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All information provided in these articles is based either on personal experience or information provided by others whose treatments and practices have been discussed fully with a vet for accuracy and effectiveness before passing them on to readers.
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Goat Glossary of Terms Print E-mail
Written by Administrator-GL   
Sunday, 27 May 2007
Years ago I started putting together a Complete glossary of terminology for Goat Owners:

Since then it has become the MOST popular Goat Glossary Terminology reference used in websites such as  and Wikipedia -

It can also be found at - Official website of The GOAT Magazine™

Goat Glossary of Terms


  • Abomasum -The fourth and second largest chamber of a ruminent's stomach..where actual digestion takes place.
  • Abortion - Abnormal or early termination of pregnancy
  • Abortifacients - A drug or other agent used to cause abortion.
  • Acidosis -Condition where rumen pH falls, usually because the goat ate too much grain.
  • Accredited Herd -One that has been annually tested for Tuberculosis and found free from this disease.
  • ADF -Acid Detergent Fiber an indicator of relative digestibility of forages.
  • ADGA - American Dairy Goat Association
  • Aflatoxin -A fungal toxin which is a powerful liver carcinogen.
  • Afterbirth -The fetal membranes that attach the fetus to the membranes of the pregnant female and which are normally expelled from the female within 3 to 6 h. after parturition.
  • AGS - American Goat Society
  • AI - Artificial Insemination...(yes they do it for goats*S*)
  • Anemia -Deficiency of RBC (red blood cells) and/or a quantity of pigment known as hemoglobin. The eyelids and gums can be very light, grey or white. Often a sign of parasitism and a need for deworming.
  • Ante-mortem -Before death.
  • Anthelmintic - Commonly referred to as a dewormer. A compound that kills or expels internal parasites - such as worms.
  • Antibiotic -A chemical substance produced by a microorganism which has the capacity, in dilute solutions, to inhibit the growth of or to kill other microorganisms.
  • AR - Advanced Registry
  • Banding -This involves the use of elastic castration bands to remove the testicles by eventually cutting off blood supply.
  • Barrel -The entire body cavity, also the girth of the body at it's largest, near the last rib.
  • Birth Chill - A low body temperature, as that due to exposure in cold weather. When a baby kid is born and for whatever reason is not warm, lack of suckling, lack of being dried off quickly. Synonym is hypothermia.
  • Bleat -A goat's vocal expression, talking
  • Blind Teat -A teat that is non-functional due to birth defect,injury or disease.
  • Bloat -Gastritis: too much accumulation of gas in the stomach can be fatal!
  • Body Condition Score - Scoring the body condition (1-5 : thin to fat) used to estimate condition of an animal.
  • Bolus -Large oval pill form of medication (good luck*S*)
  • BOSS - Black Oil Sunflower Seeds, used as a high energy addition to sweet feed rations.
  • Bots -Fly larvae that crawl into nasal passages.
  • Breeding Apron -Device used to keep a buck from breeding.
  • Breeding Season -The period of time when the doe is in active estrus, typically Late July to late Feb.
  • Brood Doe - A doe kept for the purpose of continuing a desirable bloodline and genetics in her offspring.
  • Browse - Broad-leafed woody plants, shrubs or brush.
  • Brucellosis - Infection with bacteria of the Brucella group, frequently causing abortions in animals and remittent fever in man.
  • Buck -A male goat..also referred to as a 'Billy'..but NEVER in the registered circle! typically refers to a breeding age male.
  • Buck Rag -Cloth or sock rubbed on the scent glands of the buck; to be put in with a doe to induce or detect heat cycle.
  • Buckling - Young intact male goat, typically of a year or less age.
  • Burdizzo - The tool used to castrate bucks by severing the cord without breaking the skin of the scrotum.
  • Butterfat -Cream content in milk.
  • Butting - Sometimes playful, usually in aggression between goats by the use of the top of the head.
  • Cabrito -Literally "little goat" The Spanish use this term referring to goat meat.
