Constipation in newborn and very young kids is a common condition that most producers seldom consider. Premature newborns are good candidates for this problem but full-term kids can also suffer constipation. I see the problem more often in hot weather but it can occur any time, especially if the dam has rich thick colostrum.
Let’s say that you have a newborn that is premature, either its dam or you are feeding it, its tummy is getting bigger and firmer, and it isn’t wanting milk like a normal baby. You realize that it isn’t pooping like most kids. The kid might be standing hunched up and sometimes with tail down. It is likely constipated. Constipation is a life-threatening condition in newborn kids. If the kid cannot poop out the waste products which contain toxins, it can die.
Give the kid a soapy warm water enema. Mix about 2 ounces of warm water with two drops of dishwashing liquid. Put a towel on a counter, place the kid on its side with its rear towards the sink, and using a 3 cc Luer slip syringe, draw warm soapy water into the 3 cc syringe. Gently put the slip tip of the syringe into the the kid’s rectal opening; this is very delicate and easy-to-damage tissue on a young kid. Slowly push the plunger to insert the warm soapy water into the kid. You may have to repeat this multiple times to break loose the hardened feces.
You should soon be seeing small chunks of hard feces spewing out of the baby’s rear, followed by soft baby-yellow poop. You may need to gently massage the kid’s abdomen to get the water/feces mixture completely out. You won’t believe how much dried hardened feces will come out of a constipated newborn or young kid.
If the kid has hardened/crystallized feces on its rear, pull it off. Some dam’s colostrum in particular is so rich that the feces produced actually hardens after it exits the baby. This can be viewed as an external form of “constipation” because if the kid cannot pass more feces because it is stopped up externally, the same internal constipation problems occur.
If you are bottle feeding, mix one to two cc’s of mineral oil in the milk to help prevent constipation.
Suzanne W. Gasparotto, Onion Creek Ranch, Texas 8/17/2012