Getting a baby goat is a very exciting thing. Most babies go as bottle babies and are so cute following your everywhere just like a puppy dog. But you must remember, they are not puppy dogs, they are goats. Male goats that are not used for breeding are usually wethered so they make a non stinky pet. The male goat should not be wethered until around the the age of 3 or 4 months of age. This wait is to asure that the urethra tube will continue to grown as the goat grows. If wethered too young, the tube stops growing and this sets the goat up for problems down the road.
Bottle babies LOVE their bottle and why not. They get to drink a lot of milk, non stop without having to fight a sibling for it. Some people think it is ok to keep giving a bottle as often as the goat wants it. It won't hurt anything right? WRONG! Goat formula is very high in protein. Two things can happen from over feeding formula to a young wethered goat. The first and most important thing is Uraniary Calculi. Uraniary Calculi are tiny mineral stones or crystals that form in the urinary tract. they are caused by an imbalance of dietary calcium and phosphorus. More young bottle babies die from this than just about anything else. If your young kid is about one month old, it should be getting a bottle twice a day, morning and night. Depending on the size of the goat, it should be getting no more than 4oz. to 8oz at each feeding. At one month, the young kid should be eating hay or grain. the bottle is just to help the kid along until its rumen fully developes. In fact, at one month, either the morning or night bottle should be dropped in size by 1 oz. every week so that when the kid reaches two months it is only getting one bottle a day. By doing this, the rumen will start to function like that of an adult goat. This is what you want to happen. Delayed development of the rumen is the second thing that can happen from being on a bottle to long. At two months, the other bottle should be dropped by 1 oz the same way as the eariler bottle and at 3 months old your baby goat should be weaned.
How will you know if your male kid has uraniary calculi? I have listed some of the symptoms below;
1.) streching and arching the back. (most common)
2.) trying to urinate
3.) bloated sides
4.) off feed
5.) grinding of teeth
6.) crystals in the hair around the penis
7.) blood tinged urine
8.) dribbling urine, not a steady stream
9.) laying down and kicking at abdomen
If you own a wether, it is important to limit his intake of feed. You can feed him a feed with ammonium chloride already in it and this will help cut back on stones and crystrals from forming. Nutrena makes this feed. you can also make sure you keep a white salt block out at all times, this will encourage him to drink more water. Also, adding apple cider vineagar to the water will help keep stones from forming.
What should you do if you see your wether straining to urinate? Call your vet right away. This is nothing to "wait and see" if it will get better because it won't. If left unattended, the bladder will become so large from urine being trapped inside that it will burst. When this happens, the goat will seem like he feels better but this is short lived and he will go down hill quickly after that and die. You can purchase ammonium chloride and use it as a prevenative by mixing it in the drinking water or food.
The following is what we have used on goats in the past with uraniary calculi;
1 teaspoon ammonium chloride (A.C.) in 20 cc of water per 75 lbs of body weight every 12 hours for 2 days, then 1/2 teaspoon A.C. in 20 cc water every 12 hours for 3 days, then 1/2 teaspoon A.C. in 20 cc water once a day, then give 1/4 teaspoon in 20 cc water once.
Please seek out the advise of a vet at the first signs of uraniary calculi. Your vet might say to treat your goat or he might treat him. Either way the goat will need attention quickly.
Diamond K Goats is not responsible for the death of any animal if you follow the above treatment. Uraniary Calculi is very painful for your goat and you should seek out the advise of a vet to treat your animal. Diamond K Goats has used the above treatment before, but you should use it at your own risk.