Most long-eared goats are born with folded ears that unfurl and dry in the correct position, but some stay creased and may need to be corrected. It’s popped up a few times in my herd, so I try to fix it in the first week of life. Why would you want to correct it? While it’s true that it’s a mostly cosmetic defect, there is some evidence to support that goats with folded ears are more prone to outer ear infections caused by yeast and bacteria. I haven’t experienced this in my herd, but it does make sense. Furthermore, some organizations consider vertical folds in ears to be disqualifying in the show ring. Buyers typically prefer a more symmetrical look and in this instance, a folded ear could lose a sale. It’s a simple fix when caught early, but if you wait until the cartilage starts to firm up, it can be difficult to correct.
First, you need a form. It should be firm enough to hold shape but not so firm that it causes discomfort. A thin piece of cardboard or styrofoam should work. In this instance, I used a piece of cardboard.
Using scissors, I cut out a piece roughly the same shape as the goat’s ear, but a little smaller
Since this would feel rough and uncomfortable to the goat, I wrapped it in silk medical tape.
At this point, it’s handy to have a helper hold the goat so you can carefully place the form on the inside of the ear and wrap more silk tape around it.
Be careful to not wrap too tightly – you don’t want to compromise circulation. It’s helpful to leave the tip of the ear unwrapped so you can make sure there’s no swelling or temperature changes.
You’ll want to make sure that the form stays in place. Remember to look for it when you check on the goats. If it comes off, you can use fresh tape to put it back. After a few days, the form will come off by itself and you can leave it off if the ear appears to be unfolded. Remove the form after about five days to check progress if it hasn’t fallen off on its own.