptom of cocci.

It doesn't seem like you have this problem, I'm sorry to confuse you. Here I go rambling again....
Brendasue

    Bookmark   March 19, 2009 at 12:10PM
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boopster(8)

I'm raising a bottle lamb right now. I was going to use the milk replacer, but the gal that I got him from had him on a milk recipe that she got from some goat people. Its a gallon of whole cows milk, minus two cups. Replace the two cups with a can of evaporated milk, and one cup of butter milk. I feed 10 oz. three times a day, and 6 oz. for the 4th feeding. My little lamb is thriving on this mix. Nice solid poop, very healthy and happy and growing like crazy. I've started offering him some alfalfa, and he's started eating that as well. You might try that, and if they do get a little loose, you can add a little plain yogurt to the mix, and that should fix them right up. Good luck with your goaties ;-) baby goats are just too cute :-)

    Bookmark   March 20, 2009 at 7:17PM
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whitecloudfarm(z 5-6 West. PA)

Just wanted to follow up on my story. The two goats stayed healthy and happy. They were the friendliest goats we have ever had, getting so much handling from the bottle feeding. I loved the goats, but just gave them away a week ago to a family that needed a new goat. As soon as they saw the two little twins they wanted them. Their little ten year old daughter was so good with them, I just knew they were going to a good home. And I knew that two goats this tame were going to actually grow up and be annoying for us. They seem very happy in their new home where they are getting a lot of attention.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2009 at 3:26PM
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redapplegoatchris

Hi my name is christmas and am looking for some advice on a baby goat of mine. Have been dealing with scours for days now, she for the most part is a bouncy and happy baby...just can't get the diarrhea cleared up. Has anyone ever used Tetradure on a baby goat? If so whats the dosage on a 4 to 5 pound baby. (P.s. pepto is helping )

    Bookmark   April 22, 2013 at 12:34PM
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kathiewray

I just got my first pair of pygmy goats- now 16 days old. I have put them on Manna pro milk replacer. When I got them they were on the colustrum and their poop was dark brown and hard. Since switching to Manna Pro, one of the goats has begun to have diarrhea. She gets it immediately after drinking and it is a golden brown in color. The other goat is fine. Both goats are very lively and sleep well. Is this just a reaction to the Manna Pro? Is this the scours? Do I need to take some other type of action? I also have sweet mix and hay out for them to sample.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2014 at 5:06PM
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