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After several years of reading about, saving, and preparing for goats, I finally have two Pygmy withers and a doe coming to live with us on April 16th! They will be 8-weeks old by then. I’m so excited, yet anxious...I know how to raise and care for dogs, cats, and chickens extremely well, but goats are on a different level, to me. I‘d like to think I’m prepared, especially with fencing, but I’m sure I’m missing something(s)... I have all the necessary supplies: feed, hay, minerals, hoof trimmer, milk stanchion, FAMACHA chart, etc., but what I don’t have is the hands-on knowledge like I do with puppies, kittens and chicks. I‘m hoping my experience with raising the aforementioned will provide me with some insight/intuition on how to care for the kids.

Someday I plan on having milk goats, but for now I just want to focus on raising/training these three while learning proper care for ruminants, in addition to starting a small flock of sheep in the near future.

I’d love to hear from y’all who are well-seasoned in raising/keeping goats and have any advice for a fledgling goat keeper! 😁 🐐
 

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hello my name is Leilani! I would love to help I’ve had goats and many other animals with my dad for the longest time I’ll answer many questions you have!
Things to watch what your goats eat are

lgae
Blue-green algae, which is most often found in stagnant, slow-moving water when temperatures are high, can poison goats. Symptoms generally develop quite rapidly and may resemble an allergic reaction. Convulsions may occur, but more frequently the animal sinks to the ground, and dies without struggling. Smaller amounts of poison cause weakness and staggering, followed by recovery. In some instances, apparent recovery from an attack is followed in a few days or weeks by evidence of photosensitization. There may be inflammation of the muzzle, the skin of the ear, the udder, or other parts of the body. Jaundice is often seen, and constipation is a common symptom. Such cases usually recover under good care.

Cantharidiasis (Blister Beetle Poisoning)
" class="glossaryLink " style="border-bottom-width: 1px; border-bottom-style: dotted;">Blister beetles contain cantharidin, a toxic substance that is used as a defense mechanism against predators. There are more than 200 different species, and they can be found from Mexico to Southern Canada, and from the east coast of the United States as far west as New Mexico. Cantharidin can severely injure or kill goats when even a small amount is ingested. Goats come into contact with cantharidin by ingesting alfalfa hay that has been infested by blister beetles. The oily substance can contaminate the hay even if the beetles were crushed into the feedstuff. Crushing or chemically eradicating the beetles does not diminish the toxin potency.

Inspecting individual flakes of alfalfa hay before providing them to residents can help reduce the likelihood of poisoning. Dispose of any contaminated flakes, even if you have removed the beetle, as the toxin can still be left behind. First-cutting hay is less likely to be contaminated than hay harvested later in the year, as the insects likely haven’t yet swarmed by then. Harvest alfalfa before it fully blooms to reduce the chances of beetle contamination. Hay is less likely to be contaminated by crushed beetles when harvested with a self-propelled mower or windrower. Crimping hay crushes the beetles into the hay.

Goats that ingest a massive amount of toxin may show signs of severe shock, and unfortunately, die within hours. Symptoms of sublethal poisoning include depression, diarrhea, elevated temperatures, increased pulse and breathing rates, and dehydration. There is also frequent urination, especially after the first 24 hours. If cantharidin poisoning is suspected, a veterinarian should be contacted immediately.

If you suspect Blister Beetle Poisoning, contact your veterinarian immediately. If early veterinary care is provided, afflicted goats have a chance of recovery.

Copper
While copper is actually supplemented into the diets of many goats, it is possible for them to develop copper poisoning. Copper toxicity is a result of too much copper in the diet. Typically due to ingestion of something not intended for the goat such as chicken food, cow minerals, or pig minerals. A sign of copper toxicity is copper colored urine. The urine will also have a sweet smell. Goats are more likely to develop copper poisoning during times of intense stress such as during transport or in extreme weather. This is due to copper being released in the body under stressful conditions.

Grain Overload (Acidosis, Grain Poisoning)
Grain overload occurs when goats eat large amounts of grain, causing carbohydrates to be released in the rumen and ferment instead of being normally digested. Lactic acid is produced resulting in slowing of the gut, dehydration, and sometimes, sadly, death. While wheat and barley are the most common causes of grain overload, lupins and oats can also be the culprit.

Grain overload is most commonly seen where goats may be in a newly harvested pasture and spilled and unharvested grains remain, and when goats gain access to bags or cans of grains and pellets. If a goat isn’t accustomed to eating grain, a sudden switch to grains might cause grain overload as well.

Signs of grain overload include:

  • depressed appearance
  • lying down
  • diarrhea
  • dehydration and thirst
  • bloating (of the left side of the abdomen)
  • staggery or tender gait and ‘sawhorse’ stance
  • death
If you suspect a goat has grain overload, contact a veterinarian immediately. Treatment depends on the severity of the condition. Following grain overload, the rumen lining takes up to six weeks to repair, and some animals may develop secondary infections that will require veterinary treatment.

