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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Background: Our little buckling, aka Trooper, was born Christmas Eve and was limp as a dish rag and cold when we found him shortly after birth. His mom was cleaning his twin but showed little interest in him. We took him in, warmed him, got him a tiny amount (~6 cc total) of colostrum from his mom (the only doe that we can even half-way milk). Over the next several days, he was on electrolytes and Kid Manna Milk Replacer. By the end of the first week he could stand on his own but was still very weak. He had digestive upset - loose to runny stools and gurgling in his tummy. The vet told me to dilute his formula and restrict how much he was being fed. I did and it did not help, he just SCREAMED constantly.

Last week, I had the brilliant (not) idea of taking him off formula and feeding him electrolytes only for a couple of days thinking it would help "reset" his digestive tract, as I had read on multiple forums/goat sites. We nearly lost him in the wee hours of Thursday morning. Thankfully, the local vet clinic had helped me locate someone who milks their goats and I had fresh goat milk on hand. We immediately transitioned him to 100% milk once he regained his ability to take a bottle.

Within the first day, he downed about half a quart of milk. He was that hungry. The next day (last Friday (1/13/17), I began adding whole cow's milk from the store to stretch the goat milk.

Thursday, he seemed a bit unbalanced, kept shaking his head, and trying to scratch his face/ears but I thought it was just because of the trauma he had been through or because his horns are coming in. Friday, however, he began shaking his head and really scratching at his ears. Upon closer inspection, I found he had crud (white and black) in both ears. There was no odor to it. I cleaned it out and applied white vinegar / alcohol (50:50) and it helped a little. I followed the same routine one time on Saturday, skipped Sunday, and this morning after eating his morning bottle his ears were bothering him really bad again. When I looked he had a bit of white crusty stuff in one ear, the other looked clean. I used the vinegar/alcohol again to see if it would help.

The vet who "sees" goats is not goat-savvy per-se. As such, I'm not sure how helpful a vet visit will be at this time.

Something is clearly still bothering him as he occasionally grinds his teeth (gets worse closer to feeding time so maybe a hunger response?) and scratches his ears/eyes (usually worse after eating). As an aside, he has two types of hay and rabbit feed available but will not so much as nibble them but he constantly wants to chew papers, paper towels, cloth, and even the metal bars on an exercise pen.

My question is does anyone have experience with a kid goat who might be allergic to either the goat milk or cow milk? After all he's been through, I hate to migrate him back to formula knowing his digestive system was not happy with it but I also know his ears are bothering him and want to find a sustainable feeding regimen for him.

Other than the teeth grinding, ear/face scratching, and occasionally still flinching when I touch his stomach, he seems happy and energetic. He runs around the apartment when we move about and is inquisitive about things. When I take him outside, he enjoys running alongside me but is very nervous about new things.

I'm open to suggestions that might help him feel better. He is living indoors with us. We live about 5 hours from my parent's farm where he was born. He is a pygmy / Nigerian Dwarf mix (doe is a pygmy, buck is a mix).

This is the first kid goat I've kept indoors and the first that I've dealt with that had any real medical issues other than coccidia. I realize I'm hypersensitive to his every nuance, but after unintentionally messing him up last week and almost killing him, I want to do what I can to make him comfortable and healthy.

Any advice re: possible allergies, itchy ears, tender gut, or simply not overthinking things will be welcome.

(Sorry for such a long narrative.)
 

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Typically ear infections associated with food allergies are pretty smelly & yeasty.

Personally, I would try putting a dropper full of baby oil in each ear and massaging it down and then gently wiping them out and see if that helps. Baby oil will moisturize and loosen ear debris versus vinegar/alcohol which will dry it out. The oil will also smother parasites if it happens to be ear mites. Just a suggestion to try to help him!

How much does the kid weigh and how much goat milk/cow milk mix is he getting in bottles per day?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
SalteyLove, Thank you for the suggestion. His ears do not appear to be bothering him as bad today, but now we are dealing with constipation (tootsie roll poo's) with mucous. He had a few regular poo's yesterday but I noticed that he wasn't pooing as much as he should be. Then this morning, he began pooing again but it is clearly constipated.

