Tube Feed Adult Goat
Written by Administrator-GL   
Sunday, 03 June 2007
Tube feeding an adult goat is VERY serious stuff.. and can be very dangerous! Do not take it lightly!
** NEVER attempt to tube feed an unconscious goat!
(If at all possible.. go to your vet and have him show you BEFORE you ever need to know how to tube your goat)
But if by chance something catches you off guard and you need to tube now.. this is how I do it..

    Materials Needed
  1. Stiff Garden Hose(or section of garden hose works very well and reduces risk of broken teeth) cut approximately 8-10 inches long (length according to goat size) with both cut ends sanded so they are smooth with no burrs-this will be going into the goat's mouth
  2. A 1/4-inch to 3/8-inch diameter and 3-foot to 4-foot long piece of plastic tubing rounded off at the end Tubing- typically called foal feeding tube-OR a piece of 1/4 inch IV tubing- OR a Stallion catheter
    do NOT use regular aquarium tubing, it is too stiff and sharp it will cut the esophagus of the goat-do NOT use a garden hose, it is too big and can split the esophagus and kill your goat
  3. 35-60cc syringe with a Luer SLIP end (like a long hub- instead of a half threaded appearance)
  4. "Sharpie" felt marker- not the fine point -preferably black
  5. Measuring Cup with fine pour spout or funnel with fine tip

Have someone help you.. this is almost necessary! If you have no one there to help, then you need to place the goat in a stanchion, preferably with the head tied to keep her still.

Measure from the nose to the stomach (last rib)of the goat and mark it with the Sharpie so that you will know how far to insert the tubing to make it to the rumen.

Holding the goat steady will be your best friend at this point because she WILL fight you on this!
Place the PVC piece in the mouth securely but not so far as to choke the goat-(you can use a large sized syringe cover for this as well - one of the ones with the tip that is open) you will be using this to guide the feeding tube through the back-teeth area to keep the goat from biting down on the tubing and choking on a bit off piece of it.
The PVC will not be all the way in the goat's mouth..some will be sticking out the front.
(A purchased mouth speculum would be even better.. they are available at Jeffer's Livestock and other livestock supply catalogs)

Have your oil already mixed with the dry Kool-aid at hand- along with the syringe with no needle and the plunger removed.. have them ready to go.

Wet the end of the tube you are inserting and Carefully thread the tubing in through the PVC and down the throat more on the left side than the center-use your other hand to feel the tubing go down the throat. (With thumb and forefinger together - you can feel the tubing going down the esophagus under the skin.. **it is the soft pliable cord in the throat.. the bronchial tube on the other hand is hard with ridges much like a clothes dryer flex pipe leading out of the dryer.)

Click on image to enlarge
NOTE:Stomach in photo is NOT in perspective with goat, it is enlarged so that you can see detail..
Make sure the goat's head is not tilted up too far.. Only a slight tilt is needed. At the same time, keep the end of the tube that is out of the goat's mouth that you will put the oil into is always higher than the stomach of the goat.

Make sure you keep the tubing un-kinked, continue slowly putting the tubing down the throat .. allowing time for the goat to swallow in between pushes of the tube.. if you feel resistance STOP!
If the goat starts to choke violently STOP! You are in the windpipe! Retract the tubing and take a deep breath and start again.
Feed the tube slowly and gently into the goat allow the goat to swallow as you do this.. try not to rush yourself or the goat.

You will know when you are in far enough because the mark you made on the tube should be about even with the mouth..(allowing a slight variance)Double and triple check that you are DEFINITELY in the stomach and NOT the lungs!!
Listen to the end of the tube.. you should hear stomach noises.
Smell the end of the tube, it should smell like rumen contents.
Put a small mirror up to the end of the tube~ there should be NO breath marks being made on the mirror. If fog appears you are in the lungs!
Place the end of tubing in a glass of water.. if bubbles appear, you are in the lungs..STOP and re-insert!
IMPORTANT: I have seen some people suggesting that you blow gently into the tube to hear resonating sounds..DO NOT do this! This is VERY dangerous as you do not realize how strong your "puffs of breath " may be and you can easily pop the lungs of the goat or push matter down into the lungs if something happened to be in the airway.. **I have checked with many veterinarians about this practice to make sure this was the way to check and every one of them told me not do this..
You are much safer to use a mirror..(checking for fog which indicates you are in the lungs.. withdraw and re-insert) or a glass of water (looking for the bubbles which indicates you are in the lungs and not the stomach)..again.. withdraw and re-insert. Leave the resonating sound checks to the experienced veterinarians!

**If you have placed the entire length of the measured tubing into the goat without much resistance.. you can rest assured you did not go into the lungs.. first of all it would not fit the length..secondly had you pierced the lungs you would know it.. the goat would be in EXTREME distress and most likely be screaming or dying..

