After preparing our farm, we were blessed with a lovely little herd family from Kennewick, Washington. As anyone from the Great Northwest knows, Kennewick is hot and dry in the summer and winters are very cold with lots of snow. Both seasons are extreme.In Kennewick, summertime offers in places where there isn’t regular irrigation, very little foraging in grasses and lush greenery from an abundant variety of trees and shrubs.
Our goats took a several hour road trip to our place in Southwestern Washington from Kennewick. In contrast to Kennewick and the rest of Eastern Washington, La Center(where our farm is located) is very green and VERY wet. Though we have a ton of rain, typically raining 10 months out of the year, the weather is generally mild. We have little to no snow, pretty consistent temperatures with only a few days throughout the winter that fall down to freezing. We also have fresh,very rich green food stuff IN ABUNDANCE all year round.
The Trouble Begins….
We received our goats with great joy and anticipation. We had carefully prepared our land with appropriate fencing, bought the alfalfa hay we needed, was sure to have grain for those in milk, and did so much research on raising dairy goats that my head was spinning with all the information. Within days after welcoming our little goat family, we quickly came to realize that one of our dear ladies was not faring too well. She was perfectly healthy when we received her initially. Her eyes were bright, her coat shiny, and she was full of personality. Overnight, it seemed, she went downhill quickly and we felt completely overwhelmed with worry that we must have done something wrong or endangered her in some way. This is where our trusted goat mentors came in.
Ask For Help…
When starting something new, it is wise to have a mentor.Always glean everything that you can and become a willing disciple, if you will, to someone who has tread the path you are about to travel and has done it successfully. With our home dairy journey, we chose well to listen to the knowledgeable advice of the precious folk at Daystar’s Farm in Woodland Washington, about 15 minutes north of us. They have been long time friends for 17+ years and have successfully raised goats for at least as long.
Daystar’s mama came over with her brood and examined our sickly goat.
Her milk supply had greatly decreased, her eyes dull, her tail down and wet with yuck, she had a low-grade fever and very loose stool. While everyone else seemed fine, she had no appetite and was very, very tired. The other goats stools had soften a little as well,but were already returning back to the healthy goat berry consistency you would expect. We considered the possibility of coccidiosis but they were regularly maintained against parasites. The diagnosis of our sick little goat mama was “Shipping Sickness”. Ravon was a healthy strong goat, but the stress of changing from one type of environment to a completely different one and the resulting change in diet was too much. We soon realized our rich, wet grasses and herbs were a bit of a shock for her and she needed help adjusting.
What I found with study is that “Shipping Sickness” often causes great suffering and ultimately the demise of livestock that have been affected by it.So many do not survive, that it has become a sort of worrisome fear of those that need to travel with their goats for various reasons. It is not contagious, though if you have several goats that were shipped from one place to another involving some sort of stress to the digestive tract, many may be at risk. It is basically caused by CHANGE. Sudden change in temperatures, humidity, shelter, and or diet may send your goats entire body into shock causing the Rumin to stop working. As any goat owner knows, goats do not like change.
Without the Rumin working effectively, bacteria develops quickly in the gut and an inflammatory response kicks in, causing diarrhea, fever, lethargy, dehydration, and ultimately, death.
I’m not really sure where the original recipe came from, but My friendly goat mentor shared a recipe with me that has become a fail safe remedy for virtually anything that involves the gut health of my goats and proved to work EXCEPTIONALLY on our Ravon girl and her “Shipping Sickness”. I was so happy with this recipe and how quickly it worked for her, I want to share it here so others may be spared the trauma of watching one of your own goats suffer as Ravon did.She was fortunate. We watched her closely and treated her quickly. She healed well with no ill side affects. I am praying that by sharing this healing protocol with you, you can potentially save the life of your goat and do it NATURALLY.
Treatment was as follows:
2 times daily, I gave Ravon 10cc’s orally of what we here at Breezee Creek Farm like to call “RUMI-CHAI TUMMY TEA”. We did this faithfully, morning and evening. Having her head placed in the stanchion, I would have one of my boys straddle her waist and hold her mouth open while we talk sweet nothings to her. As we talk peacefully but work quickly, I then place the syringe filled with 10 cc’s of chai tea mixture through the side of her mouth and as far back as possible , squirting it into the back of the mouth. She WILL fight you as you attempt this, but once she tastes it, she’ll soon discover her fight was unnecessary as ALL of our goats enjoy this tea immensely.
