Archive of ‘General’ category
Diarrhea is a symptom of serious health problems in goats. Before treating your Goat for diarrhea, it is essential to determine the cause? Diarrhea-controlling medication could make the situation much worse. Slightly soft stool is sometimes just the Goat’s body’s way of ridding itself of undesirable products through the purging effect of diarrhea. If the scouring is slightly soft stool, just let it run its course.
But today I am just going to answer your question as to what works for me (in emergency cases) in ‘treating’ sudden diarrhea, by that I mean the very watery type. I will try my best to and find time to write at length on this topic.
I use activated charcoal pills. I figured that if it worked when i had the runs for me, it would work for my Goats and so far it has worked but I have to admit that for the past 6 months I have only had to use it on 2 occasions. Both times I crushed 2 pills and diluted with a tablespoon of water before using a syringe to force it down the Goat 3 times a day and the only feed they were given was forage. The diarrhea went away on the 2nd day.
Breeding idiosyncrasies can work both ways. I have a buck whom I discovered to be shy fellow. Early during my last breeding season I had placed him for the first time with some does which were on heat. Over the next 2 days I observed him waiting for him to get to work, you know do the natural thing. Nothing happen! He was more interested in what was being served for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Thinking that he was not sure of himself being in a new environment I moved him back to his pen and placed a doe on heat with him after he settled down for a day. Again nothing happen.
Next I had his semen examined just to make sure he was fertile and not shooting blanks. The result confirmed the fact that he was in excellent health and fully fertile, in theory he was ready. Now I had to figure out what was going on in his head that was interfering with his breeding abilities. I was worried i just might have a gay Goat.
On the next occasion I choose another doe on heat and place her with him in his pen. I sat down and settled down to find out what was problem. After watching the proceedings with this rather amorous doe, I came to one conclusion in the first hour. He was just too scared of the doe. Why? The answer is simple.
Being a buck which was selected from a very young age to be groomed and developed as a stud, the only friends he had was us, us as in humans. Staying alone in his pen with only us to fuss and take care of him he got so used to recognising us as his friends, as a part of his herd. That plus him being a virgin untested with no exposure to mating does it was no wonder when he felt intimidated by does who suddenly wanted to become up close and personal.
The next time I had a doe on heat I brought him out of his pen. I next held on to the doe while he walked around, initially ignoring her, and got used to her. In twenty minutes he, after much lip curling and sniffing, suddenly he got randy figured out what was his mission all about. I did this repeatedly several times with him, every time holding on to the doe and letting him be the boss and do the bossing. I am happy to report that he is just raring to go whenever needed and every time his mission accomplished.
In theory young Does can be ready to breed by the time they are 4 months old. But you will want to wait until they are at least 8 months of age for breeds like the Katjang. However you must realise that when and if you decide to breed at such a young age you should consider that such young does bred are still growing kids themselves and will need very close monitoring of their feed rations. You must also play close attention to their overall condition as they progress along their pregnancy.
Maturation of any Doe will naturally vary by their genetic/breed background. You cannot expect a smaller breed like a Katjang to be bred to a Boer of a similar age of let’s say at 10 months. We usually let our kids grow up and age until at least 12 months before breeding them in their 2nd year. Talk to the breeders and farmers in your area and I can tell you that there will be mostly different answers.
You will have to then use your own best judgement and common sense to make a decision based on the size and maturity of your own does.
We will soon be getting to follow up on our last visit to Boer Bok Stud in WA Australia. Beth, Alan and Peter were very kind and generous enough to offer us some of their Boers to help improve our bloodlines here in Sarawak. The visit to them in Busselton was a real eye opener and an excellent learning experience. I got to watch their Boers eating leisurely on their green pastures while it was raining and it was very cold! The opposite would happen here in East Malaysia. They would be bleating and running for the goat houses at the slightest sign of rain.
Very Nice Example Of A Red Boer Buck
More Happy Expecting Doe’s
Most newbie goat owners don’t have the idea of what really goat raising and even more so goat farming entails. They might see some goats at a visit to a farm, come across some goats at an agricultural fair, listen to someone who probably knows nuts about goats explain the income potential, or think they look cute too and soon they have bought a few. More often too they have never had any experience raising livestock.
Then soon like the proverbial rabbit those few goats become ten then twenty-five and in a matter of two to three years there is a huge herd.
Don’t kid yourself, having a lot of goats equals a lot of work. Not only does it mean the daily housing cleaning, which does not mean just sweeping the floors, but also means scrapping bits and ever so often water jet cleaning more so for elevated goat housing like here in East Malaysia. Then you have to do those maintenance odd jobs, regularly clear goat poop and perhaps make organic fertiliser. Next comes looking out into the goats health, reading up on goat raising and health, treating goats and the list goes on. We have not even begun to think about milking, making goat products like soap and supplying meat, corresponding with buyers and the chores never seem to end! Do you even have to bother mentioning those time wasters who come unannounced and expect you to be entertained to answer each and every question relating to goat farming and all you have in your mind are the chores that’s left to be finished? Of course this would be a whole new different scenario if you are a gentleman farmer who have staff to do all the work for you.