Hardware Disease
Hardware Disease refers to the injuries that can result from any animal resident eating something they shouldn’t, especially pieces of human-made hardware like nails, screws, and staples. Hardware disease can have devastating effects on any resident.

Lead Toxicity
Lead was once used in paints and pesticides, and can also be found from natural environmental sources. Even if you have never used any products containing lead, it may still be present in old barn or fence paint, or in the soil. Places where old machinery and leaded gas have been stored may also have caused contamination, as would old treated lumber and railroad ties. Goats may ingest the lead in the environment through the consumption of grass, clover, and dandelion or from chewing or licking on tainted surfaces.


Goats with low levels of lead toxicity do not generally exhibit signs. In severe cases, you may see the following symptoms:

  • loss of appetite
  • weight loss
  • lethargy and weakness
  • incoordination
  • anemia
  • unusual manure consistency or diarrhea
  • respiratory distress or blindness
Consult a veterinarian immediately if you suspect a goat has ingested lead or is beginning to show symptoms of lead poisoning.

Mycotoxins
Mycotoxins are a toxin produced by molds (fungi) that are harmful to many animals. Mycotoxins can affect goats through contaminated food or bedding. Moist, warm environments make a perfect recipe for mold reproduction. While goats are more resistant to the effects of mycotoxin than horses, they can still be affected. The type and amount of mycotoxin a goat ingests affects whether the health issues are immediate and short-lived or may become chronic issues. Pregnant goats and young goats are more susceptible. Some general signs of poisoning include:

  • appetite loss
  • weight loss
  • respiratory issues
  • increased susceptibility to infectious diseases (poor immune function)
  • poor growth rate
Prevention is key in avoiding serious health issues. Luckily, there are a number of steps you can take to help ensure resident goats do not suffer the ill effects of mycotoxin poisoning:

  • Be sure to keep food, grain, and hay storage areas clean, dry, and cool
  • Try to keep food storage areas protected from mice and rats and other wildlife, as they can chew holes in food bags, increasing the likelihood of grain being exposed to damp conditions
  • Always feed the oldest sources of food first. Try to use up open food bags within a few weeks after opening in the winter and in even less time in the summer
  • Clean any storage bins or cans thoroughly to remove old grain that may get stuck in cracks and crevices
  • Check with your food manufacturer or supplier to see if they regularly test for the presence of mycotoxins in grains before mixing food. If they do not, avoid using them and find another supplier
If you are concerned about the possibility of mycotoxin contamination, have your food stores tested. This could be especially important if you have a goat that shows initial signs of mycotoxin exposure.

Pesticides, Herbicides, And Rodenticides
It may not come as a surprise that herbicides and rodenticides can cause toxicosis in goats if ingested. If goats ingest plants that have been sprayed with phenoxy acid herbicides, they can become ill or even die. For this reason, it is imperative that goats are not given treated plants or are allowed access to pastures that have been treated with herbicides.

While rats and mice can pose challenges for sanctuaries, it is important to respect them and use compassionate mitigation practices. Many rodenticides are anticoagulants and act by preventing the blood to clot. These products may be appealing to goats as well, and they may attempt to lick or eat them if discovered. For this reason, it is imperative that they do not come into contact with these poisons. There are many new and innovative ways to address rodent populations that are more effective and compassionate.

Pesticides may affect the nervous system in goats and can be fatal if not treated with the antidote. Early treatment is critical. If you suspect a goat may have ingested any of the poisons above, contact your veterinarian immediately. Blood tests may confirm poisoning.

Selenium
Selenium is a highly toxic element when taken in quantities larger than what is needed for normal metabolism. In most plants, the level of selenium is related to levels in the soil. The symptoms of selenium poisoning are: dullness, stiffness of joints, lameness, loss of hair from their body or tail, and hoof deformities. The acute form of poisoning is often called “blind staggers”.

Snakebites
Venomous snakebites are not common, but when they occur, should be treated seriously and immediately. The most common location for a goat to be bitten are on the nose or leg. It is possible for a snake to bite several times, so if you notice a snakebite, look for others. Snake venom varies by species, and the severity of a bite can also be influenced by size, age, and the number of bites. Most venoms can impair blood clotting and damage the heart, while some others contain neurotoxins. Signs of a snakebite may include:

  • Pain
  • Swelling at the bite site
  • One or more puncture wounds
  • Sloughing of tissues near the bite site
  • Cardiac arrhythmias
  • Impaired ability for their blood to clot
  • Shock
  • Collapse
  • Paralysis
  • Death
Seek veterinary care immediately if a goat is bitten by a venomous snake. Do NOT try to suck the venom out or place a tourniquet. Keep the goat calm while seeking immediate veterinary care. Depending on the severity of the bite, treatments may include antivenin, pain medications, fluid therapy, wound treatment, tetanus vaccination, and antibiotics.