  • CAEV or CAE -Caprine Arthritis Encephalitis Virus..One of the most dreaded diseases in goats! also known as "big knee" There is no cure and this is contagious to other goats.
  • Calcium to Phosphorus Ratio - Relative amounts of calcium and phosphorus in the total ration. Usually recommended to be at least 2.5:1.
  • Capriculture -New Term refers to Goat Husbandry
  • Caprine -Pertaining to goats.
  • Caproic Acid -A fatty acid that is responsible for making goat milk taste 'goaty' with age.
  • cc - Cubic Centimeter , used interchangeably with ml, used to measure medications for injection.
  • Certified Herd - One that has been annual tested for Brucellosis and found free of this disease.
  • CGS -Canadian Goat Society
  • Chevon -Goat meat as referred to by the French.
  • Chevre -Classic French soft cheese made with goat milk.
  • Chlamydia - Organisms associated with diseases such as pneumonia, abortion, diarrhea, conjunctivitis, arthritis and encephalitis.
  • CL -Caseous Lymphadenitis , an abscess disease of goats that is highly contagious.
  • Clostridial Organisms - Anaerobic bacteria that produce spores under certain conditions.
  • C.M.T. - California Mastitis Test, Home method of testing for mastitis.
  • C.O.B. - Corn, Oats & Barley mixed with molasses, fed as a grain or sweet feed for goats and other livestock.
  • Coccidiosis or Cocci - An internal parasite residing in the intestines, that destroys the lining of the small intestine (typically of kids) causing severe diarrhea and eventually death if not treated.
  • Colostrum -First milk-this is a thick yellowish milk that provides all the antibodies a baby kid needs..high in protein and is only made by the doe from the time of birth to about a week after (it decreases concentration as days go by). Note: Baby kids can only assimilate the antibodies for 24 hours after birth.
  • Corpus Luteum -Yellow body; solid yellowish mass of tissue that develops in a doe's ovary after an egg has been released.
  • Corticosteroids - Any of a class of steroids, as dexamethasone, prednisone, or cortisone, occurring in nature as a product of the adrenal cortex, or synthesized.
  • Creep or Creep Feeder -A feeding area which allows kids, but not adults to enter and safely eat.
  • Critical Temperature - Maximum or minimum environmental temperature tolerated by the animal before additional dietary energy is required to maintain normal body temperature.
  • Crossbred - The offspring resulting from mating a buck and doe of different breeds.
  • Crossbreeding - Purposeful mating of two or more breeds.
  • Cryptorchidism -Failure of one or both testicles to descend into the scrotum.
  • Cud -Soft mass of food regurgitated and rechewed by a ruminant.
  • Culling - The process of removing animals that are below average in production, unsound or undesirable, usually through sales or euthanasia.
  • Curd -Coagulated milk solids.
  • Cut (to) -To castrate.
  • Cysticercosis - Infection with cysticerci, a larval form of tapeworm, taenia solium. In man they penetrate the intestinal wall and invade subcutaneous tissue, brain, eye, muscle, heart, liver, lung, and peritoneum. Brain involvement may result in epilepsy, increased intracranial pressure, etc..
  • Dam -Female parent.
  • Dehorning - Removal of already formed horns, NOT recommended except in case of emergency.
  • Dehydrate - The loss of body fluids, caused either by not having drinking water available or illness.
  • Dental pad - Gums on upper jaw, replaces front upper teeth. Goats do not have upper front teeth.
  • DHIA -Dairy Herd Improvement Association administered by the USDA.
  • DHIR -Dairy Herd Improvement Registry; production testing program administered by goat registries in cooperation with the DHIA.
  • Disbud -Removal of horn buds (usually by cauterizing with a disbudding iron) from young goats to keep horns from growing.
  • Dished -Slightly concave face type, characteristic of Pygmy goats and some Swiss breeds.
  • Doe -Female goat: also referred to as 'nanny'..but NEVER in the registered circles!
  • Doeling - Female goat a year or less in age
  • Drench -A liquid medication or the administering of a liquid medication.