I have a recurring nightmare. It starts with me looking at my watch and its 6am, walking tiredly to the goat shed hearing them bleat a racket. As I enter into the sheds all the goats have their mouths gaping so wide demanding they be fed. Their bleating becomes louder and louder and ends with me run running screaming away from them. A friend shared his personal nightmare where he too walks into his goat shed but his goats have huge bloated udders and they are screaming to be milked.
Lots of goats also mean that there are lots of feeding and other costs like veterinary bills and maintenance. Many goat keepers often find the costs increase to way beyond to what we would normally spend for the family entertainment or hobbies. Sometimes goat farming might start out as a family endeavour but more often the responsibility eventually falls on one person. You will be spending more time out on the sheds and paddocks whilst other family members are having ‘better things to do’. This only will naturally bring on ill feelings within us.
Within a short time (the average goat owner stays in goats for three years) you will start to think that goat keeping does not seem like the great idea it initially was. It’s back breaking work, long hours, financial unrewarding and pretty hard on the family and wallet. It’s decision time. Get rid of the goats, decrease the workload, increase the financial returns or improve the divisions of labour?
Sometimes at this point some people decide (rather illogically) to go into a goat related business. They choose to sell goat milk, make cheese or goat soap, sell goat meat or other goat related money making endeavour. Soon not only are they pumping more money in and putting even longer hours into their goat’s but they are pumping even more money and hours into their goat related business.
To stay in goats for the long haul we must not only find ways to decrease the work and financial outlay but also keep the family as a whole committed to this hobby which has turned into a business. The first way is to keep the numbers to a minimum. Defy the ‘breed like rabbits’ syndrome.
Only keep as many goats as you can handle. The number will depend on you and your decision if you are going to be working by yourself, with family members or other help, and still have a life besides goats. This will help you in many ways. You will work less, you will spend less, you will argue with your family less and you will enjoy your goats more.
Don’t ever think that if you decide to increase your goat numbers you will make everything better. You will most probably gain some efficiency and per head reduction in average costs but at most times for most people more goats mean more work, more costs and more disharmony. Keep only as many goats as you can afford. Since at most times owning and keeping goats is a hobby, consider having goats the same way as you would consider yourself having an entertainment budget.
One mistake you should never make is to turn your goat hobby into a paying job just in order to justify a larger herd. In the first place many of us have never run a business nor have we worked for ourselves. Whatever the business, being successful will depend on our knowledge on business planning, accounting, marketing and a host of other skills which we do not naturally have. You yourself know that statistics too show that the majority of new businesses fail.
The next thing you must demand of is in the efficiency of your everyday goat chores. Analyze your feeding, cleaning, milking and other labour intensive chores. Minimize effort, maximize efficiency, be process oriented. Write and note down everything. Decide which are the most labour intensive. Then decide chore by chore how to decrease your effort. Perhaps some form of equipment help you and can you afford it? Implement those changes. If you have maximized the efficiency of your chores and still being overloaded then it’s high time you reduce numbers or get help.
Consider the total whole big picture which means more than just goats. When we look at what owning goats really entails it is pretty obvious why most people stay in goats for only three years or less and why those who stay any longer often end up working harder, spending more money and suffer from strained relationships, family or otherwise.
We can and should continue to enjoy our goats and still have a happy fulfilling real life too. But this can only happen if we keep goat numbers to within our means and capabilities, introduce and maximize efficiencies and allow family members become involved as and how they want to be. For most of us owning goats is a hobby and like a hobby should remain within the framework of our family, friends, giving pleasure and teaching us responsibilities. It is only with this way that we can make keeping goats as part of our life for a lot more longer than the average three year cycle.
How Many Will There Be In Three Years?
While there are standards for Goat intake of energy and protein foods which are mainly useful for beginners these should serve only as a rough check for the experienced goat keeper. Problems which arise from Goat mineral needs afflict all manner of Goats and you, the experienced goat keeper and constitutes the principal difficulty of managing high yielding herds.
The Goat being a small ruminant works at a higher metabolic rate hence naturally with greater ‘wear and tear’ and therefore requires more mineral supplements and maintenance. The workings of the digestive tract involves the use and loss of large quantities of minerals in the digestive juices.
The Goat has an outstanding mineral requirement because it has a small body with high metabolic rate with a digestive system occupying one third of their body and producing milk richer than cow’s milk and greater in volume than sheep. Feeding which may seem adequate for other farm stock is most probably deficient for the goat.
