Goat health and management

BELOW IS A SUMMARY OF HOW WE MANAGE OUR DAIRY GOAT HERD AND TIPS FOR NEW GOAT OWNERS

we accept no liability for the below information, these are suggestions and tips on how we manage our herd, please seek veterinary assistance during times of sickness

 

 

GOALS OF OUR DAIRY HERD:

Our goal is to raise an all natural herd that can efficiently sustain it self. We strive to raise an all around goat that meets several qualifications to suit multiple desires for potential buyers. We want our goats to be naturally parasite resistant, sound in their hooves, loving mothers, easy kidders and great milkers with excellent conformation that will hold up for many years. There is not just one reason for a cull in our herd as we are striving to produce an animal that carries several great qualities besides being a heavy milker. If we see a fault in one area of a doe but believe she is carrying many other great qualities that can outweigh her fault, we will strategically pair her with a sire that will improve her offspring in that area. We are strong believers in raising livestock that is equally balanced in all qualities when it comes to conformation, production and disposition.

 

OUR CURRENT HEALTH PLAN FOR OUR HERD

Our does kid out their kids on a grass pasture with the herd. Occasionally we will separate a doe into a separate kidding pen. Our most important quality in our herd is to have good mothers that can kid easily on their own without any assistance as we both currently carry full time jobs and run a small business besides managing a dairy and equine herd.  Our herd is on free choice grass all year long. We supplement with a high quality alfalfa for the does during the winter and times of grass shortages. Our bucks are also on free range grass and supplemented with grass/alfalfa mix hay during winter and times of grass shortages. We are in the process of building a second grass pasture for our doe herd to rotate on throughout the year. We offer free choice sweetlix meat maker mineral mixed with Diamond Yeast and Zinpro to all does and bucks. We also offer a cobalt lick block to our does in milk. The cobalt lick block helps sweeten up their milk. We copper bollus twice a year to all adult does and bucks. We also administer CDT once a year to adult goats and twice to baby goats. We treat lice and worms only when needed. We strongly believe in not worming an animal until a positive fecal is ran and you know which parasite to treat for. Many wormers have become ineffective due to mass usage and worms creating a resistance. Currently a majority of our herd has never had to be wormed.

 

Once a month we look over each animal by weighing them and body scoring them. If we have a goat that has a low body score or low FAMACHA we then perform our own fecal to see if we have a parasite problem. If there is a parasite we identify the parasite and worm appropriately and re-worm in another 10 days to kill the next cycle that could have been missed from the first worming. While looking over each animal we also check FAMACHA scores for anemia, look over coats for signs of deficiency or lice/mites, trim hooves if needed and give a dose of replamin to each animal. We study each one of our animals every day to catch any signs of oncoming sickness during chore time. We currently only test for CAE and Johnes. After extensive research we believe these are the only diseases worth testing for accurate results. During our research we have learned that several of these diseases will never test positive if the disease is currently dormant and no active infection is taking place. We have NEVER had a CL abscess on our property and have no issues with goats aborting due to other suspected diseases or deficiencies. Our baby goats are administered a CDT booster at 4 and 8 weeks old. They are disbudded within a week of being born. We do have the option to leave horned but need to know and have deposit first. When babies are weaned at 12 weeks old, they are started on coccidiosis prevention of Toltruzuril. Babies will be fed free choice alfalfa with medicated feed. Babies will also be de wormed before traveling to their new home and treated for lice if necessary.

 

HEALTH TIPS:

Goats are resilient animals and hide their sickness until the very end as a defense mechanism. This creates it hard for a herd owner to catch their goats sickness before it is too late. It is important to know your herd and each animals personality to catch the slightest sign of an oncoming sickness. 

Thermometer - always have one of these on hand and a back up in case one breaks. Sometimes a fever is the only indicator. A goats' normal temp should be between 102-103. This temp can climb on sunny hot days. 

Antibiotics - penicillin is a must have on any livestock farm. Due to mass usage penicillin is becoming less effective on serious illness. We carry other antibiotics like Reslfor Gold and Draxxin for serious sicknesses like pneumonia. But always consult a vet before administering any medication. 

