Archive of ‘Goat Health’ category

PESTE DES PETITS RUMINANTS

This is a very interesting and informative article on Peste Des Petits Ruminats (PPR) published by the FAO of the United Nations.

Click The Image Or HERE To Access The Information.

PPR is a severe fast spreading disease of mainly domestic small ruminants. It is characterized by the sudden onset of depression, fever, discharge from the eyes and nose, sores in the mouth, disturbing breathing and coughing and foul smelling breath.

SYRINGE PARTS

There are 2 basic syringe types. One where the needle screws onto the syringe and the other the needle slips onto the syringe. I prefer the screw on type called a “Luer Lock” syringe. I noticed there is less chance of the needle coming off while administering medication.

GOAT INJECTION SITES

UNDERSTANDING NEEDLE PLACEMENT

Understanding Placement Of Needle Into Tissue

HOW TO RECOGNISE ANEMIA?

This very simple chart shows the color of differing stages of anemia looking at the inner eye membrane. Refer to your local veterinarian. Yes, i know, very very few out there who practice and are experienced in ruminants here is Sarawak.

This is what the average good inner eye membrane color should look like. This is from a goat who is not suffering from heavy wormload.

The photo below shows a very anemic goat suffering from heavy wormload. Can you see that the inner eye membranes are white? Non treatment will almost definately result in death even more so for pregnant doe’s.

MASTITIS – PREVENTION

Cleanliness is something we should take very seriously in the Goat house. With our humid weather bacteria multiply very quickly on the wooden flooring. This even made worse when many local farmers think sweeping away whatever Goat poo in between the flooring is good enough. There are always those bits that are stuck from being trodden on combined with urine. I have personally seen floors virtually caked with excrement and the farmer wondering why his Goats have a Mastitis problem.

kid-sucking-mastitis-udder1

Kid Sucking Mastitis Infected Udder

Mastitis is basically an infected udder and Doe’s of ALL breeds can contract it. Since bacteria that cause mastitis enter the udder through the teats, the cleanliness of the goat house, pens and feeding areas is extremely important. There is some evidence that says mastitis can be hereditary.

Please take note that Mastitis is not responsive to injectable type antibiotic because the medicine cannot get at the source of the infection. Remember, the udder is an interwoven mass of fibrous tissue that is walled off from the rest of the body. Injecting the udder directly with any substance, antibiotic or otherwise will kill her.

kid-sucking

Kid Sucking Healthy Udder

Prevention is easy. Keep your place clean! Make an effort is at least power wash at least once a week and spray a disinfectant when it dries. This also depends on the number of animals you have per square meter and if you keep them in all day and night. Our Goats are let out the whole day and only are allowed back in (unless the rain is too heavy) the late evenings so leaving us with ample time to carry out the cleaning and washing.

BUCK HOUSING AND MANAGEMENT

Herd Of Bucks

For me male goats that are good examples of their breed have only one purpose in life — breeding. The instinct to reproduce is stronger than anything else, even eating. Bucks will often go off-feed when in rut. That is why you will see that all bucks placed with females will for the most times look malnourished. Many farmers should give thought and preparation into buck housing, pasturing and overall management.

A primary consideration is good fencing. Good fences make good neighbors and prevent unplanned pregnancies by keeping does and bucks apart. Do not pen or pasture bucks across a common fence from breeding-age does. Typical fencing will not prevent through-the-fence breeding. Don’t depend upon gate chains or latches to keep does and bucks apart, wire gates shut and check them regularly. Rutting bucks and flagging does have been known to literally lift gates off hinges and ‘have fun’. You do not want unplanned pregnancies even more when it involves cross breeding.

The solution at The Kebun is to build a separate housing for them. Here we house the breeding bucks, who will always be ‘fit for action’ and ready for the job at hand as we prefer to opt of synchronized mating.

Polled (born without horns) bucks are pastured separately from horned bucks. When rutting season arrives, bucks in a given pasture will select a buck to chase, harass, mount, and generally treat as if he is a desired mate as they practice breeding techniques. If polled bucks are penned with horned bucks, that sought-after male is usually the less aggressive polled buck. Horns serve as radiators for removing heat from the goat’s body. Polled bucks by definition have no ‘radiators’ and if harassed too much in the hot weather will result in heat stroke and dying.

At The Kebun, there are two buck pastures. The old bucks (over eight years of age) are pastured together. Bucks 12-24 months old to eight years of age occupy another paddock. Males under 18 months of age live in a separate goat house but are given access to the paddock for the day. Since separate space for polled bucks usually isn’t available, they are pastured with the youngest group of bucks over whom they can exert dominance.

When moving bucks into buck paddocks, the producer should be prepared for male-on-male activity to establish the new members’ places in the pecking order. Goats are serious herd animals and have a fairly rigid pecking order within each herd. Minimize the problems that these actions will cause by 1. never introducing a single buck into a new herd, 2. taking weather into consideration and moving them during the most favorable time of the day and 3. penning bucks with other males of similar size and age. Example: Remove bucks from breeding pens and house two or more together for at least a week so that they can form their own mini-herd before moving them to the larger buck pasture. Think like a goat. Both you and your goats will be less stressed.

