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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
This is going to be a long post, and for that I apologize. However I'm really not sure where else to turn at this point and am hoping someone out there can help me out!

First let's get this out of the way: I know absolutely nothing about goats. I grew up riding horses and know a bit about them, but have never had anything to do with goats or their care before this week. Now I find myself in charge of 3 of them and I'm way overwhelmed.

The camp where I work currently has 3 goats: Quincy, a pygmy wether (I think) who was born here around 7 years ago, and Gertie & Goaty, two does of unknown age and background who came to camp in the spring. We previously had 2 goats (Quincy and a female), but the female died suddenly. After she died, Quincy seemed really lonely (would "cry" all day long), so my boss went out and got 2 more goats (Gertie and Goatie). G&G were immediately put into the same pen as Quincy and were never taken to the vet. G&G are much smaller than Quincy but much more aggressive. They will headbutt him and he usually stays away from them in the pen. G&G are extremely skittish and will not allow us to handle them. After living at camp for several months, they will now allow me to hand feed them but will not let me touch them.

On Monday I came in to work (I work at a camp) and was told to take our oldest goat (Quincy) to the vet. He had been looking pretty sick for a few weeks (scours, losing weight etc) but had taken a turn for the worse over the weekend. He was severely underweight (hip bones sticking out etc) and his hair was falling out like crazy.

We took him to a random vet (frequent vet visits haven't ever really happened -- more on that later) who took one look at him and told us the goat had SEVERE lice and was "a few days away from checking out" altogether. They gave him 3 shots - one to get rid of the lice and 2 that I believe were vitamins - and sold us some spray to eliminate the bugs on him and our other 2 goats. They also told us to treat the shelter in the goat pen for lice and to supplement the goats' diet with goat feed (we had been feeding them sweet feed for horses, I believe).

Even though I don't know much about goats, I'm an animal person. Seeing a living creature who was in such bad shape absolutely broke my heart. In the past, nobody has ever been "in charge" of these goats (they got water about once a week and were otherwise on their own to graze). Monday afternoon I asked my boss if I could take over their care, along with one of my other coworkers (who also has no experience whatsoever with goats).

So here I am with 3 goats. Quincy is just about the sweetest goat you could ever meet (even as sick as he is, he's still a lover boy who just wants attention) and is great with the kids who come to camp. The other two goats are super cute and goofy, but are pretty skittish. I don't know about the other 2 goats, but Quincy has never had proper care (his hooves have never been trimmed, never gotten wormed etc) in his life. I have no knowledge of goats (other than what I've gained in the past 3 hours reading this forum and any other website I could find).

Their current situation:

1ish acre pen of shady grass/trees. Pen has split rail fence reinforced with wire fencing (kind of like a chain link fence but with bigger holes) around it. Pen was recently expanded to incorporate a second fenced in area (also about an acre) that had mostly returned to prairie grass/scrub). The pen has a large water trough with a heating element for winter and a small shed (8ftx8ft? not sure) that was built last fall. We recently cut the long grass in one of our fields and baled that for their food. There is a mineral block on the floor of their shelter that they have clearly been using; I don't know how old it is (my guess is that it's not very old since the shelter has been there less than a year).

After going to the vet, we stopped giving them sweet feed and started giving them goat feed. I've been giving each goat a half of a coffee can of feed once a day (which I now realize is probably WAY too much, especially going from no feed to all of that so quickly). We sprayed all 3 goats for lice, but they seem to be coming back. Treating Quincy will not be a problem, but the other two are SUPER hard to catch (took 3 of us almost 45 minutes to catch Goatie on Monday to spray her).

I know that's a ton of information, but I don't know what info people might want or need in order to answer the following questions:

1) What red flags (immediate issues we need to address) do you see in our current goat care situation? (Side note: Yes, I recognize we probably are not the best ones to be caring for these goats. But my boss does not want to get rid of them :/ So I'm trying to make the best for them.)

2) These goats' hooves are (I think) severely overgrown (Quincy's are splayed out like human fingers giving a peace sign). I don't know how to trim them. Given the skittishness of the two new goats, what's the best way to address this situation?

