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Goats/dirt eating kid


QUESTION: Hi. I have a 3 day old kid who seems healthy enough but only suckles for a few seconds at a time and just eats dirt and dust off logs etc. I have been milking mother a bit in a.m and all seems well so dont believe there is any issue with milk supply, and kid seems healthy enough but this seems odd in kid so young.
Is this a deficiency in something? Is it a problem do you think?


ANSWER: As long as she is eating frequently, short periods of nursing are common. I often see kids eating dirt. I have a lot of clay and assume it is something nutritional. No harm done. They are very oral anyway.

Does mom have a good goat mineral available? If so, she is transmitting needed minerals in her milk.

I would not worry about the dirt eating.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thanks for that. I was worried because kid is quite thin and mother has damaged gut from some virus she had when i took her on and she has digestive problems, but otherwise fine, happy,energetic and alot of goatie character. She has a mineral block in shed and also gets minerals in small grain ration she gets in mornings when milked, always has access to good hay, but I have to limit green fodder because of gut damage. The kid spends alot of time just eating dirt and not much nursing, she is constantly licking and chewing ground or logs - although she seems perfectly happy and healthy to me so i think you are probaly right, But i havent heard of such young kids doing this (she started at 2 days old) - do yours do it this young?
Thanks in adavance! This is does first kid, and mine, so trying to learn all i can as i go and appreciating this website!!! THANKS!

I don't think mine start quite that early, but they are often pretty young when they do it. So far there have been no negative outcomes. You might consider taking some of the milk you get from the mom and trying the kid on a bottle to see whether she is actually hungry, especially if she is thin. But it may be perfectly normal.


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Cheryl K. Smith


Goat Health Care; basic goat management. Author of Goat Health Care (2009) and Raising Goats for Dummies (2010)


Publisher of Goat Health Care, I have raised miniature dairy goats since 1998. I published Ruminations, the Nigerian Dwarf and Mini Dairy Goat magazine for 7 years and mentor other goat owners, as I was mentored for my first years.

American Goat Society (AGS), The Miniature Goat Registry (TMGR)

Raising Goats for Dummies (author) Goat Health Care (Editor and Author), Ruminations, Dairy Goat Journal, Issues in Law and Medicine, Topics in Health Records Management, Oregon Bar Bulletin, Midwifery Today, Countryside

BS, Health Information Administration JD, Law

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