Wood Stains And Paints
Some wood stains and paints can be toxic to goats. Goats may try to chew on painted surfaces and can become ill if the stain or paint is toxic. Try and purchase paints and stains that are specially made for barns and fencing and listed as animal or “livestock” friendly.

Foods That You Should Not Feed To Goats
In addition to the above, here are some foods that you should not feed to goats:

  • Animal products of any kind
  • Avocado
  • Cherries
  • Chocolate
  • Kale
  • Nightshade vegetables
  • Potato
Things to entertain your fun little friends!
Tires
Trampoline
Walnut lumber
Decorative straw bale
Barrel
Seesaw
Step stool
Pet pool
Tires
Things goats love to eat :
Hay
Chaff hay
Grains
Sweet feed
Black oil sunflower seeds!
apple cider vinegar ( helps their immune system)


You should never feed your goats these items:

  1. Avocado
  2. Azaleas
  3. Chocolate
  4. Plants with oxalates such as kale
  5. Any nightshade vegetable
  6. Holly trees or bushes
  7. Lilacs
  8. Lily of the valley
  9. Milkweed
  10. Rhubarb leaves
  11. Wild cherries
 

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Also a edit the laying down part I put I meant to put laying down very often like it’s normal just to sunbathe for like a hour and then sleeping at night but they shouldn’t be sleeping all day and all night they should be getting up and running and jumping
 

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. I have all the necessary supplies: feed, hay, minerals, hoof trimmer, milk stanchion, FAMACHA chart, etc., but what I don’t have is the hands-on knowledge like I do with puppies, kittens and chicks.
You have a good start it sounds like. Use the FAMACHA chart, that will be very helpful. If your goats have fresh water, hay, minerals, fresh browse/pasture and shelter, you'll do fine. The thing that I've found that is often difficult for most new goat owners is getting a handle on parasites (worms). Learning when to worm and with what is important. Ask questions on this forum, there is a wealth of knowledge. Goats are awesome to raise and your experience with your other livestock will be helpful. We all had to start our hands-on experience somewhere. My hubby was awesome enough to buy 25 bred Boer goats, have them delivered to our farm, and then went to Iraq. I learned on the job for sure! I asked lots of questions, had a fabulous vet, and made it through my first kidding season with all of my sanity. ;) You are starting small so you will do fine. Best Wishes!
 

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I worm my goats every 30 days after worming because it gives a greater chance of getting rid of any parasites in them and it has always worked for me and it had never affected my goats unless the girls are pregnant I wait till they kid to re worm them
 

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I worm my goats every 30 days after worming because it gives a greater chance of getting rid of any parasites in them and it has always worked for me and it had never affected my goats unless the girls are pregnant I wait till they kid to re worm them
You're wasting wormer doing it like that AND you're goats will build a resistance to the wormers. Overtime the meds you are using will be less and less effective. No need to worm unless you have a worm problem.
 

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The FAMACHA protocol is designed to have to use the dewormers LESS frequently.

Small goats that aren’t being bred or milked need VERY LITTLE feed. Good hay, clean water, and minerals are what is important.

That copper toxicity section is not accurate. Goats are much more likely to be copper deficient.

Most soils are selenium deficient. Most of us have to supplement selenium to avoid diseases caused by deficiency.
 

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You're wasting wormer doing it like that AND you're goats will build a resistance to the wormers. Overtime the meds you are using will be less and less effective. No need to worm unless you have a worm problem.
I only worm every 30 days becuase I only have show goats and it’s by my ffa program to worm every 30 days unless we are a week away from our show I only have does becuase they produce my show goats so they are not wormed as often as the show goats are
 

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Small goats that aren’t being bred or milked need VERY LITTLE feed. Good hay, clean water, and minerals are what is important.
Yes...... and withers are subject to getting their plumbing clogged up if fed to much feed.... I keep mine fed “feed” as little as possible..... just enough to keep their attention when the feed bucket is rattled.... when you can shake the bucket and they jump up and stand on your head looking down then you won’t be spending hours chasing them out of the neighbors flower bed...... just shake the bucket and get outa the way...
 
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Discussion Starter #12
hello my name is Leilani! I would love to help I’ve had goats and many other animals with my dad for the longest time I’ll answer many questions you have!
Things to watch what your goats eat are

lgae
Blue-green algae, which is most often found in stagnant, slow-moving water when temperatures are high, can poison goats. Symptoms generally develop quite rapidly and may resemble an allergic reaction. Convulsions may occur, but more frequently the animal sinks to the ground, and dies without struggling. Smaller amounts of poison cause weakness and staggering, followed by recovery. In some instances, apparent recovery from an attack is followed in a few days or weeks by evidence of photosensitization. There may be inflammation of the muzzle, the skin of the ear, the udder, or other parts of the body. Jaundice is often seen, and constipation is a common symptom. Such cases usually recover under good care.

