Friday, March 12, 2010

Dairy Goat Stats

The munchkins are on their way and so this had better be brief. Knock, knock, okay, not that brief. I guess I'll have to dart in here now and then to get this post done because the grandkids have arrived. They've barely walked in the door but they are already asking for heart shaped graham crackers. They must have seen the picture on yesterday's post. When Kirk handed them out, the oldest took a bite and said, "They're not crackers. They're cracker cookies." Yea, they didn't turn out too cracker like but non the less they are a big hit and the older girls downed five while the youngest ate two.

Since I'm babysitting at the last minute while our daughter helps a friend shop for her wedding, I'm going to do something simple for today, the vitals for a goat. Since so many sites had differing opinions, I went to the University of Maryland caprine research site to see what they had to say.

They compared sheep to goats and since some the of statistics I found on other sites appeared to blend the two by the appearance of the numbers they used, my money is on Maryland.

Rectal Temperature sheep 101.5 -104 F goat 102 - 104 F

It is important for a goat's temperature to be above 100 degrees Fahrenheit for their body to function correctly. Some say it is better to have a higher temperature to deal with than a lower. I have no real opinion except I prefer normal thank you. Less stress that way.
My only experience with an extremely low temperature on an adult animal was when a friend's dog ran their neighbor's ewe into the frozen pond. We covered the sheep with a blanket and then exposed small areas as we blew dry the wool with a hair dryer. Even when the ewe was dry she continued to shiver. What ended up being the most effective was aiming the warm air on the main arteries that run on the inside of the legs, particuliarly the back leg. Warm this spot and warm blood will flow throughout their body. She also had some dog bites to treat but nothing severe.

I've used the bathtub filled partway with warm water and layed kids and lambs in it while I cradled their head above the water. I've never found it as effective for me as laying the small animal on a heating pad turned up and warm towels on top of the small creature, a hair dryer blowing underneath varying where I aimed it and occasional blowing on the arteries inside the legs.
If any of you have had experience with another method, please share. When your confronted with a situation like this, you need all the options you can get.

I went into hypothermia once during surgery due to a sluggish adrenal gland. It's still sluggish. They put a big plastic tube that surrounded me as I lay in bed. It blew hot air under the blankets fresh out of the warmer enveloping me in warmth as my teeth chattered and my body shivered. Not an experience I recommend.

We've had a few animals with too high a temperature also. To bring it down, wet the animal and place a fan to blow air across them. With a horse it works well to stand them in a creek so the cold water is flowing across the frog in the hoof, a major artery inside. Slowly pour water over them but don't chill an animal down too quickly or they will go into shock.

Our daughter had a beef at state fair one year that began running a high temperature from the heat of a hot August sun. Talk about stress since Jack, the steer, was already sold. It was a long night cooling him down and walking him slowly to calm his nerves. He's the steer that would walk slowly by our daughter on their exercise jonts. That is until he spied a Pronghorn Antelope and then off he'd go jerking the lead rope out of her hands. We had to laugh. How often do you see a Black Angus steer lumbering across the prairie after a herd of Pronghorn Antelope? They quickly left him in their dust as they can cruise at 65 mph when threatened. But they soon learned old puttsy wasn't hard to out run and they loped easily out of his range. He'd soon grow tired, turn, and head back to our daughter. They'd meet up somewhere in the middle of the field. She'd pick up the lead rope and off they'd go on their stroll. We use to joke that we hoped a Game and Fish officer never happened to see him. Dogs chacing wild game is illegal and the fine expensive. But what about a steer?
Animal's temperature is influence by their environment whether it is hot or cold and by the amount of exertion they are under. A pack goats temperature while hiking a mountainside will be higher than a goat who is taking a nap on a cool sunny day.

One of the signs that a sheep has had a high fever is the loss of clumps of wool, most often near the spine. We had a Sulfock ewe do this one time. And I've seen it at lambing camp more than once. A goat of course looses patches of hair.

Heart Beat sheep 70 - 80 beats per minute goat 70 - 90 beats per minute
Ruminations sheep 1 - 3 per minute goat 1 - 3 per minute

Now for the rest of the statistics I had to go to other sites which I'm not as comfortable with.
(goat) Respiration 15 to 30 breaths per minute

Estrus is (goat) 18 to 23 days Mine are 21 days with Pudge and Leta coming into heat "again" yesterday. Well not actually mine since I'm in menapause but what I meant to say was my goats in the past and present are cycling at 21 days. Just wanted to make that clear.
The copper sulfate arrived yesterday and I'll be putting it in the water as instructed. Hopefully between it and the mineral salt block, that is high in copper, the old girls will turn around.

I've seen the gestation length anywhere from 140 - 160 on Internet sites but in my 25 years of experience it has always been closely around 145 days until the two Saanes we have now which go on the 152 day. With the copper deficiency they are experiencing, who knows this year what will happen.

Better go, Grandma duties call. Have a beautiful day!

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