goat with a rough coat

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by HSerChickLady, Aug 8, 2014.

  1. HSerChickLady

    HSerChickLady Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We are getting our first goat's and being new to goat's i have a question about one of them. She's a nice Oberhasli doe, giving lots of milk, but her coat is a bit rough compared to the other 2 we are taking as well. Our friends we're getting her from said she was fine till she ate a bunch of milkweed that made her sick a few weeks ago and since then her coat hasn't been as nice. Her illness from the milkweed didn't affect her milk quantity amount. They thought maybe she needs a copper supplement but i'm nervous about that knowing they're sensitive to it and she has a mineral block in her shed already. I'm wondering if maybe she needs some probiotics to help balance her system out from the weeds she ate?

    I'd love any ideas from people who have experience. I want to help her out when she gets here in a week or so so her transition to our farm goes well and so she's in tip top shape for breeding this fall.
     
  2. Stacykins

    Stacykins Overrun With Chickens

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    Goats are not sensitive to copper, sheep are. Goats need MUCH more copper than sheep do, to the point where sheep that eat goat feed can suffer from copper toxicity, while goats that eat sheep feed suffer from deficiencies.

    That mineral block is likely the biggest cause of her rough coat. Those blocks are, by nature, almost all table salt without enough of the other minerals. Table salt is a limiter. The goats would have to devour much of the block to actually get the amounts of the other minerals (copper, selenium, zinc, etc.) that they need, but the table salt makes them stop before their needs are met. As a result, blocks result in deficient goats. This is a nice article on the matter, if you ignore the fact that it is made by a loose mineral goat producer (Sweetlix is a fantastic product, btw)

    What they need is a loose goat mineral. Loose mineral blends have very little table salt (they still need some), but higher levels of the other minerals. They lick up what they need when it is fed free choice. I attach a pan of loose mineral to the wall and refresh it as needed.

    It might take time for her to get over the toxicity of the milkweed. At least she didn't die. There isn't a cure for milkweed toxicity. Probiotics would only help if her gut was out of whack.
     
  3. HSerChickLady

    HSerChickLady Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks so much. I got a different book yesterday and it talked a lot more about mineral deficiencies and i'm betting it's the copper, too. One of my books said they were sensitive to it, another didn't even address minerals at all, and the third had quite a bit of info. I will see if our TSC has loose goat minerals. According to their website they do have a beef cow/goat loose mineral i can get. If they don't have it i'll have to order some since there aren't many farm store around here anymore. I was planning to put in some dishes in their stall for the minerals and some baking soda so they can take it as they need it.

    Once they're here i'm going to have the vet out just to look them over. I want to be sure they're not overrun with worms, too. I don't think they've seen a vet as long as our friends have had them so worms could be a contributing factor as well for the rough coat.

    I'm thinking they might be lacking in protein as well and will be offering them some alfalfa pellets to help up their protein intake. They've been out in a pasture with browse but only getting regular hay and 16% protein feed. Our hay is better than what they've been eating but a few alfalfa pellets mixed in their grain won't hurt.

    None of my books addressed milkweed toxicity but i'll see what i can find online about it.
     
  4. cassie

    cassie Overrun With Chickens

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    Goats ARE sensitive to copper. I attended a seminar about small ruminents at The American Dairy Goat Convention one year. There were veterinary specialists from all over the country speaking. One of the topics covered was copper toxicity in goats. According to the speakers, while goats need more copper than sheep do, they need less copper than other classes of livestock like horses and cattle. The effects of too much copper are irreversible and lethal. It is possible that your goat needs more copper, It is equally possible her coat problem is due to something else. The first thing I would do is have her checked for internal parasites. The second thing I would do is to do some research on milkweed poisoning, particularly what the long term affects might be. The third thing I would do is to consult someone knowlegeable about goats who can advise you how to determine whether or not copper is needed in your case. You could start by writing the vets at the veterinary teaching hospital at UC Davis in California or WSU in Washington state.
     
  5. HSerChickLady

    HSerChickLady Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks so much. I found a pdf from Cornell that shows what levels our loose vitamins should contain. I'm going to take that with me to the store when i go so i can find something appropriate. We're only about 1.5-2 hrs from Cornell so they're info should be good for us. It's also the place our local vet uses for the services that are beyond their scope. I am going to have the vet out to look her over as soon as they get here just to be sure things are ok and i will have her tested for parasites at the same time. I'm betting she's going to need worming since she wasn't wormed when she freshened and from what i can find around here for info she should have been.

    I've had no luck finding anything about milkweed toxicity online. I'm going to try looking again today though.

    I'm hoping we can get her back into tip top shape with some TLC when she gets here. She's from good lines which is one reason we're taking her. My daughter wants to get into showing and this doe has won several 4H shows with her prior owner's.
     
  6. cassie

    cassie Overrun With Chickens

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    One quick check for worms is to pull down her lower eyelid and check the color. It should be a bright dark pink. If it is pale pink or white, that is an indication of anemia. Anemia is a common symptom of worms.
     
  7. HSerChickLady

    HSerChickLady Chillin' With My Peeps

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    upstate NY
    Great, thanks. I will do that as soon as she gets here.

    Just out of curiosity, we had something unplanned and very expensive come up today with another of our animals that will require surgery later in the week. Would it be worth giving a pelleted wormer to the goat's when they get here and see if it does the trick and then have the vet out in a few weeks once i have some cash again? I don't want to cut corners but today was almost $300 and i still have to pay for the surgery and lab fees on wednesday. I'm pretty much flat broke now for the rest of the month.
     
  8. cassie

    cassie Overrun With Chickens

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    You can get good wormers at the local livestock supply or feed store. Most of the ones I have used are injectable, and they aren't that expensive. The last one I used was Valbazon(sp) but that was several years ago. Worms develop immunity to popular wormers. Ask the local goat keepers in your area what they would suggest. You should worm all the goats soon after you get them. Also vaccinate them with CD/T. Then wait a couple weeks or so after worming and take some feal samples in to be checked
     
  9. HSerChickLady

    HSerChickLady Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 12, 2012
    upstate NY
    Thanks. I know 1 family around who has goats so i will ask what they use for wormer. I still want the vet out to give a tetanus shot and give them a good looksy i just might have to wait a bit longer than i planned. I'm hoping for October and November breedings so i have some time for the vet to come out first.
     
  10. cassie

    cassie Overrun With Chickens

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    Having the vet look them over is not a bad idea. You can give the tetanus shot yourself. Just go to the livestock supply and get some CD/T toxoid. That is for enterotoxemia (clostridium perfingens) and tetanus. Inject it under the skin. If you are uncomfortable doing this, get a fellow goat keeper to show you how. Or have the vet show you when he comes out. Learning to give injections is a necessary skill.
     

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