Goats/weak kid


QUESTION: I have a kid born 2 weeks ago today. It took a few days to realize she and her twin weren't nursing. I started bottlefeeding and also encouraged them to nurse. They looked much better and looked to be nursing well on their own after a few days. I thought all was well until yesterday my husband and daughter told me one of the goats wasn't doing well. She is weak and thin, though her twin is bouncy and normal. I am back to bottlefeeding her and trying to have her nurse. The mother has rejected her and won't stand to be nursed by her unless the healthy twin is nursing. She is peeing and pooping but her legs tremble and she is listless. My question is, is her condition due to starvation? If so, can she make a full recovery? Should I take the time to keep working with her or is it too late?

ANSWER: Hello - the weakness could be due to not eating enough.  This could also be due to a selenium deficiency.  Glad you are bottle feeding.  This can also be the start of a pneumonia, especially in kid goats who are not eating well.  I would do as you are doing, bottle raising, keeping her away from her mom and sibling; single kid goats do well by themselves - would keep in the house with you and if possible give her a stuffed animal to snuggle up with.  I would also give her selenium/E/D, these are human vitamins and minerals - this is an oral supplement - for kid goats dissolve one 200 mcg selenium tablet and to that add half the oil from a 1000 IU vitamin E capsule and half the oil from an 800 IU vitamin D capsule (I just poke a little hole in the capsules and squeeze out part of the oil/you can't overdose so don't worry about giving too much of the oils), mix well, cool and give as an oral drench - I use a 3 cc syringe to put this into the goat's mouth.  Repeat in 2 days.  This will help with muscle strength.  If the kid stops drinking a bottle for you then this could indicate a pneumonia and for that the kid goat would need injectable penicillin (available at the feed store).  Other items are available over the counter at most drug stores.  She may need to be kept warm too - depending on your home temperature.  Hope this helps.  I think you still have time to get her going, kid goats can go down quickly but they can bounce back quickly too.  You can add a drop or two of karo syrup or light corn syrup to add a little sugar to her milk and that can give her a little extra energy. Donna

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QUESTION: Do I give the Se/D/E daily or just a one time thing? I just gave it to her yesterday. She is gaining weight but is still trembling & walks weakly. If it is selenium deficiency, how soon would I see a change? Thanks for your help!

ANSWER: You give the selenium/D/E once and then again in 2 days, and you can repeat in 10 days time.  Glad she is gaining weight.  For weakness I positively give it once, again in 2 days and again in 10 days time and by the 10 days time you should see improvement.  Did you have a chance to take a temperature? Is she peeing and pooping okay? If you can giving her some colostrum (either from a goat or powdered type from the feed store) in two bottles a day (using about 1/4 colostrum to the rest of milk) will also help strengthen her systems especially her immune system.  Hope this helps - let me know - Donna

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Thanks for helping me out.  I read online about giving Bo-Se to kids if selenium deficiency is suspected. I did give her one dose of what you recommended and then buckled two days later (yesterday) and gave her 1 cc of Bo-Se (she is 16 lbs now).  My goat keeper neighbor highly recommended giving thiamine to her and gave me 6 cc. I gave her 3 yesterday and 3 today.  I am taking her to her mother and trying to have her nurse several times a day.  She used to nurse okay and now she is pretty much refusing.  She hates the bottle so I am force feeding her with it.  I took her temp yesterday.  It was 103.3. She is the same. Her back legs are definitely weaker than the front and she trembles a lot.  She can take a few steps and stand while sniffing the things around her but then she collapses.  She is alert and curious, but her body just won't support her.  I am not sure how long to give her.  She always pees after I bottle feed her.  I have not seen her poop in a few days (I keep her in the barn/pasture with the others still with a goat coat on).

Thanks for the update.  Bo-Se is fine except that it does not contain vitamin D and with many goats no vitamin D means that the selenium will not work, so that is why I go with the oral.  It sounds like she needs the vitamin D/oral selenium/E combination.  The temperature is still a fever.  Would keep her on aspirin.  If she is still having issues with standing and walking, would not let her stay in the pasture/barn with the others.  Especially makes it easier to watch her and see if she is pooping.  The trembling is from the fever as well as the weakness.  Hope this helps - Donna


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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

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