MARCH 2009 Issue



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Our first inclination when finding a chilled kid is to get some colostrum or milk into it. Never feed a chilled newborn kid. Check body temperature with a rectal thermometer. If you don’t own a digital rectal thermometer, now is the time to call Jeffers Livestock (1-800-533-3377) and order one before you need it. No producer should ever be without one. I’ve had kids so cold that their body temperature would not register on a thermometer. It *is* possible to save these kids.

Step one for warming a chilled baby:
1) Check body temperature with rectal thermometer.

2) Fill a deep sink with warm water and immerse baby, keeping head safely out of the water. You can either put the baby in a large ziplock bag to keep it dry, or immerse the baby without a bag. I prefer immersing baby without the bag on it.

3) Get some Karo syrup (not honey) and dip your finger into the syrup, gently rubbing the syrup along the kid’s gums. No more than a finger tip covered with syrup. His body will absorb the sugars, giving him the needed energy to aid his body in warming up. Do this 3-4 times and then continue rubbing the syrup along his gum line every 15-20 minutes.

4) Add more warm water to the sink as needed. This needs to be body temp warm. If it is comfortable enough for you to bathe in, the temperature is right.

5) You will notice the baby’s mouth warming up. When you feel that the mouth is warming up to normal body temperature, remove baby from the water and wrap in a towel that you have warmed in your dryer. Buff the kid as dry as possible and check body temperature with the thermometer. If the body temperature is at LEAST 100°F degrees (no less than 100°F) you can start thinking about preparing some colostrum (or milk, if it is an older kid). The kid should start fussing once it warms up. Continue the Karo syrup along the gum lines until the baby is talking and calling out for something to eat. You can offer the colostrum or milk in a bottle or tube feed them. The ideal situation would be for the kid to suck.

6) Once the kid starts fussing and you have made sure that its body temperature hasn’t dropped below 100°F, you can feed the baby the much needed colostrum (or milk, if it is an older kid). Keep the baby wrapped in the towel and lay it on a heating pad set on “low.”

7) If the baby is strong enough to nurse, you can carry it out to its dam to nurse, but not until its body temperature has climbed back to the normal 101.5°F.

8) One thing to keep in mind with chilled newborns or very young kids is that once they are chilled they don’t always expel their solid body wastes (feces) without the help of a warm soapy enema. chillednewbornsoap

To make an enema, use warm water and add a drop or two of liquid dishwashing liquid. Get a 3 cc luer slip syringe without a needle attached and draw up 3 cc’s of the warm soapy water. Gently insert the tip of the luer slip syringe into the anus, slowly pressing the plunger to insert the water. Continue inserting water until it squirts back out. Gently rub the kid’s belly and continue adding water until the solid wastes come out. You will need to continue this process until you are sure that all solid waste has been flushed out. You will be surprised at how much baby poop comes out.

Watch the baby closely for the next day or two or until you are positive that it is maintaining its body temperature. Also watch for signs of constipation. I rarely have to repeat an enema once the baby has cleaned out well.

© Pat Cotten 2009

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.


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October 26 - October 30
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Goat Stats:

  • Temperature, rectal 101.5º - 103.5º F
  • Heart rate 60 – 90 beats per minute
  • Respiration 15 – 30 breaths per minute
  • Rumen movements 1 – 2 per minute
  • Puberty 3 - 5 months
  • Estrous cycle 21 days
  • Heat cycle 12 – 36 hours
  • Gestation 148 - 153 days


Iodine deficiency in goats is a disease of the thyroid gland. Under the chin behind the larynx on the front of neck, the thyroid gland enlarges to form a goiter when the goat is deficient in iodine. A goiter is an enlarged thyroid gland.

Goiters are not "bottlejaw," which is anemia that is almost always caused by a heavy wormload and occurs directly under the chin. Goiters are not Caseous Lymphadenitis abscesses; CL abscesses occur at lymph glands and when located in the neck area will be under an ear, downward towards the chest, or along the jaw line.

Goiters are often nutritionally related. Much of the northern part of the USA has soils that are iodine deficient. Plants of the Brassicas family interfere with iodine uptake by the thyroid gland. This includes plants in the mustard family such as cabbage, broccoli, and turnips. Supplemental iodine will not help correct iodine deficiency in goats eating these plants. The producer must eliminate them from the goat's' diet.

The tendency to produce goiters can be inherited. Some Swiss breeds that have been linebred tend to carry abnormalities in thyroid function.

The Boer goat is a breed that is more susceptible to iodine deficiency that results in goiters. Goiters can exist in newborn kids and have been reported by Boer breeders in the USA in recent years. Thyroid deficiency can cause stillbirths or kids can be born weak and hairless or with very fine haircoats. These kids are sluggish and grow poorly. They may or may not develop skin lesions. Cobalt deficiency and its accompanying Vitamin B12 deficiency can also cause goiters.

Treatment for iodine deficiency that isn't caused by plants that prevent iodine uptake is to add iodized salt to the goat's diet. Many prepared goat feeds use non-iodized mixing salt because the particles are small and have better mixing qualities. The amount of organic iodine (EDDI) put into prepared feeds is controlled by the U. S. Food & Drug Administration. Severe iodine deficiency can be treated more quickly by painting 7% iodine on a hairless part of the goat's body such as the tailweb. Free-choice feeding of kelp -- dried seaweed -- is probably the best method available. Kelp isn't always easy to find and is expensive but consumption per goat is small so overall cost should not be a major concern. A 50-pound bag of kelp lasts a long time and can be mixed with loose goat minerals to encourage consumption. Feed stores can special order kelp.

Suzanne W. Gasparotto Onion Creek Ranch



Reports are coming in from around the United States during this winter of 2008-09 that producers are experiencing high FAMACHA scores but low fecal counts in their goats. High FAMACHA scores usually (but not always) mean anemia caused by a heavy population of the barberpole stomach worm (Haemonchus contortus). FAMACHA visually surveys for indications of anemia and stomach worms are not the only cause of anemia in goats.

Many parts of this country have experienced severe drought while other areas have been having extremely cold and/or wet conditions. Hay cut and baled from stressed plants raised in these soils has turned out to be inferior in quality and low in nutritional values.

Producers are finding that their goats are displaying signs of mineral deficiencies, specifically iron, copper, and zinc. It is critical that goats receive "horse-quality" hay that has been tested for nutritional levels needed by goats. Loose minerals formulated for goats are more important than ever this year. Running fecal counts on a regular basis is equally important so that a wrong diagnosis does not lead to wrong treatment.

Suzanne W. Gasparotto

BendingTree Ranch TexMaster Goats


Bending Tree Ranch Phoenix

Myotonic buck, dob 12-15-05
Registered with Pedigree International, MGR, as well as IFGA
Color: Apricot w/white
Contact us for info on this fine animal


Phoenix throws all shades of red. He is an easy keeper, aggressive breeder, an excellent, proven herd sire. We are very proud to have our herd name on this buck. We’ve used him the past 2 years and it is time for him to improve someone else’s herd.

Contact information:Pat Cotten • Bending Tree Ranch near Greenbrier, AR • 501-679-4936 •



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