Cantharidiasis (Blister Beetle Poisoning)
" class="glossaryLink " style="border-bottom-width: 1px; border-bottom-style: dotted;">Blister beetles contain cantharidin, a toxic substance that is used as a defense mechanism against predators. There are more than 200 different species, and they can be found from Mexico to Southern Canada, and from the east coast of the United States as far west as New Mexico. Cantharidin can severely injure or kill goats when even a small amount is ingested. Goats come into contact with cantharidin by ingesting alfalfa hay that has been infested by blister beetles. The oily substance can contaminate the hay even if the beetles were crushed into the feedstuff. Crushing or chemically eradicating the beetles does not diminish the toxin potency.

Inspecting individual flakes of alfalfa hay before providing them to residents can help reduce the likelihood of poisoning. Dispose of any contaminated flakes, even if you have removed the beetle, as the toxin can still be left behind. First-cutting hay is less likely to be contaminated than hay harvested later in the year, as the insects likely haven’t yet swarmed by then. Harvest alfalfa before it fully blooms to reduce the chances of beetle contamination. Hay is less likely to be contaminated by crushed beetles when harvested with a self-propelled mower or windrower. Crimping hay crushes the beetles into the hay.

Goats that ingest a massive amount of toxin may show signs of severe shock, and unfortunately, die within hours. Symptoms of sublethal poisoning include depression, diarrhea, elevated temperatures, increased pulse and breathing rates, and dehydration. There is also frequent urination, especially after the first 24 hours. If cantharidin poisoning is suspected, a veterinarian should be contacted immediately.

If you suspect Blister Beetle Poisoning, contact your veterinarian immediately. If early veterinary care is provided, afflicted goats have a chance of recovery.

Copper
While copper is actually supplemented into the diets of many goats, it is possible for them to develop copper poisoning. Copper toxicity is a result of too much copper in the diet. Typically due to ingestion of something not intended for the goat such as chicken food, cow minerals, or pig minerals. A sign of copper toxicity is copper colored urine. The urine will also have a sweet smell. Goats are more likely to develop copper poisoning during times of intense stress such as during transport or in extreme weather. This is due to copper being released in the body under stressful conditions.

Grain Overload (Acidosis, Grain Poisoning)
Grain overload occurs when goats eat large amounts of grain, causing carbohydrates to be released in the rumen and ferment instead of being normally digested. Lactic acid is produced resulting in slowing of the gut, dehydration, and sometimes, sadly, death. While wheat and barley are the most common causes of grain overload, lupins and oats can also be the culprit.

Grain overload is most commonly seen where goats may be in a newly harvested pasture and spilled and unharvested grains remain, and when goats gain access to bags or cans of grains and pellets. If a goat isn’t accustomed to eating grain, a sudden switch to grains might cause grain overload as well.

Signs of grain overload include:

  • depressed appearance
  • lying down
  • diarrhea
  • dehydration and thirst
  • bloating (of the left side of the abdomen)
  • staggery or tender gait and ‘sawhorse’ stance
  • death
If you suspect a goat has grain overload, contact a veterinarian immediately. Treatment depends on the severity of the condition. Following grain overload, the rumen lining takes up to six weeks to repair, and some animals may develop secondary infections that will require veterinary treatment.

Hardware Disease
Hardware Disease refers to the injuries that can result from any animal resident eating something they shouldn’t, especially pieces of human-made hardware like nails, screws, and staples. Hardware disease can have devastating effects on any resident.

Lead Toxicity
Lead was once used in paints and pesticides, and can also be found from natural environmental sources. Even if you have never used any products containing lead, it may still be present in old barn or fence paint, or in the soil. Places where old machinery and leaded gas have been stored may also have caused contamination, as would old treated lumber and railroad ties. Goats may ingest the lead in the environment through the consumption of grass, clover, and dandelion or from chewing or licking on tainted surfaces.


Goats with low levels of lead toxicity do not generally exhibit signs. In severe cases, you may see the following symptoms:

  • loss of appetite
  • weight loss
  • lethargy and weakness
  • incoordination
  • anemia
  • unusual manure consistency or diarrhea
  • respiratory distress or blindness
Consult a veterinarian immediately if you suspect a goat has ingested lead or is beginning to show symptoms of lead poisoning.

