for people who love the littlest dairy goats
Hi there! I am new to this group and so happy to be here! I live in rainy Bellingham, WA and have two wethers - Mr. Brown & Al - that are about 11 months old. I am a first time goat owner who has experienced my fair share of goat complexities over this past year, and this forum and the Thrifty Homesteader site have been so helpful in finding answers to my goats' issues.
Over the past couple weeks, I've noticed that Mr. Brown is losing hair on the bridge of his nose, the base of his ears, around his eyes, and on the backs of his front legs. He doesn't seem to be too bothered by the hairless patches - he is scratching a bit but not any more than normal. His coat is also coarse and slightly oily (his coat has always been much coarser than Al's, who has the softest shiniest coat). He is acting totally normal and appears to be in good spirits otherwise.
Mr. Brown and Al have 24/7 free access to grass hay, MannaPro minerals (which I am replacing with SweetLix Meat Maker this week - just waiting for it to be delivered), and fresh water (we have well water with a chlorine treatment system). Up until about 3 or 4 months ago, they were getting 0.5 cup each of Purina Goat Grower 16 DQ .0015, which I then replaced with the Standlee Timothy Grass pellets to transition them off of the grain. They LOVE the grass pellets and get about 0.5-0.75 cups each every morning. Most days, they get a very small handful of black oil sunflower seeds as a "treat" and I've recently added free choice icelandic kelp to their diet, which they love and gobble up quickly.
They are on Molly's Herbal Worm Formula as a preventative. Both goats have had several bouts of scours and Al had a mysterious, persistent cough that lasted months - ever since adding Molly's Herbal's their scours have been perfectly normal and Al's cough finally went away. Hooray!
I am curious if anyone can provide insight into Mr. Brown's hair loss. Zinc deficiency? Copper? Mites?
Thanks in advance!
Sorry for the delay! I thought I responded to this. Did you also post somewhere else? (or am I losing it?)
The hair loss is interesting. It's not exactly what I usually see when a goat is copper deficient. Zinc deficiency causes hair loss on random parts of the body.
I don't think I'm seeing alfalfa anywhere in their diet, right?
Wethers are usually very easy keepers, so when people have problems with them, it's usually because they're giving them too much of something that they don't need.
They don't need kelp because it's mostly high in iodine, which is important for thyroid function, which is important for reproduction ... and since wethers are not breeding animals, it's not really going to give them anything that they need. You say you recently added the kelp, and the hair loss started two weeks ago. When exactly did you add the kelp?
If the NuStock is helping, that sounds like parasites. I'd suggest continuing to do that for another week or two to see how he does. It's not a good idea to change up too many things at once.
Thanks for the info!
Taylor Cameron said:
Hi neighbor! I got SweetLix online from Jeffers Pet. It definitely wasn’t cheap with shipping costs, but it was the best deal I could find.
Let me know if the copper helps your wether’s coat issues!
Hi Deborah, thanks for the feedback! Mr. Brown has only gotten worse - he is losing more patches of hair. He now has hair loss and severely flaky skin on all four legs, base of his ears, and now his shoulders. He is also itching quite a bit more these days and is currently losing his undercoat (seems a little early for that?). I've been using NuStock fairly consistently, but it's proving to be a real challenge to apply it regularly since it requires so many hands to catch him and hold him still while I apply it. Do you have any suggestions for treatment? I'm ready to turn to chemical treatments if needed. He is acting normal and eating regularly - the hair loss, itching, and overall dry/dull coat are the only issues. Thanks in advance!
You can use pour-on ivermectin (Ivomec) or eprinomectin (Eprinex) for external parasites. I've only needed to use a pour-on once, but sometimes you have to do a second dose in a couple of weeks.
Okay, thank you! We will give one of those a try. My husband and I just applied some NuStock today and realized his hair is coming off by the handful. Yikes. What external parasite would you attribute all this hair loss to?
External parasites could be lice or mites. They can both be itchy. Lice are fairly easy to see, but they do range in color from a light tan to almost black depending on the type, so check in light and darker hair areas. If you part it, you will see them moving around at the surface of the skin. (Don't worry, you can't get them- goat lice can only live on goats) You may also see their tiny eggs attached to the individual hairs. Mites are a little more difficult to identify because they are microscopic and burrow into the skin. You would need a veterinarian to do a skin scrape and then take a look under the microscope to identify those.