Pink Milk Isn’t Mastitis by Irene Ramsay

Irene responds to an oft-asked question: My young doe has blood in her milk, why is this happening, is it mastitis?

First off, this isn’t mastitis, it’s usually referred to as ‘pink milk’. Pink milk, in all its shades, is a metabolic disturbance and is usually caused by lack of available blood calcium. Blood in the milk can be a sign that the doe hasn’t enough available blood calcium. Usually this is because she has drained her skeleton to the limit and hasn’t yet started storing more calcium from her feed.

In my experience, most forms of mastitis in goats are also metabolic or traumatic, in which case antibiotics don’t mend them, because they are not caused by bacteria. Even when mastitis is caused by bacteria, antibiotics often don’t work on goats nearly so well as the good old-fashioned remedies goat people and midwives have been using for 1000s of years.

Pink milk can happen any time in lactation if there’s lack of blood calcium for some reason, but most usually in the first 3-4 months of lactation, when the goat’s skeleton is at its most drained of calcium.

It can also happen, along with thickening udder tissue, if the doe needs a bit more cobalt to process the calcium. My experience. [Extra cobalt can be by bolus, 1% solution or using B12 injections.] The ideal treatment for pink milk, in my experience, is 1 tablespoon of limewater twice daily until the milk shows no residue at the bottom of the container after standing for an hour or two. However, trying to find limewater these days is pretty hopeless. The simplest way to treat it is to give the doe 1 teaspoon dolomite (powder) daily, mixed in the ration.

You can also offer the doe one pint of her own milk after each milking, if she’ll take it. This helps the calcium level, too. It’s tempting to let them drink more than that, but from personal experience, I’ve found more than a pint at a time gives some goats acidosis, so I’m stingy with it.

Keep up the dolomite for about a month after the pink stops. Some stop right away, some take several days. It’s a waste of effort to give more than 1 teaspoon a day as that’s about the limit the body will absorb efficiently in 24-hours.

Goats that are normally on a high calcium diet are less efficient at absorbing calcium than those with less diet calcium. If the diet is calcium-rich (more than 2:1 ration with phosphorus) use DCP (di-calcium phosphate) instead, dose by weight on the container. It’s used for bitches mostly.

You need to consider whether the low blood calcium level could be due to a cal:phos imbalance. If the phosphorus isn’t high enough, you can give yeast instead of dolomite, same dose of 1 teaspoon daily.

Deficiency in copper and/or cobalt may also affect the blood calcium levels, as both minerals a required in minute quantities to absorb diet calcium into the system.

The milk won’t hurt the kids. The reason you have the blood in it, is that milk is made by processing blood, and the manufacturing process is not quite up to par, so some of the blood is coming through unprocessed. You can use it yourself, if you want to. After the milk has stood for a while wherever you cool it, the pink material sinks to the bottom, so you can pour off the top level and use it without having pink colour/blood spots. The bottom layer can prove quite thick, and is slightly salty to taste.

How long does your young doe have to go between the night milking and the next morning? Try and make her 3 milkings 8 hours apart, or even go to 4 milkings 6 hours apart. Yeah, it’s tiring, but I’ve had to do it. In another month, her udder will have adjusted better to the amount it has to carry, and you can drop back to twice daily. My experience. And you’ll be pleased to know, it shouldn’t happen her next lactation, she’ll be an old hand by then.

The clumpy bits you can get from pink milk – irregularly shaped pieces of tissue? These also commonly occur in traumatic damage to the udder, including some forms of mastitis. It’s the damaged tissue coming away and exiting through the teat sphincter. This is a good sign as it shows healing is taking place. The damaged tissue has been sloughed off by new healthy tissue. Just like if you graze or cut yourself, the damaged surface finally comes off when healing has taken place underneath.

Wormy solid, cheese-like milk you may squeeze out of an unhappy udder – and sometimes out of a perfectly healthy udder if the butterfat is high: these worms generally come out at the start of milking. The more solid part of the milk has sunk to the bottom of the milk reservoir by gravity, so it has to come out first, and what has sat in the teat canal since the last milking has simply congealed. If it is followed by normal milk, it is NOT disease, just maybe you should milk oftener or test the butterfat and solids-not-fat to ease your mind. Where the solid material in the milk is more like fine grit, most usually called sub-clinical mastitis, this in my experience is an indication of cobalt deficiency. You can’t always feel this coming out, you just see it in the strainer or strip cup. You can also find more solid material at the bottom of milk that’s been standing a while. This generally happens when a doe is starting to dry off. She’s cut down the volume of liquid being produced but hasn’t yet adjusted the butterfat and solids-not-fat content, so it’s thicker. Makes good yoghurt.

If you find such solid material at the bottom of milk from a doe in full milk, her intake of calcium is too high for her needs. If I’ve been giving dolomite to mine over the kidding and early lactation period because of very lush pasture, or no pasture at all (drought), when I see the solids at the bottom after the milk’s been standing, I know it’s time to stop the dolomite till next time it’s needed.

– Irene Ramsay.
Click here for all the Wisdom of Irene Ramsay articles
Irene asked that I include her email address for anyone that has queries. Her email address is shown below in an image, you may also use this contact form.

I am acquainted with Irene Ramsay through the Holistic Goats list on Yahoo Groups. I read all of her posts as they are always full of wisdom and natural remedies for healing. I am honored that Irene Ramsay has agreed to allow me to publish some of her articles on my website. I hope they will be as helpful to you as they have been to me. Thanks, Irene! Please note that Irene lives in New Zealand and sometimes the items she recommends won’t be available in the US under the same name. Copyright 1974-2020 Irene Ramsay. All Rights Reserved. Do not copy without express permission of the author. Thank you.

Worms – Visible Signs and Treatment by Irene Ramsay

First up, it helps to keep daily records of the milk each doe gives. Simplest way is a 14-column cash book, which gives you morning and evening columns for a week. Get into the habit of using this twice a day, and you can note all sorts of other things at the same time, like worming, foot-trimming, coming on heat, and the weather. You need to allow that the weather will affect yields even if the goats spend most of their time indoors. Excessive cold, heat or wind affect yields.

Rightoh, now you’ve got some idea of what to expect milk-wise, watch the yields carefully. If a doe’s yield drops when no-one else’s does, have a think. Has she done something different from the others in the previous 24-hours? Like:

  • mischief
  • visiting a buck
  • going to a show
  • Is she in heat, or has she just gone off?

Any of these, her yield should come back up in 24-hours. If you’ve eliminated all these:

  • is she eating her ration as eagerly as usual?
  • Or is she a little slow, or even not interested?
  • Are her ears drooping?
  • Is her head down?
  • Does she look hollower than usual behind the ribs?
  • Is her back slightly arched?
  • Is her fur sticking up like she had the shivers?
  • Is she tending to cower away from the others if they are being rambunctious?
  • Has her udder texture changed? (This one is rare, but my current queen doe’s teats and udder feel thicker when she needs worming. They are back to normal 24-hours after worming.)
  • Has she a frown between her eyesAre her lips tight (unhappy) or smiling?
  • Are her eyes introspective instead of inquisitive?
  • Put it this way, does she look like you feel when you’ve got a rampageous belly-ache?
  • Check the insides of her eyelids. If they are pale, that’s anaemia, and it is usually worms.

