Lee and I have been fighting the runs since spring. I mean the runs in the
goats, not us. No problems here, unless we have a Big Mac and then the attack
comes afterwards. Let's get off that line of thought.
Anyway, we've never had problems with diarrhea in our herd before and we've
been seriously raising goats for 7 years. One of the Angoras might get a
dirty bottom, but usually a good worming took care of the problem. We sold
off most of the Angoras, keeping only a few, and kept most of the Nubians to
breed to Boer bucks.
This year we noticed the runs in one or two in each group of goats. Not all
of them, but one here, two there, one this week, one next week. We took fecal
tests, no worms, nothing showed up to merit the diarrhea.
Lee and I would stand in one group of goats, see some dirty bottoms run by,
Lee would say, "It's your turn to put the thermometer in."
I would answer, "Let me go get my rain slicker, my rubber boots, and my rubber
It's amazing how much faster an older kid with the runs is. It's easy to
catch the adults. They've been handled a lot and usually aren't too upset
when we take hold of their collars. But, a kid seems to have this extra jet
propulsion when he has the runs. He gallops off, leaving a stream of liquid
behind to gag his enemy and making it dangerous to follow too close behind.
It must be nature's way in defending her goats. One fall in that stuff and
you don't want to catch the goat.
Now that we mainly have these white goats with red heads running around, have
you ever noticed that when one goat gets the runs everyone wants to be his
best bud? It's like they say, "Hey, guy, getting ready to squirt again? Wait
a minute so I can be standing behind you." Or, "Hey, the guy with the runs
needs someone to rub his rear on. Me first!" Or, "Hey, the fellow with the
runs is laying down. Let's all lay down behind him and against him so when it
runs out we'll be the first to soak it up!" Or, " I hear Connie has invited
people out to look at us. Let's make sure we are particularly slimy. Where's
that guy with the runs?"
I told Lee once I had read that the color of the runs gives you a clue to what
is going on. So, we stood out in the field and looked at the goats. "Okay,"
Lee says, "what does army green mean?"
"I don't know. Isn't that more of an olive green? How about over there. Is
that a cucumber green? Now that looks more like fresh corn shuck green."
Next week I hear Lee say, " Now this looks like spit chewing tobacco. Or,
"Don't say it. You know I love chocolate pudding. Don't say it. Do you
think there's a color chart for diarrhea so we'll know if we're getting into
trouble?" I ask. "Maybe it's that E Colon."
"E-coli," Lee corrects.
"Or, maybe it's that cockle odious."
"Coccidiosis. We tested, didn't have it, and treated everyone for it anyway,"
Lee says, still studying our latest goat to get the runs.
"Well, maybe I can take pictures, carry them with me, and when I meet a goat
breeder, have them look at them," I say, as inspiration hits.
Lee gives me an odd look. I've run out of ideas by now. We worm, we test, we
take temps, and they get over it in a day or two. Some continue to happily
eat while flowing, others stand there and say, "Woe is me." Only one or two
at a time, never a big group, and usually a day or two or even a week or two
apart. Unless they have a stash of Big Mac's out in the field I don't know
about, I have no idea what's causing these attacks.
Connie Reynolds - Autumn Farm