  • Drenching - The oral administration of liquid medication.
  • Dry Doe -Mature doe that is not lactating.
  • Drylot - Method of rearing goats in pens, where they do not have access to pasture or range, where daily feed and water is provided by the caretaker.
  • Dry Matter - (DM) The portion of feed that is not water, listed in feeds.
  • Dry off -To stop milking at the end of a doe's lactation; usually 2 months before she's due to kid.
  • Elastrator - The instrument used to apply heavy walled small rubber bands (elastrator rings/bands) to tail of lambs and/or scrotums of lambs and goats for tail docking on lambs and castration for lambs and goats.
  • Electrolytes - Electrolyte refers to ionized salts in the body fluids. The major electrolytes are made from sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, chloride, bicarbonate, phosphate and protein.
  • Elf ear -LaMancha ear up to 2 inches in length.
  • Embryo Transfer -Recently fertilized eggs from donor doe are transferred to the uterus of a recipient doe, usually by surgically exposing the uterus of the recipient.
  • Emaciation - To waste away physically (starvation).
  • Encephalitis -Inflammation of the brain usually with severe signs such as fever, in coordination, and convulsions. Caused by parasites or disease.
  • Enteritis - Inflammation of the intestine, applied chiefly to inflammation of the small intestine.
  • Enterotoxemia -Toxic indigestion that may follow acidosis..also a bacterial infection from an organism found in the soil-typically in spring. Can Be FATAL!
  • Enterotoxemia - A complete description: Disease caused by the liberation of exotoxins of clostridium perfringens in the intestines of sheep, goats, cattle, foals, and piglets. Type b enterotoxaemia in lambs is lamb dysentery; Type c enterotoxaemia in mature sheep produces "struck", and in calves, lambs and piglets it produces haemorrhagic enterotoxaemia; Type d enterotoxaemia in sheep and goats is pulpy-kidney disease or overeating disease.
  • Entropin -An inherited trait in which the lower eyelashes are inverted, causing the eyelashes of the lower lid to irritate the eye.
  • Esophageal Tube - Catheter placed down the esophagus of a goat to administer electrolytes and high energy liquids while debilitated. (to Tube a goat)
  • Estrogen -Hormone that causes regression of the corpus luteum and stimulates estrus.
  • Estrus -The time period from beginning of one heat to the beginning of the next heat. Approximately 21days.
  • Estrus Cycle -A series of cycles during which time the doe comes into regular heat; usually from July through February.
  • External Parasite -Parasites that may be found on the hair, skin and in the nasal and ear passages. (Lice, keds, mites, fleas, ticks etc)
  • Fertile - The ability to produce offspring.
  • Fetus -The unborn young in the later stages of development.
  • Flehmen Response - Curling of the upper lip in response to detecting sexual readiness or health of kids. Used by both sexes.
  • Flight Zone -Maximum zone of comfort or security of animals before they "take flight" when approached.
  • Flushing -Increasing the doe's nutritional intake before mating, thought to stimulate ovulation and assure conception.
  • Foot Bath -Chemical and water mixture, that goats stand in, used for the prevention and/or treatment of foot rot and foot scald.
  • Foot rot -Fungus infection that can cause lameness. Usually caused by lack of hoof trimming and/or having feet in wet pens over an extended period of time.
  • Forage -Fiber-containing feedstuffs such as silage, hay and pasture.
  • Forcing Pen -Pen used to confine goats, usually a narrow place, prior to moving them into chutes for loading or treatments.
  • Free choice -Method of feeding when food or salt/minerals etc are made available at all times.
  • Freshen -When a doe kids and starts producing milk.
  • Gambrel Restrainer -Restraining device that is a gambrel-shaped piece of plastic that is placed over the top of the animal's neck, with slots on either side to hold both front legs of the animal on either side of the head- used for various reasons; while medicating, hoof trimming etc.