After you are absolutely sure you are in the stomach and not the lungs.. (you have either placed a mirror in front of the tube end and watched for fog on the mirror,indicating you are in the lungs..or you have placed the end of the tube into a glass of water and watched for bubbles which also would indicate you are in the lungs..) attach the syringe (minus needle and plunger) to the end of the tubing and carefully pour the oil mixture into the end slowly allowing the oil to go down the are better off to use a second syringe minus the needle to do this with..measuring the amount carefully as you administer the liquid into the second syringe casing.
Keep in mind any oil that dribbles down the Outside of the tubing will create problems as it will wick down the tubing and possibly get into the lungs..

If you are dealing with Free Gas Bloat ~ as soon as the tubing reached the rumen the gas will have come up and out of the tube.

When you are ready to remove the tubing..allow some time between the last pour into the tube and the withdrawal time.. then place your finger tip over the end of the tubing (like you used to do with a straw in a drink as a kid) leave it there as you slowly and gently remove the tubing from the goat. This will keep any contents from dripping out of the tubing on the way out and keep the lungs safer.

Give her a big kiss and tell her you love her.. and that you're sorry it was so uncomfortable.. She should be fine to recuperate from this now..

**Use this same technique for feeding a sick downed goat or administering meds directly into the rumen in extreme cases where it is important you get them into the goat ASAP..
** NEVER attempt to tube feed an unconscious goat!


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Construction and Usage

Every goat producer must have an adult goat stomach tube on hand for emergencies. Buy the supplies and make one now; you won't have the luxury of time to do it when an emergency arises. Total materials cost is less than $10.00 in today's market (Year 2007).

Take the following list of items to your local hardware store or building supply and have the items cut to the lengths indicated:

  • Five (5) feet of 1/2 inch OD (outside diameter) by 5/16 inch ID (inside diameter) clear vinyl flexible tubing.
  • Three (3) inches of 5/8 inch OD by 1/2 inch ID clear vinyl flexible tubing.
  • Eight and one-half (8-1/2) inches of 3/4 inch CPVC pipe (lightweight utility grade PVC).
  • At WalMart's automotive department, buy a yellow plastic funnel (cost in April 2007 is 57 cents). The opening of this funnel fits the 3 inch clear vinyl tubing perfectly. Note: If you can find a plastic funnel with an opening large enough to fit the five-foot length of clear flexible vinyl tubing, then you won't have to purchase the three inches of larger-diameter tubing.

Assembly is quick and easy. File one end of the flexible tubing smooth so that the goat won't be injured when the tubing is fed through its mouth and into the rumen. Attach the other end of the tubing to the funnel with the three-inch piece of tubing. File both ends of the CPVC pipe very smooth. Affix the plastic funnel to the three-inch section of tubing. You now have what is needed to stomach tube an off-feed goat.

Stomach tubing an adult goat is even easier than tubing a kid because the risk of threading the catheter (tube) into the lungs is less. If you are scared of stomach tubing because you fear making a mistake, think of this -- the goat is going to die if you don't try. You have no reasonable alternative but to learn to use a stomach tube. The sick goat is depending upon you to help.

When a sick adult goat goes completely off-feed, it is virtually impossible to syringe enough electrolytes and nutrients into it. A 100-pound goat needs one gallon of fluids daily to survive. One gallon is 3,840 cc's. Let me state this again, one gallon is 3,840 cc's. Purchase some Entrolyte (Pfizer's oral calf nutrient powder 13% protein plus electrolytes) or similar product and mix one of the packets with water as directed. Stomach tube the sick adult goat morning and night with this mixture until it begins eating on its own again. Stomach tubing should be done in no more than one-half gallon increments and sometimes less, depending upon the size and condition of the goat. Less fluid per treatment is often better; do not overload the rumen. Allow time for absorption by the goat's body.Tubing an Adult Goat

To insert the stomach tube into the goat, have another person hold the animal steady and slightly stretch its neck out straight; do not twist or bend the neck. Place the short piece of CPVC into the goat's mouth as far back as possible to prevent the goat from biting and swallowing the soft tubing. (Surgery will required to remove swallowed tubing so that the goat does not die). Before inserting the tubing, place it outside the goat's body from tip of nose to the back of the ribs, keeping the head in normal position to measure how much tubing should be inserted through the mouthpiece to reach the rumen. Uncurl the tubing and thread it through the CPVC pipe. If you meet resistance, pull the tubing out and begin again. Before pouring liquid into the funnel, listen for a crackling/gurgling/popping sound which indicates you are in the rumen and not in the lungs. Gently blow into the funnel end of the tube to obtain more sound feedback to further insure that you do not have the tube in the lungs. Remember to hold the funnel end of the tubing as high as possible for good gravity flow. Slowly begin to pour liquid into the funnel. If the fluid Tubing Adult Goatdoes not flow through the funnel and into the tube that is in the goat, pull the tube out slightly . . . . you've got it in too far. When all of the liquid has been poured into the tube, wait several seconds before removing the tubing so that none enters the lungs as it is withdrawn. The soft tubing should be pinched when pulling the tube out to prevent any residue left in the tube from entering the lungs. Rinse the tubing, funnel, and PVC thoroughly and let them dry so that they are ready for re-use when needed.
Tubing Adult Goat
Last Updated ( Friday, 25 April 2014 )