THE DIGESTIVE SYSTEM OF THE GOAT

The goat are a group of animals called Ruminants derived from the word Ruminate (chew their cud). Ruminants have special four-compartment stomachs especially designed to digest roughage (food high in fiber) such as grass, hay and silage.

Their stomach has four chambers: 1) the Rumen, 2) the honey-comb like Reticulum, 3) the Omasum, and 4) the Abomasum. The size relationship of the four chambers changes as the animal grows up. The abomasum will proportionally smaller. To understand why this happens, you need to consider the individual function for each chamber and then look at the goat’s diet.

1) The Rumen acts as a big fermentation container. Bacteria and Protozoa in the Rumen supply the enzymes needed to break down the fiber in the goat’s feed. This is similar as to how bacteria can ferment the sugars in grape juice to make wine. The tiny organisms in the rumen also help to build proteins from the feed and manufacture all of the B vitamins needed by the goat. Many nutrients that help provide the goat with energy are also absorbed here. The fermentation process produces heat that helps to keep the goat warm. When roughage is eaten by the adult goat, it is chewed on, soaked with saliva, and then swallowed. This bolus of food is called “the cud”. It goes down into the rumen to be attacked and broken down or digested by the micro-organisms. At regular intervals the cud is brought back up to the goat’s mouth to be chewed on some more and then swallowed again. This entire process is called rumination. If you watch the goat’s neck carefully, you can see him swallow and later regurgitate his cud. The goat will often burp to get rid of the gas produced by all the fermentation going on in his rumen. You can really smell the fermentation process on his breath. If something causes the goat to stop being able to burp up the gases, the gas will build up and bloat or swell up his rumen and he may become very sick with “bloat”.

2) Once the food particles of cud become small enough, they pass to the second compartment or reticulum. Here any foreign objects that may have been accidentally swallowed with the feed settle out in the honeycomb structure of the reticulum’s walls. Another name for the reticulum is the “hardware stomach”.

3) The fermenting particles then pass on to the omasum. The omasum removes the water from them and also absorbs more nutrients called volatile fatty acids that help supply the goat with energy.

4) The particles are then forced into the abomasum or true stomach. Here, the particles are digested by the stomach acid, hydrochloric acid (HCl). This form of digestion is the same as what occurs in our stomachs. The remaining particles are then passed on to the small intestine where most of the nutrients are absorbed by the body and made available to the goat.

When a goat kid is born, its rumen, reticulum and omasum are very tiny and not useful. The goat kid depends on a liquid, milk, not roughage for its feed source. When the kid swallows milk, the milk goes directly to the abomasum through the esophageal groove. Everytime the kid swallows, a flap of skin at the entrance to the rumen folds over to form a grove that bypasses the rumen and sends the milk straight to the abomasum to be digested by stomach acid. As the kid gets older, he starts trying to consume roughage. The rumen becomes active and starts to enlarge. Its population of micro-organisms increases. The reticulum and omasum also respond to the changes in diet by getting bigger. By the time the kid is an adult goat, roughage is his main source of food and his rumen is far larger than his abomasum.

REMINDER ON FEEDING GOATS

A reminder on if whether you are just starting out with goats or already have them, for me the greatest challenge is achieving the optimum nutrition plane. There are several scenarios that must be considered and in a commercial mixed meat/diary goat herd such as ours, the requirements often overlap. Basically we follow the basic principal nutritional phases that must be met when planning goat-feeding.

1. Maintenance Nutrition. The minimum goat-feed nutrition required to meet a non-lactating doe requirements and also maintain body condition

2. Pregnancy Nutrition. Required to supply essential nutrition to both the doe and kids throughout gestation period.

3. Lactation Nutrition. Required to ensure both kids and doe receive optimum nutrition, so that suckling kids grow at optimum rates (quality milk makes quality kids)

4. Kid Nutrition. Minimum goat-feed required to achieve optimum growth when weaned

Remember!? Strike a Balance!

TAKING YOUR GOATS TEMPRETURE

The normal body temperature of goats is usually reported in the range of 101.5 to 103.5 F. Goats of lighter body weight are more likely to have higher temperatures than larger one when exposed to sun. To accurately assess the state of the goat, it is useful to record body temperatures in apparently normal herd mates of the same size. The temperature is taken with a rectal thermometer for 3 minutes.

When taking a rectal temperature, be sure to lubricate the thermometer with petroleum jelly or even saliva before inserting in the anus. Before inserting a thermometer, it is a good practice to tie a string through the loop at the end of the thermometer and attach a clip. You can use the clip to attach the thermometer to the hair or wool on the animal. This will prevent you from loosing the thermometer in the pen.