You are here:

Goats/5week pygmy wont take a bottle


QUESTION: Good morning. I have what I believe is a 5week old pygmy goat. I got him a few days ago and was told he was old enough to go and would be ok to take a bottle. He does great eating hay (prairie and alfalfa) nibbles grain and drinks water. However his gums seem to be turning less pink and more white. He is pretty active at times but does like to sleep a lot. Has pellet stool so no diarreah. I have wormed him withpanecure. He has eaten a little grass but only when we took him out to use the toilet. What do you suggest. He refuses a bottle even with the red nipples with yellow cap I was told to try. I was told he was old enough to start weaning but to try a bottle. I do have a mineral block out as well that he wont use . Please help! I dont want him getting sick or dying on me.

ANSWER: He is too young to be wormed - so that might have caused stress on his system.  He should not be eating grain yet either as his rumen is just developing.  It sounds like a shipping fever/pneumonia - I would start him on 1/2 cc of penicillin injectable intramuscularly twice a day for 3 days - kid goats can easily be stressed and so pneumonia can come on.  He may also be fighting enterotoxemia - would start it also on CDT toxoid vaccination at 1/2 cc now, and again tomorrow.  His stomach is not hard or bloated?  Most of the time when a kid goat will not take its bottle it is pneumonia.  I would start it on the penicillin right away - regular penicillin (feed stores have this) and not any long acting antibiotics - using a 22 gauge 3/4 inch length needle using the rear leg thigh muscles - have you given IM injections before?  Let me know - Donna

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

QUESTION: Ok thank you. I did take his temp and it was below 104. When should he be wormed and I had taken him to my vet about one of his eyes having a little white gunk in it but he has no runny nose and clear lungs so what are the signs pneumonia is coming on. it scares me and I will start him on what you suggested right away now also when should his umbilical cord fall off? And what else can I look for to ensure he stays healthy. Sorry fkr thr barrage of questions. We have had him since Wednesday and he hasn't taken a bottle since then. Now I have been anle to get him to tame about one to 2 oz a day. Does this make any difference at all. Also the guy wasn't sure how old he was for sure but between 5to6 weeks..

ANSWER: Thanks for the update.  Any temperature over 102.5 is a fever.  Worming should start at two months.  So this sounds just like a shipping pneumonia which is another form of pneumonia.  This happens a lot in kid goats when they are moved from one home to another.  Their immune systems are just not strong enough yet to fight bacteria.  I start the kids on CDT toxoid vaccinations at 2 weeks (when I castrate and/disbud) and then at 4 weeks, 8 weeks, 3 months, 6 months and 9 months (1 cc) and then starting at one year of age 2 cc and every year after that.  The eye "gunk" is a cold in the eye and you can use NFZ puffer (antibiotic for the eye) that is available at most feed/farm stores - just "puff" the powder into the opened eye twice a day for 3 days.  Would treat the other eye as well.  Pneumonia (which can also be bronchitis) many times in kid goats you cannot hear any abnormal lung sounds, but it is still pneumonia.   Re worming - I use oral horse wormers of Zimectrin and Safeguard - this is started at 2 months of age and then done every 2 months from then on - switching between the two wormers - once the goat is over 100 pounds then you use twice their body weight to find the measurement of dose on the plunger and put the lock on it and give orally.  For kid goats under 3 months you use 1 inch of the wormer, and 3 to 9 months 2 inches of the wormer.  You cannot overdose on the wormers.  They work well in goats and switching back and forth between the two wormers (start with Safeguard and then 2 months later use Zimectrin, and so on - these stay good in the refrigerator).  Hope this helps - Donna

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

QUESTION: Yes it did help. I just want to ensure im not doing anything to jeopardize his health you said 1\2 cc penicillin and the toxoid vaccine but where do I get that? To give you a little more back ground I had bought a baby goat who was about a week old and told he was good age to bottle feed he wasnt getting food from mom cuz she rejected him. To make a long story short he started getting sick I took him to vet got antibiotics and he still died from pneumonia and it killed me to go through that. I cant handle doing it again. I have administered shots subq but not im. I havent checked temp today so should I before I give him meds? Also he is only 6lbs and shoukd not get over 40 as a pygmy. From what I have been told. The vet gave me meds to put in eye and its much better. What causes the gums to go pale with the shipping pneumonia and what are the other suggestions you have to try to mame him eat? Im trying really hard to not lose this baby.

Thanks for the update.  Pneumonia is  big cause of death in kid goats from travel - that is most likely what happened before.  Many of the new antibiotics do no work well so I alway go with penicillin which you can get at all feed/farm stores along with needles and syringes.  Glad the eye is better.  Hope this helps.  On intramuscular injections which are the best way to get medicine to a goat, you need to draw back on the plunger just a little to be sure you are not in a vein as goats can be allergic to antibiotics in their veins.  It is better to cover for all possibilities than not.  Donna


All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Donna Ruelas-Semasko/Edelweiss Acres


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


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.

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

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

4 years of college, ongoing education in goats.

Awards and Honors
Small Farm Award of Thurston County

©2017 All rights reserved.