I think our goats have colds. Until a few months ago, I had no idea that goats could get little goatie colds but indeed they can. And apparently ours have done just that.
A few days ago, Penelope started coughing. At first I was like, “Did she just COUGH?” because we hadn’t heard them do that before. Then she sneezed a few times. We mainly noticed it when she was in the barn so we thought it might just be a reaction to the dust from all the straw and hay. Since we’ve gotten them, it’s been warm enough that they go out to the pastures every day. Now when the weather is really cold and windy or snowy, we keep them in the barn with free access to the barnyard (which, being fair-weather goats, they don’t use because their hooves might get cold). Being around all the dusty hay and straw can make some animals cough and sneeze.
But then we heard Beatrice and Minnie sneezing and coughing, not much but a few times. And yesterday I saw some yellowish gunk in Beatrice’s eye, kind of like kids can get with colds. On a positive note, Penelope isn’t coughing or sneezing anymore and everyone is eating, drinking, peeing, pooping and being as stubborn as usual. So hopefully the virus is working it’s way through the herd and will be done soon.
I am watching them very carefully though because I have read that goats can develop pneumonia easily. If they develop a raspy cough (as opposed to this dry, “normal” cough they have) or if have greenish discharge from their nose or eyes, it may be pneumonia. If either of those things happen, my next step would be to see if they have a temperature. Now, I’ve never taken a temperature on an animal before but I do know you don’t just ask them to open their mouth and hold the thermometer until it beeps. I know that at some point I’ll have to take a temperature but I’m hoping that day isn’t today. Or maybe I’ll just make Josh do it….
Regardless, if we have to take the temperature, we will. Goats are usually around 103 degrees so we’d be looking for anything higher that than. If they have any of those symptoms, I would call our vet. But since they are still in the realm of “normal cold” then we’ve decided to stay away from antibiotics. Instead, I’ve ordered an herbal immune boosting tincture to give them.
Now, stay with me here. I didn’t grow up in the 60s, I don’t wear bell bottoms and groovy isn’t my favorite word (although I have been known to say it a time or two). But I have been researching medicinal herbs as an alternative to Western medicine. I figure humans have been using food for thousands of years to make our bodies work so why not try using it now instead of other non-natural products. I know that herbs won’t cure everything but for things like viruses (which antibiotics won’t help anyway), why not try it? I’ve taken an herbal medicine class and made a few concoctions for our family if we catch a cold. Well, turns out that those same herbs can be used for the same purposes in animals.
For us, it would be best to give the goats something in liquid form. That way we can just squirt it into their mouths and know that we’ve given them X amount of X. I can make these liquid remedies but it takes a few weeks of “brewing” while the goats need it now. (In hindsight, I should have made them already but my foresight isn’t as good as my hindsight.) So I compromised. I ordered a bottle of Immune ST from Molly’s Herbals. I decided to order from Molly’s Herbals because they also run the web site Fias Co Farm which is a wonderful site for goat owners. They have so much information and are extremely knowledgeable on all things goats. I really appreciate their willingness to share what they know and the things they make for their animals. I’ll use their tincture on the goats now while I get to work making my own.
I think the cold just needs time to run it’s course. But if there is anything I can do to help it along and make the girls feel more comfortable until it’s gone, I’m willing to give it a try. So I’m off to start my hippy, er, witchy, um, total-normal-for-everyday-people brewing of medicinal herbal concoctions while I wait for my package in the mail.
Have a groovy day, dude!
PS: No one at Molly’s Herbals knows me. These are not affiliate links and I get nothing from them for talking about them. I haven’t used their products yet so I can’t say how well they will work.
This post is linked to a new blog hop I stumbled across called The Country Homemaker Hop. Check it out for some other great blogs!