Treating a Hypothermic Lamb or Goat Kid



Having a newborn lamb or goat kid get chilled and hypothermic is pretty common, especially when you live in a colder climate like we do. We generally plan our breedings so that the ewes and does are giving birth in April or later, but even in April and May we get below freezing at night and the newborn babies are at risk of hypothermia.

This year things are a bit different on our farm, and we had a ewe due in the middle of this bitter cold snap. To be sure we didn’t lose the lambs, we were checking on the ewe every 1-2 hours, day and night. She snuck the babies out between one-hour checks, and when we arrived one of the twins was hypothermic. Thankfully, we arrived in time, recognized the symptoms, and treated him right away.

Symptoms of Hypothermia in Lambs and Goat Kids

  • Shivering
  • The inside of its mouth and its tongue feel cold to the touch
  • Droopy ears, lethargic, not active and alert
  • Labored breathing
  • Rectal temperature below 100F (normal temperature is 102.5F)

Nubian Doeling

How to Treat a Hypothermic Lamb or Goat Kid

It is important to treat the lamb or kid as soon as possible once you realize it is hypothermic. The sooner you help it, the higher chance of survival.

First, get it wrapped in a towel and into a warm, indoor place. If it is wet, work to dry it and heat it at the same time. There are two ways to heat it, either on your lap or in a hot box. If you can go inside a warm indoor space, near a heat source, either method is fine. If you only have a barn or cold area to work in, you will need to use a hot box.

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