3) How do I get rid of these lice?

4) How can I start to socialize the two new goats so they aren't so afraid of me?


ANY information/advice/insight would be super helpful. Their current situation is really sad and I'm embarrassed that it even got to this point, but I guess we didn't know what we didn't know. Again, I'm sorry for the long post but I'm hoping someone out there will read this and help me make these poor critters' lives a bit better.

Thanks so much for reading!
 

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There several dust type products for lice fleas etc. It comes in a shaker can and is easy to apply it has alot of diatomaceous earth in it which dries those little suckers right out. There several internet sights on how to trim goat hooves.just type in how to trim goat hooves. There are several threads on the goat spot as well.as far as socialization of the girls food is a big motivator. Carrots apples and especially watermelon.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Will the dust type products work for the shed, too? Should I look for a goat-specific product or something generic?

Thanks!
 

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First off KUDOS for taking over the care of these goat...which are Nigerian or pygmy/Nigerian crosses from what I can see

Ok..First issue..LICE....
Ivomec works for biting lice 1 cc per 40# sub q (under the skin) This does burn so expect a reaction..3 times one week apart..I suggest this for theladies since catching a couple times a day might be hard lol
Cylence is a spray you can spray and comb through...combing the lice out is helpful..using 7 dust or python dust also works...I put it in a sock and pat it allover avoiding nose and eye area..
If they have not been wormed properly..I would gather berries from each (always fun to follow around and wait for lol) and have a fecal done, include cocci..this way you are not worming blindly..of course if you use Ivomec for the girls you will be worming them anyway lol..and so get ivomec Plus for a better worm coverage
Once you know what if any worms they may have...we can come up with a worming program for you...
Also Check your wethers inner lower eye lids...if they are not bright pink to red..he is low on iron...anemic and could benefit from supplement..red Cell is a liquid horse medication..6 cc per 100# daily for a week then once a week until you see good color..High protein feed, alfalfa and green leaves help him rebuild the red blood cells..this takes time
HOOVES: Buy trimmers that fit you hand...watch a bunch of you tube videos and go for it...if you smell real nasty hooves..then we need to talk about treating hoof rot
Goats are not excited about getting their hooves trimmed for be patient and try to be as calm as you can..I even sing or hum and talk sweet to them..it helps lol

MINErAL BLOCK: Loose mineral are better for goats...blocks have too much salt and are too hard to eat and so they don't get all they need from it..quality loose mineral made for goats is best.
a good quality pellet grain is much better over sweet feed...so good change there
calcium/phosphorus ratios needs to be 2:1 for your wether to prevent Urinary calculi...adding Alfalfa pellets or alfalfa hay can help with that
SOCIALIZING THE GIRLS
Penning in a smaller pen until they get friendly is helpful...take a chair..some treats and a book..go sit in the pen.. read your book...as they become interested in what you are doing..offer a small treat...I like using WASA crackers since they love them and they are good for them too...but corn chips, raisins are good too..dont try to grab then just yet...after a few minutes of them actually wanting to take a treat from you...pick up your chair and leave...do this as many times as ay as you can...once they seem comfy taking treats from you...then when you can grab one..love her all over talking softy scratching her behind the ears..the bootie area ect....then slowly let go..you will find they stick around longer and longer...leave them after giving them a treat...after a week or so...you should have them at least willing to come for food and treats and your relationship can grow from there...Best wishes!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Wow! Thanks SO much for your advice! I'm still feeling kind of overwhelmed, but I'm also pretty excited to have some critters to care for!

Every time I try to give the girls treats, our wether comes up and wants some too. Then the girls head butt him and push him away. Given his fragile condition, I'm worried they're going to hurt him! Thoughts?
 

