Proverbs 27:27 And thou shalt have goats' milk enough for thy food, for the food of thy household, and for the maintenance for thy maidens.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Baby Goats and Constipation

We have been raising goats for many, many years.  Over the years, when we first started out,  I had lost a baby goat every few years to a mysterious illness.  It happened a few times on babies that I had left with their moms and also a few bottle babies. 
These babies would seem bouncy and happy and healthy and want to nurse but would all of a sudden just stop eating or not finishing their bottles.  No diarrhea or un-thriftiness (at first).   Their tummies would still be full of undigested milk from their last feeding, that was many hours ago.  You could actually, usually, pick them up and hear the milk sloshing in their gut.  This has happened at many different ages to us over the years.(a handful of times)   The first times this happened…I could not get the babies to start back to eating nor the milk to digest in their tummies and within two days or so the babies would die.  It was frustrating for sure to see them slowly loose strength and waste away. 
Then about seven years ago I stumbled upon a statement, on a goat form, and got a hint to what was going on.  The article suggested constipation.  I had researched and researched and had never found any articles on what it could be.  It was never mentioned in any of my goat books and the vets I had consulted with had no clue.(I had paid a vet to try to save them the first couple of times this happened)  Could it really have been that simple to save the babies I had lost?  I felt terrible.  That very same year we had a baby stop nursing and the milk not digest from the previous nursing.  I took a large (needleless) syringe and filled it with warm water.  I gently put about a half an ounce of warm water up the poor babies bottom.  By the time the next nursing time came along.  Walla, all the milk in its tummy had been digested and it was so eager to eat and downed its whole bottle.  This has worked every time now over the last many years. (sometimes they need two treatments)
The reason why I am bringing this up and what has brought this to mind is that Calfy, our 6 week old bottle fed doe, that is out of Bluebell started not finishing her bottle a few days ago.  She acted like she wanted to eat but would not latch back on and finish.   I let it go for two feedings.  She just didn’t want to finish and was not eating with gusto.  She was bouncy, playing and still nibbling around at food but not eating really well.  No loose stool.  She was the right age for coccidia but again, no loose stool. I thought about deworming her but don’t like to deworm till 8 weeks if at all possible.   I prayed about it.  She is older than any other baby I have ever had go thru this.  But decided it would not hurt to try and see if that fixed it.   By golly by the next feeding she was back to her normal piggy self, downing her bottle in record time.  :)
I just thought I would share this because I lost a few babies to this over the years when I first started out with goats.  It is ashame to loose any.  Especially if there is an easy fix like this.   I had no idea and many people don’t know about this.  I have had many calls from people that I have told this exact info to and it was just what they needed to help their baby goat.

Blessings and happy farming,
susan 

47 comments:

  1. Hi Susan,

    We lost a couple of babies this year and that may have been the cause for at least one of them. Thanks for sharing this; I'll keep it in mind in the next kidding season.

    Chris Windsor
    Bowing Oaks Ranch
    Liberty Hill, TX

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    1. Chris, Thanks so much for taking the time to read our blog post. I truly hope it helps some people save some of their babies in the future. It is a little known thing and has worked every time for me since I first tried it, when this happens now. We would have lost our doeling that I have high hopes for this season had God not brought me to the solution several years back. Blessings and happy farming! susan

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    2. I have a month old doeling that can not poo how long does the water take to start working

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    3. Hello Anonymous, Usually it works for me with in an hour. Hope she is ok. Blessings.

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  2. Thank you! I have a 9 year old Boer wether that is eating but acting mopey and has lost some weight. My friend today mentioned that Aiden, my goatly, ahd not pooped and he pretty much always poops when we are getting my horse ready. I am going to have to find someone to help me with the warm water treatment.

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    1. I pray it is a quick and easy fix for your Aiden. I am not a vet but at your own risk would also deworm with a good chemical wormer like Cydectin pour on, but use it orally. And make sure he is peeing regularly as it might be urinary calci building up. Blessings!

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  3. How long should I wait for poops after a feeding? She had diarrhea yesterday so I put her on strictly pedialyte for 24 hours. today she is drinking well 5 oz every 3 hours and had 2 slightly formed poops this morning. She is a 3 week old kinder I got day before yesterday. Thank you for help.