Mycotoxins
Mycotoxins are a toxin produced by molds (fungi) that are harmful to many animals. Mycotoxins can affect goats through contaminated food or bedding. Moist, warm environments make a perfect recipe for mold reproduction. While goats are more resistant to the effects of mycotoxin than horses, they can still be affected. The type and amount of mycotoxin a goat ingests affects whether the health issues are immediate and short-lived or may become chronic issues. Pregnant goats and young goats are more susceptible. Some general signs of poisoning include:

  • appetite loss
  • weight loss
  • respiratory issues
  • increased susceptibility to infectious diseases (poor immune function)
  • poor growth rate
Prevention is key in avoiding serious health issues. Luckily, there are a number of steps you can take to help ensure resident goats do not suffer the ill effects of mycotoxin poisoning:

  • Be sure to keep food, grain, and hay storage areas clean, dry, and cool
  • Try to keep food storage areas protected from mice and rats and other wildlife, as they can chew holes in food bags, increasing the likelihood of grain being exposed to damp conditions
  • Always feed the oldest sources of food first. Try to use up open food bags within a few weeks after opening in the winter and in even less time in the summer
  • Clean any storage bins or cans thoroughly to remove old grain that may get stuck in cracks and crevices
  • Check with your food manufacturer or supplier to see if they regularly test for the presence of mycotoxins in grains before mixing food. If they do not, avoid using them and find another supplier
If you are concerned about the possibility of mycotoxin contamination, have your food stores tested. This could be especially important if you have a goat that shows initial signs of mycotoxin exposure.

Pesticides, Herbicides, And Rodenticides
It may not come as a surprise that herbicides and rodenticides can cause toxicosis in goats if ingested. If goats ingest plants that have been sprayed with phenoxy acid herbicides, they can become ill or even die. For this reason, it is imperative that goats are not given treated plants or are allowed access to pastures that have been treated with herbicides.

While rats and mice can pose challenges for sanctuaries, it is important to respect them and use compassionate mitigation practices. Many rodenticides are anticoagulants and act by preventing the blood to clot. These products may be appealing to goats as well, and they may attempt to lick or eat them if discovered. For this reason, it is imperative that they do not come into contact with these poisons. There are many new and innovative ways to address rodent populations that are more effective and compassionate.

Pesticides may affect the nervous system in goats and can be fatal if not treated with the antidote. Early treatment is critical. If you suspect a goat may have ingested any of the poisons above, contact your veterinarian immediately. Blood tests may confirm poisoning.

Selenium
Selenium is a highly toxic element when taken in quantities larger than what is needed for normal metabolism. In most plants, the level of selenium is related to levels in the soil. The symptoms of selenium poisoning are: dullness, stiffness of joints, lameness, loss of hair from their body or tail, and hoof deformities. The acute form of poisoning is often called “blind staggers”.

Snakebites
Venomous snakebites are not common, but when they occur, should be treated seriously and immediately. The most common location for a goat to be bitten are on the nose or leg. It is possible for a snake to bite several times, so if you notice a snakebite, look for others. Snake venom varies by species, and the severity of a bite can also be influenced by size, age, and the number of bites. Most venoms can impair blood clotting and damage the heart, while some others contain neurotoxins. Signs of a snakebite may include:

  • Pain
  • Swelling at the bite site
  • One or more puncture wounds
  • Sloughing of tissues near the bite site
  • Cardiac arrhythmias
  • Impaired ability for their blood to clot
  • Shock
  • Collapse
  • Paralysis
  • Death
Seek veterinary care immediately if a goat is bitten by a venomous snake. Do NOT try to suck the venom out or place a tourniquet. Keep the goat calm while seeking immediate veterinary care. Depending on the severity of the bite, treatments may include antivenin, pain medications, fluid therapy, wound treatment, tetanus vaccination, and antibiotics.

Wood Stains And Paints
Some wood stains and paints can be toxic to goats. Goats may try to chew on painted surfaces and can become ill if the stain or paint is toxic. Try and purchase paints and stains that are specially made for barns and fencing and listed as animal or “livestock” friendly.

Foods That You Should Not Feed To Goats
In addition to the above, here are some foods that you should not feed to goats:

  • Animal products of any kind
  • Avocado
  • Cherries
  • Chocolate
  • Kale
  • Nightshade vegetables
  • Potato
Things to entertain your fun little friends!
Tires
Trampoline
Walnut lumber
Decorative straw bale
Barrel
Seesaw
Step stool
Pet pool
Tires
Things goats love to eat :
Hay
Chaff hay
Grains
Sweet feed
Black oil sunflower seeds!
apple cider vinegar ( helps their immune system)


You should never feed your goats these items:

  1. Avocado
  2. Azaleas
  3. Chocolate
  4. Plants with oxalates such as kale
  5. Any nightshade vegetable
  6. Holly trees or bushes
  7. Lilacs
  8. Lily of the valley
  9. Milkweed
  10. Rhubarb leaves
  11. Wild cherries
[/QUO
hello my name is Leilani! I would love to help I’ve had goats and many other animals with my dad for the longest time I’ll answer many questions you have!
Things to watch what your goats eat are

lgae
Blue-green algae, which is most often found in stagnant, slow-moving water when temperatures are high, can poison goats. Symptoms generally develop quite rapidly and may resemble an allergic reaction. Convulsions may occur, but more frequently the animal sinks to the ground, and dies without struggling. Smaller amounts of poison cause weakness and staggering, followed by recovery. In some instances, apparent recovery from an attack is followed in a few days or weeks by evidence of photosensitization. There may be inflammation of the muzzle, the skin of the ear, the udder, or other parts of the body. Jaundice is often seen, and constipation is a common symptom. Such cases usually recover under good care.

