There will come a time when a member of your goat herd falls ill, and providing an electrolyte will be necessary to possibly save her life. It’s not necessary to run to the feed store to pick up a manufactured electrolyte powder, instead turn to your pantry. I’m willing to bet that everything you will need to make a homemade goat electrolyte is already there.
Scours (diarrhea) is a common factor for dehydration, and with goats they can go downhill quickly once they become dehydrated. Sadly, they often need their caretaker’s assistance to get through this issue. There are a few signs that your goat may be dehydrate ~ lack of urination, scours, fever, extreme weather conditions or quick fluctuations in environmental temperature, injuries (large or small) can cause bring it on. Let’s face it, goats are difficult to care for. But being prepared will help you to quickly help them.
Our youngest goat came down with a case of scours overnight, and though she didn’t look ill I could tell immediately what was going on when I saw how messy her backend was. I instantly grabbed a tube of Probios and went to make some homemade electrolytes for her. It will take about 5 minutes from start to finish to make, costing you less than $0.25 to make 4 quarts, and it contains natural ingredients in which you will be able to pronounce.
From your pantry you will need:
- 1 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 teaspoon salt (we use sea salt)
- 8 tablespoons molasses or raw honey
- 4 quarts of warm water
Once all the ingredients are mixed together you can immediately begin dispensing it.
To drench our goats we use a livestock syringe, and if you do not have one I would suggest you pick one up. It’s amazing and we use it often for herbal drenches, natural worming, electrolytes, and if we should ever need to, a baking soda drench for bloating. Luckily, we have yet to deal with bloat in our goats, but much like scours, it can happen quite quickly.
If your goat is up and willing to cooperate you don’t have to worry about drenching her. Simply replace her water with the electrolyte and let her drink. If she is refusing to voluntarily drink, move to Plan B, which can prove to be a bit difficult if you are doing it alone.
In our case Miss Piper was still mobile and catching her is never an easy thing, ever. I was lucky to have my husband home with me, as he held her I went to work. But if you are managing this alone I find that backing your goat into a corner and straddling her is the easiest method to keep her from escaping.
With one hand I hold her under the mouth, lifting her head gently, and then pry open her mouth with my thumb and pointer finger. The syringe is placed toward the back of her mouth, and I slowly release the electrolyte from the syringe. Slow is the key, you do not want her to choke.
I provided Miss Piper 4 quarts every 2 hours for 12 hours. Additional to the electrolyte we provided Probios every 4 hours for the rest of the day, and a few days to follow.
If your goat is down, and not capable of swallowing the electrolyte on her own immediately call your vet. I am not a veterinarian, and am providing information on how we treated our goat. Homemade goat electrolyte is provided to help hydrate your animal in a pinch, but should never replace veterinarian care.