Posted by GoatWorld on December 21, 2000 at 08:11:00:
In Reply to: cold nights posted by linda on December 21, 2000 at 04:31:08:
Sounds as if you are having the same weather we are. We are getting the -30 and -40 wind-chills which you would think would reveal frozen goats in the morning but this has not happened yet. We have our goats outside with adequate shelters from the wind and rain but they are still in the cold. While I'm not thrilled with it, we do not have a barn for such a purpose.
This is my personal opinion and others may disagree but I would think that there is a better chance of your goats getting sick inside than outside because of all the fecal and urine they are exposed to inside.
According to my father and a veterinarian he knows in New Mexico, goats, sheep, horses, etc. have hollow hair. This keeps them warmer than you would think. Animals such as horses can get down to about 50 below before they really start to suffer. Goats are pretty much the same in that respect from what I know. Before domestication, many breeds were used to the cold, mountain region temperatures - if they had a place for shelter.
As far as the respiratory infections, I'm not sure. I've read that pneumonia is more likely in the spring/summer than in the winter. Something to do with being wet seems to bring on pneumonia. This may be the case by having them in the barn where things are not so cold and the bacteria are more likely to thrive in the warmer temperatures.
What I do personally (and I realize this is not always practical), is to rake up and burn all the wasted straw and hay matter every few weeks. I think overall this has cut down alot of our illnesses. I'm not saying that we have not had a sick goat or two - we have. But I think using this method really ensures that alot of harmful bacteria are being destroyed.
I would think too that trying to use the preventative measure of giving them any type of antibiotics, while they are not showing signs of illness, would be opening the door for illness; as many goat breeders will tell you that antibiotics such as penicillin will actually lower the "good bacteria" for a period of time after being administered.
Perhaps some others will comment here. Hope this has been helpful/insightful.
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