goat health checklist

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Raising healthy animals is the best way to have a profitable homestead, especially when it comes to goats. This Goat Health Checklist will help you to assess your herd anytime you need to. Know the signs they are healthy and the clues there is something wrong so you can quickly step in and help.

How to Raise Dairy Goats that are healthy and thriving, giving you all the milk you need for your family and more.

A group of goat kids out on a green spring pasture

I love goats. They are my favorite animals on the farm, even all these years later. Their antics and personalities, all different from each other, really keep us on our toes.

Maybe that is why it can be so upsetting when any of our goats get sick. I know whenever I see anyone acting off I start to panic until I am able to step in and give them a closer look.

Over the years, I have learned the clues that tell me there is a problem, from subtle things to watch for to the glaringly obvious.

I now have those clues in a checklist and it helps me to stay on top of our herd’s health.

What is a normal temperature for goats?

A normal temperature for goats, both meat and dairy, is 102-103 F. The best way to take a temp with a goat is rectally. I find doing this while our goats are in the milk stand distracted with feed is the best and easiest way.

Goat Training Tip: When feeding your goats, choose a few to take temperatures on while they are distracted by their feed. This will help get everyone acclimated to this routine health check.

Be sure to grab the FREE Goat Health Checklist below!!!

More Tips on Goat Training:

Disclaimer: In accordance with FDA guidelines, the information and products offered on this website are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. I am not a medical professional. Before administering any medications to your animals please contact a veterinarian first.

Know Your Goats

The best advice I can give any goat owner is to know your goats when they are healthy. Touch them, pet them, and watch how they act and behave. The more you are aware of their characteristics when they feel good, the more obvious it will be when they feel bad.

Signs of a Healthy Goat

Let’s start with the signs that your goat is healthy and thriving.

a group of young goats out on a green pasture

1. They rush up to you at feed time.

Goats love food and enjoy eating even if they just ate a full meal 5 minutes ago. This is always a sign to me that our herd is healthy and fine.

2. Moving and Playing

Goats love to play at any age, and when you see everyone moving, walking, running, or playing, you can relax knowing everyone is sound.

3. Grazing

Goats love to be on pasture, and if the weather is good, they will usually stay out all day if you let them.

A small herd of goats out on green pasture grazing. Two does and 2 kids

4. Healthy Fur and Skin

Healthy goats have shiny, soft coats and skin that isn’t dry or flakey.

Signs Your Goat May be Sick

Animals cannot tell us when something is wrong, so knowing the signs will help you catch problems early.

There are a few signs to watch for that will alert you there is something off. Not all of these signs are an indicator of an emergency, but the more signs you see, the more you will want to investigate further.

1. They are Off Feed

The biggest sign that an animal may have a health issue is if it is not interested in food. A poor appetite is usually a big sign that something is wrong and warrants further investigation on your end.

Check their mouth to see if there is an issue with their teeth or imouth.

2. They are Coughing

A cough here and there is normal goat behavior; however, if they cough often, this is a sign they may be sick.

Check their nose to see if there is any discharge suggesting a cold as well as their eyes.

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3. Diarrhea

A healthy goat poo is dark brown small round pellets. If your goat has runny or liquid poo, you will want to quickly remove them and investigate further.

Check their feed to see if any changes where made you are unaware of. Next, check a sample of their manure for parasites and follow up with the appropriate care.

4. Behavior

If your goat is staying off and away from the herd, this is usually a sign that warrants investigation. Goats are herd animals that love to be active.

Check further to see if there are any other clues of sickness.

a sick goat lying off by itself in a pasture

5. Lethargic

Goats that stay put or will not stand up is a sign of something serious. This is usually a late stage sign and one you will want to act quickly on.

Check gums and eyelids to see the color. You want to see watermelon pink and anything paler is a cause for quick action. Call a vet and do a fecal test to see if worms are the issue.

Signs your Goat May be Injured

An injured goat is different than a sick goat and again, the signs you see will help you know what to check on.

1. Limping

If you see a goat that is limping, is moving stiffly, or refusing to walk altogether, there may be an injury.

Check their hooves for any issues that can be quickly corrected. If the hooves are fine, you can check their legs for tenderness.

2. Teeth Grinding

When you hear your goat grinding their teeth and they are NOT eating, this is usually a sign of pain.

Check their legs, hocks, back, neck area, and other areas for any tenderness.

Goat Health Checklist

Having a check list that you can refer to when evaluating the health of your goats is a great resources to have in your goat care binder.

Be sure to grab the FREE Goat Health Checklist below!

#1. Feed/Water

Look at how your goats are eating. This is usually the first sign there may be something on with your goats.

  • Do they run up to you at feed time?
  • Do they graze often throughout the day on pasture?
  • Do you see them routinely chewing their cud?
  • Are the water bowls always full at chore time?

#2. Movement

Look at how your goats are moving around to see if there are any clues of an injury or other issue.

  • Are your goats all moving easily without stiffness?
  • Are there any goats that are slow to keep up with the herd?
  • Are your goats lying down refusing to stand up?
  • Is your goat lethargic?

#3. Overall Look

Another sign is the look and feel of their fur and skin.

  • Is their goat full and soft?
  • Are there any missing areas of fur?
  • Are your goats itching frequently?
  • Is their skin dry and flakey?

#4. Membranes

Another area to routinely check is the eye membranes and gums. You want to see a healthy pink, close to a watermelon color. Anything pale or white is a clue there is something wrong and you will want to act quickly.

  • Are the eye membranes watermelon pink or close to it?
  • Are the gums pink?
  • If you pinch your goat’s skin does it fall back into place quickly?

#5. Manure

Healthy poops are a good sign of a healthy herd. Small round pellets that are separate from the others or are clumped together are both good signs.

  • Is there diarrhea or constipation with any goats?
  • Do you see blood or parasites in the stool?
  • Do your goats struggle to urinate or try with no results?

#6. Other Signs

Finally a few other signs to watch for giving you a clue there is more to check into. Remember to always call your vet if you are unsure before doing any treatments at home.

  • Are they grinding their teeth or hunching their back?
  • Do they have a runny nose or eyes?
  • Is your goat struggling to breathe?
  • Do you see or feel any lumps or bumps that appeared quickly?
  • Does your goat have a temperature? Is it low or high?

Female Goats

  • Does her udder feel hard?
  • Does her milk smell off?
  • Is there a sudden decrease in milk?
  • Do you see blood in her milk?

Male Goats

  • Is your goat struggling to urinate?
  • Is your goat drinking water?

Having a goat health checklist is a great way to stay proactive with your herd. Know the signs everyone is healthy so you can more easily see when something is off. This will help you to more quickly step in and give the best care before things get out of hand.

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