Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Goats

for people who love the littlest dairy goats

One of my two little doelings is acting a bit off. I called the people I purchased her from and they don't really think I should be that concerned but of course I am.

- this morning when I went out to change the feed and do my routines I noticed one of my girls, Madison, was not calling for me as I approached the gate. Generally she and her sister are maaa full volume when they see me in the morning.

- I let them out of their enclosure in the morning in the larger yard to play as i rake and clean things up. Generally when i shake the bag with their fresh hay and grain they both come running back. Today Madison didn't. I went out and found her nibbling on a pine sapling and had to pick her up to get her to come in.

- When I picked her up i noticed there was some poo stuck to her behind that was obviously from diarrhea. It wasn't overly wet so I am thinking she passed it late in the night or early morning before I came out. 

- She really just didn't seem interested in anything I offered her including hay, grain, minerals and baking soda. She did want to nibble at the pine saplings.

- I called the breeder and they had me check her eyelids they look just as pink as her sisters who is doing fine and acting like her normal self. And they told me she probably got into something she didn't like and just had a tummy ache. I did notice her trying to mess with the dog food yesterday and shooed her away, so maybe that has upset her tummy? On their advice I have given her some pepto in the last hour and I keep checking in on her.

- She is walking around and did want to get out in the yard space but she isn't as active as she normally is and hasn't been calling for me. She also is a lap baby and pushes the dog and her sister aside to lay in my lap normally and just hasn't today.

- I don't see the left side protruding any more than her right. However she does look fatter over all today. She is actually quite a bit wider than her twin sister and always has been.
 I was actually a bit concerned maybe she was wider because she was eating more than her fair share and kept an eye on their feeding for a bout a week but they both seem to be feeding well.

- Of course every horrible goat disease possible is running through my head as she is just the sweetest thing and i love her dearly. I also had a thought, with her being so much wider than her sister, is it at all possible that such a young doeling might have become pregnant? Would any of that indicate something like that. The day I picked them up they were about 10 or 11 weeks (ill need to dig out their info) and they had put a little buckling of about the same age in with the girls because the little weather had already sold and they didn't want him to be lonely. I did notice him attempting to mount while we were there.

The breeder doesn't seem overly concerned yet, they have told me to watch her carefully and see if she improves and if there are any sudden changes for the worse to call the vet. They said they really think it just sounds like she ate something that isn't agreeing with her.  Maybe the dog food i saw her trying to get at.

Any advice would be so appreciated I'm just so upset and so worried. I feel like a brand new mom all over again, every little thing is sending me into a panic.


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Do you have probios? That's probably the first thing I would do if someone just seems "off". Better gut flora never hurts, in my experience: human or goat.

I don't but could run into town and get some. They have been eating a mixture of forage they nibble on and a bagged forage with Probiotic Yeast mixed into it. So I wasn't sure if that would cover it or I should have something extra on hand. Do you know if Tractor Supply carries it?

TSC has it but you can also drench her with some yogurt (it also has live cultures). A lot of people use yogurt instead of buying probios but they are good to have on hand. I would make sure there is no dog food for her to nibble on as that would definitely upset her rumen. It sounds like she has a tummy ache and that would explain her rumen looking somewhat extended too. It's highly unlikely she is pregnant since they don't normally go into heat until they are 4 to 6 months old. 

One thing that can cause diarrhea in a kid is too much grain.  They don't need much.  About 1/4 cup A.M. and P.M. is all I give mine.  Just thought I'd throw that out there, because the first couple of years I had my goats, I kept thinking they had a heavy worm load that was causing the soft poop in the spring.  Turns out it was mostly too much grain too quickly as I tried to keep them happy on the milk stand.  I'm not sure that would make her feel "off" though.  The first thing you should do in the case of diarrhea is remove all the grain and give just hay for a while to see if it goes away.  Raspberry or blackberry leaves are very good for the tummy, and often help cure diarrhea.

I don't know how long you've had them, but could it be that she's just getting used to her new home, more confident in it?  Maybe she's feeling a bit more independent and therefore less of a "mama's girl"?

If the diarrhea continues, make sure she doesn't have a coccidia overload.  Either just give her the medication for it and see if it helps, or arrange to take a sample of the poop to the vet so they can see if that's the problem.

Best wishes

Since you mentioned she was happy to eat the pine, I will say that it might be she's eaten too much of it, and thrown her rumen a little off. I have had kids that got a little too browse happy and ate so much they got loose stools. The pepto should help. Keep in mind that you don't want to give pepto for too long, because if this is something OTHER than just a little bit of rumen upset, you will be masking symptoms that will help you know that. If it's just an upset rumen, (which is what it sounds like to me) then she should start to feel better soon. Pro biotics will help keep her belly happy too. 

My buckling goats mount other goats all the time. It's normal behavior, and highly unlikely that your doeling is pregnant. Even if the boys are going through all the motions, most of them are shooting blanks (if anything) at that age. 

How is your girl doing now?  Any answers or improvement yet?

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