Having a baby goat with diarrhea is a common but serious problem that may result in the death of your goat kid if you don’t provide prompt treatment. Commonly called scours, diarrhea occurs most frequently in baby goats that are bottle-fed, according to Gail Damerow, author of “Your Goats.” Typically, these goat kids are 1 week old or younger. Key steps in stopping baby goat diarrhea include identifying diarrhea promptly and correcting the problem that initially caused the scours.
Identify symptoms of baby goat diarrhea. Develop the habit of visually inspecting your goat kid pen each time you’re in the barn to more quickly identify kids suffering from diarrhea. The first and often only sign that you’ll notice is loose stools, which can vary in color and may be yellow, brown, black or green, depending upon the cause. If you have more than one kid together in a pen, check their bottoms in order to determine which one is suffering from scours. A kid with scours may also hang back during feeding time and behave listlessly.
Separate the sick kid from all other goats and assess your goat kid’s physical condition. Use a rectal thermometer to take your baby goat’s temperature; normal rectal temperature for a goat varies from 101.5 to 105 degrees Fahrenheit. Dehydration is a major problem with diarrhea in goat kids, so pinch your goat’s skin along her neck. If the skin stays pinched or “tented,” then your little goat is severely dehydrated and needs immediate oral rehydration with electrolytes to replace the body fluid lost through the scours.
Provide scours treatment in the form of oral electrolyte fluid. First, stop feeding all milk and milk replacer. Replace your goat kid’s feedings of milk with an equal amount of electrolyte fluids until the diarrhea has cleared up, which should be within two or three days. You can purchase electrolyte mixes designed specifically for goats from a livestock supply store or online at goat supply websites. In an emergency, you can create a homemade electrolyte mix by boiling a quart of water and mixing in 2 tablespoons of light corn syrup, ½ teaspoon of salt and ¼ teaspoon of baking soda, according to Gail Damerow.
Determine the cause of the baby goat diarrhea after you have begun scours treatment. Common causes include sudden chilling, unclean bottles, feeding too much milk, and dirty bedding. Provide preventative measures to keep your little goat from getting diarrhea again. Make sure you keep your kid pen freshly bedded with clean straw and always feed them on a regular schedule. Don’t forget to thoroughly wash and rinse bottles and nipples after each feeding of milk, as well. Talk with your veterinarian about other preventive measures you can take, including vaccination.