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dont put him in the pen with them while you work with them...if you cant keep them penned...then feed them in the pen area away from the wether...feed him else where..this way he wont feel left out..the girls wont pick on him and you will have your bonding time with the girls..a make shift pen can be as simple as a cattle panel in a "U" shape of any corner..just un hook one side to "open" and let them in to eat..and enough space for you to sit in with them for bonding time
 

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If you still don't feel comfortable trimming their feet after watching videos you can check with your vet or maybe a local farmer in the area for a fee. This would at least allow someone to explain it to you while they work. Best of luck and you will definitely receive great advice from all the wonderful people on this site!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
First, the happy news:
Tonight I managed to spray all 3 goats with minimal chasing! (The wether actually gave me the most trouble, imagine that!) Thanks for the tip about raisins -- they're all crazy about them! I used the raisins to entice both girls close enough to slip a lead rope over their heads, then (after about 5 seconds of them trying to get away) was able to hold them so my friend could spray them down. After I was done I gave both girls a treat before I let them go -- that way they knew I was still a friend! It worked super well and before I left the girls were following me around the pen. A week ago I may not have been a "goat person," but I think I'm falling in love! :love:

Happybleats, we have some treatment options from the vet that I wanted to get your (or anyone else's) opinion on. The vet gave us Adams fly spray for horses to treat the lice on the goats themselves. We applied it on Monday to all 3 goats and again today. The wether definitely still has live lice on him, although not as many as before. He was also the one who got the shot (I believe it was of Ivomec, although I'm not positive on that). The label on the bottle says specifically it's for horses only, but the vet prescribed it to us.

We're using Steri-Fab to treat their shelter. It's what we use if we have bed bug issues (perils of working at a camp!) It doesn't leave any residue and the website says it's safe to use around animals. Also, the vet said since this was okay to use around humans, it should be OK to use around goats. I hope this is the case! But it only kills on contact (since it doesn't leave a residue) so it looks like I might need to get another product.

We're feeding them Kalmbach Formula of Champions Game Plan Pro Fit Goat. The Calcium min. is 0.75% and max is 1.25%. The Phosphorous min is 0.40%. Is that okay? I'm also not sure how much I should be giving them, or how much hay they need?

You guys are AMAZING and I cannot thank you enough for your help!

ETA: The girls' feet aren't as bad as I expected them to be, although they probably do need to be trimmed! Thanks for the idea about local farmers, Brink4. I'll definitely look into that! Our Wether's feet are pretty rough looking, though.
 

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I have not heard of any of those products.but that doesn't mean they are not ok lol..I will look them up.. Lice has been very bad this year..I battled it for what seems like forever..finally relief : ) if the things you are using does not seem to cut it..try some on of the stuff listed...7 dust is pretty cheap and great for bedding...but if it rains you need to retreat...usually with most things any way..Comb him often with fine tooth comb to remove lice as well..You can also give him a trim..come summer months I trim all my goats who have a lot of extra hair..like my saanen..helps keep them cool and Lice do not like when their apartment has been shaved lol
The feed looks good..I think I would add a 1/2-1 cup alfalfa pellets...just to pump up the calcium up a bit..and plenty of grass hay..Once he is in good condition, you can slowly back off the grain if you choose...you don't want him to get too fat..wethers don't really need grain...all you can eat hay and graze is great for them..
For you does..pretty much the same thing..if they are not in milk and are in good condition a little feed goes along way and again..free choice hay and graze...
SOunds like you are well on your way to being snookered in by the goats..it doesn't take long...lol..glad the raisins worked...but remember..everything in moderation...whenever you introduce any new food ..go slow...if you see loose stool..back off some until the tummy adjust.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Is it too late in the season to give them a haircut? Our wether is losing a TON of hair anyway, so it might not be a bad idea.

I'm so glad we've got the right feed! How much of it should they get per day?

And don't worry, I only gave a small handful to all 3 goats combined (they each got 7-8 raisins total). I don't need more health problems on top of everything else!
 

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Hey you are doing great for a newbie ;) Awesome really!!!! Good for you taking this on.

