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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,

I've been noticing something new in my older goats - the three that have turned 10 (years) this year. Two are related, they have the same father, the other is from a completely different blood line.

They all often appear to have an empty rumen although they've been out on pasture 24/7, return from grazing, lay down to chew cud and have been eating heartily the whole time they where out. I miss the look of the filled rumed that the younger goats have.

Will take some pictures later today but would like to ask if this could be something age related - like a softening of ligaments in the abdomen. Or should I be concerned?
 

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I'd be interested to see your photos. I noticed Cuzco's belly seemed to "drop" a bit last year when he turned nine. He still looks hale and hearty (and he clearly has a lot of spunk left in him), but he definitely looks different to what he did when he was younger. His back has less flesh, his hip bones protrude more obviously, and even when he's overweight he tends to carry it lower down in his abdomen rather than up on his ribs. Because of the prominent hollow between pin bones and rib cage, people sometimes ask me if he's underweight. I tell them to step back and examine his generous potbelly. It's not that he weighs less, it's just that he stores his surplus differently these days. My dad has been complaining of the same problem in recent years and claims that it's the effects of gravity catching up. ;)

I notice this year Cuzco is also getting baggy "old man skin" under his throat and jaw. It's incredibly soft and I love stroking that area now. He's always had soft hair under there, but now with the silky folds of thin, loose skin it's simply luxurious to the touch. He's also beginning to get some loose folds under his belly, but not nearly as much yet as the 13-year-old goat that belongs to one of my friends. That goat has a belly like an old Labrador!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/19 ... e0061.jpg/

http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/4/brownie0021.jpg/

http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/69 ... e0011.jpg/

these pictures have been taken after they goats had already started their afternoon browsing. In the morning, the "hole" is much more prominent. I realize that he needs worming, as well. I've run into a resistance problem this year and need to switch wormers.

It might be of interest that he fills out completely as soon as he moves.

He was always a goat with a pear shaped rump but the sagging belly started to show last year.
 

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Not knowing that much about goats, he looks good. I know how other animals age. They loose teeth, become less efficient with what they eat, etc. Maybe increase his food? My old dog eats like a pig, but is continuing to lose body mass.
 

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Yeah, Sanhestar, Cuzco has that deep hollow behind his ribs now too. It seems to fill out in response to his water intake more than anything else. If he's dehydrated it gets really deep. Otherwise he just has an "older goat" look to him. I think they're like men whose broad, muscular chests sag down and end up somewhere just above their belt line while their rear ends fall off entirely, leaving a hollow much like the one where your goat's rumen used to be. :lol:

We won't talk about what happens to us women. ;)

As long as your goats seem in good weight and in good health, I wouldn't worry that they're starting to look their age. It happens to everyone who is fortunate enough to make it into their "golden years". My old Labrador experienced the same thing. He got hollow behind the ribs while his belly just about dragged on the ground. Keeping up the exercise helps keep the muscles toned, but nothing can completely stop the natural aging process. I would not load Cuzco with a heavy pack any more at his age, but we still take him for regular walks and hikes to keep him fit. When he's too tired or sore to go for walks any more, we'll know it's time to let go and send him on his way.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
It's good to hear that another old goat looks similar.

I started to worry because of this resistance problem and simpy because it seemed to be spreading among the oldest goats. But as you say, can't beat time!

I think I will start to give the oldies additional food and care.
 

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Dave (TDG Farms) S.E. Washington State
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That is perfectly normal as they age. Though some bloodlines are much more prone to it. I have one doe who has had the dropped belly from age 2 after she had her first babies. Ill see if I cant get a pic of her. She is... 8 now I think. She consistently has triplets so when she is preggers she fills our real nice and as soon as she freshens, she looks "starved" again. I will be keeping 2 doe kids from year this year and am curious to see if they will develop it as well. I should mention that her blood lines are pretty much the same as the rest of my goats but her body style is totally differnt. Where most of my goats are tall and long, she is short and of normal length. So it might even be something as simple as body style. Kinda like a skinny man with a huge beer belly :)
 

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sanhestar said:
I think I will start to give the oldies additional food and care.
I think that's a good idea. :)

Cuzco gets grain in the evenings now, and in the winter I give him alfalfa pellets soaked in warm water in addition to his hay. This is because his back molars are nearly gone now and he can't chew dry food properly any more. He can still manage the summer grazing and browse easily enough and doesn't need (and won't eat) his "old man food" this time of year, but when fall comes round I'll be making sure he gets is warm alfalfa mush.

I might also get a heated mat for his shed this winter. With less muscle tone and all his fat stores concentrated in his belly, he probably can't keep warm as well as he used to.
 
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