Cantharidiasis (Blister Beetle Poisoning)
" class="glossaryLink " style="border-bottom-width: 1px; border-bottom-style: dotted;">Blister beetles contain cantharidin, a toxic substance that is used as a defense mechanism against predators. There are more than 200 different species, and they can be found from Mexico to Southern Canada, and from the east coast of the United States as far west as New Mexico. Cantharidin can severely injure or kill goats when even a small amount is ingested. Goats come into contact with cantharidin by ingesting alfalfa hay that has been infested by blister beetles. The oily substance can contaminate the hay even if the beetles were crushed into the feedstuff. Crushing or chemically eradicating the beetles does not diminish the toxin potency.

Inspecting individual flakes of alfalfa hay before providing them to residents can help reduce the likelihood of poisoning. Dispose of any contaminated flakes, even if you have removed the beetle, as the toxin can still be left behind. First-cutting hay is less likely to be contaminated than hay harvested later in the year, as the insects likely haven’t yet swarmed by then. Harvest alfalfa before it fully blooms to reduce the chances of beetle contamination. Hay is less likely to be contaminated by crushed beetles when harvested with a self-propelled mower or windrower. Crimping hay crushes the beetles into the hay.

Goats that ingest a massive amount of toxin may show signs of severe shock, and unfortunately, die within hours. Symptoms of sublethal poisoning include depression, diarrhea, elevated temperatures, increased pulse and breathing rates, and dehydration. There is also frequent urination, especially after the first 24 hours. If cantharidin poisoning is suspected, a veterinarian should be contacted immediately.

If you suspect Blister Beetle Poisoning, contact your veterinarian immediately. If early veterinary care is provided, afflicted goats have a chance of recovery.

Copper
While copper is actually supplemented into the diets of many goats, it is possible for them to develop copper poisoning. Copper toxicity is a result of too much copper in the diet. Typically due to ingestion of something not intended for the goat such as chicken food, cow minerals, or pig minerals. A sign of copper toxicity is copper colored urine. The urine will also have a sweet smell. Goats are more likely to develop copper poisoning during times of intense stress such as during transport or in extreme weather. This is due to copper being released in the body under stressful conditions.

Grain Overload (Acidosis, Grain Poisoning)
Grain overload occurs when goats eat large amounts of grain, causing carbohydrates to be released in the rumen and ferment instead of being normally digested. Lactic acid is produced resulting in slowing of the gut, dehydration, and sometimes, sadly, death. While wheat and barley are the most common causes of grain overload, lupins and oats can also be the culprit.

Grain overload is most commonly seen where goats may be in a newly harvested pasture and spilled and unharvested grains remain, and when goats gain access to bags or cans of grains and pellets. If a goat isn’t accustomed to eating grain, a sudden switch to grains might cause grain overload as well.

Signs of grain overload include:

  • depressed appearance
  • lying down
  • diarrhea
  • dehydration and thirst
  • bloating (of the left side of the abdomen)
  • staggery or tender gait and ‘sawhorse’ stance
  • death
If you suspect a goat has grain overload, contact a veterinarian immediately. Treatment depends on the severity of the condition. Following grain overload, the rumen lining takes up to six weeks to repair, and some animals may develop secondary infections that will require veterinary treatment.

Hardware Disease
Hardware Disease refers to the injuries that can result from any animal resident eating something they shouldn’t, especially pieces of human-made hardware like nails, screws, and staples. Hardware disease can have devastating effects on any resident.

Lead Toxicity
Lead was once used in paints and pesticides, and can also be found from natural environmental sources. Even if you have never used any products containing lead, it may still be present in old barn or fence paint, or in the soil. Places where old machinery and leaded gas have been stored may also have caused contamination, as would old treated lumber and railroad ties. Goats may ingest the lead in the environment through the consumption of grass, clover, and dandelion or from chewing or licking on tainted surfaces.


Goats with low levels of lead toxicity do not generally exhibit signs. In severe cases, you may see the following symptoms:

  • loss of appetite
  • weight loss
  • lethargy and weakness
  • incoordination
  • anemia
  • unusual manure consistency or diarrhea
  • respiratory distress or blindness
Consult a veterinarian immediately if you suspect a goat has ingested lead or is beginning to show symptoms of lead poisoning.

