Everyone has had at least one kid with a loose stool……..panic and Facebook have been the option for many………. Don’t get me wrong, the first time for us, diarrhea had us running for the internet, the local chat group, anything as we searched and despaired over WORMS or WHAT???
We, however, take it mostly in stride now, and use it as an opportunity to practice what we preach. What do we preach? Keeping it simple, as natural as possible, and before you dose with chemicals? Find out what is going on. So let’s talk about some of our run in’s with the runs.
Green runny stools, ok this one will take some investigation. Could be worms, could be other reasons. First step is to do a fecal and take their temps. If they don’t have a high temp, say it’s 103, we don’t panic. (Regardless of what you’ve heard or read, 103 is NOT a goat’s normal temperature.) Kids lost to worms – cocci in particular, usually are lost due to dehydration from the diarrhea not worms. Because a fecal usually takes 24 hours…..we give them water a couple of times a day…..we also add organic pumpkin (1-2 tsp) to their bottles to firm their stools until we get the results of the fecal. If their constipated, it’s all about probiotics!! Everytime the kids had loose stools, they came up negative for worms. …..so what are reasons for a kids runs? Could be new grass hay from a different farmer, changes in feed – did they get too much grain, to early? Grazing for the first time in a while? Did they get into something you didn’t goat proof? Usually the problem is something they got into, or too much of something new without a gradual introduction. One time, for us, it was a reaction to the CD&T vaccination our buyers requested they have. Did we say we HATE vaccinations….CD&T is the only vaccination we give and to the kids only…..we have NEVER given vaccinations to our adult goats unless we have HAD TO. An example? Davi had a major hoof injury a few years ago, cut/tore in between her toes. Bled like crazy, difficult to keep clean, etc. Needless to say, because it was a open wound on her hoof, the barn does have fecal and urine regardless of how well you clean…..she got a tetanus shot that year.
So what if it isn’t runny stool? Constipation can be a problem with kids…….especially when they are first introduced to hay and are not yet drinking enough water out of the bucket. We work on getting them drinking as early as possible before we introduce hay. It just takes one to start drinking water to get the rest to follow……again, probiotics work wonders for this. We use a product from Kaeco called Fortifed Vit. B Complex Oral Gel. Here’s where bottle feeding comes in handy, just giving them a bottle of water in between feedings to keep them hydrated, etc.
Now we use a product called ‘Regano’, you can read up on our blog Cocci? Crap! about our personal experience with it. We haven’t had one instance of cocci since we started with the Regano….our kids get exposed to it in numbers that help them build a natural immunity to them without getting sick or loose stools. Again, we practice what we preach.
Lesson? Not every runny stool is worms and having worms doesn’t always show signs that you find listed on the internet. It pays to know your goats, slight changes in behavior, changes in eating habits, changes in their coats, and other signs can tell you a lot about your herd and your herd health. Our first step has always been probiotics…..never over the counter products like Pepto or MOM. Our methods may be different, but giving them some probiotics won’t hurt them, even if we’re wrong and there’s nothing wrong…..giving them chemicals when it isn’t worms? Well, that’s not how we want to do things around here.
Needless to say, loose stools can cause concern.....our jobs as goat 'parents' is to do our best to keep them healthy, happy, and safe; fix what we didn't realize was broken; and keep learning all those things that we didn't realize we didn't know....