Electrolytes are essential for a sick goat who may be down and not have the strength or energy to get up and make it to the water trough. Dehydration can be deadly when it comes to a goat that is scouring or vomiting.
Store bought electrolyte mix is convenient to have on hand, but if you want something more natural or you have a sick goat and realize you are out of electrolyte powder, these homemade goat electrolytes work great!
Here is the basic recipe for goat electrolytes:
Put 3-4 qts of warm water in a bucket or jug- we recycle milk jugs for things like this.
Mix in the following:
2 tsp Salt
2 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 cup Molasses
Shake or stir well.
If you like, and for added nutrients, you can add:
1 cup of Apple Cider Vinegar
Chamomile water (steeped in the original water or in addition to)
5 cc Nutri-drench (I add this if the goat is pretty sickly and I will be drenching)
If you are new to goats, I recommend reading up as much as you can before you purchase. You can find a lot of articles here on The Free Range Life that will teach you about goat care and be sure to check out The Busy Homesteader’s Goat Management Binder– it’s full of to-do lists, checklists, record keeping sheets, and resource pages that will get your new goat herd off to a great start!
How to Give Electrolytes to Your Goat:
In most cases you will just set the bucket in front of the goat and they will suck it down. They are suckers for anything with molasses in it. If your goat is down and won’t drink on her own, you will have to drench them. A drenching gun is the easiest way to get the electrolytes into the goat, but a large syringe would probably work too.
Related Reading: Diagnosing and Treating Scours in Goats
The job might be easier done with 2 people, but one should suffice. I find it easier to straddle the goat from behind- unless she’s horned and then I might use the milk stand.
Fill your drencher with the electrolyte solution and stick back into your goat’s mouth along the side between the cheek and gum. Dispense the liquid and either let the goat go or refill the drencher and repeat until she’s gotten enough in her.
This mixture should keep in the fridge for a few days, but I usually mix new every day that I need it. This electrolyte mix is suitable for most livestock, not just goats.
Please remember that if a goat is severely dehydrated and refusing to drink on its own no amount of syringe feeding will be enough. You will need a stomach tube, and probably the assistance of a vet.