When you have baby goats (kids), normally the mama goat (doe) takes care of their health and cleanliness ….however, not all mama’s are that conscientious, especially during their first kidding when they are learning the ropes on how to be a mama. Sort of like us human mamas isn’t it?
Be sure to check on your baby goats several times a day. When a kid begins to poop, the first few will be like black tar. “Oh joy! Meconium!” said.no.one.ever. If you are a mom, pause and remember those days! Once the baby begins nursing, their poop becomes yellow and very, very sticky….which can then become quite hard if the mama doesn’t keep her baby clean.
Normally the mama will clean up the backside of her babies while they are nursing. Every so often we get a mama who doesn’t do a good job in the beginning. Really…can you blame them? What a job….yuck!
This year we had two mamas out of 4 who (ahem!) neglected this aspect of motherhood! This was a first kidding (birth) for all of them. This meant frequent trips to the barn to clean those babies because this stuff dries hard as a rock and it is very hard to remove once dried. This can clog the anal opening….it actually seals it shut at times…and the baby can’t poop anymore. This can lead to serious health problems!
Here is a pictorial of what to do and how. If you find pictures of baby goat butts and poop offensive…probably time for you to move on 🙂
Here is a picture of a baby whose mama neglected her job. We were gone all day and just in those few hours this had solidified on the backside and blocked the opening.You can’t just pull this off – it is attached to the skin and the hair and could possibly tear that tender skin…it would also be terribly painful for the baby. This feels like a rock when you touch it. It is imperative that you get this off as quickly as possible.
Normally, if you keep on top of things, a warm soapy rag will do the job easily. However, since we were gone all day, it had time to accumulate and then solidify. Yikes!
After attempting to use a warm rag, I went back to the house for a bucket so I could keep applying the rag. Oh! Just a warning…the baby will NOT cooperate with you and will scream bloody murder the entire time which will upset the entire herd, especially mama who will come try to
make your job as difficult as possible help. Just sayin!
After multiple times of applying the warm and dripping rag, very little came off this poor baby. Sun was going down and breeze was picking up and I was getting concerned because it was cool and getting dark. I began applying olive oil liberally all around and over the “rock” which helped a little bit. I finally decided to soak that little bum in the bucket! This little one might not have agreed with my decision. Look at those ears!
Let the baby soak in water for about 5 minutes before you begin trying to work that poop away from the skin and hair it is attached to. While the baby is soaking in the water, gently begin trying to pull that poop away from the skin and hair. Be VERY gentle. I try grabbing the hair and pulling the hair from the rock rather than just tugging on the rock so it will be less painful for the little one. Work your way all around the poop and then begin again. Each time you should be able to get a little further under that hard poop.
Every once in awhile, I pulled this little one out and liberally applied more olive oil – again working around the poop and working it into the hair and skin. Little pieces of the poop will begin to separate – toss those as you get them loose! Keep working in the warm soapy water and applying the olive oil as needed.
One side will usually break free before the other!
When the largest piece finally falls away, keep working at any residue in the hair or on the skin. You want that opening completely free and clear. Then I apply some Lavender essential oil diluted in FCO (fractionated coconut oil) to soothe the irritated skin!
When you are finished…this is how things should look! This entire process took me close to an hour.
This “crusty” bum issue is short lived. Once the babies begin eating solid food (grass, hay, grain), their poop becomes brown goat berries just like the adults and you can kiss this job good-bye…at least until the next kidding season!