Tuesday, February 17, 2015

ADK Goat Club Meeting Reminder!

Don't forget --- There will be an ADK Goat Club meeting on Sunday, February 22, 2015 from 11am - 1pm at the Vermontville Town Hall. Please bring some food to share -- it's a potluck! There will be some games for the kids so feel free to bring your two-legged kiddos.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Gut Microflora and Coccidiosis Prevention -- Something to Think About

I work at an immunology lab and part of my week requires that I attend presentations of published research. One presentation I attended last week hit home with me due to it being about Clostridium dificile or as you may be familiar with it as the “CD” in the CDT vaccine. C. dificile is a bacteria that lives in the gut of most mammals. It is from the same group as the bacteria which causes tetanus, hence why you vaccinate for both tetanus (Clostridium tetani) and C. dificile at the same time. Normally C. dificile hangs out in the gut and doesn’t do anything nasty to the animal. But when the animal experiences an upset in normal gut microflora (the good bacteria that lives in the gut/intestines/rumen), C. dificile goes bananas and takes over. C. dificile in small amounts in the gut is not a problem but C. dificile in large amounts can cause major intestinal damage and death.

An upset in gut microflora can be caused by many things including gorging on grain or milk, major and sudden dietary changes, antibiotic treatment, deworming medications, and stress. Whenever the normal balance of gut microflora gets disrupted, the good and benign bacteria can be overpopulated by evil bacteria which cause major health issues. The major health issue that C. dificile causes is it produces an endotoxin which creates holes in the intestinal lining, allowing all kinds of bacteria to enter the goat’s bloodstream. C. dificile infection is very hard to treat because you can eliminate the bacteria from the goat with antibiotics but you can’t fix the endotoxin damage once it has happened.  C. dificile can cause death in a very short amount of time. The even worse part is that if the endotoxin damage doesn’t kill the goat, your animal will always be prone to illness and weakness due to the damage to the intestinal lining.

Sitting in this presentation last week, a light bulb went off in my head about some mysterious cases of death in my baby goats. I have read a lot about the importance of preventing parasites in baby goats. Tapeworms and coccidiosis are parasite problems that can cause slow growth, permanent stunting, and death in young goats. Many goat breeders recommend a strict program of preventative treatment with antibiotics and dewormers to try to limit the amount of parasite damage. I have seen some coccidiosis in my baby goats and I have had trouble with my kids not growing well. I have always assumed that parasite prevention was the key to getting ahead of the problem and the key to making big, healthy kids. Last year I had two Saanen kids born on my farm. I dutifully started to preventatively treat them for coccidiosis at 21 days old with Corid powder. I mixed the powder with water at the recommended dose for prevention and gave it to the kids as an oral drench. After three days of treatment with the Corid antibiotic, both of the kids became very weak and stopped eating. I assumed that they were suffering from coccidiosis even with the treatment I was giving them. I gave them more Corid, tried electrolyte and probiotic therapies, injected antibiotics, dewormers, etc. I threw the kitchen sink at them and the doeling died three days after showing the first signs of being sick and the buckling lived but has always been very weak. At the work presentation on C. dificile, I realized that I probably killed the goats with kindness. I was trying to prevent coccidiosis damage with an antibiotic but instead I probably encouraged C. dificile damage by disrupting their gut microflora with that same antibiotic. Any time you give a goat medicine (conventional or herbal), you run the risk of causing a disruption to the gut microflora. I had been blaming coccidiosis all this time for my troubles when, in reality, I should probably be blaming C. dificile.

This year I am going to concentrate on not disrupting the gut microflora of my baby goats. I am not going to use antibiotics for coccidiosis prevention. I am instead going to work on limiting their exposure to parasites by keeping their pen clean and dry and by mounting their food bowls, hay mangers, and water buckets up so they can’t contaminate them with poop or dirt. I do vaccinate my pregnant females with the CDT vaccine every year about 3 weeks before they are due to kid. This is supposed to allow some transfer of immunity to C. dificile from the mom to the kids, but it is not guaranteed due to the tricky nature of C. dificile infection.  

Sunday, February 1, 2015


There will be an Adirondack Goat Club meeting on February 22, 2015 from 11am to 1pm at the Vermontville Town Hall. Everyone is welcome! Feel free to bring your kids (two-legged ones) and your friends! It will be a potluck lunch so please bring a dish to share. The theme of the meeting will be "Getting Ready for Spring : Kidding, Milking, and General Goat Care". The meeting is free to attend.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

We're Still Here!

