Goat Health

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Emailing us questions about goat health is the best way to reach us. goatgal@splitrailfamilyfarms.com.

If there is an emergency call Cotati Large Animal Hospital (707) 795-4356

8079 Gravenstein Highway Cotati.

Link to Kid Care at Black Mesa Ranch click here

Bottle Feeding: Whole Cow milk can be used or goat milk form a tested herd (do not feed store bought goats milk as the goats from those herds could have CAE and potentially pass it to your kid)

Nubians get 12-20oz three times a day until the are 6 weeks old and then can be switched to 20+ oz twice a day until they are 8 weeks.

Nigerian Dwarf goats give 6-8oz three times a day until 6 weeks, then switch to 8-10oz two times a day.

**Overfeeding a bottle baby is easy, they will act hungry after they have eaten but do not feed them more. You can feel their stomach, full is good, if it is tight it was too much.

Vaccinations: Your goat was given it’s first shot when it was disbudded. It should receive another CD&T shot of 2 ccs three weeks after its first shot, then annually 

Shelter: Goats need a place to stay dry and warm. When there are kids they need to be in a place that is as draft free as possible, a dog house will keep them quite comfortable. 

Fencing: Strong fencing is important.Goats like to stand on the fencing and can get over low spots. 4’ is probably the shortest you want to do.

Companionship: Goats need to have an animal companion/friend. It can be another goat or other type of livestock.

Clipping Hooves: Depending on the goat and the terrain they have to play on, goats need their hooves clipped every 3-5 months. Most importantly this should be done before the wet season to keep their hooves healthy. This is sometimes a two-person job if the goat is not used to getting it done regularly. It is easiest to do this job in a milk stand. 


Hay: This should be given free choice to all goats. It should be kept dry and out of the sun. Never feed moldy hay. Orchard grass is the easiest to find. Timothy hay and clover hays are also good. Be careful with alfalfa, it is dangerous to wethers as it is so rich in minerals that it can cause stones that they can not pass (for other info on wethers please look below). Alfalfa only needs to be used for milking does, but others hays will work then as well.

Grain: I use 14% all purpose organic mix from Hunt and Behrens feed store in Petaluma. Other grain can be used as well, but be careful that it is not too sweet as they may get spoiled on it and stop eating their hay.

Scraps and Cuttings: Make sure that the plant is not poisonous before offering it to the goats. (http://fiascofarm.com/ edible and poisonous plant list).  Start the goats slowly to a new food, you don’t want to give them too much of one thing quickly.


Baking soda: Offer this free choice. A pipe feeder attached to the barn/fence works best. There are also feeders sold at feed stores. You want to make sure that it is in a dry place and stays clean. Goats are picky about eating things that are dirty.

    Salt: There are a few ways to offer salt to goats. It should be offered free choice and may be offered in multiple ways as well. There are a few types of salt+mineral blocks, I use a 50lb selenium and salt block. You should also offer loose salt+mineral mix, I use SweetLix.


    Pro-biotic Paste or yogurt can help start a goat rumen working again. This is important when a goat has been on antibiotics or has been sick or stressed for any reason. It can not hurt to try it on a sick goat.

NutraDrench is a mineral and vitamin liquid that can help boost immune system and give energy to a sick goat it is also used on does that have just kidded and new born babies to give them a little boost.

 Common Illness:

    Coccidiosis: Usually present in all adult goats. Can be a problem when a kid gets an overload and has not built up immunity to it yet. Signs: diarrhea, lethargic behavior, bloated stomach. This needs to be treated quickly: I use Sulmet or Albon.

Copper Deficiency: If not receiving the right amount of copper in there feed and minerals, goats can be deficient in copper. One sign is loss of hair color (it looks like the goats is bleaching out). This can be resolved by giving more minerals (I use sweetlicks) Or give a copper filled pill (called copper ballast) ask your feed store about it.

Bloat: If the goat is not balancing its digestive system (with enough dry to green ratio, and using Baking Soda and salt to adjust) it can get bloat. The goat will go off its feed and get diarrhea. It will not be burping up its cud as often or at all. In minor cases the goats can be given pro-biotic paste or plain yogurt to help regulate its digestive system.

Lactic Acidosis: If goats eat to much grain/ get more than they are use to receiving (such as braking in to a bag of feed), they can get this potentially lethal problem. I have found that oral penicillin can save there life. Look up how Lactic Acidosis works. http://www.sweetlix.com/media/documents/articles/Goat_AcidosisInGoats.pdf


    Be careful with feeding foods to rich in minerals especially calcium to wethers. To help them keep healthy urinary tracts give wethers ammonium chloride. read hear http://fiascofarm.com/goats/stones.htm 

q2© Split Rail Farms 2012