ESTIMATING GOAT AGE

The teeth can be used as an aid in determining the approximate age of a goat especially up to the age of four. Goats have eight incisors (cutting or biting teeth) on the lower front jaw. These are sharp and small in animals less than one year. They meet a hard pad (dental pad) in the upper jaw. At about one year, the center teeth will drop out and they are replaced by two permanent teeth.

Twenty-four molars (chewing or grinding teeth) are found in the back, six on each side of the upper and lower jaws. At about the age of two, two or more large front teeth appear, one on each side of the yearling teeth. The three or four year old has six permanent teeth, two more than the two year old. At four or five years of age, the animals have a complete set of eight permanent teeth in front. After this point, the age is judged by the amount of wear on the front teeth. As the animal ages, the teeth spread and drop out. It becomes difficult for her to eat properly, so care should be taken to make sure she eats sufficient amounts of food. Don’t forget that goats don’t have upper teeth in the front but they do have sharp ones in the rear!

FIRST YEAR KID

YEARLING

The 2 Front Teeth Are Lost At 12 Months And Replaced By Permanent Teeth

TWO YEAR OLD

The Teeth Next To The Middle Pair Is Replaced At 24 Month’s

THREE YEAR OLD

The Goat Has Now 6 Permanent Teeth With Only 1 Pair Kid Teeth Left

FOUR YEAR OLD

The Set Of 8 Front Teeth Is Complete

The age of the goat beyond 5 years must be roughly estimated by the amount of wear on the teeth. This rate varies on the diet and health care too can have a large effect on this. Goats on rough, coarse diets and rough pasture will grind their teeth away faster than a goat on a softer diet or better quality ration. The teeth will spread, loosen and finally drop out as the goat ages.

PINK EYE

Pink eye is an infectious disease caused by one or more organisms that spreads from goat to goat. Its transmission is increased by dust and flies. First signs are tearing and drooping eyelids. Foxtails and other foreign bodies in the eye can give similar signs and therefore affected eyes should be carefully examined. True pink eye causes an ulcer or cloudy area in the center of the clear part of the eye (Cornea).

Treatment consists of using antibiotic ointment in the eye and isolating affected animals in a darkened area. Chamomile tea, washed on the eye three times daily. Neosporin salve, put OUTSIDE the eye, all around the eye, will dissolve slowly into the eye, and give a nice all day treatment. Vitamin A may hasten healing.

To treat the goats, you must prevent further spread of the infection. I use paper towels, and Listerine to clean the pus off of the goat’s face. Be sure the eye and face are clean of any drainage. The flies will feed on this and re-infect the eye, and other goats. Spray the mixture in the eye. Be sure the eye is held open, while you spray. If you are in a hurry, treat twice a day, but if you are treating a lot of goats, you may do the treatment only once a day. Depending on the stage of the disease, it may take 3 or 4 days to clear up the eye. If the eye is just beginning to drain, one treatment is enough. If the eye is already opaque, the treatment period will last longer. Be sure to clean the goat’s face each day.

IMPORTANT! PLEASE READ!

All information provided in this website is based either on personal experience or information provided by others whose treatments and practices have not been discussed fully for accuracy and effectiveness before passing them on. It is your responsibility to obtain veterinary services and advice before using any of the information provided in these articles and http://thekebun.wordpress.com nor any of the contributors to this website will be held responsible for the use of any information contained herein.

INJECTIONS MADE EASY

There are primarily two methods of giving injections. Commonly called giving shots, injections are given either into the muscle of the animal (IM) or under the skin sub-cutaneously (SQ). The type of medication being given will bear directions stating which of these two methods to use when administering it.

Into-the-muscle injections for goats should be given into the large thigh muscle. Aim the needle from the side, not from the rear, to avoid hitting the sciatic nerve. Hitting this nerve with a needle can result in leg paralysis. Alternate sites for IM injections can be at the neck and the flank, but I don’t recommend using these sites for shots, it is too easy to hit major blood vessels.

When giving injections of thick medications or vaccinations, rub the area before injecting the needle and do the same after completing the shot. This should help mitigate the uncomfortable stinging or burning effect that the rush of medication into the muscle causes.

Sub-cutaneous injections are normally given under the skin at the shoulder area by lifting the loose skin and sliding the needle under the skin, taking care not to hit the muscle. However, small kids often have very little loose skin, making SQ shoulder injections difficult, so an alternate site is the armpit area behind the front legs. Massage the site after giving the shot, this will reduce the possibility of a lump forming at the injection site and also will help with the sting.

