Care of Goats in Severe Winter Weather

Management of mature goats may change only slightly in colder weather compared to routine management throughout the rest of the year. Nothing takes the place of good, routine observations for changes in feed availability, body condition scores, and health problems such as pneumonia, parasites, and foot rot. However, management will need to change in very cold temperatures, and even more so in wet, cold temperatures.

For most producers who kid in late spring or after little likelihood of snow or …

Enzootic Ataxia

Although most often reported as a problem in Australian sheep, enzootic ataxia has been reported in goats in the United States. First, two definitions: enzootic means an animal disease or condition common in a certain area; and ataxia means incoordination due to a disorder of the nervous system.

Enzootic ataxia is caused by copper deficiency and can manifest itself in two ways in kids. The congenital form (present at birth) is called swayback. These kids may be unable to rise …

Goat Nutrition Nutrients


Nutrients are defined as substances that aid in the support of life. The six classes of nutrients include protein, carbohydrate, fat, vitamins, minerals, and water. Nutrients are often classified as organic (carbon-containing) or inorganic (minerals).

Energy is not considered a nutrient but can be derived from the breakdown of several nutrients, including fat, protein, and both simple and complex carbohydrates. Energy is required to propel the biochemical processes that are necessary to sustain life. A deficiency of energy will …

Goat Nutrition GI tract

The ruminant digestive system

Digestive tract of the goat.

Goats are ruminants, animals with a four-compartment stomach, as are cattle, sheep and deer. The compartments are the reticulum, rumen, omasum and abomasum, or true stomach. Monogastric or simple-stomached animals such as humans, dogs and cats consume food that undergoes acidic breakdown in the stomach and enzymatic digestion in the small intestine, where most nutrients are absorbed. In ruminants, feed first undergoes microbial digestion in the reticulum and rumen — together, …

Goat Feeding Systems

Feeding Systems

There are many methods of feeding goats. Feeds should be offered in such a way to minimize mold growth or fecal contamination that reduces intake. Mineral mixes must remain dry and should be replenished at two-week intervals to avoid caking. Feed troughs should be designed to facilitate removal of feces and leftover feed. Troughs generally require a bar running above the length of the trough to keep goats from defecating in them.

Self feeders can be used for …

Goat Nutrition

Goat Nutrition

Proper nutrition is essential for the health and productivity of all animals and is the basis of successful production systems. A well-planned and executed preventive health program cannot overcome problems that are created by poor nutrition, nor can advanced reproductive technologies overcome nutritional limitations of reproduction. Therefore, nutrition of the goat is of paramount importance for successful goat production. Nutrition is the science of providing nutrients to animals in adequate amounts and in forms that the animals will …