  • Gastro-Enteritis -An acute inflammation of the lining of the stomach and intestines, characterized by anorexia, nausea, diarrhoea, abdominal pain and weakness, which has various causes, including food poisoning due to infection with such organisms as Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus and Salmonella species, consumption of irritating food or drink or psychological factors such as anger, stress and fear. Synonym: enterogastritis'
  • Gestation -Period of pregnancy beginning at conception and ending with birth (146-156 days) approx. 5 months.
  • Gopher ear -LaMancha ear one inch or less in length with no cartilage.
  • Grade - A doe with one parent being registered and the other of mixed or unknown ancestry.
  • Grafting -Fostering a kid onto a doe that is not its natural mother- used in the case of death of natural mother typically.
  • Guardian Dog (LGD) - A dog that stays with the goats without harming them and aggressively protects from predators. Not to be confused with a Herd Dog which is used typically for cattle and sheep, but sometimes for goats to herd pastured livestock where you want them to be.
  • Heart girth -Circumference of the chest just behind the front legs.
  • Heat - sexual readiness, see estrus.
  • Herd -more than one goat.
  • Hermaphrodite -An animal with both male and female sexual organs. This is more common when breeding polled goat to polled goat.
  • Hypocalcemia -Abnormally low calciumconcentration, that can result in muscle cramps, abdominal cramps, spasms, and hyperactive deep tendon reflexes.Low blood calcium can be seen in cases of hypoparathyroidism, low vitamin D intake, pregnancy, osteomalacia and certain kidney diseases.
  • Hypoproteinemia -Abnormally small amounts of total protein in the circulating blood plasma.
  • Hypothermia -Inability to keep warm often caused by cold or wet weather. (Birth Chill)
  • IM - Method of giving injection, Intramuscularly- for better absorption of medication.
  • Immunity -A resistance to a specific pathogenic microorganism or disease.
  • Intermediate Host -An animal or other living body in which a parasite completes part of its life cycle and usually causes no damage to this host.
  • In kid -Referring to a pregnant doe.
  • In Milk - Producing milk after parturition (giving birth).
  • Internal Parasites -Parasites located in the body of the goat.
  • Iodine -Disinfectant used on navels of newborn kids. Veterinary iodine contains 7% iodine.
  • Keds -Bloodsucking external parasites that pierce the skin.
  • Ketones -Compounds found in the blood of pregnant goats suffering from pregnancy toxemia.
  • Kid(s) -Baby goats, either sex.
  • Kidding -The process of having goat babies.
  • Lactating -Giving milk or in-milk.
  • Lactated Ringers Solution - Used for hydrating a dehydrated goat subQ.
  • Legume -Plants that include alfalfa ,lespedeza and the clovers- higher in protein than grass pasture or hay.
  • Let down -Release of the milk by the mammary glands; usually stimulated by the presence of the milker or kid..also induced by "bumping" the udder..(watch you kids eat).
  • Leukocyte - White blood cell.
  • LGD - Livestock Guardian Dog , a specific breed used for guarding goats and sheep. ie: Maremmas, Great Pyrenese, Kommodors
  • Liver Flukes - Parasite that damages the liver.
  • Loading Chute -A chute used for loading animals into a trailer for travel or another pen after medicating.
  • Lochia -The natural dark bloody discharge a doe has for a couple of weeks after kidding -typically does not start until 7 days after delivery.
  • Lungworms - Internal parasite found in the respiratory tract and lung tissue.
  • Mange -Contagious, itchy skin disease caused by mite.
  • Mange Mites -Mites which infest and damage the skin and hair.
  • Manger - A trough that holds feed.
  • Manure -Usually referring to the dry feces of ruminants.
  • Mastitis -Inflammation of the mammary gland caused by bacterial infection, resulting in reduced milk production.
  • Metritis - Inflammation of the uterus.
  • Milk Fever -A slight elevation of temperature following kidding, said to be due to the establishment of the secretion of milk, but probably the same as absorption fever, an afebrile metabolic disease, occurring shortly after parturition in goats, characterised by hypocalcemia and manifested by loss of consciousness and general paralysis.
