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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Why does it seem that my goats get bloated more in the evening than in the am? Anyway to solve this? We give grass hay in the am thinking they won't run out and eat pasture right when they wake up and get bloat. Should we do grass hay in the pm too? Nobody ever gets it too bad, but sometimes it seems like they go in spurts.

Tonia
 

· Dave (TDG Farms) S.E. Washington State
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How much are you feeding each goat? Without browse a working milk goat only needs a flake of dairy quality alfalfa per day to maintain pretty good weight. Granted by the end of the milking season they will be a little bit thin. Adding more may keep the weight on better but then you can increase milk production as well.

A non working / packing goat on browse would need even less. With this in mind, it might just be they are over eating and getting big full bellies to show for it. Eat all day, sleep it off, start again in the morning. Bloat is feels very different then a full belly and looks different. A full belly will be bigger on one side while bloat often fills the entire stomach cavity.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
This is from Fias Co Farm:

What is bloat?

A goat's rumen is a big fermentation vat which produces carbon dioxide and methane gas These gasses are eliminated by the goat burping and pooting... A goat needs to expel their gas, no matter how rude or funny you may think it may be. If they cannot expel the gas, the pressure builds up and the goat "bloats". When this happens, the left side of the goat will become distended which might even cause difficulty in breathing.

SInce being wide is actually a good thing, how can you tell if your goat is bloating?

When you look at him or her head on, are either of his sides wider than the other? In cases of bloat, the goat's left side will be wider than the right. If both sides are the same size and the goat is showing no signs of distress, it's probably nothing to worry about.

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We feed some hay in the morning and the goats eat up some hay and then graze and then lay down and then graze and then lay down and then graze and finally in the evening when it is cooled off, they go out and gorge themselves. We have noticed a total of 2-3 times in the past 4 months or so, what we are calling a bloated goat. I'm going based on the information above - one side is way bigger than the other. We'll have goats in the evening (after gorging) that are fat on both sides - we just figure they have full tummies. Our thoughts are that feeding some hay in the morning will keep them from waking up and gorging themselves in the morning and potentially causing bloat. I just think I shouldn't have to feed some hay in the evening too so they won't go pig out.

Tonia
 

· Dave (TDG Farms) S.E. Washington State
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Sounds about right and my info was backwards as I went back and read it, am sorry for that. Wrote it backward from what I ment. BUT a goat that has a little gas build up will look bigger on one side and not be in danger of bloat.

On a sad note, we just lost two does last night to bloat. We goat our new hay in on Monday and had thought they had enough time to adjust to the higher protein level... nope. Feed an exceptionally heavy and leafy bale last night at 7:30, went to the store came back and 2 does where dead. This happened with 15 flakes of hay for 30 adult milking does who have been on dairy quality alfalfa all there lives. Not to mention there are at least 3 dozen kids eating on it as well. It was just way to hot. Gave about half a dozen other does a water / liquid dish soap drench. They didnt seem to be in any trouble but we werent taking any chances and anyone who had a full looking belly, goat a health drink.

Will be on the look out for other hot bales and have again divided the feedings from 2 to 3 times a day. So instead of 15 bales twice a day, they will get 10 bales, 3 times a day.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Oh,,,, sorry about your loss. It was hard to lose a 2 week old goat, I couldn't imagine losing one of my older goats.

Can you feel their bellies and tell the difference between bloat and 'full of food'? OR, is the lop-sided belly the key?

Tonia
 

· Dave (TDG Farms) S.E. Washington State
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The bigger left side is a good place to start but can just be a full stomach. And by the time you can really feel a difference they should be showing signs of discomfort or maybe just standing still. The farther it goes the harder and bigger the belly will become (like blowing up something inflatable. The more air you put in, the harder it becomes) to a point where they will start getting up and lying down, crying and trying to scratch their belly with their teeth. But by this time its more then obvious. But to answer the question, yes you can feel a difference the longer it goes on. A normal full goat, you will still be able to push in on the sides. You might even feel the contents of a full stomach if the belly is large enough but the skin will not be to tight. With bloat, the skin becomes very tight as its not just the stomach thats full but the entire inner cavity is staring to fill.

We treat bloat with a few good squirts of dish soap into a container with warm water. The dish soap breaks down the tiny frothy bloat bubbles to create large bubbles the animal can then burp. Adding a touch of baking soda has been suggested but never have tried it with that added. Also, elevated the front of the goat to make it easier for them to burp.
 
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