Archive of ‘Goat Health’ category
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.
Himalayan salt licks are mined in Pakistan from deposits over 250 million years old. Supposedly to be rich in 84 minerals and trace elements it has that distinctive pink color. They are extremely hard, making them very weather resistant and more difficult for the Goat to bite chunks off, which is what often happens with the softer mineral blocks we use. Just put an order through to trial it out.
This is a mistake many ‘newbie’ farmers make where although they know they need and should use a sound Buck, they end up investing in an inferior specimen. You need and want to get the best possible Buck (naturally within a reasonable price range) as you know that most times the kids will resemble the buck more than the doe. The Buck has the potential to easily influence the genetics of a few hundred kids before you retire him. Remember, and refer to this post,YOUR BUCK IS HALF YOUR HERD.
He should have good size and bone, be vigorous and active, and have a strong and masculine appearance, basically a very handsome bloke. He should have a broad muzzle, straight back, thick chest, and deep hindquarters. He should be standing square on all four feet, and have a healthy shiny coat.
You should purchase your Buck at least one month before breeding time. This will allow time for you to source for the right Buck and also allow him to be adjusted to your farm. This will also give you ample time to keep him quarantined from your herd just to make sure he is not carrying any contagious diseases. You will need approximately one mature Buck for 35-40 does on your farm.
In general, Bucks in temperate areas will become more active and aggressive ‘in the fall’ when most does are cycling. This will vary with some breeds that have the ability to breed ‘out of season’. Bucks from breeds such as the Boer are likely to be able to mate all year, but will tend to be the most aggressive in the fall. Bucks born and bred in tropical climates such as here in Sarawak are able to perform all year round.
Prior to breeding you should conduct a physical examination of your Buck for breeding soundness. The examination should include palpation of the testicles and epididymis, visual and hands on checking of feet, legs, and eyes. In addition, be sure to check the body condition of the Buck.
Testicles of the Buck should be firm and be adequate in size. The size of the testicles relates to the ability of the Buck to produce larger quantities of sperm, the bigger the better. This in turn will allow the Buck to breed a larger number of does. The tail of the epididymis is located at the bottom end of the testicle. It should be slightly rounded and free from any hard knots. This is important because the tail of the epididymis is where most of the sperm is reserved for breeding of the does.
When checking the feet and legs there should not be any lameness and evidence of foot rot or foot scald. Pick up the Buck’s feet and check between his toes for any sign of redness or infection. Also check the Billy’s eyes for signs of anemia. The tissues near the eye should be bright pink in color. If they are gray or white in appearance, the Buck probably needs dewormed. Refer to this post ‘ANEMIA’
Checking the body condition of the Buck is easily done by handling him across his top and along his ribs. The Buck should have some extra condition or fat reserves, but not be overly fat. As the breeding season progresses he can lose as much as 15% of his body weight. A too fat Buck may be lazy and not want to breed. These Buck are also more susceptible to heat stress which can decrease sperm quality. On the other hand, a thin Buck will have less energy for breeding and may have a lower sperm quality.
If you have any question of the breeding soundness of your Buck, you can ultimately check his ability to breed does through either a semen evaluation or by marking the does as they are bred. Semen evaluations can be conducted by a veterinarian or by a breeding service, which of the latter there is NONE here in East Malaysia.
You should try marking does (some water based marker will do) as they are bred to check if a Buck is successfully impregnating does. Change colors every 17 days (average length of a doe’s cycle). If the Buck re-mates a large number of does after the first heat cycle, you may want to have his semen evaluated.
Taking this few minutes prior to your breeding season/program can save you a lot of headache, heartache and ‘moneyache’. Keep your Buck in with the does for no more than 45 – 60 days to keep does kidding as a group. Kids born more than 45 days apart will vary in size and be more difficult to manage as you will have more than one weaning group.
In our very hot and humid climate here in Sarawak, we must have found that the heat and humidity can and will cause a reduction in the amount of food our Goats intake.
We must realize that a great deal of heat is produced in the process of digestation, which must be lost if the Goat is not going to overheat. Most of this heat is going to be lost through ‘sweating’ which become much less effective in humid environments. Goats rely on evaporative cooling from the respiratory tract. