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Hooked on Goat Milk!
149 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm located in Northeast Ohio, and I recently purchased a Great Pyrenees pup from a Boar goat farm, and brought her to our micro dairy herd. I've had a multitude of "illnesses" in my herd since her arrival and I thought that maybe the dog brought some bio-contaminants to our farm or bugs that our girls weren't previously exposed to? The LGD, Gabby, had been babysitting bottle babies when we picked her up. All the goats we saw looked healthy and well cared for, the facilities were in good shape, their LGDs were in good health.

We introduced the dog to our kids first and they have adapted fine, and all remain in great health (although a runt wether is often soggy from play time - but he seeks her out so I assume he likes it?) After a week or so we introduced her to the does, who don't like her. She was already goat smart so she was able to read them well, and while she first tried to keep them away from "their" kids, and away from what ever their kids were eating, she quickly caught on that they were her's too and they are far more relaxed with her. She will get rambouncous and chase the goats but not more than a few yards, as soon as they look spooked she backs off and moves in a different direction. Our does will scoot away then settle back down again. Yesterday the half acre goat pen was relaxed, free ranging chickens dotted the yard with the goats spread out browsing and Gabby flopped down beside Tyler-the-chew-kid, on a high spot, "guarding" her family.

Due to a few losses of laying hens (picture innocent looking dog coughing out feather) we've been penning the dog at night. She is a five month puppy so she still has romping playfulness and she will launch herself into a puddle of chickens for the thrill of seeing them scatter. If the hens try to get into the goat's round bale she chases them away. She has killed chickens but considering how many we have and how few she's hurt, I chalk the losses off to enthusiasm and rough play, with her instincts kicking in to "dispose of the dead". She's getting better with them every day, this morning when a hen kept stealing her kibble she would just swat it with her paw.


  • What do you feed?
    • Does are grained while milking with a sweet feed, goat mix
    • Round bales of mixed grass hay free access
    • Indoor pen is bedded in straw
  • Do your goats have access to minerals?
    • Loose goat minerals are offered at all times (and they regularly use them)
  • What about parasite control?
    • Herd is wormed with Morantel Tartrate: 880g/ton, monthly (Manna pro positive pellets)
    • Will be adding monthly ivomec for m worms
  • What other items do you use for goat health?
    • Diatomaceous earth is occasionally added to the straw bedding
    • Thiamine orally when they appear stressed
    • Probiotic Plus after worming and with Penicillin

Since "Gabby" arrived mid March,

  • 3 of our 4 lactating does have dried UP
  • One of the dry does we're treating for listerosis
  • One we're treating for diarrhea (resolved)
  • The third doe developed crusty eyes just his past weekend


  1. Immune suppression due to the stress from the introduction of Gabby
  2. Bio contamination of goat diseases arriving in dog's thick coat, that our girls hadn't been exposed to previously
  3. :snowcool:Really cold winter, the does were confined more due to weather and weaning (or lack there of - for god's sake these kids are practically teenagers!)
  4. :snowcool:Really SNOWY winter, restricted to hay and a little bark as the sod was buried under a foot of snow for months. (does were grained with a sweet feed as long as they were milking).
  5. Sudden wet spring (arrived with April, grass is just starting but not much yet)
  6. Drinking from the nasty duck's kiddy pool (If you own ducks, you know what a cesspool a duck pond can be! We've drained it since Gabby dispatched the few ducks we had. Goats also were drinking clean water but we'd catch them drinking from the pool from time to time even though the fresh, clean water was available :hammer:).
  7. Unknown toxin from spring pasture - we had a significant drop in milk production at the same time last year, that I blamed on my husband because I was recovering from hand surgery and just assumed he wasn't milking on schedule or completely (sorry dear!)
The doe that is still milking is our lowest producer, but she seems totally fine. We purchased her last spring as a first freshener and she's producing more this year than last.


  • Listeriosis is being treated with penicillin
  • diarrhea with Kaopectate (resolved)
  • crusty eye - so far I just cleaned them off to get a better look.
We started the full size doe on penicillin when she started showing a wobbly gate, and seemed blind. We gave her 4.5 ml / 6x a day for five days, with her mood and sight (if it was really gone?) restored but her wobbles still are an issue -no fever. We're going to continue with 4.5ml 2/day for another five days.

Thoughts? :anyone:

4,294 Posts
The dog could have brought something, but listeria and such are in the ground everywhere.

My herd has always been very healthy, very few kid/adult losses. This year I had a really rough time of it. Lost does and kids. Does kidding well before day 150 when they usually go right to the 150 mark. Coughs, rumen upsets etc.

This year is the first year that my does could not get out every day. They were snowed in their barn for 2 months. I am blaming the harsh, snowy winter for a lot of the problems. I couldn't keep the stall as clean as I usually do because even the manure pile area was snowed under 6 feet of snow. That allows bacteria to grow.

I was always told not to let a young LGD alone with the goats without supervision and to not let them play with the animals they are supposed to be guarding. Mine will race thru a group of hens to watch them fly away and cackle, but they never chase or harm the birds.

Hooked on Goat Milk!
149 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the feedback.

Maybe this has just been a combination of factors, the cold, the confinement, the "wolf" stress... I have two young interns who want me to have the vet out - but I'm pretty confident that $300 would be better spent getting the nice, brush filled back pasture fenced in so they can have tasty summer browsing. I suspect a vet would be about as stumped as I am, especially since we don't have a farm vet in the area- just Equine vets who will offer an opinion on your other livestock (depending on who you get, some of the ones right out of school are willing to treat a goat and write it up like a horse).

I do feel badly about letting the pup out with the herd so early. I feel like I set her up to fail. I purchased her from an experienced breeder who is running a pack of GPs on her farm. This pup was already working with the bottle babies 24/7. The breeder said this was remarkably young but that she was doing a great job. I think she may have been more relaxed in a smallish indoor pen, with getting let out to play (with other young "fun" dogs around) - rather than being outside without a playmate but WITH the goats and chickens.

This last week the puppy's discovered a soccer ball toy that is more fun than goats or chickens, plus she gets lots of praise and excitement from the humans when she wrestles with it. What strikes me as almost spooky, is how a doe's alarm snort wakes this dog from a sleeping heap into a barking "I got this!" protector in a flash. I wonder if the response in instinctive or from her exposure to goats. I'm not sure my husband knows that the goat snort is usually an alarm.

329 Posts
While your pup could have brought something, everything you mentioned sounds like it could have been brought on by stress, and stress is more likely. From what I understand, giving thiamine orally is not effective. When given orally, it is destroyed in the rumen, before it does the goat any good. If you have B complex, giving a dose of that is supposed to help with stress. And that might help the wobbler, too.
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