Many of us think we know enough after some experience and reading and thus coming up with our idea of what a balance mineral supplement should be. Such commercial mixtures usually serve a purpose at a cost way out of proportion to the value of our Goat. Since it is designed to meet the requirements of cattle under orthodox systems of mineral management, that particular mixture will not be balanced for your Goat. Even commercial mixtures for the Goat may supposedly be balanced but it may just be not that for the individual goat as it depends on its feeding and expected yield, meat or milk. However it must be clearly understood that an excess of minerals becomes a heavy strain of your Goat’s kidneys which is largely responsible for getting rid of any surplus. An excess of any one mineral is liable to make another non-available. A chronic excess of many minerals deranges the workings of the vital processes.
Calcium and Phosphorus are the principal components of the goat skeleton and are essential for the chemistry in a variety of vital functions. Calcium for example is concerned with blood clotting and in the control of the metabolic rate and in nervous control. Phosphorus is needed for the release of muscular energy, for the digestion of oils, fats and for body cell making whether for growth, replacement or reproduction.
Calcium and Phosphorus are deposited in the bone together. If the need for either is needed by the body and the present diet cannot provide for it then both are released from the bones. These two minerals are always associated yet they are opposed in the effect on the body’s chemistry.
When there is a Calcium deficiency in the blood the goat will tend to overdo it. It will eat well, yield well and be very excitable. Then all of a sudden it will collapse. Phosphorus deficiency may take other forms but is always accompanied by a rather dull and apathetic attitude towards life.
In simple terms think of Calcium as the brake and Phosphorus as the accelerator. In those capacities they act on the thyroid gland which controls the metabolic rate and the rate of which Calcium and Phosphorus is withdrawn from the skeleton to serve the needs of milk production or meat development.
Magnesium in small quantities is required in the diet where it is a needed companion and assistant to Calcium in the chemistry of the goat’s body. Some functions of Calcium cannot be performed without the presence of Magnesium. When the Magnesium content in grass falls with the seasonal changes, grass fed goats are prone to Tetany. Apart from this problem lack of Magnesium can lead to general slight ill health.
Now let’s look at Iodine. The thyroid gland which controls the metabolic rate needs a supply of Iodine which in turn is needed for the manufacture thyroxine. If the supply of Iodine is not within its requirements the thyroid gland increases in size to make most of small resources and a goitre is produced. But this is an unreliable symptom and the least important consequence of Iodine deficiency which can and will cause ill health without any or noticeable difference in the size of the thyroid gland which is located in the throat. Iodine deficiency produces symptoms which include harsh coarse dry hair, dead parchment skin, still born and often hairless kids. Coming back to the thyroid gland, the goat’s ability to assimilate vitamin A and Carotene depends on its thyroid activity. So Iodine deficiency bears in its train of consequences of vitamin A deficiency as well which means retarded growth, infertility and low resistance to infection. Compared to a cow the goat has a thyroid gland which is half as big when proportioning bodyweight. The more productive your Goat, the greater will there be a need for Iodine.
Iodine differs from all other minerals in that it is only present in very small quantities in plants and almost entirely available in soil. It is rich in soils that hold their moisture well, peats, clays and humus rich land. Lime blocks the uptake of Iodine from the soil as it suppresses the effect of thyroxine in the blood. Over limed corps should be avoided as with corps subjected to heavy applications of artificial manures.
Copper is needed by the Goat in very small quantities and is needed to aid digestion and the use of iron in the body. The symptoms of Copper deficiency is scours, a dull and staring coat and loss of pigment from the hair giving the goat a washed out appearance. If you do not have access to a mineral supplement that contains Copper you can make your own. The recipe is 1 gm. of Copper Sulphate dissolved in a litre of water to be poured over 3 kg. of Salt. Let this mixture evaporate naturally and when dry add 600 gm. of red oxide of iron. Your Goats should have free access to this.
Cobalt is needed by the Goat to provide the bacteria in its digestive tract to synthesize vitamin B12. This vitamin is the antidote to pernicious anaemia. Lack of it causes this disease and encourages acetonamia and possibly other diseases. Some internal parasites rob their hosts of this vitamin when it enters the body from the digestive tract. The proportion of Cobalt included in commercial trace elements mixtures has proved useless for deficient Goats. Dissolve 10gms of Cobalt Sulphate in 300 ml of water, wet it with 2 kg of Salt and offer to goats as free access. If your goat has anaemia as a consequence of worm infestation or acetonaemia that accompanies a low fibre diet, you can counter this by adding 10gm of the above mixture to the feed everyday for a week. You can notice a chronic deficiency of Cobalt when it is evident by a gradual loss of appetite , wasting and sensitivity to cold.
We may cater for the mineral needs of our goats in three ways, Treating the soil on which (if) we grow Goat food, selecting the species of plants we grow for goat food or by feeding a concentrate of mineral mixture.