  • Milk Replacer -Artificial milk substitute (usually soy based) fed to young goats, This breeder doe not recommend the use of for any reason.
  • ml- Milliliter , same as cc; method for measurment of medication in a syringe.
  • Monogastric -Mammals that have one stomach, goats are born using only one of the four stomachs they are born with.
  • Mycotoxin -Toxic compounds, produced by fungi, that contaminate hay.
  • Nanny - Old fashioned refferance to a doe, not appreciated by most of the goat associations now.
  • Natural Immunity -Inherited resistance to disease that varies between breeds, strains within breeds and individuals.
  • Necropsy - Examination of a dead animal to determine cause of death. Animal autopsy .
  • Off feed -Not eating as much as usual...this is a signal of an ill goat!
  • Omasum - The third division, or that between the reticulum, or honeycomb stomach, and the abomasum, or rennet stomach Also called Manyplies: So called from the numerous folds in its mucous membrane.
  • On test -Enrolled in the DHIA milk testing program.
  • Oocyst -A stage in the life of coccidia (a protozoal parasite) that is shed in manure. Goats become infected by ingesting oocysts from eating hay and feed from the ground.
  • Open Doe -A doe who is not yet bred.
  • Orifice -Usually refers to the opening in the end of a teat.
  • (OTC) Over the Counter - Medications that can be purchased directly without prescription.
  • Ovary - Primary female reproductive organ.
  • Ovulation - In estrus, when the egg released from the ovary.
  • Papers -Certificates of registration.
  • Palatability -This refers to how tasty feds are to the goat.
  • Parasite -An organsim that lives off of a host animal (the goat), they can be internal or external.
  • Parlor -Place where the doe is milked.
  • Parrot mouth -The lower jaw is shorter than the upper jaw.
  • Parturient Paresis - A disease of pregnant and lactating cows and ewes leading to generalised paresis and death. The disease, which is characterised by hypocalcaemia, occurs at or shortly after parturition in cows and within weeks before or after parturition in ewes & goats.
  • Parturition -Giving birth, also known as kidding.
  • Placenta -Afterbirth.
  • Pinkeye -Acute contagious conjunctivitis. A highly contagious disease that affects the eyes of goats (also contagious to humans).
  • Polled - Naturally hornless goat. Polled goats have two "swirls" near the area where horns would be on a horned goat.
  • Post Mortem -After death.
  • Postpartum -After birth.
  • Precocious Milker -Does that come into milk without being bred.
  • Pregnancy Toxemia - A metabolic disease of pregnant does generally caused by diet deficient in energy during late pregnancy.
  • Prepartum -Before birth.
  • Probiotic -Living organisms in the rumen that aids in the fermentation of the feed.
  • Progeny -Offspring.
  • Protein Supplement - Feedstuffs that contain a high level of protein, used in cases where a goat needs a higher protein percentage in the diet.
  • Ration - The amount of feed fed to the goats over a 24 hour period, or a specific amount given on a regular basis.
  • Recordation -Documentation of a crossbreed or a grade dairy goat on record with the registry.
  • Registration -Documentation of a purebred or American goat on regsitry with a registry.
  • Rehydrate -The addition of body fluids which have been lost from fever, illness, heat, etc.
  • Rennet - Extracted from the fourth stomach typically of sheep, the enzyme component rennin is used to coagulate milk. Used when making cheese.
  • Reticulum -The second stomach of ruminants, in which folds of the mucous membrane form hexagonal cells; also called the honeycomb stomach.
  • Reticular Groove - Small sphinctor muscle between the rumen and abomasum that closes to divert the milk a baby kid will drink, directing it to the abomasum bypassing the rumen. Baby kids are born and remain monogastric for about the first 4 weeks of life.
  • Ringworm -Contagious fungal disease.
  • Rigor Mortis -Muscular rigidity which develops in the cadaver usually from 4 to 10 hours after death and lasts 3 or 4 days.
  • Roman Nose -Convex facial profile, characterisitc of the Nubian goat.