Mycotoxins
Mycotoxins are a toxin produced by molds (fungi) that are harmful to many animals. Mycotoxins can affect goats through contaminated food or bedding. Moist, warm environments make a perfect recipe for mold reproduction. While goats are more resistant to the effects of mycotoxin than horses, they can still be affected. The type and amount of mycotoxin a goat ingests affects whether the health issues are immediate and short-lived or may become chronic issues. Pregnant goats and young goats are more susceptible. Some general signs of poisoning include:

  • appetite loss
  • weight loss
  • respiratory issues
  • increased susceptibility to infectious diseases (poor immune function)
  • poor growth rate
Prevention is key in avoiding serious health issues. Luckily, there are a number of steps you can take to help ensure resident goats do not suffer the ill effects of mycotoxin poisoning:

  • Be sure to keep food, grain, and hay storage areas clean, dry, and cool
  • Try to keep food storage areas protected from mice and rats and other wildlife, as they can chew holes in food bags, increasing the likelihood of grain being exposed to damp conditions
  • Always feed the oldest sources of food first. Try to use up open food bags within a few weeks after opening in the winter and in even less time in the summer
  • Clean any storage bins or cans thoroughly to remove old grain that may get stuck in cracks and crevices
  • Check with your food manufacturer or supplier to see if they regularly test for the presence of mycotoxins in grains before mixing food. If they do not, avoid using them and find another supplier
If you are concerned about the possibility of mycotoxin contamination, have your food stores tested. This could be especially important if you have a goat that shows initial signs of mycotoxin exposure.

Pesticides, Herbicides, And Rodenticides
It may not come as a surprise that herbicides and rodenticides can cause toxicosis in goats if ingested. If goats ingest plants that have been sprayed with phenoxy acid herbicides, they can become ill or even die. For this reason, it is imperative that goats are not given treated plants or are allowed access to pastures that have been treated with herbicides.

While rats and mice can pose challenges for sanctuaries, it is important to respect them and use compassionate mitigation practices. Many rodenticides are anticoagulants and act by preventing the blood to clot. These products may be appealing to goats as well, and they may attempt to lick or eat them if discovered. For this reason, it is imperative that they do not come into contact with these poisons. There are many new and innovative ways to address rodent populations that are more effective and compassionate.

Pesticides may affect the nervous system in goats and can be fatal if not treated with the antidote. Early treatment is critical. If you suspect a goat may have ingested any of the poisons above, contact your veterinarian immediately. Blood tests may confirm poisoning.

Selenium
Selenium is a highly toxic element when taken in quantities larger than what is needed for normal metabolism. In most plants, the level of selenium is related to levels in the soil. The symptoms of selenium poisoning are: dullness, stiffness of joints, lameness, loss of hair from their body or tail, and hoof deformities. The acute form of poisoning is often called “blind staggers”.

Snakebites
Venomous snakebites are not common, but when they occur, should be treated seriously and immediately. The most common location for a goat to be bitten are on the nose or leg. It is possible for a snake to bite several times, so if you notice a snakebite, look for others. Snake venom varies by species, and the severity of a bite can also be influenced by size, age, and the number of bites. Most venoms can impair blood clotting and damage the heart, while some others contain neurotoxins. Signs of a snakebite may include:

  • Pain
  • Swelling at the bite site
  • One or more puncture wounds
  • Sloughing of tissues near the bite site
  • Cardiac arrhythmias
  • Impaired ability for their blood to clot
  • Shock
  • Collapse
  • Paralysis
  • Death
Seek veterinary care immediately if a goat is bitten by a venomous snake. Do NOT try to suck the venom out or place a tourniquet. Keep the goat calm while seeking immediate veterinary care. Depending on the severity of the bite, treatments may include antivenin, pain medications, fluid therapy, wound treatment, tetanus vaccination, and antibiotics.

Wood Stains And Paints
Some wood stains and paints can be toxic to goats. Goats may try to chew on painted surfaces and can become ill if the stain or paint is toxic. Try and purchase paints and stains that are specially made for barns and fencing and listed as animal or “livestock” friendly.

