UNDERSTANDING NORMAL BEHAVIOR OF GOATS
It’s important to understand the difference between healthy goat behaviors and sick behaviors. It helps the overall management of your project. As always, the sooner a problem is identified; usually the quicker it is to resolve it.
Healthy goats are curious, active and playful. They usually are quiet unless they happen to see someone or something, and then they will usually call out. They have short naps each day after eating, but not all day. So if you see a goat lying down at odd times of the day or for extended hours, you may have a problem. It’s important to know the difference between moaning, crying, or bleating in discomfort or in pain. Some breeds such as Nubians or pigmy goats are known for being very vocal and call out to everything!
NORMAL GOAT HEALTH & BEHAVIORS
Active, Curious, Climbing, Playful
Tail up and Wagging
Bright eyes, Forward ears
Short Naps, Eager to Eat and Drink
Clear Breathing & Clean Nose
SIGNS OF SICKNESS
- Inactive, depressed, not interested, separates from the other goats
- Tail down and tucked, dull eyes, ears pulled back, shaking head
- Grinding teeth, crinkled nose, moaning or unusual calling out,
- Laying down all day, not interested in eating or drinking
- Bloated, kicking or biting their stomach
- May press their head against a wall, foam at the mouth
- Frothy or Foam around the mouth
- Green or cloudy nasal discharge
- Fever above 103.5 or below 101.5 indicates abnormal temperatures
- Hunched back, hanging head, shivering, panting or slow breathing
- Straining to urinate, diarrhea or constipation
- Eyelids are not bubble gum pink, they are grey to white in color
- Gums are white in color
Take time to hang out with your goat to discover their personality. Knowing what their “normal” is will help to identify when things are not right and need attention! If you suspect that your goat is not acting normal, open the charts and perform a Daily Health Assessment and Daily Pen Assessment.
If you suspect a health issue,
- First, observe, write what you see and take a picture.
- Refer to the Daily Health Assessment Chart for detailed information to give to your advisor or vet.
- Contact your adviser & text your pictures and observation notes. From here, the adviser can use their resources to remedy the illness. Early detection usually provides a quick recovery. If things are out of control, the vet may need to be called.
Take a look at the Goat Health section for more interesting articles on keeping your goat well! The more informed you are about the health signs, the better you will be at detecting health issues early!