August 2010 Issue



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Subscribe FREE now! Monthly issues with new articles and other educational information on meat goat health, nutrition, and management written by Suzanne W. Gasparotto of Onion Creek Ranch and Pat Cotten of Bending Tree Ranch. In all cases, it is your responsibility to obtain veterinary services and advice before using any of the information provided in these articles. Neither Suzanne Gasparotto nor Pat Cotten are veterinarians. None of the contributors to this website will be held responsible for the use of any information contained herein.


Give medications directly to each goat. Do not put medications into feed or water. The goat that needs it most will be on the bottom of the pecking order and will get the least. Give antibiotics daily for at least five days; do not skip a day, give every three days, or give single-dosages. Goat metabolism is so fast that the body will metabolize out the medications.


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OCR Sylvie, TexMaster™ doe, lost her first kid this hot summer in Texas. I could have prevented it had I been more aware of what was happening.

Sylvie kidded just fine. Strapping young buck kid was nursing well shortly after birth. Sylvie gave birth in a remote area of her pasture. I took a bucket of water to her, checked the kid, checked Sylvie's teats for good colostrum flow, and went about checking on other does close to kidding. I didn't get an opportunity to bring her up to the common area for further observation on the first day of her kid's life as I usually do, but Sylvie was coming to feed and water and then going back to him in the secluded area she had chosen to keep him away from the herd for his first few days of life.

At the close of the second day of his life, Sylvie's kid and Sylvie were moved closer to areas of activity. Sylvie's teats were checked. The kid's stomach was full. All seemed well. At mid-morning on the third day, the kid was dead.

What happened? He starved to death. Why? Sylvie had developed what appeared to be mastitis in the side of the udder that the kid was nursing, and neither he nor she knew to change to the other side where milk was flowing freely. He starved to death.

Further examination revealed that this was not yet mastitis but congested udder. Milk was not stringy, smelly, or bloody, but was difficult to milk out of the udder. The udder had hard but not hot or cold spots in it, leading me to believe congestion was the problem.

Here are the actions I took and what I believe happened:

Hot compresses were applied three times a day to the affected side of the udder using the Metro absorbent towel that Jeffers carries that absorbs 15 times its weight in liquid, is reusable, durable, and machine washable (item #MP-M7, 20 " x 27", 1-800-533-3377). This towel really holds moisture and heat. Then Sylvie's udder was milked out. MastiClear (penicillin-based mastitis infusion tube) was used in case mastitis was developing; Jeffers also carries this over-the-counter product. I now have Pirsue™ prescription mastitis infusion tubes on hand which I try when next needed. Pirsue™ is expensive but is supposedly very effective. After every hot compress and milk-out treatment, CaiPan peppermint cream was massaged into her udder. Jeffers also carries this terrific product. Prescription Banamine was administered to ease discomfort for two days at 12-hour intervals.

I gave Sylvie procaine penicillin SQ over the ribs with an 18 gauge needle for five consecutive days, but then switched to Nuflor for another three days at the recommendation of dairy goat producers Beverly Martin Smith of Saguaro Farms ( and Tanya Farris of Bulletcreek Ranch, Reliance, Tennessee.

Then I did something of which I was skeptical but I did not want this doe to lose the use of her udder. At Tanya's and Beverly's recommendations, I gave Sylvie 15 cc of Milk of Magnesia orally daily for five days and kept her hydrated because laxatives are dehydrating.

I am convinced that Sylvie got dehydrated when she was converting from colostrum to milk and the udder got congested. Had I made water more available to her during the time that a doe keeps her newborn away from the rest of the herd, this would not have happened. I don't know precisely why the Milk of Magnesia helped, but I can think of four possible reasons: (a) dehydration may lower magnesium levels in the goat's body, (b) summer heat contributed to dehydration and magnesium depletion in her body, and (c) Milk of Magnesia, as a laxative, encouraged her to drink more water, and (d) high magnesium levels are critical to lactation. Summer kidding in hot climates is never good -- for the kids or the dams.

Sylvie is fine now, after a week or more worth of medication and hot compresses. She has dried up and her udder is soft. Had I an extra kid to foster onto her, this week's worth of work might have been lessened because a strong sucking kid can do wonders for a congested udder. Nothing can bring back her boy, who was doing fine until he got too weak to nurse because of lack of nutrition. Nursing takes a lot of energy and effort on a kid's part.

This was an entirely preventable situation that I didn't anticipate, even though I have 20+ years of experience raising goats. The lesson here is that no matter how much we try, we are all going to mess up at some point in our goat-raising ventures. There will be years when you think that there is nothing that you can do right, while other years will go smoothly. That's part of the wonderful experience that is raising goats.


Suzanne W. Gasparotto
HC 70 Box 70
Lohn, Texas 76852




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Tennessee Meat Goats™ and TexMasters™ are usually available year round. Contact us for ages and pricing by calling 325-344-5775 or emailing

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Above: OCR D'Arcy. He is a small-sized Myotonic buck or pet sized buck. He is FOR SALE.

Left: OCR Sutter, excellent full-grown Tennessee Meat Goat™ buck (one of our herdsires)

Contact us about other TMG™ bucks like Sutter that are available for purchase now.