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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 Birth Chill Print E-mail
Written by Administrator-GL   
Monday, 28 May 2007
Article Index
Goat Birth Chill
Page 2

GOATS- Hypothermia (Birth Chill) by goatlady

Goat Birth Chill


Birth Chill is one of the main killers of baby goats.
In many cases they CAN be saved!
Birth chill is when a newborn infant (Usually) has been exposed to the wind, cold, has not been cleaned and dried by mama or has not eaten quick enough after birth. It can happen in the summer as well as winter so do not be fooled that it can't happen because it is June or July!
*A baby with a cold mouth is an Emergency!

Household Supplies

  • 1. Clean dry towels for wrapping baby in & drying baby
  • 2. Ziplock bag partially filled with uncooked rice or beans
  • for heating in the microwave for heating source
  • 3. Blow dryer or space heater with blower
  • for making warm air for baby to breathe
  • 4. Digital Thermometer for recording baby's temperature
  • 5. Bottle any glass screw top bottle that will fit Pritchard teat
  • (Clearly Canadian bottles work well)
  • 6. Strong coffee - caffiene in "Kid Saver" formula
  • 7. Molasses-has iron, sodium, calcium and potassium to add to "Kid Saver" formula
  • 8. Karo Syrup -easy form of sugar to digest to add to "Kid Saver" formula








***You can get by with just these things but it makes life a little easier if you also have these vet supplies on hand, most can be found at well stocked feed stores.

Vet Supplies:

1. Pritchard teat - a special nipple for babies who are weak or very small 2. Weak Kid Syringe -for tubing babies in extreme cases 3. CMPK solution -supplement to add to "Kid Saver" formula
4. 50% Dextrose solution -easily digestible sugar for immediate release into the system to add to "Kid Saver" formula 
I don't usually measure everything, but to give you a starting point:

I use what ever I have at immediate hand.. if I have all of these things I use them all.. if not I use what I have, there is no set rule.. I will say the coffee is important though.
Keeping a jar of instant coffee on hand is a good idea for non-coffee drinkers. Caffienated coke or pop will work too, so will tea.

I start by giving baby a jumpstart of 1/2 hot coffee and 1/2 either dextrose 50% solution or molasses in a syringe..never try to give baby more than 5ccs of anything at one "feeding"..and at that, only dribbling this drip by drip in their mouth (if they are able to swallow) and allowing time to swallow in between times... spreading feedings about 5 minutes apart.

"Kid Saver Formula"

  • *1 Cup strong coffee 
  • *1 TBSP molasses
  • *1 TBSP karo syrup
  • *20ccs dextrose 50% solution
  • *20ccs CMPK solution





(This can be sized down if you like..I was just trying to give an example of amounts to use.)

For severly weakend kids do not attempt to give them colostrum or milk as they cannot yet digest it and it wil sit in the stomach and get toxic.

Instead- Give electrolytes and what ever sugar source you have as well as the coffee until they are able to suck.

You find a cold wet baby born minutes ago comatose or near to death.

  • 1. Get baby in the house,  NOW! Open up your coat or shirt and bring baby in holding it against your bare skin if possible-you can wash clothes and shower later.
  • 2. Keep baby against body while you prepare sinkful of warm water and get a supply of clean dry towels.
  • 3. Fill sink with fairly warm water..warmer than tepid but not hot.
  • 4. Immerse baby up to neck in water and making sure you hold baby's face out of water.. stimulate baby's chest area to help circulation. Be brisk during all of this but not rough. This may take a half hour or better.
  • 5. When baby starts to come around or cries good healthy cries OR a finger placed in it's mouth determines mouth is starting to warm up, take baby out of sink and directly into towel, rub briskly to dry placing baby in front of heater or blow dryer.
  • 6. In the meantime.. either leave baby in front of blow dryer or heater on dry towel (not the wet one used to dry it) - go get a clean syringe, make a mixture of coffee, molasses, karo syrup and if you have it either dextrose 50%solution or CMPK. Make sure this solution is warmer than tepid.
  • 7. Make a "tent" with towels or sheet over you and baby with blow dryer or heater in with you to warm the air baby is breathing. Do Not blow hot air directly on baby... the idea is to warm up the air it is breathing.
  • 8. Dribble solution, using syringe with no needle, into baby's mouth a drop at a time- too much will choke baby, do NOT tilt head back. Allow baby to swallow in between dribbles. You can help by stroking throat after each dribble.
  • NOTE: A chilled baby CANNOT suckle, so trying to give baby a bottle right now is useless.
  • 9. Alternate feeding baby with holding it and stimulating the baby to "wake up and go". Bounce baby, rub baby's chest and legs, talk to baby, hold baby up to try to stand .. what ever it takes to get baby to come around.
  • 10. As soon as baby's temperature comes up to 100 degrees you can try a bottle with colostrum and coffee and molasses in it OR go get mama goat bringing her in the house and see if baby will get up to nurse. Do Not try to take baby out in weather just yet.

Ok.. now for the more detailed article..I just wanted to give you a fast reference guide (above) for those of you needing to act quick and have no time to read alot of information:

Here's how I have saved some babies who would not have otherwise made it from Birth chill-

Take the baby in the house and place it in a sinkful of warm water up to the neck.

Make sure you don't leave baby unattended.

At the first signs of life and consciousness take baby from bath and wrap in a warm dry towel.

You need to dry baby completely in front of a heater while briskly towel drying baby.

While you are doing this you need to get some nutrition into baby as the blood sugar is very low.

I use a mixture of strong warm coffee and molasses given orally with a small syringe making sure you do NOT allow any of the liquid to go into the lungs. This is what I start with before I try any electrolytes or colostrum. To jump start the baby.

Hold baby's head straight not tilted up while administering liquids like this.
Baby will only take a small amount- a few cc's at best.

The whole while you are in front of the heater or blow dryer and rubbing baby to simulate mama's licking and stimulation she would be doing.
This may take hours so get comfortable.. I have saved babies who were unconscious at the start.

This is a Perfect example of a kid who was literally dead when I got to him..

Birth Chill Baby grown up

Trine and I worked on him for over 3 hours..and isn't he gorgeous now?

What a waste had we given up on him or thought nothing could help him.

Have I ever lost a baby due to birth chill?..Sure I have, you cannot save them all. You do your best to save the ones who can be saved and give it your all to each one. If it isn't meant to be.. it just isn't meant to be.. You did your best, it's all you can do.

 This is a copyrighted article 2003 goatlady

numly 19881-061015-115944-90

© 2006 goatlady All Rights Reserved.


Last Updated ( Sunday, 10 February 2008 )
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