Friday, November 15, 2013

Daily Herd Health Observation Guide

Close observation of your herd is essential to help you learn what is 'normal' for them, and since some illnesses may have a gradual onset, being able to spot the slightest change in an individual goat will enable one to act promptly and prevent any risk there may be to herd health as a whole.

Observe and ask yourself daily:

  • Is the goat alert and inquisitive, with bright eyes and a clean nose?
  • Is the appetite normal? 
  • Is the goat drinking water?
  • Are the droppings, firm and pelleted, is the urine a normal colour?
  • What is the goat's FAMACHA level?
  • Has the milk yield changed suddenly?
  • Are there any changes in the udder, in milk-texture, taste, color or smell?
  • Is the coat the silky and shiny and the skin smooth? Any changes in color or texture?
  • Examine your goats, using your hands, regularly in good light, are there any signs of changes, pests, lumps, pustules, swelling or injury?
  • Does the goat stand comfortably on all four feet and walk with equal weight on each foot?

Keep track of your findings. Record daily any observed variations from normal. Days that you believe a Doe is in heat. The day your buck had escaped and got into your pen with the girls.


Temperature 101.5 – 103.5 (rectal)
Heart Rate - Adult 70 – 80 per minute
Respiration Rate- Adult 10 – 20 per minute
Respiration Rate- Kids 20 – 40 per minute
Rumination 1 – 1.5 per minute
Puberty With Nigerian Dwarfs; As early as 8 weeks old
Breeding Season With Nigerian Dwarfs; All Year Long!
Estrus 12 to 36 hours
Heat Cycle Average 21 days (18 – 23)
Gestation Average 150 days (145 – 160)
Kid Rumen Development Fully Developed at 1 years of age
Kid to Adult Growth from Birth to Maturity is 2 years
Buck Life Span Average 8 years but up to 12
Doe Life Span Average 11-12 years but up to 20

Comparison with other goats in the herd is sound management practice (since a hot day, for example, may alter the respiration rate of a number of goats in the herd).

A Clinical thermometer and a watch with a second's hand are required.

  • Temperature is taken by gentle insertion of the clinical digital thermometer in the goat's anus until it beeps, usually less then a minute, with the goat well secured.
  • Heart rate is taken by placing each hand either side of the goat's chest low down behind, and close to, its elbows.
  • Respiration rate is taken by observation of movement of the goat's chest and flanks.
  • The rumen moves regularly and contracts about once every minute. Rumen movement is checked by gently pressing a fist into the goat's left hand side midway between the ribs and the goat's thigh you will be able to detect the contractions.. Regular contractions are a sign of good rumen health.  

Practice the technique of doing all the above. Keeping track of these four key observations can help you know your goats.

No comments:

Post a Comment