Pain medication/fever reducer (NSAID) - it's important to have on hand some kind of pain medication/ fever reducer due to fevers, disbudding, injuries or other causes. Banamine is an injectable that we always have on hand for this but can not be given more than once in a 36 hour time frame. 

Anti inflammatory - Dexamethasone is an injectable that we keep on hand to reduce inflammation due to things like injuries. 

Vit B Complex - this is a great injectable to have on hand for sick goats or goats that go off feed and become Vit B deficient.  

Bose - injectable selenium to have on hand for times of selenium deficiency. Some herds administer this year round due to deficiency in soil. Contact your dept of Ag to check for soil levels in you area. 

Lutalyse - a drug designed to restart females estrous cycle. Every farm has an 'escape' billy goat that visits the does when he is not supposed to. Giving a dose of lute 2 weeks after exposure causes the female to restart her estrous cycle and no longer be conceived by accidental breeding. **This drug should NEVER be handled by a pregnant woman & seek professional vet for details on this medication.

External parasites - mites and lice are inevitable especially during wet years. At this time we use Cylence & Ultra Boss topical because you can treat it on lactating does and the milk is still safe to consume.  It is important to re treat in 20 days to kill the next cycle. 

Internal parasites - There are several different kinds of internal worms and there is no one wormer that kills them all. It is very important to run a fecal to determine which parasite you are dealing with and which wormer to administer. Any sign of anemia or diarrhea should be taken seriously and result in running fecals. After fecal is warrants a worm load, we always treat with two different classes of wormers, retreat in 12 hours and again in 10 days, this method has worked great for us and killing all life cycles of the worms.

CD/T Vaccine - Protects against over eating disease and tetanus. All adults receive one treatment a year. Does received an injection one month before kidding to pass onto their kids during lactation. Kids are administered another injection at 1 month of age and at time of weaning. 

Red Cell - used to help aide in animals suffering from anemia due to parasites. 

Coccidiosis - a bacterial parasite that kills quickly. All goats have some form of coccidiosis and worms. When the parasite becomes a heavy load that their body can't fight off is when you have a problem. Coccidiosis is a parasite in the gut that kills the villi in intestines ( finger like projections that help absorb nutrients ). Symptoms include severe diarrhea, hunched posture, and fatigue. It is very important to have a fecal run to confirm coccidiosis is what you are dealing with. Corrid is a treatment but very harsh, we will be using Albon in the future. Consult a vet immediately if you suspect your animal is infected with this. We will also be pre treating weaned babies with Toltrazuril and starting them on medicated feed after weaning to help aide in them not getting infected with coccidiosis.

Polio -  A Brain Stem disease caused by vitamin B deficiency. Star gazing, circling, diarrhea are all symptoms. Vitamin B injections are needed ASAP, consult a vet if you suspect this in you animal.

Listeria - very similar to Polio is a brain stem disease caused by bacteria. Causes can include moldy hay, change in diet, worm overload, ect. High does of antibiotics is suggested. Consult a vet. 

Probiotics - during anytime of administering medicine, it is important to provide a form of probiotics. Many medicines strip the animal of their natural probiotics. Many farms stores offer this in tube form. 

Electrolytes - during times of diarrhea, it is very important to keep the animal hydrated. Goat electrolytes are at most farm stores and a must to have on hand. 

Copper - we copper bolus our adults twice a year. These are easily purchased online. Check your local Dept of AG to see your soil levels and if you are deficient in copper. The boluses are the safest route in our opinion. You can easily over dose with injectables.

Hoof trimming - having a set of hoof trimmers is a must. For the most part we do not have to do much trimming due to the fact that we offer surfaces for the goat to naturally shed and wear down their excess hoof walls. It is very important to check your goats hooves frequently to prevent lameness and hoof rot. 

Sore Mouth/Orf - a type of herpes that causes open sores typically around the mouth area. Some cases involve sores on teats and internal organs but are rare. If a nursing doe has an open sore on her teats it is best to pull the kids and bottle feed. This is a highly contagious disease but most herds will experience this at least once. Good news is they become immune to the strand after they are infected with it. 

** These are helpful tips that we use to manage our herd, we are not veterinarians and take no responsibility for the above statements. Always seek professional veterinarian advice. ***