(goat-) kids eating dirt - what gives...???

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by Granolamom, Mar 22, 2009.

  1. Granolamom

    Granolamom Songster

    Sep 9, 2008
    My 5-month old babies are eating dirt. Is this normal, or are they missing something in their diet?
    They get goat chow, free choice hay (which they don't reall eat), loose minerals, pasture and brush.
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2009
  2. FrizzleFreak

    FrizzleFreak Songster

    Floppy Kid Syndrome: from http://www.goatworld.com/articles/fks/fksrw.shtml

    kids from 3-21 days of age. Some get it younger or older, they can have it twice.
    Is found in dam raised kids, as well as bottle raised kids.
    Is caused by clostridial type AE bacteria.
    Clostridial bacteria, such as Tetanus live in the ground.
    Is treatable if caught early.
    Is usually found in late spring kids after the weather warms up. Here in Texas late April & May is FKS season.

    First symptom is a wobbly or unsteady gate. If you see a kid cross his back legs when he is walking or runs a few steps and stumble he is probably in the early stages of FKS.
    Kids seem to eat dirt have dirty mouths and faces.
    Does have strutted udders. You can tell their kid has not nursed well.
    You can sneak up & catch pasture kids, they don't try to run off.
    Dam raised kids tend to be hollow, haven't nursed & appear to be weak.
    Bottle kids tend to show the more prominent full belly the gut shuts down & the milk stays in the stomachs. The kids seem to slosh when shaken. These kids need treated with Pepto or Baking Soda.
    Kids become lethargic unable to stand & eventually unable to even hold their heads up they become flat unable to control any muscles.
    Some kids run high fevers others do not.
    Some kids show signs of respiratory distress some don't. Inexperienced observers may diagnose these kids as having pneumonia.

    If caught early enough (kids that are just starting to stumble) kids can be left on their dams. Treatment needs to be continued for 3 days even if the kids act fine on day 2.
    Treat daily for 3 days with:
    500mg Thiamine
    2cc penicillin
    2cc B Complex
    This can be mixed together & given orally.
    If the kids are flat when you find them give the following in addition to the above treatment:
    1cc penicillin SQ
    Electrolytes or 50% dextrose given orally do not give milk if their gut has shut down - Tube feeding may be necessary.
    Probiotics mix with electrolytes to start the good bacteria going in the gut.
    If the kids are out with their dams be careful they don't get out in the sun & try to cook. These kids tend to seek out the sunny spots & dehydrate quickly.
    If the kid's gut is full and is not functioning a dose of Pepto-Bismol and/or baking soda will help.
    If the kid is flat:
    Prop him up on his brisket & hold his head & neck up with a rolled up towel
    Keep kids hydrated tube feed electrolytes or 50% dextrose.
    Withhold milk until the kids has been up and moving well for 8 hours.
    Don't let him get too cold or too hot.
    If this is what it is, then START THE TREATMENT!!! This is a goat killer. Watch them. This was the only thing I could think of with dirt eating.
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2009
  3. Granolamom

    Granolamom Songster

    Sep 9, 2008
    Oh man, you're really scaring me here. Other than them nibbling on dirt (which they've done for about a week, ever since they've discovered the freshly plowed field behind our house), there have been no other symptoms, though. They're extremely active, have races with my (human) kids, play all day, and eat like horses. They're still nursing, and Aisa, the mom, still has gobs of milk. I have not noticed any unsteady walking or wobbling, but will certainly be on the lookout for it.
  4. FrizzleFreak

    FrizzleFreak Songster

    OKay, I just can't think of anything else that would make them eat dirt.Not if they have access to and are using minerals. Now, where's helmstead...
    Best of luck! I do an insane amount of research on various diseases(yet, the ones I haven't found seem to be what my animals get [​IMG])
    and the pictures from this one are so sad...
  5. Chatychick

    Chatychick Songster

    Jul 9, 2007
    Blue Mound, Kansas
    My La Mancha buck when he was small did this and some of the babies do it now...its not FKS (floppy kid syndrome) I think its just they like it and no it didnt hurt Cowboy either and some of my others that have eaten it do it and they are fine . I think that they really havent tried the minerals yet and might smell maybe some milk spilt there or something thats got their attention...it will stop.

    ODS-n-ENS FARM Songster

    Sep 16, 2008
    My pygmy would jump up on a bale of dirt in the greenhouse to reach/eat dirt out of wheelbarrow. She just liked to eat it.
  7. FarmGirl01

    FarmGirl01 Songster

    Feb 5, 2008
    Craving minerals? My mules would do this also. In a certain part of the pasture, they would go for the clumps of dirt. Kids might just be testing their taste buds. Lets see what others say.
  8. helmstead

    helmstead Songster

    Mar 12, 2007
    Alfordsville, IN
    My bet is they have a deficiency that they haven't caught up yet with the loose minerals - and they've found a source. I would not be terribly concerned, they'll quit once they get healthy.
  9. Granolamom

    Granolamom Songster

    Sep 9, 2008
    Quote:Thanks, Kate, that's kinda what I suspected, too. They were scrawny when I got them, and the guy didn't have them on any minerals, either. Mom and babes have gained weight in the past 4 weeks, and their coats are looking much better than before. Especially the little wether is turning out really handsome, his coat is starting to shine. Mom's and little sisters are still somewhat dull, but improving. They all have a coppery look, though, and I'm considering copper bolus for all three (need to read up on that some more, and might need help with administering them...[​IMG]).

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