Ughh, why won't my goat gain weight!?


Sep 14, 2015
Russell, Ny
I have a 7 month old myotonic wether. He is housed with my Pygmy wether. I have wormed him, he gets his loose minerals and hay and fresh water all day. He has hay belly always has it goes away and comes back. He i normal acting never any different. BUT, he is boney! He has no fat on his body and his spine sticks out and just looks ruffed up all the time. When I first got him he was nice and thick, now he doesn't. That don't have pasture cause they are it all down. He don't get grain cause technically Ur not sposs to feed wethers grain. In the summer i tie them both out on green grass as long as I'm around. What can I do? I wish he was plump up or something I checked his droppings and there's nothing unusual and no worms. Someone please help, winter is coming and I want weight on him other then a hay belly.
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First of all, you need to have a fecal done to see if he has a worm load. Unless he has tapeworms or pinworms, you are not going to see worms in the droppings even if he has a heavy parasite load. It is possible the wormer you used was not effective. Pull down his lower eyelid and check the color of the inside of it. It should be a dark bright pink. If it is pale pink or white, it means he is anemic. That could be caused by several things but usually it means he has worms. Less commonly, it could mean Johnes. If he is thin, start feeding him a little grain. Be sure to vaccinate him for entero first. In fact you should do that anyway if you haven't already. Get a vial of CD/T from the feed store or livestock supply and follow the directions. CD/T is for tetanus and clostridium perfingens (entero).
I second the fecal. It will determine if any worming was effective.

Grain is bad in excess. If the animal is already thin, it will not hurt to supplement until he is at an acceptable weight. A handful will not cause him to get a urinary blockage. The key is balance, keep a balanced calcium:phosphorus ratio. Hay itself can be very unbalanced anyway, some kinds are high in calcium, other kinds high in phosphorus, and when the ratio isn't 2:1, stones can occur. Wethers easily get fat on grain, which is a reason they often don't get it.

Good on recommending CDT before any grain. If he has been vaccinated before, a booster will not hurt. If he has never had it, he needs the two doses. The vial will explain how to do it.
I think the advice given here is great so far. I third the fecal test. Most worms and parasites can only be seen microscopically. The good news is that fecals are easy to do and are usually inexpensive.

I think grain is a good idea. Try to stay away from the sweet stuff. That tends to cause more trouble IMO. Just be careful when introducing and go slow. If you give too much at one time, he will run the risk of bloat which can be life threatening.
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I do have a couple more suggestions. If the quality of your hay is iffy,or even if it is OK, see if you can get some alfalfa pellets and feed him a pound or two a day of the pellets in addition to whatever he is getting now. You can mix a little grain with the pellets.
Thank you for responding everyone! Yes I'm in the process of finding good hay as all I have is crappy hay someone gave to me. And where do I get a fecal exam done? I'd really like to get it checked out as he is my sweet Zuma!! And as any pet owner knows, it's important to make sure there healthy and happy!
Most vets (usually large animal but occasionally small animal vets) would be happy to do it for you! If you have a good large animal vet in your area, it may be worth having them out to take a look, and in the process you can pick their brains with questions. A visit for a goat should be very reasonable!
I just contacted my local livestock vet Joel, he said bring it in and will take a look at it for only 5$ ! So tm morning I will be delivering fresh poo haha

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