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    1. She is most likely cleaned out and empty from the diarrhea. So should start back to pooping slowly and then getting more formed all the time. Kinders are great goats. Hope she does well for you.

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  4. I have a two week old Nigerian dwarf goat that I bottle feed. In the mornings she doesn't want her bottle. She acts like she needs to poop but dont! I took her to the vet and he said she has an intestinal infection? They gave her Draxxin. Got her home and she ate great the rest of her feedings for the day. Next morning... acted sick again and no bottle then by afternoon she was eating and playing again. Same thing today. I have gave her enema s twice and gave her karo syrup. She she isnt pooping unless she just hid well while pooping.

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  5. She might be cleaned out from the enemas and will take a day to get back on track. I have not had one do this before. Usually they are hungriest first thing in the morning. Make sure the temperature of the bottle is right but it does sound like slow digestion associated with constipation. That is usually why they wont eat when they are this young. Wish I could be of more help. Blessings.

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  6. My baby goat is just two days old. I noticed a big ball of the yellowish colored poop on his butt and I cleaned it off with a warm rag. He made a tiny whimpering sound while I was doing it. There was still some on it I couldn't get off cause it is so sticky. I'm not sure what to do..I'm new to raising goats. Any suggestions?

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  7. My baby goat is just two days old. I noticed a big ball of the yellowish colored poop on his butt and I cleaned it off with a warm rag. He made a tiny whimpering sound while I was doing it. There was still some on it I couldn't get off cause it is so sticky. I'm not sure what to do..I'm new to raising goats. Any suggestions?

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    1. Hello Sarah Jacobson, The very first potty a baby goat has is black and very sticky tar like. It is maconium. Digested amniotic fluid. As the baby gets its colostrum the second or third potty is golden and still usually very sticky. Once it dries it is hard as a brick so best to clean it immediately. It often will stick to hairs and when you pull it off it will hurt. As they drink more and more milk it will get lighter and less sticky and soon form little normal balls and as they learn to eat and they develop their rumen their potty will turn brown and then black like a normal adult goat. It sounds like all is well and going as it should. Do keep its bottom clean till you get past the sticky stage as it can dry and block their anus if the mom (or us) do not clean it. Hope this helps and may all go well with your little one. Blessings and happy farming!

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  8. one whole ounce for a 10 day old goat? has exact symptoms you talk about. has not eaten for almost two days now! we are in emergency mode! vet said didn't think it was constipation but
    could find nothing else. thanks!

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    1. I pray it is this and is an easy fix for you and your baby goat. That it gets better soon.

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  9. Hi Sarah, my concern is the same as Sarah Jacobson's; 1 1/2 day old, he seems to strain trying to poo, he had the yellow sticky ball this morning and I've cleaned several times. He is less active than his brother and I never see him latch on for more than a few seconds. When should I start worrying about him? I tried to bottle feed him a little last night and he had nothing to do with it. Should I go ahead and try a little enema or give it more time?

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  10. I would give him a bit more time. Sometimes it takes a weaker baby a few days to build up the muscles for longer nursing sessions. As long as you have seen him nursing and pooping I would give him time. Yellow poop is a sign he is nursing. As their first poop is black and sticky meconium (sp?). It turns yellow as the digested colostrum comes through. So he is nursing and getting milk. Also the first thing a baby goat nurses on is what they will staunchly prefer. A dam raised baby is usually very hard to get onto a bottle and a baby that was given a bottle first is usually very hard to get to go onto a dam. Hope this helps. If he stops pooping I would give him an enema

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  11. Hi, susan i really NEED yr help my goat is month or so old and she has not pooped all day so we did the treatment u told us to do how long dose it take for him to poop

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  12. Hi,
    susan nichols
    Am 12 and my favorit goat is on it last leg it has not pooped all day and i dont thing yesterday either so we gave it the treatment that u thing works how long dose it take for the goat to poop

    PLEASE RIGHT BACK SOON
    love Aleah

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    1. Hello Aleah, so sorry to hear about your little goat not doing well. I just got up this morning to get your comment. It usually only takes less than an hour for a baby goat to poop after an enema. Usually pretty quick. If it took longer you might want to repeat the process. Does it have any other symptoms? Hope your little one makes it.

