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Goat Mama
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I'm happy to say our new goats are doing very well, thanks to a lot of advice from this site. That said, I have a question about our first winter with goats:

How do I prevent my goats getting hay bellies, during the winter?
I know how to deal with the horses during winter, but they're not reliant on browse, like the goats.

One of my wethers has had to be confined for the last week and, eating just hay and grain, developed a hay belly. He had a swell on his left side, only eased by getting back out to pasture.

What do I do, in the next month or so, when autumn fully hits and there is no browse?
 

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Super Moderator
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Do you feed your goats any hay at all? Will your goats have enough room to move around in - as in being able to walk around a good bit? I'm assuming your goat was sick and just not moving around much that got the hay belly?

If your goats are not getting any hay at all, then I would suggest slowly starting to introduce hay again.
 

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Goat Mama
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78 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
They are getting hay and grain. In fact, hay's always available to them and they do pretty well on it. The problem is when there is no browse available and their roughage is just hay. Merlin, my wether, was recovering from a bad reaction to Xylazine and was confined to his barn stall (a 14x16 stall) with limited leash-walks, on vet orders. With not enough other greens to balance out the moisture content, I was told, hay belly developed; there was a noticeable swelling on his left side and a slight, overall, bloat. He was still eating, drinking and had normal bowl movements, but his swelling rumen worried me. Now, after being back out to pasture, he's back to normal.

They will still get turned out and have plenty of room to run, but I'm worried about keeping a balanced diet during winter.
 

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Honestly, it isn't big deal. My guess is with the recovery and everything is why you saw more problems. My goats eat only hay all winter at minimum and I never hay bellies that would be considered bloat.
 

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Goat Mama
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Okay, thanks! That makes me feel a lot better. I'm a bit of a worry-wart when I'm dealing with something new, like this. SO worried I'm going to mess up! :eek:
 

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Member with a bahhh
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Half the time my girls look five months pregnant after finishing off their hay. Its not a big deal. It can be said as a good thing. Means they have a good rumen.
 

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Access to decent quality hay, good minerals, baking soda and plenty of clean water and keeping worm loads in check to keep the rumen working in proper order. Hay bellies are generally from the rumen not working as efficiently as possible, digesting slowly. I have a couple of girls who seem to have issues in the winter, they are my "picky eaters" too. I keep probios on hand and if they seem to getting a hay belly forming I give them the probiotic and that usually does the trick. I don't worry to much about the hay belly as it is not a health risk (as long as everything else normal).
 
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