Saturday, December 05, 2009

Seasonal Reminder for Our Goat's Safety

Winter Precautions for our Goats Well Being

It never seems to matter whether we are newbie goat owners or seasoned goat owners, we ALL make mistakes and sometimes these things are at the cost of a beloved goat's life. (And believe me girls and boys, it is ALWAYS a favorite)
Three Things I want to remind everyone of this winter:

  • 1. Do NOT use heat lamps in your barns, and do NOT close the goats up completely in the barn where they cannot escape in case of the "dreaded barn fire" .. Many of us are having kids born in winter and have our does and newborns locked in kidding stalls or the goats locked in a closed barn to keep them warm OR worse, using heat lamps to keep babies or goats warm. Please don't. Even the heat lamps with guards on them can get knocked off and start a fire and I hear far too many horror stories each year of screaming goats and goat owners who are hysterically watching and listening to their beloved goats die in fires. Instead keep the barn open and maybe put low boards to keep the ground air off the goats (so they be stepped over) ONLY if there are NO tiny kids who wouldn't be able to step over them.. Keep a thick layer of bedding straw of grass hay for them to lay down into and warm water so they do not lower their body temperature drinking cold water. Grass hay in the gut keeps them much warmer than grain, keep this in mind , if you feed grain feed this in the morning and grass hay in the night feeding.

  • 2. Make sure the ice is kept off the water trough or buckets and the water level is to the top so the goats do not have to bend way down to drink (this avoids the dreaded knocked into the water and ice drownings that can happen. Try to keep smaller lower water for the small kids and goats- more than one water bucket/trough is good so they do not fight over who is drinking.

    and the last warning .. comes in the form of a pitiful email I received just today from a very sad goat owner.

  • 3. While many of use pasture the goats during the warm months - and bring the goats in for hay feeding in the cold months, DO NOT be tempted to use Hay Nets or Bags- they are dangerous and can (More often than you would think) hang your most beloved goat. If you have No feeders for your hay, you are Far better off feeding on the ground than using a hay net even for one or 2 goats.

In Loving Memory of Marcia's Sweet Tippi

Dear goatlady,
PLEASE help me get the word out to other fools like me who used a hay net to feed their goats. We have been using one for almost a month. At 9:15 this morning I got a call from my neighbor that one of our goats appeared to be down. I rushed to the barn and found our darling Tippi dead. She had strangled herself in the hay net, there was little sign of struggle, and the net wasn't very far off the ground. My husband had been to the barn shortly before and everyone was fine.
We love all our goats, but Tippi had been ours since birth. She was born sick and was VERY touch and go for the first month of her little life. Tippi was our baby,having grown into a happy healthy 8 month old nubian/boer X doe with blue eyes, who loved to be held. Every precaution had been taken to keep our girls safe, and because of my STUPIDITY in thinking this was a way to keep their hay clean, our precious little one is gone. To lose any of them this way would be heartbreaking, but I'm not coping with losing Tippi well at all, The guilt is overwhelming. I haven't been able to stop crying since it happened. We are fairly new to small livestock and NONE of the hay net manufacturers put out of warnings of any kind. The site I purchased it from had them listed in the general livestock section.
Tippi paid a terrible price for my ignorance and tears can't bring her back, but maybe someone else might stop before making the same horrendous mistake I did if they read this.
So, So Sorry....

I want to say to Marcia .. My heart aches for you.. I am SO Very Sorry, and I appreciate you sharing this story with me - Beloved Tippi may have saved another precious goat's life.