Goats/weak lamb

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QUESTION: Hi Donna , a fellow gave me a lamb about 7 months old in very poor condition . Eats well but has lost the ability to walk as her legs buckle under her , and very little balance . Shes not anemic and is not overly skinny . If she gets laid over on her side she can't get up at all . I'm thinking selenium could be the problem . These animals are born on islands and brought home in the early fall . This one did have what they call sway back but not so bad she couldn't get around . I can prop her up in a box to keep her upright but not sure she will eat hay , guess I'll have to try though . Any suggestions ?

ANSWER: Certainly could be selenium deficiency, possibly zinc too.  Would start on both.  Might also give her extra vitamins.  She is otherwise eating grain and drinking water well, then? Hope this helps.  Donna

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QUESTION: Hi Donna , these animals are raised on islands , so they don't even know what water is , as for grain not sure either . She does know grass , and my understanding is their water comes from the grass .

ANSWER: Wow, so odd - thanks for the info.  Sounds more and more like selenium deficiency and possibly zinc too.  I know that our packgoats can go without water for two days if they have greens to munch on.  I'm guessing you'll be teaching her how to be a real goat.  Keep me posted.  Donna

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QUESTION: Hi Donna , forgot to ask how much zinc do I give her . The selenium I know , and yes she will be a goat in no time if I can bring her round , one with wool . These sheep will drink water after they have been taught or extreme thirst forces them to . Thanks

Answer
Thinking on things, lambs many times show selenium deficiency worse than goats as well as the zinc deficiency.  Had sheep for a few years and ended up starting them on same mineral regimen as the goats.  Yes, sheep can be very stubborn but totally understand their "wild" instincts of not needing water, etc.  Re the zinc, would give only 1 or 2 mg a day - like a pinch from crushed 30 mg tablet. Hope that helps.  Our sheep ended up acting more like goats, especially when we bottle raised the lambs.  Funny.  Donna

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Donna Ruelas-Semasko/Edelweiss Acres

Expertise

All goat health care, nutrition, judging questions about all goats - packgoats, dairy goats, pygmy goats, meat goats, fleece goats.

Experience

27 years health care/nutrition of all types of goats, 17 years experience in packgoats, 20 years experience in 4H goat projects as leader, superintendent and judge. 20 years experience in putting on goat care/nutrition seminars.

Organizations
NAPgA, The Evergreen Packgoat Club, 4H, ADGA.

Publications
Hobby Farm, many newspapers, 4H newsletters, Packgoat Manuals (youth and general), judging information pamphlets, seminar handouts about health care and nutrition.

Education/Credentials
4 years of college, ongoing education in goats.

Awards and Honors
Small Farm Award of Thurston County

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