We continue this procedure till we see her brightening up and her stool firming up a bit. At this point, we then get our trusty syringe out two more times a day and mix 2 tsp of Sodium Bicarbonate ( Baking Soda) in enough water to make a liquidy paste. I then use the syringe and suck up the paste into the tube and use the same technique as I did to get the chai tea down her throat to get the baking soda down. She won’t appreciate this as well, but after a few days of just the tea, she will be generally more willing to taste what is in the “treat tube”. This Baking Soda is to help get her Rumin reactivated, balancing the Ph level of the gut. The first day adding the Baking soda, I do two doses, but after this I only do one a day and continue till your goats stool is completely normal. This may take up to two weeks, though your goat may be acting much healthier within only a few short days. After a few days of this, and her gut seems to be receiving treatment satisfactorily, I then add one dose of probiotics daily. You may give this in the form of “Probios” made for livestock and used as prescribed on the back of the oversized oral syringe. If you do not have that on hand, you can use Human probiotics either in the form of high quality greek yogurt in a syringe ( not easy to get out of syringe and into throat) or bolus two pills of probiotic combination into throat, or break open and mix with water and place into another 10 cc syringe and squirt down her throat.
This may seem complicated, but it really isn’t. I make the tea in large batches and keep in a jar in the fridge for safe keeping. Baking soda, if left out as free choice in a container along side kelp and minerals, she MAY eat it as she needs it, but not all will. Administering via syringe orally, is something that gets easier the more you do it. Remember that what you are doing is potentially saving your goats life which is not only a fun pet to have around and a loving companion, but most often a huge monetary investment as well as a great investment of time. If we take care of our girls, they will take care of us by providing their company and their yummy milk, cheese, yogurt, ice cream, some times meat, more babies to sell or breed, and don’t forget the luxury of goats milk soap!
RUMI-CHAI TUMMY TEA
1 tsp. slippery elm powder.
1tsp. ground Ginger.
1 tsp. ground cloves.
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon.
to 1 cup boiling water.
6 cc’s for babies, 10cc’s adults, 2x daily.
We have found the above healing protocol to also be useful for other forms of gut distress.
One day, after buying a shipment of grain, we had emptied a full 25# bag of barley into its own garbage can. We typically have in the milk parlor, a can of barley, a can of oats, a can of alfalfa pellets and other treats such as organic Pumpkin Seeds, Sunflower Seeds, etc as they are available to feed our girls as we milk them on the stanchion. One evening we went out as a family to a special event after the last milking for the evening. All the girls down at the barn were safely tucked in for the night and we left fully knowing our girls were contentedly resting for the evening.
Unbeknownst to us,”Prettie” (an exceptionally smart and persistent mama goat) figured out how to open up the lock on the outside of the milking parlor. what we came down to the barn to find the next morning was horrific! Every goat, all 11, had HUGE guts. They were moaning in pain and their stool wasn’t soft , but more like MUD PUDDLE fountains pouring out of them. their eyes were dull and they were unable to move. Some were worse than others. It was obvious that some must have eaten more than the rest.What we found was the milk parlor unlocked and opened, and the barley can tipped over with over 20 POUNDS of grain MISSING!! No wonder they were sick.
We knew we had little time before we would need to consider involving a vet which we really felt like we could not afford to treat EVERY goat we own all at once. We got out our RUMI-CHAI TUMMY TEA and dosed All of them. I gave them also, each a dose of Baking soda and put a generous amount down at the barn for free choice eating. We continued to prayerfully treat our girls with our chai tea mixture and began adding probiotics. As many farmers know, we were at risk of losing many of our girls due to bloat, or what we call “Glutton Gut”.
All I can tell you is that this stuff WORKS! Our goat girls were cured and feeling much relieved very quickly! They still had loose stool for almost two weeks, but had firmed up considerably within only a couple of days. We had to continuously clean out the barn as the acrid smell of their sickened feces was overwhelming, but the girls got WELL!! We are SOOO grateful!
Needless to say, to add another lock to the milk parlor door was at the top of the list. We actually set up Prettie. We soon caught her red-handed with our very own eyes, unlocking the latch with her lips only three days after this horrible incident. we now have a half-door with a lock on both the inside and outside of the door.
So try RUMI-CHAI TUMMY TEA out. We think you’ll be pleased.
Happy dairy goat gut health every one!