To be continued…
The male Goat has a habit of marking anything he fancies with his personal ‘stink’, by rubbing his head on them. What he is rubbing with is his musk glands which are situated in a 3/8 to ½ inch wide band immediately and along the inside edge of the base of each horn.
These musk glands are present in both sexes. As these are activated by the presence of male hormones in the blood, this activity is seasonal in the male and unusual in the female. In an adult, if you remove the normal hair you can see these glands as an area of thickened and glistening skin.
The de-odourization procedure is a simple extension to the debudding technique, the glandular area being scorched by a disbudding iron.
A few animals will have small patches of musk glands on other parts of their bodies and these can be located by nose, but shampoo first and when locating cauterize the same way. A Goat that produces ‘Goaty smelling’ milk can be ‘tested’ by rubbing the suspected area by hand for a few moments then sniffing.
Our shipment of Red Kalahari’s, Anglo Nubians, Red and Traditional Boers finally arrived safely from Queensland, Australia via KLIA yesterday.
More details later. Was a very long flight.
Some of these will not be as simple as they appear and you will need more research in some areas. But you can refer to past postings like `Can You Make Money Goat Farming` and `For The Newbie Farmer` for more information and a clearer explanation. Visiting similar farms and asking questions is a very good exercise as with joining any related organisations, clubs or associations in your immediate area. The internet is of course a good option but there is nothing better than speaking and learning one on one. Try and work closely with an established farmer who has a good record. Calling your local agricultural department will be helpful as they will be also able to offer some advice.
GOAT FARMER SKILLS
- Applying ID Tags
- Breed Knowledge
- Medication Application (Shots With Needle + Deworming)
- Delivering Kids
- Handling & Moving (Behavioral Knowledge, Aggresion + Birthing)
- Shelter Needs
- Manure Handling
There are a few related postings here like ‘How To Tattoo Your Goat’, ‘Goat Injection Sites’, ‘Buck Housing and Management’, ’5 Mistakes Sarawak Farmers Make’, ‘Basic Physiological and Biological Norms’, and ‘How To Ear Tag Your Goat’, but i encourage you to go onto the field and find out hand on the kind of information you will need for your particular kind of set up. Another post, ‘Can You Make Money Goat Farming?might also be useful if you are considering going into this as a business. Good Luck!
This is in response to an email received which asked about the responsibilities for various parties concerned in importing from Australia. Here is a general outline.
WE THE AUSTRALIAN SELLER
- We will meet all the specifications of the purchaser.
- Ear Tagging of all Animals for export – different to farm tags to save confusion – not on Slaughter Protocol
- Management on Isolation farm including all feeding costs etc (as directed by Shipper and/or Client)
- Labour on blood test farm to handle animals yards to handle goats for initial bleed and/or treatments
- Labour to load animals onto the Truck to Airport
- Truck from Selection Farm to Isolation Farm (should be NIL if located at ISOLATION farm already)
- Pregnancy testing of Animals as/if and when required
- Isolation for up to 7 days if required prior to Export Weighing of Animals and advising of weights to Shipper
- Supply and application of internal Worming treatments
- Supply and application of External Parasite treatment
- Tag list of all animals same day as completion of blood test.
- Veterinary Labour Expense and Blood test at Isolation farm
- Supply and application of Vaccinations with Glanvac 6 and Amoxicillin/Oxytetracycline as required
- Blood test expense for all animals i.e. Lab Expense (additional if on breeder protocol)
- Truck From Isolation farm to Airport for flight
- Disinfection of Truck for transport to flight
SHIPPER (OR WE)
- Approval of Holding Farm for export as holding facility
- Vet Instructions for First treatment
- Vet Instructions for Final Treatments
- AQIS inspection prior to flight at farm or at airport
- Travel Crates for the Flight Management/Guidance of entire process post selection to arrival at foreign airport
- Export License fee and applicable processes – and audit processes as applicable Export Tag fees to DAFF
- Groom to accompany animals to foreign Airport and to assist in unloading and delivery
- Prepare AWB and fax across to the customer for pre-clearance.
- Flight space and freight expense Australia to Foreign airport
YOU THE CLIENT
- Any fees incurred at airport of Destination in relation to loading of trucks and customs clearance
- Any fees incurred at airport of Destination delivery from Airport to destination farm
- Payment 100% SEVEN days prior to shipment
- Collection of animals at airport of Destination
- Clearance of Customs at Airport of Destination
- Import Permit from Ministry of Agriculture 7 days prior to export (this is only valid for 30 -60 days generally)
- Total responsibility of animals once the aircraft lands at the destination airport. Insurance of all animals from time of selection to time of unloading of aircraft
NOTE – Delays caused by you, the consignee due to permit arrival or payment delay – will and may incur further charges for adjisment or flight charges