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Recently bought a little billy, whom I think had urinary issues to begin with. He peed all over me when I got him home and I noticed a small amount of swelling to his sheath. Anyway...fast forward two days later, he's at the vet. It's determined he has a urethra that has burst. Vet says from congenital deformation. Anyway! My point in all this is what should I feed my goats to prevent any urinary calculi?
 

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Bucks pee all over anyway. It is part of their joy in life.

Their urethras are naturally convoluted. That little kink in it prevents catheterization to move the obstruction.
 

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Bucks pee all over anyway. It is part of their joy in life.

Their urethras are naturally convoluted. That little kink in it prevents catheterization to move the obstruction.
I wasn't sure if that was a buck thing or not! All I've ever had were little nannies. Thank you for that info on the urethra though!
 

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If feeding grain, make sure it's balanced 2:1 in Ca: P, preferably with ammonium chloride. If pets or if adults, grain really not needed unless thin, growing etc. For youngstock I prever a balanced 2:1 Ca: P kid/lamb pellet with a coccidistat for my buck kids.

Some evidence that delayed castration helps increase urethral diameter and therefore reduce risk of blockage. NOTE - Delayed castration does NOTHING to protect against stone formation and plenty of intact bucks die of UC/Obstruction. Results are not consistent between studies and we're talking mm of difference... and intact bucks still can block. It is by far a MANAGEMENT disease. Delayed castration also increases the risk of mismatings and doelings bred too young. Usually by the recommended age for castration, buck kids are entering their first rut and I personally dislike castrating bucks or sedating bucks when they're in rut - hormones a ragin' and the blood flow to the testicles are at their max. They also will have all the unpleasant smells and behaviors of intact bucks, such as potential for aggression and being very hard on fences, all of which is undesirable as pets. Yes this will wane with time after castration, but they're highly unpleasant until it does.

Ammonium chloride acidifies the urine of ruminants (usually a little basic) to dissolve STRUVITE stones which forms mostly in excessive phosphorous diets or imbalanced diets. They are the ONLY kind of stone that can be dissolved. The others will NOT respond to ammonium chloride. This works better as a preventative not a treatment, as during treatment a goat can block again at any time and require surgery or euthanasia. Also to note, research shows that constant-fed ammonium chloride causes a REFRACTORY (meaning the body reverts to basic urine - the longer they're treated, the more basic the urine returns despite same dose) urinary acidification. In these cases it is recommended to pulse feed ammonium chloride - no research but educated guess means I usually have clients feed 3-4 days on, 3-4 days off for life.

Ammonium chloride is NOT palatable so do NOT NOT NOT ever mix with water as they'll chose to not drink. Do NOTHING to bucks/wethers to decrease water consumption if at all possible. This needs drenched, mixed in treats/jello jigglers, bolused, or mixed in a ration.

Increasing water intake seems like a no-brainer but do not dismiss it! Water is of utmost importance in preventing UC because dilute urine is the least likely to have stones precipitate! Increasing salt intake in diet drives water intake and offering an electrolyte mix in addition to regular water, offering cool fresh water in summer and warm fresh water in winter can help a lot as well. Always make sure bucks have a free choice mineral with salt.

Low calcium diets important as well, as especially grown bucks don't need high calcium or protein in alfalfa for the most part, and excessive dietary calcium can lead to calcium oxalate stones which are NOT dissolvable. A high quality grass hay often is quite high in protein if you demand that for your bucks for whatever reason, and is usually lower in calcium.

Personally, our wethers are marketed as meat wethers, so we castrate very young - about 1 week of age. Prevention of mismatings and buck behavior is more important to us than finding pet homes for all our wethers. ;) Terminal wether kids well managed do just fine. I offer a balanced creep feed with coccidistat and 2:1 Ca:p, free choice grass hay (though admittedly often ends up being what the doe kids get, higher in alfalfa than ideal), free choice minerals, all the fresh water they want. Most are sold to new homes asap on the bottle so little input beyond that. Some are probably purchased as pets but again for our management system our priority is earlier castration.
 
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