I'm in total agreement with all the posts here except one, I would not grain your wether at all. He could have a stone already from your horse feed and even regular goat feed isn't really formulated for wethers. I don't want to sound too negative but get a 50/50 alfalfa hay/grass or 20/80 alfalfa hay/grass and you are good to go. Those does don't need grain either because they aren't getting pregnant anytime soon. My biggest worry is your boy and stones. It will show up when you are least expecting it so just start feeding hay and forget they grain. That is my opinion, so I understand I'm probably a little bit of the underdog on that :) I have 20 wethers that I love to bits and all are in good weight with the hay and forage (stuff from my garden, oak branches, shrubs etc as treats)

oh and with good shelter you can pretty much cut hair anytime unless you are in snow

good job!!!! you are doing great
 

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I agree...a hair cut right now is ok..at least in Texas its still pretty hot lol...as I agree with goatylisa that a wether does not need grain...he is a bit thin...a cup of grain a day with the alfalfa pellets wont hurt...but again..once he puts on a bit you can slowly cut back...and Urinary calculi is a real concern...adding ammonium chloride will help reduce the chances of stones..here is a good article to read on it... understanding the signs, what to do and how to prevent it..This is important info to arm yourself with..best wishes
http://www.tennesseemeatgoats.com/articles2/urinarycalculi06.html
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Good to know! I'll definitely talk to my boss about the ammonium chloride.

As far as a haircut goes...can I just steal my boyfriend's hair clippers for that? :p
 

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I used hair clippers for people..they work just fine ..just dont let your boyfriend catch you LOL
 

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That's awesome that you are taking this on! :thumbup: Great job! They are going to be some very happy goats. :) (And they are too cute BTW) Didn't read the whole post, as I know you are in good hands Cathy and others more experienced- just wanted to say that. :)
 

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I wanted to pipe in here and mention a few things I've learned from this forum (I'm a newbie myself, having acquired two 5 week old Boer cross doelings two months ago that were on death's doorstep...and I knew nothing about goats). First, listen to happybleats. I'm not trying to play favorites here :p, but if it wasn't for her, my babies would be dead. Period. She has given me the best advice possible, and now two months later my girls are happy playful goats...free of worms, free of lice, full of the joy of being baby goats!

For the lice: The day after I brought my girls home, I realized they were COVERED in lice...and I mean there wasn't a bare piece of skin anywhere on them. They are white goats (with some brown patches...I'll add some pics at the end of this so you can see my little goofballs!) and I thought they had a brown undercoat, but alas that was not the case...that brown "undercoat" was an undercoat of lice. I tried diatomaceous earth first. It did not work. So it was recommended that I get some fly spray for horses called "Equisect". I got it from my local feed store Southern States. It was $12. Best $12 I ever spent. I sprayed both my girls from neck to toes, then sprayed some in my hand and rubbed it on their faces (avoiding the eyes) and their ears. The next day there wasn't a bug on them. I sprayed them again a week later, then again a week after that to get the buggers that hatched from the eggs. So in 3 weeks time, 3 spray-downs later, they were 100% lice free! (pic attached of the spray)

Minerals: Agreed that loose minerals are better than the block. Again, I got my bag from southern states, 50 pounds for $25. (pic attached)

One thing I didn't see mentioned (could have missed it though) is leaving baking soda out free-choice. They will take what they need...it helps with tummy upset (too much feed, eating a mildly toxic plant, etc.)

Hooves: Just wanted to add a picture of the hoof trimmers I use, purchased from Southern States. They were a little pricey, but I expect them to last a while, so worth the investment. I can't remember the exact price, but it was between 25-30 dollars. I'm sure you can get them online.

That's all I have to add...I figure the pictures will help, I know they would have helped me had I seen some. Good luck with your goats, sounds like you will do a great job getting them to where they need to be!!!
 

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Good job with taking all this on... You'll be hooked:) I started with 2 last May, I now gave 10 lol... I agree with everyone else... Just want to give ya a thumbs up:) I have 2 wethers, and 2 wether sheep and they get grain morning and night.... and I have had no problems.... Although between the 4 of them they only get 2 cups:)
 

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You actually don't want to leave baking soda out for wethers. It deactivates their Ammonium Chloride and alkalizes the urine which can cause stones. It's better to only use as needed with male goats.
 
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