Sorry about the radio silence lately with the Adirondack Goat Club blog. I have been super busy and haven't had time to dedicate to the blog. The ADK Goat Club is still alive and well. If you are interested in joining the email list for updates and club news, please send me an email at rosesgoats(at)gmail.com.

I hope to post more to the blog soon!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

April Topic: A (Poorly) Illustrated Guide to Baby Goat Poop

Meconium: Black, tarry poops - Usually seen between 0 and 48 hours old. Totally normal. This is the first poops baby goats will have. They are extremely sticky and get all over everything. They are (mercifully) odorless.  

  Yellow, watery scours - Usually seen between 1 and 14 days old. Not normal. Watery diarrhea is caused by too much milk per feeding or milk replacer. To cure, lower the amount of milk per feeding until the scours stop. Or change the type of milk replacer. Baby goats do best on replacer made for goats, not "all stock" or cow replacer. NO medication necessary. 

Yellow, pudding poops - Usually seen between 1 and 14 days old. Totally normal. Since young babies are on a diet of pure milk, their poops will be yellow in color and the consistency of thick pudding. Be sure to clean the anal area of dried poop so not to cause blockage. This stuff is very sticky and smells like soured milk (probably because it is soured milk!).

No poop - Occurs at 1-14 days old but can happen anytime. Very common, but not normal. Since the first poops are very sticky, they can clog up the works and cause constipation. The best treatment is to give a warm water enema of 1 oz warm water and 1 tsp mineral oil. Put in a large syringe with no needle. Insert into anus and slowly push the plunger. You should see pooping within 15 minutes. Repeat enema as necessary. DO NOT give laxatives!

Yellow, grape clusters - Usually seen at 10-20 days old. Very normal. The pudding poops turn slowly into yellow berries as the baby's digestive system matures. They may be brownish as the kid starts eating grain and hay.

Smelly, green diarrhea - Occurs at 21 -30 days old. Very common, but not normal! This is the major symptom of coccidiosis infection. Coccidiosis is caused by a single-celled internal parasite that is not a worm and it is not killed by deworming medicines. You must treat immediately and aggressively with Sulmet, Di-Methox or Corid. These are sulfa-based antibiotics that will kill coccidia parasites. Kids can die quickly from coccidiosis infection and even if they don't die, they can be stunted for life due to the damage caused to their intestinal lining. The best treatment is to treat kids preventatively for coccidiosis by giving them a sulfa-based antibiotic at exactly 21 days old. Coccidia have a 21 day life cycle and killing them before they mature and cause massive damage is essential.

Smelly, green scours - Usually follows the green diarrhea of coccidiosis but can occur alone. Not normal. EXTREMELY FATAL. Very watery, very smelly greenish or brownish scours signals massive digestive system damage. Enterotoxemia is a likely cause. Enterotoxemia is caused by a bacterium called Clostridium perfingens. C. perfingens is found in the soil and does not normally colonize the digestive system of a healthy goat. If the kid is already sick from coccidiosis or bloat, enterotoxemia can occur due to C. perfingens taking advantage of an unhealthy rumen. The best treatment is large doses of CD Antitoxin, orally. This will help to neutralize the toxins produced by the bacteria. Give 10 - 20 cc orally every 4 hours until the kid improves. Vaccinating your pregnant goats with CDT toxoid at 4 weeks before kidding and vaccinating kids at 4 weeks old can help build immunity to enterotoxemia.

Brown berries - Usually seen at 2-4 weeks old or older. Normal. Yay! You made it! Miniature brown berries are the endpoint of a long road to adult goat pooping.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Learn to Make Goat Milk Soap!

There will be a Goat Milk Soap Making Workshop at the Paul Smith's Visitor Interpretive Center (VIC) on April 6, 2014 from 1pm - 2:30pm. For more information and to sign up, please see: http://adirondackvic.org/Workshops-at-the-VIC-Soap-Making-April-2014.html

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Goats For Sale Or Wanted

If anyone is looking for a goat or two, or has some goats for sale -- please email me the details of what you are looking for or what you have and I will post it to the ADK Goat Club email list. We have over 60 members currently. My email is rosesgoats(at)gmail.com.