Saturday, August 31, 2013

Goats. . .how tough they are. No, I mean how tough to care for

Goats are tough, and I’ve learned a lot of things that hardest way over the last 5 years.


Lesson one, I nearly lost my first dairy doe kid I purchased (Candy, who has ended up the hardiest girl ever) to cocci and early bottle weaning because I didn’t know to ANYthing about it and assumed an
ease of care that didn’t exist. The breeder didn’t tell me worthwhile information and just took the money and handed me the kids. . .when I REALIZED what I’d done, she had wasted away to nearly nothing. . .
but I acted very quickly once I figured it out, got it under control, and she grew beautifully after.

Lesson learned on early weaning, too little milk and cocci prevention and treatment.

Second lesson, Mastitis. . .I tried to dam raise 4 years back and didn’t catch it in time – wasn’t seeing the doe close enough and udder daily – it was pretty much out of control when I noted it.
Almost lost the doe. Pulled the kids. . .put them on a bottle. I've bottle raise most all kids since – I milk the doe twice a day from birth – the second condition start to change in weight, hair texture, udder temp, texture, etc. . . I KNOW and act quickly.

Third Lesson, Pulling kids and poor labor. I Overfed does grain all pregnancy, they laid all winter in the barn, no exercise – fat does, out of shape, huge kids. . .sluggish labors. Lost my first and most
loved doe and her kids – C-sectioned too late, kids had died. Kids weighed 15 lbs each. Doe couldn't have them. Cried all night in the barn. Lost two more huge kids but saved the doe. Hard, hard lesson.

Fourth Lesson, Thinking I had a buck with some strange and untreatable illness when he went down, lost vision, had his head arched to his back and was screaming. Nope. . .vet out, Polio – a few days of thiamine
- right as rain. I bet I've been able to save 10 others when people have called me about a goat with these symptoms since then or more

Fifth Lesson, suddenly everyone look thin and rough 3 years back – happened so fast. . .wormed with ivo-mec plus, nothing happened. . . upped feed. . . nothing. Checked eyelids – so pale. . . did a fecal. . . found out it was barber pole worm – found the right wormer – Cydectin – have used it since – no issues since and now that I know BP is an issue here – I don't bother with any other wormer unless we are addressing lung or tapeworms. Everyone looked great in a month after treatment.

Sixth lesson, underfeeding grain to heavy does going into pregnancy for fear we’d have a lesson #3 repeat, though It was 3 years after the fact, last year. . .and ending up with the ketosis in the one doe carrying Quads. But we were able to save her and the kids, but what a mess. Relied heavily on a far more well versed goat keeper, Marilyn G, to get us through with advice!

Seventh Lesson, using an iron I “thought” was getting hot enough and not checking I and ending up with a few sets of horns and some scurs – HUGE FAIL there. New iron coming and I know they don't last 5 years now!

Anyway, moral of the story – In the past 5 years, I have learned a LOT of lessons the HARD, HARD way. More, of course, than listed above. I rarely repeat something I learn like that. . .If you're ready to get into goats – understand. . .they have a steep learning curve. They are NOT hands off livestock. You HAVE to want to be out there and involved in their care!

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LUCAS FARM

Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds. For riches are not for ever: and doth the crown endure to every generation? The hay appeareth, and the tender grass sheweth itself, and herbs of the mountains are gathered. The lambs are for thy clothing, and the goats are the price of the field. And thou shalt have goats' milk enough for thy food, for the food of thy household, and for the maintenance for thy maidens

- Proverbs 27:23-27




"I know of no pursuit in which more real and important services can be rendered to any country than by improving its agriculture, its breed of useful animals, and other branches of a husbandman's cares."

- George Washington