I found this a great indicator where I lived for 32 years, because all the minerals were marginal, and unwellness in an animal immediately showed up in the eyelids. However, the minerals where I now live are so good that I have to judge by the body language only.

Worm the goat, note the wormer used, the date given, and the amount given. This is important because you need to know:

  • Is the wormer working? (Her not-well symmptoms should fade/disappear in 12-24 hours.)
  • Did you give enough? If you didn’t, she won’t improve.
  • How long before the doe shows similar signs?
  • If she improves for a week, then starts to go down again, she shows signs that she has had hibernating worms, so worm her again. That should bring her right, but occasionally a doe has even more hibernators which pop up when you zonk these ones, so you’ll have to do her again in a week if she shows symptoms.

Consider what happens when a bear emerges from hibernation in the spring, it is ferociously hungry and in attack mode. Hibernating stomach worms are the same. If those already feeding are eliminated, the others emerge in vast numbers and all latch on at once sucking blood like fury. They aren’t going to show up in a faecal for at least another 2 weeks after they’ve latched on because they have to mature to lay eggs to show up in the faecal. By that time a goat can be long dead of blood loss and shock. So you can’t wait on science, you have to use your eyes and instincts.

Anyway, whatever is wrong with a goat, a good worming doesn’t go amiss, simply because an ailment means stress, and stress has all the worms yelling “Let’s have an Orgy!!!!” so even if the goat didn’t have a worm problem before it got unwell, or kidded, it will have in 24-hours or so. Better to stop the little sods in their tracks before they get started.

If the eyelids have a yellowish tinge, whether pink or pale, the liver is upset – do you have liver fluke in your area, or did the goat come from an area with fluke? If this is a possibility, worm with a flukocide as well. Keep a note of the fluke worming as you will have to repeat it according to instructions on the container or by your vet or extension agent who know the needs or your area. If they aren’t knowledgeable about goats, ask about sheep, alpacas and ponies. Their reactions to worms in your area will be more helpful than cattle, because sheep, alpacas/llamas, ponies and goats like their herbage in a less lush state than cattle.

Apart from milk yield, obviously, the same body language symptoms show up in kids, dry stock and bucks. You’ll notice I haven’t mentioned droppings so far. That’s because the body language stuff generally shows up long before the droppings change in appearance/consistency/colour/smell. However, you do get the odd goat that suddenly just goes Splat! with no previous indication. The earliest change in droppings that indicates worms looks like fine threads like your glue-gun does (only tinted), and these threads tangle round the nannyberries so they are tangled like a necklace. Other changes like clumps looking like giant boysenberries, or smooth torpedo shapes, or cowpats (splats) are not always worms, they can be spring growth, or pigging out on fruit, or something, so have a think.

Observe. What body language? And if my most temperamental doe decides to send another goat into orbit, chances are I will find that goat with a filthy tail just because the effect of Freni’s head in the guts leads to rapid evacuation of the bowels!

You need to know that a goat’s natural immunity to coccidia is compromised if the intestinal and stomach worm levels are too high. Worming for them allows the immunity to coccidia to kick-in again properly within about 24-hours. Except for young kids (under 6 weeks) it is rare to need to treat for coccidia unless your ground is chronically wet/muddy.

Tapeworms are not normally a problem with goats, as small ruminants tend to evacuate them after a short time anyway, all by themselves. Occasionally an animal will have an enormous load, like the only one I ever knew (belonged to a friend). All her other goats were fine, this one was skinny. Ivomec had just come out and a dose made the most enormous heap of tapeworms come out, and the goat started putting on weight at last. Yeah, I know, Ivomec isn’t supposed to do that, and maybe it was just coincidence that the doe had come to the evacuation point with her tapeworms when she got the sheep oral Ivomec I’ve only twice seen tapeworm segments in any of my goats’ droppings. In both cases I never saw them again and no treatment was given.

Always bear in mind that a healthy goat has pretty much of a symbiotic relationship with its gut parasites. A goat with no gut parasites is no healthier than a goat with too many. An egg count of 500 or less per gram of faeces is healthy. 500-1000 is watch-it. 1000-3500, worming is an idea if the animal is not quite itself. But I had a couple of bucks on 1000 who showed symptoms of needing wormed, while the 3500 count buck who was pigging out on my wormwood did not show symptoms.

Addendum in response to my comment about goats living in harmony with their wormload:

One of the times we were having real bad mineral problems (the time it was the fault of the place that made our special mineral mix), the vet and I did faecals. We did the best, the worst, fattest, thinnest, oldest, youngest, wellest, and sickest of each breed. The sickest Saanen had a nil reading for worms, and the sickest Alpine had a reading of 7500. Everybody else was in between those extremes. Vet kept wandering round saying “It’s Impossible, for such variations to occur.”

But a worm free goat is NOT a healthy goat, any more than an ultra-clean 2-showers a day human is a healthy human. Latest findings are that people should aim at no more than 2-3 showers A WEEK for optimum health. But that’s by the way. We all have microscopic external parasites, for instance, round our eyelashes, and if they diminish in numbers or disappear altogether from excessive cleanliness, serious eye disorders can occur. Same with other parts of the body but that’s the one which sticks in my memory (tv programme when I was a teenager).
Many parasites do live in a symbiotic relationship with their host, until a trigger factor upsets things. The idea is control, not elimination. A goat with no worms is not only not in the best of health, but will come down like a ton of bricks when exposed to worms. Back in 1976, goats in Canterbury only had trichs. Then 3 studs showed at Ellesmere Show, where some very shitty cows were banished from the cow lines and put with the goats. Within 3 months, all 3 studs had goats dying of Ostertagia from the shitty cows. Within a year, all the goats in Canty had them because the 3 studs had the males everybody else used. Not so many years later, 100s of Arapawa goats were removed from the Island because otherwise the Forest Service woul hunt and kill them. Within months, many of them succumbed to Ostertagia, because they’d only had Trichs before. The stress of being captured and confined in paddocks didn’t help, of course, as worms love stress.

– Irene Ramsay.
Click here for all the Wisdom of Irene Ramsay articles

Irene asked that I include her email address for anyone that has queries. Her email address is shown below in an image, you may also use this contact form.

I am acquainted with Irene Ramsay through the Holistic Goats list on Yahoo Groups. I read all of her posts as they are always full of wisdom and natural remedies for healing. I am honored that Irene Ramsay has agreed to allow me to publish some of her articles on my website. I hope they will be as helpful to you as they have been to me. Thanks, Irene! Please note that Irene lives in New Zealand and sometimes the items she recommends won’t be available in the US under the same name. Copyright 1974-2020 Irene Ramsay. All Rights Reserved. Do not copy without express permission of the author. Thank you.