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  13. Hi I have a baby goat that a few days ago I found out he was constipated so I took care of that thanks to your website but he's still not the same he doesn't play as much and right now I'm with him and he's laying down but I noticed that his breathing is weird he's breathing heavily and making little grunting noises when he doesn't make the noises he breathes faster his front leg is also weird I don't know if it's normal because I'm new at this but it's like his leg Twitches when he kicks it out and keeps on doing it like his hoof is itchy or something please help me out

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    1. How old is your baby goat and is the weather warm there? Does he now have diarrhea or have any other symptoms?

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    2. Sorry I didn't see this comment until today I found out he had pneumonia back then and he's fine and healthy now but thanKS to finding this article and your advice I'm not sure if here today.

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    3. So happy all came around right for your little one. So good to hear. Blessings!

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  14. Hi, I have a question about this whole poop thing! I have raised 5 pygmy goat babies w/bottles...slept on the couch to do night feedings-the whole nine yards! My youngest I've ever had was 9 hours old (Mom wanted nothing to do with him or his 2 siblings). I also have 3 dam raised pygmies. My bottle babies have always gotten non-pasturized, cae/johnes fee, certified for human consumption Nubian milk from a producer I know. Never a problem. Had a little shipping sickness once, thats it. My first goat was a rescue & had everything wrong...scours, lice, you name it. Previous owner left her for dead after selling her Mother at 2 weeks old. I did treatments for things I didnt know was possible on a goat! I'm telling you all this because I've definitely seen a sick baby goat! Sadly she passed away after making an awesome recovery. She had coccidiosis for a long time, too young, and it left her unable to get the nutrients she needed so her organs were not as healthy as they should be. She actually had a heart attack at 2 months old-necro exam confirmed. So I watch my babies for any sign of cocci or anything else bad! Fast forward a few years to ladt week. I brought home my first non-pygmy, a 1 week old Fainting goat who's Mother couldn't feed him & his sister. He was the runt out of the two. Everything was fine, what I was used to for the most part. I did notice his poo was sort of clumped together and more oblong vs. circular like normal, but just watched him...then about 2 days later I noticed a yellowish mucous around his poo, and a snotty looking discharge-w/some bubbles coming from his butt! Durring all of this-and still currently, he is active, alert, jumping, eating, playing, nibbling on leaves and hay. So I watched another day. When I fed him that morning, I noticed some red streaking in his mucousy snotty discharge, so I watched no more! Today was day 3 of Sulfadimethoxine 12.5% for coccidiosis. It's honestly not doing a whole lot...I'm giving him 1cc as he's not to far off size-wise from a pygmies dose. No other symptoms...BUT...I thought I noticed him haunched up, straining to poo yesterday, even wimpering to do so...but I had a diaper on him because he was in the house and didnt want to take it all off. Watching him closely still...I just noticed tonight that yes, he is occasionally straining, and when he does he poo's, but just a little, and its tear drop shaped, which would make sense now if he's constipated! I found your article and am doing this tomorrow for sure! But I'd like to know your thoughts on this mucous covered poo and snotty discharge and its connection to the constipation he's having....I've NEVER seen a discharge like this! I'm at a loss at what to do after the 5 days of cocci treatment is done...worms? The milk? What would you do, and have you seen anything sounding like this before? He still acts fine but I know that could change in a moment abd if so...Im not sure what to do...any thoughts would be very appreciated!!
    -Erica

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    1. Erica, Thank you for your comment. I read and re read your comment and am at a loss. Truly. It does sound like he is a bit constipated. Usually, with cocci he would have diarrhea and not constipation. It does sound like his tummy is either not digesting properly or his body is trying to lubricate so he can pass hard stool. If he has no other symptoms I would just keep an eye on him as I have not heard of this before and see if any other symptoms present. As long as he is growing and acting fine I would guess he is... and his digestion will straighten out with age, growth and as he starts to digest roughage. Sorry I could not be of more help. Blessings!

