For those of you who are constantly adding new goats to your herd, rescuing goats, or just wanting to know if your own goats are healthy, this is the blog post for you!
There is a lot to look for to determine whether a goat is “healthy” or not. Along with looking at the physical status of the goat, there are many questions that you should ask yourself, or the prior owner of a new goat.
Clear Eyes: a healthy goat’s eyes should not be runny, goopy, red, swollen, etc.
Appropriate Stance: Goats should stand straight and evenly. A goat with bad leg placement, or a slouched back and neck, is most likely not the healthiest of goats. The goat’s body condition should also be taken into account–look at muscling over the topline (chine), ribs, brisket, and rump/hips.
Suitable FAMACHA Score: dark/bright pink eyelids.
Dry & Clear Nose: no snot, sneezing, sniffling, etc.
Good Respiratory Condition: loud breathing/respirations should not be heard, nor should any rattling or wheezing be occurring. No coughs, chokes, hacks, etc.
Healthy Coat Condition: Although this may just sound like an unnecessary aesthetic concern, a bad coat condition can indicate multiple different issues. Rough, thinning, or brittle hair usually indicates mineral deficiencies, but can also be due to other reasons. Mites and lice, which cause hair loss and poor coat condition, are often mistaken as a mineral deficiency, or vice versa.
Proper Hoof Condition: Hooves should be well kept; not overgrown, or folded under. Hoof rot is a severe problem. Examine a goat’s hooves carefully to be sure hooves are healthy, clean, and comfortable for the goat to walk on.
- Respiration: 10-30 per minute (adults). 20-40 per minute (kids).
- Pulse: 70-90 beats per minute (varies in goats, kids could be twice as fast)
- Temperature: (rectal) 101.5-103.5 Fahrenheit (varies, especially in hot or cold weather. Should not go below 100F and not above 104F)
- Rumen Functions: 1 – 1.5 per minute.
Goats should appear happy in demeanor, often times playful, depending on nature. Goats should be friendly, seemingly smart, and active in brain function. You do not want to observe a goat being anti-social and debilitated-looking.
PRELIMINARY QUESTIONS TO ASK WHEN BUYING A GOAT:
– What is the goat’s diet?
– What medications and supplements has the goat received in their lifetime?
– Has the goat received blood tests for diseases?
– Has the goat had any past health issues?
– If a wether, when was the male castrated?
– If female, when was goat last bred/kidded, if ever?
DISCLAIMER: I am not a vet, nor am I a licensed professional. I am in no way a “goat expert” and my opinions are only that of personal experiences, and my insights shared are not medical treatment suggestions, care suggestions, or any directions for raising goats at all. I am simply sharing my own personal opinions. Any and all changes to your goats’ health regimen, care, etc. should be approved by a veterinary professional or licensed professional. I also believe that every goat owner has their own way of doing things, so just as my opinions are my own, and cannot apply to anyone else, your opinions are also regarding your individual goats, and I welcome you to share them in a kind, constructive manner.