Disbudding Kids by Irene Ramsay

The age to disbud kids varies from breed to breed. An approximate guide is:

Toggenburg 1-7 days
Saanen & Boers 2-10 days
Alpine 4-18 days
Nubian, Angora, feral 5-20 days

Toggenburg 2-10 days
Saanen & Boers 4-21 days
Alpine 6-21
Nubian, Angora, feral 7-25 days

Toggenburgs have a much broader horn base than the other breeds, which is why their hornbuds ripen earlier. Some bloodlines in all breeds have early maturing hornbuds, and some have slow maturing hornbuds, hence the wide timescales I have given. I have both fast and slow maturing hornbuds in my herd, and sometimes when I have crossed the two lines, I have had one twin needing early disbudding, while the other has been left another week.

It is important not to disbud too soon. If you do, you will find the hornbuds difficult to remove, and there will be a lot of scur regrowth – more than if you do the disbudding a few days later than the optimum for that particular kid.

A hornbud which still looks no more than a tiny pinhead pimple on the skin is too immature to do successfully. Wait until you can feel a raised area forming under the pimple, which will also broaden. Kids which are born overdue may need disbudding earlier than the guide says. Kids which are born prematurely should be left until their official birth date or longer, if possible, as prem kids often have noticeable hornbuds because their skulls haven’t grown into them. The worst case of regrowth I ever had was doing a prem kid’s horns a week before he should have been born.

It is possible to disbud horns which have emerged through the skin to a height of about 2 cm but it can mean some messy regrowth in the wider hornbase breeds (Togg, Saanen), and is a longer job for the kid to suffer; not to mention the bruises you’ll get because the kid is bigger and kicks harder.

Disbudding irons may heat off car batteries, gas bottles, electricity, a blowlamp or an open fire. The old-style open-fire types are very heavy and the working head is too small in diameter for kid buds – newborn calves’ hornbuds are smaller.

The irons I use are adapted soldering irons. The 50 watt iron has a head 19 mm in diameter, which experiment showed was the maximum size for that wattage. It does most doe kids. The 90 watt iron has a 22 mm diameter head and is used for buck kids, and doe kids with wide or overripe hornbuds.

Any wattage lower than 50 does not seal the wound sufficiently as it isn’t hot enough.

Some breeders like to use up to 200 watt heat, but it is necessary to work very fast because the extra heat can cause brain damage, and the faster you work the less likely you are to do a thorough job, unfortunately. Also, a 200 watt iron is much too heavy for most women to use with dexterity. Like footrot shears, disbudding irons need to be matched to their users.

My irons are both concave, so that they burn round the edge of the hornbud. This type has the advantage that you can feel when you have burnt through the skin to the skull, and can flick the hornbud out. I have used a flat-head iron but found it slower, and hard to judge when I had reached the skull. As the hornbud is not flicked out with this type of iron, if you don’t go deep enough, regrowth is considerable. I don’t recommend it for novices, although you may find you prefer it after doing a few dozen kids with a concave iron to get your hand in.

An electric iron takes 20 minutes to half-an-hour to reach full heat, depending on its diameter, and you won’t get a good result if you try to use it too soon. If you are using it outside, a cold wind can stop it from reaching full heat, too.

I now plug my irons in through an anti-surge plug, because they were affected by power fluctuations in this area. Whatever form of heating your iron uses, you can test it on a piece of wood – if it leaves a dark burn mark, it is hot enough.

You will also need:

  • a sharp penknife
  • a small bottle of methylated spirits (methyl alcohol)
  • a pair of sharp short-bladed scissors for cutting the hair off the hornbuds
  • a water-base felt tip pen – I prefer a green one as this shows up on all skin colours
  • and a powder dressing for the wounds

I use Aureomycin Pink Eye Powder as I’ve found the Terramycin itches and the kids scratch the wounds with their hooves. Charcoal powder from the pharmacist is also good. It is wise to have Negasunt on hand for the rare kid which bleeds and won’t stop, as it is a good clotting agent as well as a wound dressing, but care must be taken not to get it in the kid’s eyes. I haven’t used Negasunt more than a dozen times, and I’ve done 100’s of kids by now. [Negasunt now requires a vet prescription. You’ll get the same result with baking soda, cayenne pepper, or flour, just don’t get them in the kid’s eyes.]

You will also need something to lay the hot iron on when you aren’t using it – a thick piece of wood or a coal shovel are popular. It helps always to lay your tools out in the same order, so that you can work without hesitation – the less stress on the kid, the better. I also have an old sack to kneel on; this is easier on my knees and more comfortable for the kid, as I tuck the kid between my legs and sit on my heels to hold it in place ( the sack also soaks up the occasional little accident, buck kids are worse).

You may prefer to have someone else hold the kid, or use Val McMillan’s tattooing box. I’m short-sighted enough to be a danger to the head and hands of another holder – at least my left hand knows what my right hand is doing and it has to be a very wriggly kid for me to burn myself by mistake.

Always pick a place with good light, preferably at an angle across the kid’s head towards you, so that you don’t have awkward shadows.

Now, the tools are laid out ready, the kid is restrained by whatever method you’ve chosen, you are ready for stage one:

  1. Open the penknife, dunk the blade in the meths and lay it aside to dry.
  2. Put the top back on the meths bottle, you don’t want to start a fire by mistake.
  3. Next trim off all the hair round the hornbuds. Be generous, cut off plenty, so you have a good view of the working area. It is best to have at least 5 mm of clear area beyond the diameter of the iron. The less hair to get into the wounds, the less likely an infection can occur. Take your time, and trim off all the hair between the hornbuds. For buck kids, trim further forward and further back than for doe kids, as the procedure is slightly different.
  4. Mark the centre of the hornbud with the felt tip pen. For some kids this mightn’t seem necessary but it is a good habit to get into, because with coloured kids and all buck kids, you will need the dot as a guide.
  5. Next, fold the kid’s ears back under your spare hand and hold them tight to the sides of the head – this keeps the ears out of your way, and the head still. I also rest the kid’s chin on my thigh.
  6. For doe kids: aim to get the green dot in the centre of the iron when you lower it firmly to the head. If you aren’t firm the kid will wriggle out from under and the wrong things are likely to get scorched. The kid will undulate and yell as you press down, rotating the iron slightly until you feel it grate on the skull. Make sure the grating is right round the circumference of the iron. Once you are through the skin all round, the kid should stop yelling (Alpines don’t always) as you have killed all the nerves.
  7. Lift off the iron and use the edge of it to flick the hornbud out of the centre of the burn. If you don’t flip it out, it can re-attach and the kid grows horns.
  8. Once you have flipped the bud out, use the edge of the iron to sear the damp skull dry. This helps seal off the temporal artery if your original burn hasn’t completed the job. Some kids can bleed slightly, but often just on one bud.
  9. Now that the bud is done to your satisfaction, use the penknife to clean any detritus from the iron. Make sure the muck doesn’t land on the kid’s head.
  10. Now do the other hornbud the same way. Dust the wounds with the powder of your choice and return the kid to its owner/mother/mates.
  11. Clean the iron again, wipe the penknife and dunk the blade in the meths. You are now ready to do the next kid.
  12. Bucks grow their horns in ridges forward and inwards, and their musk glands are inward and backward, so disbudding aims to deal with both horn growth and demusking. If your iron is small diameter, you may need to do three burns. A wider diameter iron will need only one burn, but it must be in the right place.
  13. The green dot on the hornbud needs to be off-centre of the iron this time, with more of the iron’s head towards the centre of the skull and slightly forward. If you are behind the kid’s head, like me, the left green dot should be 8 o’clock from the centre of the iron, and the right green dot at 4 o’clock. See diagram.
  14. At first sight, it seems simpler to hold the kid’s head still by gripping the nose. But, if it wriggles hard enough, or the disbudding is a long job for some reason, you can restrict its breathing, so this makes it panic and wriggle harder, or throttle it altogether (I know 2 men this happened to), or leave a deep groove across the side of the nose from your thumb pressing into the soft bone, and the goat goes through the rest of its life with a wry face. I did this to one of mine, which is why I developed the over-the-ears grip.