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  15. Thanks for your response! This is drawing a blank from my pygmy breeder friends as well...I've read on a few goat sites that sometimes a kid can get constipation with cocidiosis but I've sure never heard of it in real life before....and the medicine for cocci is not working so it can't be that...I just had our vet call me and suggest it may be a strain of Perfingials and to give c&d antitoxin..but...he acts like he is the healthiest goat in the world, not like a baby dealing with enterotoximia! This is the part about baby goats I don't like! Please send prayers and good thoughts our way-I agree with you...I'm hoping this too shall pass!

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    1. Erica, I realize this post is a few months old; however, I have a little male pygmy (bottle baby) who has the same symptoms. I took his temp and it is 103.6, he is acting like he feels okay, but he has clearly been constipated (few feces yesterday, more but the "constipated" rolls vs pellets today and then this afternoon the mucus with the feces began). Did yo go ahead and treat with C&D Antitoxin or what came of this situation? Any information will be greatly appreciated.

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  16. All I can say is thank you soooooo much, you have saved my little babies life.
    One little Australian goat is very thankful.

    God Bless

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    1. Thank you for taking the time to comment! I am so very happy this information was helpful. You made my day! Blessings!

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  17. I have a two and a half week old pygmy that is going through this currently. Fingers crossed your method works for her.

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  18. Hi Susan I have a baby goat and she's on goats milk in a bottle. I got get 4/5 days ago she has only pooped once. But she pees a lot. She is active but not enough I came back from the vet 2 days ago for a wellness check and she's very healthy. But she's not pooping. Vet didn't say much about it or do anything about it. My goat is 3 weeks old and she's 6 lbs I feed her 6ozs thro out the day. She's now to the point where she just doesn't want her bottle. The vet gave me a tube to feed her but after reading your post I feel like she is constipated. I gave her close to 1/2 oz enema of warm water. Now she's just laying around. What should I do. The vet isn't much help.

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    1. Hello, I am so sorry that you and your baby are having such a hard time of it. I am not a vet so really don't know what is wrong but can tell you what my babies are doing at that age poop wise. Unfortunately, once a baby goat is down it is very hard to get them back up and going again. A baby goat usually poops after ever bottle right away. They also often poop in between meals but always after a bottle. By three weeks old my Nigerian dwarfs are usually taking about four or five ounces a feeding three times a day. If she was constipated she should have passed the hard stool soon after the enema flush. But sometimes it has taken two flushes to get it to move. The vet should have been concerned when it was told she was not going to the bathroom. Other than supportive care to encourage eating and strength I don't know of anything else that can be done. A shot of b vitamins might give some energy to encourage nursing. I pray your baby goat goes to the bathroom and recovers.

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  19. My goat is 2 days old it was pooping fine the first day and now it's not pooping or walking I don't have any kayro syrup nor baking soda but have olive oil and I would like to know how to give it to him and how much please help

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    1. Hello, bless its heart. So sorry to hear of this trouble. I am not a vet so can only say what I would do or try. This one is a tough call as I have not had one get constipated this young but have heard of it. It almost sounds like it oculd be something else. Like floppy kid syndrome or something along those lines. I have not given olive oil to any of my baby goats before so dont know what dose would be good. I always just use warm water up the bum. On line I have heard of people using water and oil up the bum as well as infant supositories but have never used them myself. I wish I could be of more help but if I were you I would try to google the does first. Sorry I can not be of more help. I pray it goes potty and gets better. Blessings.

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  20. Hello!
    I have a baby goat, Jacoba...she is 4 days old. She just had a very hard poop- a long yellow tube of poop that was very hard. Her anus was protruding really far, and she strained for about 15 minutes. I prayed over her, and waited...I used a wet wipe to pull off the part that was already out. By the time I was done milking, my daughter told me that Jacoba had pooped a whole poop. I picked it up, pulled it apart, smelled it. There are no visible parasites, there was some blood on the outside of it, and it was hard and waxy. It smelled normal. Do you think this is constipation? Do you have any idea what could be causing it? And, can you tell me how you treat constipation? I keep reading your post, but do not see any directions...Thank you so much! God bless you girl!