He weighs between 4-4.5 lbs (our scales show whole weights only and he added about 4 pounds when I held him). He eats about 2.5 to 3 ounces every 3.5 to 4 hours. If I calculated it correctly, he is eating 15 to 18 ounces a day.

I had worked him up to 50% goat / 50% cow milk but pulled back to primarily goat milk yesterday to see if it would help with the itchy ears. Not sure about the ears, but his urination seems to be more comfortable now. Monday he was acting like he was having trouble pee'ing and would pee smaller amounts more frequently. Since going back to the higher amount of goat's milk, he holds it better and then pees a ton when he does go.
 

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He is almost 4 weeks old now so two important things:

1. Get a fecal analysis done at a local vet and ask them to include coccidia. He is of age where internal parasites can begin causing issues.

2. Keep working on getting him to eat that hay and pelleted grain (also put out a bucket of water now) He needs to learn to begin eating solids. You can tuck a few pieces in his mouth each day and also pretend you are eating them/show a lot of interest in them. It is tough to get bottle babies going on solids without other goats to show them.

Either of these things may help get his poop more regulated.

The bottle amounts seem good for his size (which is very tiny for his age!) Do you have a long term plan for him? Not trying to be critical! But it is getting past the time where he will be easily introduced and bonded to other young goats. It's incredibly difficult to introduce a single goat to any herd and especially a bottle baby, they just won't be accepted. Plus lots of goat skills are only learned from mimicking other goats including how to interact within a herd structure!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
The local vet did a fecal about 2 weeks ago when he was having constant diarrhea. The fecal at that time was negative. The diarrhea was diet induced. Once we changed him to the goat/cow's milk he started having good poo's straight away.

I just received the call back from the vet's office regarding today's issue (constipation + mucous) and they suggested to give him an enema and to "only feed him the goat's milk" that adding anything else (i.e. the cow's milk) is probably the cause of the mucous.

I'm no vet, but I'm thinking the mucous is irritation induced from the constipation. As for the constipation, I'm guessing it MAY be because I had upped him to 50/50 cow/goat's milk. I decreased the ratio to include more goat's milk yesterday and today he began releasing the poo's again. Just a hypothesis. Otherwise, it very well may be parasite induced considering his age.

I have hay (timothy and perennial peanut), rabbit feed, and water out for him at all times. He will sometimes drink from the water bowl. He plays with the dish where I keep his hay but seems to not like the feel or taste of the hay (spits it out if I put it in his mouth). He shows no interest at all in the rabbit feed. I have been sick so my sense of smell is off, but the feed seems to have no smell, which may be a reason for his lack of interest.

As for long-term goals, our goal was to nurse him here until he was strong enough to re-introduce to my dad's herd. However, even though he is bounding around happily now, I have more than a little concern about introducing him to the herd (a mixture of adult wethers, a buck, does, and other kids) with no "family" and with me not being around to help ease the process. So, in all honesty, at this point, I do not know what our "long term goal" is. My husband and I are quite attached to the little guy and are taking it day by day at this point.
 

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Does anyone think that offering fresh leaves would help get him eating solids without causing any harm?

Would just short, supervised play dates with the other kids be better than nothing for learning goat ways?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Follow-up

We took him this past Friday (2/3/2017) to a new home where he will be kept indoors / outdoors along with another bottle baby. There are adult goats with some juvenile cows & a young bull on the premises. His new family is concerned because he has been constipated. He would do this with me and I'd have to adjust his diet to increase the richness (i.e. increase the amount of formula to the amount of cow or goat's milk). They are doing this and have given him a couple of warm water enemas, which I periodically also had to do. He is now ~6 1/2 weeks old and since Friday has been nibbling on dirt, grass, and pine straw. I encouraged his new mama to make sure fresh water is always available. What other recommendations can you make? He and the other bottle baby are mostly kept indoors except when put outside for exercise and to nibble on grass, hay, etc.

His new family recently lost another bottle baby, which they acquired from someone else, due to either bloat or not enough colostrum so they are wanting to be extra cautious with Trooper. I am still very attached to him and would have kept him were I in a house where it would be appropriate.

Any feedback will be welcome.
 
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