Working from behind the kid means you are at a better angle to the buds, as they slope backwards and it is easier to burn through to the skull at the back if you are at that angle, especially if the buds have been allowed to get a little too big.

Disbudding is usually done cold turkey because goats are bad subjects for anaesthesia. For safety’s sake the kid needs to be at least a week-old for anaesthetic, and by this time the hornbuds can be well overripe especially in bucks.

Disbudding takes about 2 minutes all up, and once it is done, the kid isn’t bothered (I’ve heard a human baby scream for 20 minutes after being vaccinated) – it is much like a trip to the dentist, except for a kid, it only happens once. However, a kid will take 12-24 hours to throw off the effects of a general anaesthetic, during which time it must be kept warm and carefully monitored in case of pneumonia from lying around too long. If the weather is very hot heatstroke is a real risk post-anaesthetic, too. The kid may be slow to start feeding. A kid under general anaesthetic screams and thrashes round more than one done cold turkey, something to do with the way goats’ nerves work, so that the tendency is to increase the anaesthetic which endangers the kid’s chance of survival.

Using local anaesthetic infiltration round the hornbuds appears to cause as much pain as it saves, and has the disadvantage of making the working area (the tissue being burnt) thicker and wetter, with a greater chance of infection because of this. Also, local anaesthetic has an anti-clotting action on the blood and the temporal artery may prove difficult to seal in consequence. I haven’t heard of anyone using spray-on anaesthetic, principally because of the cost factor, I should imagine, as the strength required would probably be about $30 per kid just for the drug. Cold turkey is kinder on both kids and their humans.

Disbudded kids need to be kept dry for a few hours after the job so that the body’s own healing liquids can seal off the wounds to prevent infection, so don’t disbud on a wet day if you can help it.


Be careful not to let milk splashes get into the wounds.

These precautions must be maintained until the scabs drop off, usually about 6 weeks later. Occasionally a kid will knock a scab off early and bleed. Dust the wound with your chosen antibiotic powder.

More occasionally still, a kid will get an infection. This usually looks like grains of raw sugar and the surrounding skin will be reddened. The kid may throw its head from side to side and yowl. Drench it with ½ a soluble aspirin in a little water to fix the headache and lower the inflammation, and spray the infected wound with iodine, having first put your other hand over the kid’s eyes. The iodine dries and heals the infection. If all your kids get infections, the questions are:

  • Was the iron hot enough?
  • Did they get milk splashes?
  • Did some stupid * put fingers or cloths in the wounds?

I always instruct children as well as parents that they must not touch, because it is an unfortunate fact of modern life that many children don’t obey their parents any more, and in extreme cases, kids can die of disbudding infections which shouldn’t have happened in the first place.

Regrowth of scurs is fairly common in bucks as they have such strong horn growth, and sometimes happens in does. The bits are usually loose and get knocked off in the ordinary give and take of herd life. You should not need to interfere unless a scur does a U-ey and starts growing into the goat’s head. The easiest way to remove it is to grip the scur firmly with a pair of slip-joint pliers, the goat does a big objecting wriggle complaining mightily, and you should be left holding the scur while the goat scarpers, somewhat bloody but unbowed. If the scur is firmly anchored to the head, use a bolt-cutter or wire saw to cut through the scur at the arch of the U. That way you are releasing the pressure on the skull, but you shouldn’t hit blood. The scur often grows off in a different and safer direction. If you do hit blood and it pulses out (that temporal artery again) slapping on some stockholm tar (from the saddler) will stop it. A scur which has come off with the slip-joint pliers is only a surface attachment and the blood will clot in a few minutes. On the rare occasion it doesn’t, Stockholm tar is again the best dressing.

It is not a good idea to disbud for an audience unless they are well out of your light, and far enough back so that if they faint they won’t flatten you and the kid with the hot iron under you. For preference, any viewers should be seated, or at least those closest to the demonstrator.

– Irene Ramsay.
Click here for all the Wisdom of Irene Ramsay articles

Irene asked that I include her email address for anyone that has queries. Her email address is shown below in an image, you may also use this contact form.

I am acquainted with Irene Ramsay through the Holistic Goats list on Yahoo Groups. I read all of her posts as they are always full of wisdom and natural remedies for healing. I am honored that Irene Ramsay has agreed to allow me to publish some of her articles on my website. I hope they will be as helpful to you as they have been to me. Thanks, Irene! Please note that Irene lives in New Zealand and sometimes the items she recommends won’t be available in the US under the same name. Copyright 1974-2020 Irene Ramsay. All Rights Reserved. Do not copy without express permission of the author. Thank you.

Your Buck’s Health by Irene Ramsay

The first and most obvious steps in protecting your buck’s health are to worm him regularly, and trim his feet regularly. Bucks are usually kept in fairly restricted quarters, so that they are constantly eating over their own wastes, and therefore re-infecting themselves with worm larvae. Give your buck a hay-rack, rather than putting his hay on the ground, and this will keep his worm-count down, and be less wasteful of fodder. Give him pine or cypress or other aromatic branches to eat, and this will keep his worm-count down, too. I worm my boys before the breeding season starts, and in the spring. If a buck is very busy, he   may need an extra worming part-way through the breeding season. My does get wormed before breeding, and 24-hours after kidding, some years they may need more depending on the weather. However, your worming regime may vary considerably from this, depending on your climate, so the bucks should be wormed when the does are.