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    1. Hello Jocelyn. The first few times a baby goat has a BM it is usually black and tar like. Very sticky. It is digested amniotic fluid and is maconium. One way to tell a baby goat got its colostrum and is nursing, is the next BM's are yellow. It is digested colostrum or milk. It is often of odd consistency. Very soft and sticky and dries as hard as a brick or can be harder. I often have to clean it off little bottoms. I bet it was a bit of constipation but she was able to pass it. Bless her heart. Hopefully it was just the way that first milk was digested and the next few will get softer and softer. If she has trouble going, it wont hurt her to do a warm water enema to help her out. But I bet it will rectify itself over the next few times she goes BM. I have never done it but have read where some people have given things orally to a baby goat to help with constipation but I have never done it. I try to mess with little tummies as little as possible if I can help it as there is a delicate balance there and dont want to give them diarrhea. A much harder thing to get under control. Pray all goes well. Blessings!

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  21. Hi. First off I want to thank you for your article and the obvious amount of time and effort you put into answering these questions. So I have a tiny pygmy/nigerian 9 days old now, born half the size of her 3 womb mates (1 lb 8 oz). At first she eat very well (mamma's milk in a bottle) and pooped a lot! All her life they have been bright yellow pudding poops, but she has been good otherwise until yesterday. Instead of growing and beginning to take more and more milk like her sister, she is taking less. She acts like she's hungry but a couple of sucks and she's done. I've been kinda forcing an ounce here and there so she doesn't starve. I began researching the issue today and suspect she may be a ruminal drinker. She has all the symptoms. One site recommens milk of magnesia and enema for that remedy. Her little whole is the size of a pencil lead. And I'm not sure about the safety of MOM. Then I found your site. I think I will definitely try this. Couldn't hurt right? One more thing, this morning I noticed her straining to poop. And when she pushes the opening becomes red around like either the interior of her anus is showing or something big and red stuck is in there and not quite pushing through. How can she strain to pass pudding? Then the other question is, her sister... compared to the tiny poop machine she almost never poops. She seems perfectly healthy but pees many times a day and hardly ever poops while the tiny one poops 20-40 times a day and hardly ever pees. How many poops is normal?

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    1. Hello Laci, Sorry for your troubles. Having a sick baby goats is no fun and sometimes very frustrating and hard to figure out or diagnose. I am not a vet but it sounds like the older sister doe is pottying normally. With firmer poops and peeing less. My baby goats usually only poop after each bottle or every time after they nurse and then maybe once or twice more during the day. They usually pee after every nurse and every time they get up from a nap or when very active. It would not hurt her to do a warm water enema. On one that small just 5 ccs or so would be plenty. Just enough to lubricate if she is constipated. I don't think that she is if her poo is pudding consistency. I wish I had more ideas or could be of more help but you do indeed have a very puzzling case. Will be praying she gets better. Blessings

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  22. Oh yeah, and how many CCs do i put in there?

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  23. Hi... I have a baby boy 6 weeks old boer/pygmy mix got him at 4 weeks didn't take to the bottle and he was being fed grain until someone at the local farm supply store said to only be giving him hay and water. He's been on they hay a week now and he seems to be really constipated. How much of an enema should in give him?

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    1. Bless his heart. A ruff start in life. I am not a vet but would give an ounce of warm water up the bum and see if it helps. It might need to be done more than once. Lots of running around with them helps them to go as well. Hope this helps. Blessings!

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  24. How long do we wait between warm water enemas?

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    1. Hello, I am so sorry you are having issues with your little one. It is very hard to know what to do with one so young and to figure out why they might be having symptoms. There are a lot of reasons why the baby goat might not be eating but constipation could be one of them. I am not a vet but from my experience I have done enemas up to a few times a day. Giving the goat several hours in between… time to try to pass any hard stool. Usually, if there is any hard stool it comes out fairly quickly. I also try to take the baby goat for walks to get their legs and bowls moving.I truly pray everything comes around right for your little one. Blessings, susan

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  25. i have a 3 day old premi that stooped pooping and is staring when he tries. what do i do

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    1. I am not a vet so you might want to do some research on the internet because it is a preemie. A warm water enema may help. If it is a preemie, you would only use a very small amount of warm water. I pray everything turns out ok for your little one. Blessings

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