  • Roughage - Coarse, bulky feed high in fiber such as grass hay.
  • Rumen -First and largest chamber of a ruminant's stomach; found on the left side of the goat.
  • Ruminant -An animal with a three or four-chambered stomach that chews cud.
  • Ruminate or rumination - The act of chewing cud. Undigested plugs of food "cud" comes back into the mouth from the rumen to be rechewed before digestion can be completed.
  • Scours -Diarrhea. Severe diarrhea can be FATAL to kids! (especially) .
  • Scrotum -Hanging pouch of muscle that contains the buck's testicles.
  • Scrub -Goat of unknown ancesetry.
  • Scur -Odd-shaped horn resulting from improper disbudding or disbudding too late.
  • Settle -Get pregnant, the doe will stop taunting the bucks for breeding.
  • Shipping Fever -Pneumonia accompanied by diarrhea, usually resulting from travel stress. Can be brought on by any stress a goat may be subject to.
  • Silage - Green forage fermented into highly nutritious feeds for livestock. Most goat owners do not feed silage to goats.
  • Silent heat -In heat but showing no outward signs.
  • Sire -male parent.
  • SNF -Solids-Non-Fat . These are the proteins, minerals and other ingredients in milk when water and fat are removed.
  • Soremouth - A specific disease of sheep and goats, caused by the orf virus . This virus is transmissible to man and characterised by vesiculation and ulceration of the infected site. Transferred to the dam's udder by the kid's mouth during nursing. Also called Orf . Once a goat has had this, they are immune to it for life.
  • Stanchion -A restraining table that holds the goat still by the neck while being milked (HA!).
  • Standing heat -Doe's receptivity to being bred.
  • Stripping - When finished milking this is done to remove the last milk in the teats.
  • SubQ - Subcutaneous, injection given at a 45 degree angle into the flesh, not into the muscle. (Also written as SQ or sq) .
  • Synchronization -A management practice used to cause the goats to cycle at the same time. Typically a medication known as prostiglandan (Lutylase) is given as an injection to create this synchronization.
  • Total Digestible Nutrients (TDN) -The energy value of feeds that is actually digestible.
  • Trace Minerals (TM)- Minerals that are available in very small amounts.
  • Tubing a goat -Use of a flexible catheter to place nutrition directly into the stomach of a debilitated goat, done with both kids and adults.
  • Unrecorded Grade -A doe whose ancestry is either unknown or just not recorded.
  • Urinary Calculi (UC) -Metabolic disease of male goats or lambs caused by the formation of urinary stones that are unable to pass through the urethra.Thought to be caused primarily by an imbalance of dietary calcium and phosphorus. Wethers are more prone than intact bucks.
  • Uterus -Womb. Where the fetus grows inside the doe.
  • Vaccine - A suspension of attenuated or killed microorganisms (bacteria, viruses or rickettsiae), administered for the prevention, amelioration or treatment of infectious diseases..
  • Vaginal Prolapse -Protrusion of the vagina that can happen in some does in late pregnancy. Many times caused by overweight does.
  • Vitamins - Small organic compounds, necessary for proper metabolism, that are found in feed in minute amounts. Deficiencies result in distinct diseases or syndromes.
  • Wattles - Appendages of flesh usually hang from the throat neck area. Serve no purpose except cosmetic. They are sometimes "misplaced" on other parts of the body.
  • Wether -Castrated male goat.
  • White Muscle Disease - A disease caused by a deficiency of selenium, Vitamin E or both that causes degeneration of muscular system of goats. Muscular distrophy for goats.
  • Withdrawal Period -The time when a drug must not be administered prior to marketing to insure that no drug residues remain in the meat or milk.
  • Yearling - A baby goat between 6 and 12 months of age.
  • Zoonosis -Diseases of animals that can be transmitted to humans

Article Glossary copyright © 2005 goatlady

Complete glossary of terminology for goat owners. Articles, Common Terms And Symptoms, Goat Glossary of Terms
Last Updated ( Tuesday, 04 March 2008 )
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