Bucks rarely get enough exercise because of the size of their living area, so their feet grow very fast. During the breeding season, it pays to trim the buck’s feet every 3 weeks. A buck with a wormy belly-ache and long sore feet won’t perform well, so it is in your own interest to keep these routine jobs up to date. Bucks’ feet are notoriously hard. Either trim after rain or heavy dew, or scrub his hooves with a nail-brush and warm soapy water. By the time you scrub hoof number 4, hoof number 1 will be soft enough to trim easily. I use footrot shears and a hoof knife for the boys’ feet, with a surform plane if they are so hard I just can’t cut them. In extreme cases, people have been known to use an orbital sander. In summer, my boys have generally let me cut their feet any old where they happened to be, but in the breeding season, each one needs anchored so they can’t ‘help’ or pick a fight with the current victim. You may need acompanion to talk to a sexy buck while you trim his feet, as it is difficult to pedicure while your victim corkscrews round to nibble your ear. And try not to trim male feet when you are menstruating, they generally get rather excited! Most bucks object to having their hind feet trimmed. I think the reason is that they are vulnerable to attack if one hind foot is being firmly held off the ground, and their defensive instincts warn them they aren’t safe in that position. Hence making sure no other goat can get close enough to ‘help’ you, before you start. They don’t object to front hooves being trimmed because they can fight with one front leg off the ground.

Exercise is important to keep your buck healthy. If he has to be tethered or penned all the time, take him for a daily walk, NOT where there are female goats, preferably where he can eat along the way (bushes, prairie grass, etc). If you take him past the girls, he will be so busy ogling them, he won’t eat or exercise, just put up his blood pressure.

Food must be of good quality. Your buck should get the same concentrate rations as your milkers, up to 2 lbs daily if he’s getting a lot of work, less if he’s not, and plenty of well-made weedy hay or feed straw. He will need tempting to eat in the breeding season, so if the food offered is not clean and good, he will just ignore it. You are better to get a well-made hay or straw with weeds through it (which conventional farmers don’t like and sell more cheaply), than to buy a ‘pure’ (weedless) hay that has been rained on, because its actual feed value and palatability will be less. It is better to avoid concentrated hay such as lucerne (alfalfa) or clover, which are rich in protein but don’t have enough roughage. Most bucks receive such a concentrated diet, because of their restricted quarters, that they grow into very narrow, fine-boned animals, and a buck should be broader and heavier boned than his sisters and daughters. If you see he gets plenty of roughage and exercise, he will grow breadth and depth and bone, and live longer. Just think how long you would last if you lived on an exclusive diet of cream cakes and pavlovas. If your buck gets nothing but dairy meal and lucerne and clover, you are doing that to him.

It is not wise to feed any root crops except carrots to bucks (or wethers). Fodderbeet, sugar beet, Swedes, turnips and other roots, in fact all the beet and brassica families, produce insoluble oxalate salts which form crystals in the bladder and cannot pass easily down the male’s long narrow urethra. As the sperm pass down this tube as well, any blockage will make the buck sterile, if nothing worse. If you do need to feed root crops, make sure the males have access to plenty of fresh clean water, and that they drink it! Urinary calculi is a subject I have covered in a separate article, the information would take too much space here.

I do not like feeding any of the leafy beets and brassicas to bucks, either, especially in the mating season, because apart from the oxalates, they tend to give bucks loose bowels. The worst thing that can happen is a scouring buck in the mating season, he’s so centred on sex it is jolly hard to stop the scours! Your buck will enjoy all the branches and other browsing you can cut for him. Always tie things to the fence or put them in a rack; he will eat more and won’t soil it. My bucks got lots of apples because we were in an orcharding area, also carrots and squishy bananas, pears and plums when available. It is worthwhile finding out what is going spare in your area, your buck might fancy it!

Bucks need water. Many drink nearly as much as a lactating doe, if given the opportunity. During the breeding season, when they are often fussy about feed and drink, you may have to give warm or hot water for drinking, to make sure they drink enough. Timothy got UC one cold winter ‘cos he wouldn’t drink cold water on a frosty morning – don’t blame him actually – so from then on I made sure I carted a bucket of warm water out just for him, on cold mornings for the rest of his long life (12½ when he died). During the breeding season, when their heads and beards are filthy, they soil their drinking water frequently, and don’t want to drink it after that – who can blame them. So I use old kitchen sinks as water troughs for males. They hold only 4 gallons, so it is no great loss to have to chuck out a gallon of soiled water twice a day. If your trough is much bigger and you have to chuck out 20 gallons for 1 gallon drunk, that is not just wasteful, it is hard work doing the cleaning.

Overfeeding calcium to your buck, either as milk to a kid, or a calcium supplement, or a high-legume diet, can lead to a lower number of viable sperm being produced, and will pre-dispose to more buck kids because male sperm flourish in an alkaline environment. The buck determines the sex of the kids. Too much calcium, when there is sufficient phosphorus in the diet for the calcium to be absorbed, tends to make an animal sluggish, and can cause bone deformities such as bendy-leg.

Overfeeding phosphorus (lots of grain, dairy meal, etc) will increase your buck’s fertility, but will also drain his bones of calcium, so that he could collapse and die suddenly. Too much phosphorus makes a goat hyperactive, so that it gets worked up at anything, and gallops everywhere.

If you have to feed your does extra minerals (copper, cobalt, iodine or selenium for instance) your buck will need them too. Bucks need a source of salt just like does.

A buck will grow until he is 5-7 years old if he is left to mature naturally, with good balanced feeding. He will live much longer than a buck who is ‘forced’ for the show ring or to make an impressive sale.

The most usual cause of scouring in a buck in the mating season is excitement. Buck kids are especially prone, as their first season is spent dreaming of girls, however few or many wives they may have. In my experience, the buck kid with a few wives is more likely to scour than one with many, because he is frustrated. Once a buck starts to scour in the mating season, whether from excitement, feeding, a chill, or whatever, it is very difficult to stop him. But if you don’t stop him he will wear away to skin and bone in a matter of hours, and because eating has little interest to him at that time of year, it is hard to make him eat binding food to cure him.

It is a good idea to check the bowels of your buck regularly twice a day, morning and evening. Even if your drenching programme is up to date, worm him first, because the worms will party on his stressed guts if you don’t zonk them quick. If you suspect poisoning, deal with that (see Rhododendron Recipes article). If it’s sex, the most effective remedy is often cornflour (cornstarch). It doesn’t just thicken gravy… : Dose for an adult goat is 2 very heaped tablespoons of cornflour mixed to a liquid with about 20 mls of water, and drench. This can be repeated twice daily. Usually works in 24-hours (2 doses), but I have known a very stubborn buck to take 4 days to get back to nannyberries from squish. I prefer maize cornflour but wheat cornflour works, too.

Or you can use electrolytes at the maximum dose on the container as frequently as it permits. If you also require a re-hydration mixture, the following works quite effectively (it is also a good painkiller if you ever need it)

* to a cup of warm water add
* 1 tablespoon vinegar (apple cider vinegar is more nutritious, but white
vinegar works fine)
* 1 teaspoon honey or sugar
* 1 good pinch each of salt, baking soda, and ground ginger

This recipe can be given as often as you like. It may induce sleep in an animal or human who has not been sleeping well, so don’t worry if the goat flakes out on you for a few hours. Sleep is healing.

