Raising Goats For Dummies
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Part of a green lifestyle may include raising goats. As a goat owner, you need to know how to check your animal’s vital signs. Checking your goat’s temperature, pulse, and respiration can tell you a lot about its overall health.

Taking a goat’s temperature

Taking a goat’s temperature is easy. You need either a digital or traditional glass thermometer that you can buy from a feed store, a drug store, or a livestock supply catalog. Both types are fairly inexpensive.

If you use a glass thermometer, make sure you shake it down before you start so that it reads accurately. Tie a string around one end of a glass thermometer so that you can retrieve it if it goes too far.

To take a goat’s temperature, get your thermometer and take the following steps:
  1. Immobilize the goat.

    You can hold a small kid across your lap. Secure an adult in a stanchion, have a helper hold him still, or tie him to a gate or fence.

  2. Lubricate your thermometer.

    Use KY jelly or petroleum jelly.

  3. Insert the thermometer a few inches into the goat’s rectum.

    Hold the thermometer in place for at least two minutes.

  4. Slowly remove the thermometer.

    Read the temperature and record it on the goat’s health record.

  5. Clean the thermometer.

    Use an alcohol wipe or a cotton ball that has been wet with alcohol.

A goat’s normal temperature is 102 degrees to 103 degrees Fahrenheit. But it can be a degree higher or lower, depending on the goat. A goat’s temperature can also go up or down throughout the day. On a hot day, you can expect some of your goats to have higher temperatures.

To determine what a normal temperature is for your goats, be sure to take their temperatures when they are healthy and keep a record of it. Measure their temperatures on a hot day and a normal day so you have an accurate baseline.

Checking a goat’s pulse

The normal pulse for an adult goat is 70 to 90 beats per minute. Kids’ heart rates may be twice that fast.

To take your goat’s pulse:

  1. Make sure she is calm and resting.

  2. Find the goat’s artery below and slightly inside the jaw with your fingers.

  3. Watch a clock and count the number of heartbeats in 15 seconds.

  4. Multiply that number by four to get the pulse rate.

Checking a goat’s respiration

The normal respiration rate for an adult goat is 10 to 30 breaths per minute. For a kid it is 20 to 40 breaths per minute. To count respirations, simply watch the goat’s side when she is calm and resting. For 60 seconds, count one respiration for each time the goat’s side rises and falls.

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book author:

Cheryl K. Smith has raised a small herd of Nigerian Dwarf and Oberian dairy goats under the herd name Mystic Acres since 1998. She is the owner of karmadillo Press and is the author of Goat Health Care, Goat Midwifery, The Best of Ruminations Goat Milk and Cheese Recipes, and Raising Goats: Some Essentials.

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