Before giving shots, make sure that you have on hand a bottle of epinephrine. Occasionally goats go into shock when given injections. Always keep a bottle of epinephrine with you when you are giving injections. Watch the expiration date on the bottle. The dosage is 1cc per 100 pounds of body weight, given sub-cutaneously (SQ). The need for using this product is a very rare occurrence, but there is no time to go get it when it is needed. Seconds, not minutes, count, when a goat goes into shock.

Purchase two different types of syringes. The type of syringe into which the needle twists (Luer-lock) works best with thick medications. Luer-slip syringes (the needle slips onto the syringe) are great for oral drenching and all other types of injectable medications.

Use 3 cc syringes for most medications, but buy several other sizes as well. One cc (1 cc) syringes are needed for medicating kids. Buy five or six 12 cc syringes and 6 cc syringes for oral drenching of electrolytes. Obtain a 60 cc syringe attached to a weak kid feeding tube for use in tube feeding sick kids. Buy two or three 60 cc syringes with needle-tips (smaller opening) for use in sub-cutaneous rehydrating of ill babies. The point here is that the 60 cc syringe to which the weak kid tube is attached has a wider opening for the tube attachment and is not usable with needles, so two kinds of 60 cc syringes should be kept on hand.

Buy good-quality sharp needles. For injections, use 22-gauge needles that are 3/4″ long. Purchase five or six 18-gauge needles for drawing thick medications from their bottles.

Needles and syringes are inexpensive and can be purchased through your veterinarian. Follow these simple suggestions and giving injections will be much more pleasant, both for you and for your goats.

SHEEP & GOAT MEDICINE

ISBN-10: 0721690521 OR ISBN-13: 978-0721690520

Recommended Book

5 MISTAKES SARAWAK FARMERS MAKE

Research Your Market BEFORE You Buy Your First Goat – Find out what kind of demand for goats exists in your area, then breed for that market. Then take a long hard look at yourself and your intended operation. Are you are going to be a hobbyist or a serious market-oriented producer? If your market is production of animals for meat or raising herd sires/dams, then solicit advice from experienced producers within your chosen field. Applying the wrong techniques to your herd will result in serious health problems for your goats, your bank balance and your sanity.

Choose the RIGHT Breed – Find a breed of goat that fits your climate and situation as well as your goals. Goats are primarily dry climate animals, but some breeds seem to be more adaptable than others to different climatic conditions. For example, Boers were developed for living in the hot and dry climate of the African veld and reportedly encounter serious stomach-worm problems in very rainy areas of the World.

Not Feeding Goats RIGHT & ENOUGH - Goats are picky eaters with easily-upset rumens needing a wide variety of high-quality forage/browse. Research how to feed them properly. Protein is only one element of a feed ration. Long fiber is essential to rumen function. The rumen is the goat’s digestive factory. Calcium-to-phosphorus ratios are critical. Copper, selenium, zinc, and thiamine (Vitamin B-1) are but a few of the important minerals and vitamins essential to a goats health and reproduction.

WRONG Breeding Techniques – Don’t breed large-framed males to small-framed females. Don’t breed does too young or too soon after kidding. Learn from the mistakes made by breeders of livestock and apply that information to your breeding program.

NO Medications and Health Supplies on hand – Learn and understand what you need to have on hand and purchase it before you need it. You won’t have the luxury of time to go get it when an emergency arises.

Do your “homework” before you start raising goats. Go into goat farming for the right reason and attitude. Its more work than you think, not just tethering the goat to a patch of grass all day and then expecting miracles. If you don’t, goats will die unnecessarily due to your laziness lack of knowledge and preparedness.

BASIC PHYSIOLIGICAL & BIOLOGICAL NORMS

Goat care also means understanding basic physiological and biological norms for goats :-

Rectal temperature is in the range 39 – 40 degrees
Pulse rate is in the range 70 -80 beats per minute
Respiration is in the range 15 – 30 per minute
Rumen Movement 1 – 1.5 per minute
Oestrus is 17 – 23 days
Gestation period is in the range 143 – 155 days
Puberty is approximately 2 months for bucks
Lifespan Bucks – Around 8 years but up to 12 years
Lifespan Does – around 11-12 years and up to 20 years
Growth from Birth to Maturity is approximately 3 years

STORING GOAT MILK

Now You Know!

HOW TO EARTAG YOUR GOAT

Eartags are an easy way to permanently identify each goat in your herd. Unlike tattoos, you can read them without actually having to catch the goat. Unfortunately, unlike tattoos, they can break and fall out of the goat's ear. Before you put in the eartag, be sure to record what eartag number you are assigning to the goat.

Eartags are an easy way to permanently identify each goat in your herd. Unlike tattoos, you can read them without actually having to catch the goat. Unfortunately, unlike tattoos, they can break and fall out of the goat’s ear. Before you put in the eartag, be sure to record what eartag number you are assigning to the goat.

Load the proper number into the eartag applicator.