If your buck gets scours, don’t just say ‘we’ll see if he’s better tomorrow’ because he could be dead by then. Scours will lead to a bellyache, and a buck with a bellyache will not fight his illness, but will get de-hydrated, his blood pressure will drop, and he will die. In an extreme case of bellyache, such as colic or poisoning, if the vet can’t come immediately you ring him, give 4 soluble aspirins in water to a buck kid (6 months to 1 year), or 6 soluble aspirins to a mature buck. This will kill the pain, and once the pain is under control, you can treat the cause of it. Bucks are very susceptible to pain, they will die of it. I once had Kinross down with colic and mild poisoning from eating lilac buds; I kept his pain under control for 72-hours while the lilac worked out of his system. If I hadn’t done this, or alternatively got the vet to give him a painkiller, he would have given up the ghost in 12 hours. Every time the aspirin was wearing off, he’d look at me as if to say ‘I’m gonna die’ so he got another dose. I found the 6 aspirins lasted about 24-hours with him, though I expect it would vary slightly from goat to goat. Aspirin is not the ideal drug for bellyache, as it can rupture the gut in some cases, but when it is a case of that or nothing, use it – at least the animal will not die in agony. Dutch Drops (15 mls) may also help in colic, as does milk of magnesia (2-4 times the adult human dose by weight for an adult goat). [Dutch Drops is a mix of terebinth (vegetable turpentine oil) and flowers of sulphur (yellow sulphur powder) and is a strong anti-colic and diuretic remedy].

A sick buck is susceptible to cold. If you have electricity in your goat house, you can rig up a heat-lamp, but for most of us, it is a case of covers, sacks and hot-water bottles. If he is too weak to stand, you will have to turn him every half hour to keep his circulation going. I like to prop a goat on its chest, because it is less likely to get fluid on its lungs and develop pneumonia in this position. I once had a sick buck kid who had to have a nightlight and have several times left a radio tuned to an easy listening station, turned low, near a sick goat for company, while its human and herdmates are off doing something else.

Unless there is no other choice, you should never give your buck antibiotics (penicillin, tetracycline, etc) from about midsummer on through the breeding season, as they can render him sterile for 2 months or so after the last treatment. Should you have to give him antibiotics for some reason, do not stand him at stud for outside does until he has got one of your own does pregnant (she has been served and has gone more than 21 days without return to heat). It will do his, and your, reputation no good if people keep bringing their does back for return services because the drugs have killed his sperm. They are likely to decide your buck is no good and go somewhere else instead, and spread the word widely, which is worse.

Sulpha (sulfa) drugs do not affect fertility in bucks, I have found. They can usually be used as an alternative to antibiotics. Personally, I prefer sulpha drugs anyway, as many goats take up to 2 months for their rumen bacteria to recover from antibiotics, where sulpha only affects them for about a week. Nowadays we replace the rumen bacteria with probios or yoghurt or yeast, but no-one had thought of that when this article was originally written in 1980.

A buck should never be given steroids – cortisone, for instance – these have been known to affect fertility in stallions from 2 years to life, and I would imagine a similar effect in bucks. TLC (Tender Loving Care) is 90% of the success in treating sick bucks anyway, they are awful wimps when they are sick.

A high fever, for whatever reason, can kill off developing sperm and render a buck temporarily sterile. If this happens in the heat of summer, he will go into the breeding season shooting blanks, which is very frustrating when he has half the county booked in to him. This happened to one of mine when he got a touch of the sun one year! Sometimes a buck will get a sore on the tip of his scrotum, which is the result of burning from ammonia-soaked bedding. It can be cleared up by applying Vaseline, vitamin A ointment, or Rawleighs yellow salve. Frequent clean bedding will stop a recurrence unless you have a buck who does a great puddle on his straw, then lies down on the wet bit. This habit can cause pizzle rot as well. I’ve found a good squirt of iodine works great to dry up the gunge, and the buck doesn’t seem to mind the sting because it stops the itch! Long grass with seed heads, or wet long grass, can also cause pizzle rot, though this cause more often affects fibre goats because the belly fibre is wet and helps to incubate fungal organisms round the pizzle area. Keeping the belly shorn short helps – that fibre is very low grade, anyway, so is no financial loss.

Scrotal mange is usually treated by dosing with an avermectin. Topically, you can apply the avermectin as well, or alternatively, mineral oil to smother the mites. If the buck licks some of this off,
he may have loose bowels next day.

Some bucks have very little hair on the scrotum; in such cases applying sunscreen is a good precaution, you don’t want skin cancer to develop. Some bucks get a hard substance, often black, round their teats and scrotal attachment. This is a type of wax exuded by the body to protect the area, but if allowed to build up, can become most uncomfortable and even lift the skin. It can be removed by bathing gently with warm soapy water to soften and loosen it. Dry him afterwards, and if he looks tender, apply vaseline. Depending on the humidity in your area, your buck may never need this done, or you may have to do it every six months, or for shows.

Sometimes a buck may fall in serving a doe and damage his penis – usually gravel rash (that doesn’t mean he landed on gravel, it means the penis is scraped). He will feel uncomfortable for about 2 weeks, so it is best to rest him, as he is likely to refuse to work anyway. If you try to make him serve, and he finds penetration hurts him, you may damage his performance for life, so it is in your own interests to give him a spell. Bucks are very fussy about cleaning the penis, unlike stallions who have to be cleaned by their handlers, so you do not have to worry about the build up of ammoniate crystals which can cause scratching to the wall of the female’s vagina during mating.

Some bucks burn the skin off the backs of their front legs and nosefrom spraying. To a pint of warm water add 1 tablespoon white vinegar and wash the affected areas. Vinegar is soothing on ammonia damaged skin. Dry and apply vaseline or diaper cream. Some bucks get dry, cardboardy skin in various parts of their bodies. First wash off any scurf (dandruff) with warm water containing anti-fungicidal pet shampoo, dry well and apply vaseline or mineral oil. The old-fashioned remedy of goose-grease would probably be even better!

A bucks who doesn’t seem interested in his work can have his libido (love-making urge) toned up by giving 6 kelp tablets daily for 10 days (adult dose) and rainwater to drink instead of your usual supply. The buck is usually in fine fettle after about 4 days! Have a close look at his diet; it is probably too high in calcium, or the legumes it contains are unusually high in oestrogens.

Mud scald between the claws of the hooves and even further up the legs, usually responds quickly to iodine. If it doesn’t, because that particular fungus is not sensitive to iodine, try zinc diaper cream, 10% copper sulphate (sulfate) solution, 1% alum solution, gentian violet, or a paste of flowers of sulphur and lard. If none of these work, there are plenty of ideas – some people find athlete’s foot ointment works, for instance. When the skin starts to heal, it will shed the hair and often go bright pink, but it is not as sensitive as it looks. The new hair starts to grow in a couple of weeks.

