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Strange behavior by one of my wethers this morning - Printable Version

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Strange behavior by one of my wethers this morning - SpotNStalk - 12-16-2019

This morning my wife and I went out to let our 8 goats (4 wethers, 4 females - all aged between 9-11 months) out of their enclosures, give them a bit of grain and hay, etc.

Everything was normal for about 10-15 minutes as the goats ate their grain.  My wife took a few of the goats on a walk to the other end of their enclosure and give them a treat to encourage them to get moving on these cold mornings.  A couple of the goats always hang back with me as did one of my wethers.  My goats have gotten much quieter as they age and rarely actually bellow preferring to make quiet talking under their breath, mouth closed chatter instead.  I was walking toward the other end of the enclosure with one wether and talking to him when all of a sudden he got vocal (kind of a weak cry like something was bothering him but not serious).  At first he acted like something had bit him or he had a really bad itch and was  trying to use his horns to scratch at his back.  He reared up halfway once, then all the way up, made a couple of more little crying sounds, layed down and kind of rolled a little bit like he was trying to rub his back.  He got up, took a treat from my wife then ran back to their shelter.  He acted like he was trying to scratch his back or neck.  Layed down then got right back up, went to the other side of the shelter and layed down and stayed there.  (Not normal after being locked in their enclosure all night, during feeding time, when we are out with them giving them attention).  I had my wife go in and mix some pulverized B-12 granules in warm water (about 3 tsp pulverized granules in 10 ccs of warm water syringe) while I stayed with him.  While she was gone for maybe 5-10 minutes he stayed laying down and was alert, not crying, but made a little bit of an odd noise when breathing).  I gave him about half of the diluted B-12 solution which he didn't care for too much and got up and went strait to a grain pan and started eating.  I went ahead and gave him most of the rest of the B-12 solution and watched him for another 20 minutes or so.  (I realize the B-12 probably didn't have much if any effect but figured it couldn't hurt).  Anyway, he never really showed another sign of anything unusual and slowly started to eat some hay and has acted normal since.  

I'm probably being overly protective but this was extremely odd behavior from any of my goats even thought it only lasted about 10 minutes.  The closest behavior like this I have seen was when this same goat was 4 weeks old and on a bottle, one night for a couple of hours he would lay down, cry out, roll on his side, and was lethargic.  We think that he was constipated and gave him some mineral oil in his bottle the next morning and he was fine.  Today I don't think he was constipated because I had just caught a stool sample from him before this started.  

Any thoughts from my fellow pack goat owners?  


RE: Strange behavior by one of my wethers this morning - Nanno - 12-16-2019

It's definitely not constipation. Constipation is very rare in goats and wouldn't have symptoms like that. It sounds almost like he got stung or bitten by something. Could he have been hit by a wasp? Although you say it's pretty cold there right now, so a wasp seems very unlikely. Did you feel his back and sides to see if there is a specific spot that hurts? Could there be a burr in his hair that suddenly worked its way into his skin? I suppose it could also have been a sudden acute belly cramp that resolved itself. In any case, it doesn't sound serious even if it was alarming at the time. Hopefully it doesn't happen again, but I'm sure you'll be keeping an extra-close eye on him for a few days.


RE: Strange behavior by one of my wethers this morning - SpotNStalk - 12-16-2019

It was really cold this morning (probably about 12 degrees and dark) so it is highly unlikely that it was a wasp. I actually have an Arlo security camera set up just outside the goat shelter that records video. I went back and looked at the motion activated clips from this morning and this goat is seen trotting out of the goat shelter throwing his head back and to the side vigorously as if something was in fact biting his back. He went to the hay feeder and nibbled for a minute then trotted up behind me and threw his head around some more. He tries scratching his back with his horns a bit then goes through the scenario of rearing up grabs a treat from my wife, runs back to the shelter. We brush the goats daily most of the year but have only been brushing a couple times a week since the temperatures dropped a couple months ago and I have just been using my gloved hands to rub their backs, sides, and scratching behind their ears after they eat in the morning instead of brushing them. I am thinking that based on his actions he was either bit by something or he had some kind of a sharp pain or something. He's acted normal today and interacted with the other goats all day pretty much as he normally does.


RE: Strange behavior by one of my wethers this morning - Sanhestar - 12-16-2019

first thing I thought of was back pain. Young goats play rough and it's possible that he was hurt in a "man game".

Have you checked if he has a pain reaction when you palpate his back? How far back does he reach? Rib area, loin region?

How long ago was he castrated? What method was used?


RE: Strange behavior by one of my wethers this morning - SpotNStalk - 12-16-2019

(12-16-2019, 09:19 PM)Sanhestar Wrote: first thing I thought of was back pain. Young goats play rough and it's possible that he was hurt in a "man game".

Have you checked if he has a pain reaction when you palpate his back? How far back does he reach? Rib area, loin region?

How long ago was he castrated? What method was used? 
Yes I ran my hands over him and rubbed all over his back, necks, and side and didn't get any pain response. Just a wagging tail. Lol He has been fine all day and night tonight. Says good and just seemed to really enjoy her to g extra scratches from me. 
He was banded at about 6 weeks old so 7 1/2 months ago. Like I said he's fine now so I'll just keep watching him I guess.



RE: Strange behavior by one of my wethers this morning - Sanhestar - 12-17-2019

fingers crossed :-)


RE: Strange behavior by one of my wethers this morning - SpotNStalk - 12-17-2019

(12-17-2019, 12:28 AM)Sanhestar Wrote: fingers crossed :-)

Well, he acted normal yesterday, all evening yesterday, and this morning.  I guess he just discovered yet another way to cause us to be concerned about one of our goat children.   Big Grin


RE: Strange behavior by one of my wethers this morning - Stringinit - 12-17-2019

It kinda sounds like a painful reaction. One of my wethers seems to have a lower pain tolerance and acts weird when he is hurt. For example in my area we have lots of thorny berries that the goats love to browse on. My goats inevitably get thorns in them and my saanen Dipper seems to have a more animated painful reaction. I realized this after he started behaving in a weird way, throwing his horns up behind him and making weird goat noises. We had just hiked through a gooseberry patch and thought to myself i should check the boys for thorns. Sure enough Dipper had a couple thorns under his saddle and was just throwing a fit. My alpine had just as many thorns and you couldn't tell anything was bothering him. When Dipper got stung by a bee his painful reaction was tenfold and I was seriously concerned as I had no idea he was stung by a bee until I noticed the yellow jacket nest! He was flailing about and moaning and groaning. I pulled him clear of the bees and tried to calm him down as I comforted him.

So it kinda seems like he was hurting. Maybe a sting, a bite, a thorn or maybe a sliver? Maybe a cramp?