Foods That You Should Not Feed To Goats
In addition to the above, here are some foods that you should not feed to goats:

  • Animal products of any kind
  • Avocado
  • Cherries
  • Chocolate
  • Kale
  • Nightshade vegetables
  • Potato
Things to entertain your fun little friends!
Tires
Trampoline
Walnut lumber
Decorative straw bale
Barrel
Seesaw
Step stool
Pet pool
Tires
Things goats love to eat :
Hay
Chaff hay
Grains
Sweet feed
Black oil sunflower seeds!
apple cider vinegar ( helps their immune system)


You should never feed your goats these items:

  1. Avocado
  2. Azaleas
  3. Chocolate
  4. Plants with oxalates such as kale
  5. Any nightshade vegetable
  6. Holly trees or bushes
  7. Lilacs
  8. Lily of the valley
  9. Milkweed
  10. Rhubarb leaves
  11. Wild cherries
Thank you for the detailed descriptions of things that can adversely affect goats and the symptoms, that is the kind of info that I am lacking, even though I have read up on it. :) How much ACV do you give, do you just add it to their water buckets? I have a bottle and have always intended to give it to my hens, but alas I always forget. Right now I only have an old Jeep tire and a couple of stumps for the goaties to play on, but they will have lots of places to explore. Hubby is designing some sort of wooden structure for them as well.
 

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Also a edit the laying down part I put I meant to put laying down very often like it’s normal just to sunbathe for like a hour and then sleeping at night but they shouldn’t be sleeping all day and all night they should be getting up and running and jumping
I've wondered about that...I often see the neighbor's horses laying down on their sides, like they are dead, and always assumed that this was normal but never knew for sure! So I won't freak out if I see the goaties taking a snooze...the hens have resumed that activity now that it has warmed up and they are out free ranging more.
 

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You have a good start it sounds like. Use the FAMACHA chart, that will be very helpful. If your goats have fresh water, hay, minerals, fresh browse/pasture and shelter, you'll do fine. The thing that I've found that is often difficult for most new goat owners is getting a handle on parasites (worms). Learning when to worm and with what is important. Ask questions on this forum, there is a wealth of knowledge. Goats are awesome to raise and your experience with your other livestock will be helpful. We all had to start our hands-on experience somewhere. My hubby was awesome enough to buy 25 bred Boer goats, have them delivered to our farm, and then went to Iraq. I learned on the job for sure! I asked lots of questions, had a fabulous vet, and made it through my first kidding season with all of my sanity. ;) You are starting small so you will do fine. Best Wishes!
Yeah, the deworming schedule has got me a little anxious, I'm going to speak with the breeder as well as the vet, too. However, I am also counting on my fellow HT goat enthusiasts with their wealth of knowledge and experience to guide me through the newby phase. And you were broken in with 25 Boers, I shouldn't worry so much with just the three lol! Thank you for the boost of confidence! 😁
 

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The subject of deworming seems like a hot topic. So my next question is which dewormer do y'all use?
Castrated goats are wethers.
Horse shoulders are withers.

I am a former English teacher, and I can’t help myself. :love:
Thank you for the correction...I usually can spot a misspelled word a mile away but lost my way on this one! 😁
 

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I wholeheartedly agree. And we wonder why parasites and pathogens become resistant.
I work in a microbiology lab so we are well aware of antibiotic resistance in bacteria. I definitely wouldn't want to build up resistance with over-deworming (is that a word?).
 

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Since the topic of worming is so popular, I'll keep it going with a few more questions. I would like to keep a dewormer on hand, what do y'all suggest?

I would think that using DuMor Goat Dewormer or Positive Pellet would be an easy method for deworming, or are those products more for deworming on a regular prophylactic interval vs. "as needed"? Or is using Ivermectin from the get-go a better option or is that too "heavy duty" of a medication to start with?

Can the worms be seen with the naked eye (like in dogs) or are they only easily viewed microscopically after a fecal float?
 

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Another goat question: have any of you ever tried a few cinder blocks piled in a pyramid (or some other hard, rough surface, not wood) that your goats could climb on and keep their hooves trimmed at the same time?
 

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Since the topic of worming is so popular, I'll keep it going with a few more questions. I would like to keep a dewormer on hand, what do y'all suggest?

I would think that using DuMor Goat Dewormer or Positive Pellet would be an easy method for deworming, or are those products more for deworming on a regular prophylactic interval vs. "as needed"? Or is using Ivermectin from the get-go a better option or is that too "heavy duty" of a medication to start with?

Can the worms be seen with the naked eye (like in dogs) or are they only easily viewed microscopically after a fecal float?
Your wormer will/should depend on what worms you are fighting. Unless its a tapeworm, you'll need a microscope to see the little beast. The FAMACHA method is fairly easy. What also worked for me was the "last 2 to dinner" method. I raised dairy goats (after I figured out that boer goats were "meat" animals and people wanted to buy them for BBQ....How could they eat my babies? Hubby said I sucked at being a farmer. ;)) At one time I had 25 Nubian milkers. I fed a handful of grain to the girls because there were either in milk, bred, or getting ready to be bred. The last 2-3 that came running for dinner, were the ones I looked at. Made it simply. Sick or heavily wormed goats don't come running usually. In my experience, most wormers that were designed for goats were totally ineffective. My go to was Ivermectin. I rarely had to treat worms. I always treated a few days after they delivered their kids. Other than that, I didn't have a worm problem.
 
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