Your buck’s mental health is as important as his physical health. If he is bright and alert and happy, he will work better. He needs to see plenty going on around him, and lots of physical contact with his human slave (walks, head-scratching, etc). The more handling you give him, the better for his peace of mind, and he will be easier to treat if he gets ill when he is used to plenty of handling.

Don’t hurt your buck’s feelings by laughing at him as he works, or make rude remarks. Don’t let other people do so either. I’ve seen a serious-minded buck so upset by human hilarity that he couldn’t complete the job, and he was normally extremely efficient. Sure, some bucks do have comical foreplay, but would YOU like to be laughed at when mating? Don’t smack his penis if he sticks it out when you don’t want him to. Animals are not embarrassed by sex but they are sensitive to human atmosphere. I know of one buck who got so sensitive about his function
in life, because of his owner’s attitude, that he took to loving himself, and was no use at all if presented with a wife. He died aged 4 years, of premature old age brought on by frustration.

Finally, consider giving your buck a medical each summer. If it’s done then, he won’t smell, and won’t try to ‘do’ the vet either. That way, you may pick up on a possible future problem (such as a heart murmur developing) before it becomes one.

– Irene Ramsay.
This article was originally published in New Zealand in 1980. Updated January 2007.

Click here for all the Wisdom of Irene Ramsay articles

Irene asked that I include her email address for anyone that has queries. Her email address is shown below in an image, you may also use this contact form.

I am acquainted with Irene Ramsay through the Holistic Goats list on Yahoo Groups. I read all of her posts as they are always full of wisdom and natural remedies for healing. I am honored that Irene Ramsay has agreed to allow me to publish some of her articles on my website. I hope they will be as helpful to you as they have been to me. Thanks, Irene! Please note that Irene lives in New Zealand and sometimes the items she recommends won’t be available in the US under the same name. Copyright 1974-2020 Irene Ramsay. All Rights Reserved. Do not copy without express permission of the author. Thank you.

Natural Ways of Treating Mastitis by Irene Ramsay

There are many forms of mastitis in goats, and not all are caused by bacteria. Probably the commonest cause is pressure and the resultant bruising. When the udder is holding more milk than it has ever done before, the outer skin becomes stretched and painful. Unless the pressure is relieved the stretched skin will become tight and inflamed and the milk inside overheated so that it comes out in lumps. This can happen to maiden milkers who aren’t milked, to does who have bagged up long before kidding and haven’t been pre-milked, and to heavily-producing does who have missed a milking.

Bruising is more common in pendulous udders but can happen as a result of a fall or a fight especially if the udder is full at the time. Some kids are rough feeders and therefore cause severe bruising by bunting the udder. Bruised tissue produces less milk so the kid bunts harder, increasing the bruises and compounding the problem.

Wounds to the udder cause inflammation due to trauma or foreign bodies (from sitting in hawthorn, gorse, or thistles, for instance) or bacteria entering the wound. Bacteria may enter the udder through scraped skin or the teat orifice – the cause of ‘summer mastitis’ is usually a combination of warmth, humidity and dirty-footed flies.

A careful goatkeeper can usually detect the start of mastitis by a slight thickening of the skin of the teat or udder. If you are well acquainted with the feel of each goat’s udder in a healthy state the change in texture will just about jump up and shout at you. Not all udders get hot at this early stage and some may just have patches of thickening no bigger than a ten cent piece.

If you treat the udder at this early stage, in most cases it will be normal again by the next milking. The treatment I have found most effective is to drench the goat with some of her own fresh milk – 20 mls will do – as soon as I detect an abnormality in the udder. This challenges the goat to produce antibodies against whatever caused the mastitis and is very effective. It is cheap, with no withdrawal period unlike drugs.

We discovered this treatment for mastitis in 1972, when two of our first kidders had post-partum mastitis (usually caused by over-stretching). One of them had rickets so we fed some of her milk back to her to help the rickets and the mastitis cleared up. The other doe was treated with conventional cow drugs and lost the use of that half of her udder. Part of that, in hindsight, was because we did not manage to strip all the gunk out properly each time she was milked; we were too kind to persevere when she was obviously in pain being milked. Later cases of mastitis, including those caused by wounds, have also responded rapidly to the milk drench.

In 1975, I told a visiting Australian breeder about this treatment, and I could see he was doubtful. In 1978 he came to visit us again and the first thing he said was that my mastitis treatment was marvellous. When he had got home from his previous trip he was greeted at the airport with the news that his best milker had cut her udder badly and although stitched up was in a bad way with mastitis in spite of the drugs she’d been given. Her milk yield had dropped dramatically. With nothing to lose, the breeder decided to try giving her back her own milk, the mastitis cleared up, and all she had to do was heal. He was thrilled that her milk yield returned to its previous level and she had no udder problems in subsequent lactations.

The only type of mastitis the milk drench will not treat successfully is black mastitis because it is a form of blood poisoning (septicaemia). For this you do need to resort to antibiotics and antitoxin. It is important to milk all the gunk (blood, serum, pus, bad milk and dead tissue) out of the udder at frequent intervals, using massage with some form of lubricant. The old remedy was to use goose grease (you will find a case history in one of the James Heriot books about a cow with black mastitis; after sulpha drugs were given the owner massaged and milked the udder for 24-hours and she recovered). Nowadays most of us would use aromatherapy oil or cooking oil for the same job. The drugs alone will not cure the udder, you have to use the natural methods as well.

When the udder is hard and/or inflamed bathing it with a soothing liquid helps to cool and draw it. As an emergency measure (when first discovered), you can use epsom salts – one tablespoon to 600 mls warm water. A kitchen sponge is a good way to apply it. The herbal remedy is one good handful each of dock leaves and elderberry leaves in 600 mls of water. Bring slowly to the boil in a stainless steel or enamel pot and simmer for five minutes. Cover and leave to stand for a minimum of four hours. Drain off the liquid into a bottle or jar for storage and keep it in the fridge. This amount will bathe the udder for three or four days, and by that time the udder should be better. The brew starts to go off by this time and should be discarded. When our elder was cut back one year, I gathered all the leaves, and raided the neighbours’ gardens for dock leaves and made up a huge brew which I froze in 250 ml lots and stored in the freezer ready for emergencies. Let’s face it, Murphy’s Law causes inflamed udders in direct proportion to the unavailability of the deciduous elder!

However long it takes and however many kicks you suffer, you must milk off all the milk, cheesy lumps, blood, gunk and little lumps of decomposing flesh which emerge from the teat orifice, if you are to have any chance of returning the udder to normal milk yield. If you don’t get rid of all the bad stuff at every milking, including lengthy massage
to release more secretion, it will do irreparable damage to the milk producing tissue, thereby giving the goat a one-way ticket to the dog-tucker freezer, as she will no longer be profitable to milk.

