Owning goats is quite the adventure. It's a constant learning process and just when you think you've got something figured out, another issue arises. Maybe this is all supposed to keep us young, I don't know, or give us premature grey hair? Anyway, when I find something that works, I want to yell it from the mountain tops(if we had any).
Or just blog about it..
Since I live in a part of America where corn and beans grace this flat-as-a-pancake land, I'll have to shout my discovery from here.
If you own goats and never had bloat issues, then I envy you. We've lost two does in the past to bloat and I vowed to never lose another one knowing it can be prevented and treated, especially if diagnosed early enough.
So, what is bloat?
Gas is a natural by-product of digestive fermentation in the rumen, and it is expelled continuously as the goat belches. Bloat occurs when gas is trapped in the rumen. It is a life-threatening condition.
One way to help prevent this is to keep baking soda free choice with your goats. But, sometimes if they are put in a different pasture or another area, baking soda is not available until they come back in for the night. And, unfortunately, sometimes that's all it takes.
What are early signs of bloat?
1. The abdomen is obviously distended, especially on the left side.
2. Signs of discomfort such as kicking or grinding their teeth. The goat might look depressed.
3. Refuses to eat.
The key to using essential oils is early detection. I have not had a goat in a more serious stage since I have been using essential oils, so I cannot testify to them working in a later stage.
Here is what I use:
Digestive Blend or a 2 to 1 combination of peppermint oil and one of the following; Ginger, Tarragon, Fennel, Caraway, Coriander and Anise
For a younger goat, I start with putting three drops of the digestive blend in the capsule. For an adult goat, I use four drops. You will need help putting the capsule in the back of the goat's mouth. I usually have one of my human kids straddle the goat and hold it's head up while I open the mouth and put the capsule as far back as I can.
I then hold the mouth shut, keeping the head slightly up and hold it there for a minute or so. This will ensure that they either swallow the capsule or dissolve it. Even if the capsule is not fully dissolved and they spit it out, it will be empty as the essential oils should be ingested.
Now, believe it or not, it only took less than an hour for the goat to show obvious signs of improvement and for each time I have done this, I have never had to use a second dose. But, if you do not see any signs of improvement, I would try it again in an hour along with a 1/4 to 1/3 cup vegetable oil drench.
Of course, if you feel your goat is getting worse, call a vet immediately!
I love being equipped for things like this on the farm! It's an empowering feeling, really, to know that I have natural ways to help my animals. Not only do I have a natural medicine cabinet for my family, I have one for my farm animals too.
If you would like to be better equipped for a more natural approach for farm and family, I encourage you to take a look at what my favorite brand of essential oils is all about here!