Load the proper number into the eartag applicator.

Restrain you goat kid in a disbudding crate or wrapped in a towel or by holding it like this. Older goats will need to be straddled and their head pressed against your attendant's thigh.

Restrain you goat kid in a disbudding crate or wrapped in a towel or by holding it like this. Older goats will need to be straddled and their head pressed against your attendant’s thigh.

Locate the area you want to eartag. Be sure to go between the large veins in your goat's ears. The veins are located in the large creases in the ear. Try to put the tattoo near the center of the ear where it will be less likely to catch on things and get yanked out.

Locate the area you want to eartag. Be sure to go between the large veins in your goat’s ears. The veins are located in the large creases in the ear. Try to put the tattoo near the center of the ear where it will be less likely to catch on things and get yanked out.

Position the eartagger over the area you have selected and give it a strong squeeze. If the eartag has two parts be sure the top and bottom parts are on the correct sides of the ear before you squeeze.

Position the eartagger over the area you have selected and give it a strong squeeze. If the eartag has two parts be sure the top and bottom parts are on the correct sides of the ear before you squeeze.

Eartagging causes about as much pain as getting your own ears pierced. Goat kids will want the comfort of their dam or a bottle of milk after the eartagging is finished.

Eartagging causes about as much pain as getting your own ears pierced. Goat kids will want the comfort of their dam or a bottle of milk after the eartagging is finished.

When you are done, you will have an easy-to-read identification number on your goat that can be used for herd records and health certificates.

HEAT STRESS IN GOATS

Goats cope with heat stress in a variety of ways. They may lie on their sides more than usual on a hot day or hang out under a tree all day and pant. Lying flat out, they also expose more body surface area, especially the short-haired parts of the body. When it gets hotter, involuntary functions kick into high gear.

The environmental comfort zone for goats is between 0-30C. Above 30C goats may begin to experience mild heat stress, especially when humidity cranks up the heat index. As heat and humidity climb, goats can have serious problems with thermal stress.

High temperatures affect body function in many ways. The hypothalamus, lying at the base of the brain, is in charge of balancing the body’s heat loss and gain by regulating respiration, skin temperature, sweating and muscle tone. Goats get eight times more relief from the heat by panting than by sweating, so rapid breathing is their primary form of cooling themselves. Panting and collapse are the most obvious signs of heat stress, and the rectal temperature will exceed 40C.

When the weather warms up, animals eat less in an involuntary effort to reduce body heat, feed and water consumption go down. Animals may reduce water intake however they need water to help keep them cooler. Weather and other factors can combine to get any goat, but some are more susceptible to overheating. Overweight goats cannot exchange heat efficiently. Aged goats just don’t function as well as they used to, and the very young have yet to reach optimum function. Animals in poor health (illness or parasites) may not be able to cope with this added burden. Selenium deficiency may exacerbate heat stress due to marginal muscle tone. Unventilated confinement, such as being locked in a poorly ventilated barn, crate or vehicle, can be a serious threat to an animal’s life in a very short time. Any forced exertion should be avoided. Don’t pick a hot, humid day to trim hooves or give the goats any other hassles.

A veterinarian should be consulted as soon as you see signs of heat stress. The animal may experience pain and swelling, and your vet may prescribe drugs to treat these symptoms. There may be a variety of moderate to severe blood abnormalities, impaired kidney function and metabolic acidosis. Electrolyte imbalances are common in heat stress, and IV liquids may need to be administered to combat acidosis.

Act promptly when you find a goat you expect is suffering from heat stroke. If the goat can walk, isolate it in the shade and take its temperature. If the temperature is over 40.5C, set a fan for direct ventilation, spray the coat with water, and wet the head, legs and stomach with water. (Cold water may be too great a temperature shock to the vascular system – any water will do). If the symptoms diminish in 15-20 minutes, the goat may continue recovery on its own. Make sure the temperature is reduced to 39.8C, and watch the goat closely for a few hours to see that it acts normally. Continue to monitor its behaviour, temperature, pulse and respiration after the animal has been stabilised. If the goat is prostrate and unable to walk, do not move it. Take its temperature. Erect shade if the animal is in direct sunlight and begin cooling with water. You will need the vet, tissue destruction begins prior to death, so prompt medical attention is imperative. When cooling therapy reduces the goat’s rectal temperature to 39.8C, cooling measures can be discontinued.

Remember, prevention is better than cure. Give free access to clean, cool water and freshen it frequently. In hot weather, move the water source into the barn if your goats normally have to travel to reach it. Ensure your goat/s have access to good shade and barns or living areas are well ventilated. Provide adequate barn and feeder space to reduce competition for resources. Ensure your goat/s do not undertake any activities that cause exertion or induce stress.