After the udder has recovered and the milk is back to normal, it is usual (so don’t panic) for some damaged internal tissue to slough off and come out of the orifice as irregular lumps which may be blood spotted. This is part of the healing process, just like when a doe sheds the uterine lining after kidding, so has a bloody tail for a few weeks. As a precaution, dose the doe with her milk while this is happening as the sphincter of the orifice is stretched letting hese
lumps through and may pick up bacteria because it will take a little longer to close than normal.

It is also usual for the outer skin to peel off if the udder has been inflamed. Some goats get touchy while this is happening as the new skin is tender. It is also susceptible to sunburn whatever the skin colour. You may be wise to use a soothing sunscreen on the udder until the skin is normal.

Sub-clinical mastitis shows up as white grit in the strainer when you are putting the milk to cool. The most likely cause is cobalt deficiency. To find out, give the goat a teaspoonful of Marmite or Vegemite or dried yeast. You can use ‘unimproved’ baking yeast or brewer’s yeast, 1 teaspoon daily, just as with the Marmite or Vegemite. This is only an interim test to check for cobalt deficiency, as prolonged use of yeast/yeast extract will cause phosphorus poisoning – guess how I discovered that????

You can spread it on a sandwich or make it into a drench if you like. Within 24-hours the grit in the strainer should have disappeared or lessened considerably. Dose the goat with cobalt, whichever method you prefer, so that she can make her own vitamin Bl2. It is cheaper than using any form of B12 supplement.

If this doesn’t work, the goat is probably under some kind of stress. Parasites, other mineral problems, poor milking techniques (hand or machine), or difficulty in getting on to the bail are all possibilities. Eliminate the cause and the sub-clinical mastitis will disappear.

A treatment I will have to add, is the use of Bryonia for long-standing abscesses and scar tissue. The form I used was the liquid given to nursing human mothers, and the goat was given 5 mls twice daily. The abscess had been hanging round for months, so deep inside the udder tissue it was undetectable. It ripened in 5 days and I lanced and
cleaned with peroxide. For the week the doe was with me I had ‘milked’ pus out of her twice a day and was hopeful of finally getting past this back to milk, but her owners did not persevere with the treatment and that half of the udder packed up completely. They had already had this happen to their other milker, and neither the vet nor I could detect the original cause. I am of the opinion that marginal cobalt deficiency (common in this area) was a factor in prolonging the problem, as the doe had the typical acetone smell when she arrived (not when she left, I’d
dosed her with cobalt).

– Irene Ramsay.
Updated 7 April 2000.

Click here for all the Wisdom of Irene Ramsay articles

Irene asked that I include her email address for anyone that has queries. Her email address is shown below in an image, you may also use this contact form.

I am acquainted with Irene Ramsay through the Holistic Goats list on Yahoo Groups. I read all of her posts as they are always full of wisdom and natural remedies for healing. I am honored that Irene Ramsay has agreed to allow me to publish some of her articles on my website. I hope they will be as helpful to you as they have been to me. Thanks, Irene! Please note that Irene lives in New Zealand and sometimes the items she recommends won’t be available in the US under the same name. Copyright 1974-2020 Irene Ramsay. All Rights Reserved. Do not copy without express permission of the author. Thank you. Please note that Irene lives in New Zealand and sometimes the items she recommends won’t be available in the US under the same name.

What to Do When Your Buck Won’t by Irene Ramsay

If your buck won’t serve the cause is often dietary – the minerals in his tucker aren’t in balance. Copper, iodine and phosphorus and Vitamin A are all necessary for a working buck. One way to ginger him up is to give him kelp powder. This is often available in supermarkets these days and is easily obtainable in health shops. Stock food places which specialise in horses also stock it.

The dose for an adult buck is 4 teaspoons twice daily for one week – seven days – no longer or you could give him copper poisoning. I found the best way to give it was to mix it into a paste with a little Ketol (propylene glycol) and feed it to the buck off the spoon. The first few times would be a battle but after that the buck would get to like the taste and gobble it up. (My name was mud when the week was up). By this time the buck should be smelling of hearts and flowers with the lovelight in his eyes. He will be so eager to work you will be wondering if you should have done it.

For a buck kid 2 teaspoons twice daily for a week, and if he still isn’t ready and willing, trot him to the vet for a sperm test. If he is polled and both his parents were, he may be hermaphrodite even though he doesn’t look it. As well as the sperm test the vet will palpate his testicles and urethra.

It isn’t wise to feed legume hay to bucks because the calcium and oestrogen content may have a dire effect on fertility. I have found they do best on meadow hay and/or barley straw and oat straw. They need a bran and grain ration to keep the phosphorus level up, and need access to a good iodised salt lick at all times. If your water is hard, you may also have to save rainwater for your bucks to drink, if you have a problem with getting them revved up. Access to green feed should take care of the vitamin problem but it doesn’t hurt to check him for loose front teeth which should be removed, as they will stop him eating properly; a goat with loose teeth often suffers vitamin deficiencies, especially Vitamin A which is found in greatest quantities in carrots, and you can imagine munching carrots with loose teeth!

NEVER GIVE BRASSICAS or BEETS to your bucks as digesting them produces insoluble oxalate salts which may block the male urinary tract not just causing impotence and sterility, but a painful death. Some weeds such as oxalis and sheep’s sorrel do the same as they are also rich in insoluble oxalate salts.

Some seasons have a bad effect on the bucks’ libido. I remember having to boost an excellent buck one year because he was taking 20 minutes to psych himself up to mount a doe, and getting very frustrated and bolshie, to the doe and to me, in the process. Previous years he’d been an up-and-at-’em type who had the doe served and was on the way back to the buck paddock before the doe realised the deed had been done. A week of kelp put him right in short order – actually, I could have stopped after 4 days! I describe this situation as Borderline Impotence.

Borderline Impotence when the buck becomes violent with frustration is not to be tolerated because it is physically dangerous to all concerned. Hard though it may be to credit, a week of kelp powder to increase the bolshie buck’s libido will improve his temper no end. Suddenly he can DO IT without a lot of mental anguish and you and the doe get a lot less bruises.

– Irene Ramsay.
Click here for all the Wisdom of Irene Ramsay articles

Irene asked that I include her email address for anyone that has queries. Her email address is shown below in an image, you may also use this contact form.

I am acquainted with Irene Ramsay through the Holistic Goats list on Yahoo Groups. I read all of her posts as they are always full of wisdom and natural remedies for healing. I am honored that Irene Ramsay has agreed to allow me to publish some of her articles on my website. I hope they will be as helpful to you as they have been to me. Thanks, Irene! Please note that Irene lives in New Zealand and sometimes the items she recommends won’t be available in the US under the same name. Copyright 1974-2020 Irene Ramsay. All Rights Reserved. Do not copy without express permission of the author. Thank you. Please note that Irene lives in New Zealand and sometimes the items she recommends won’t be available in the US under the same name.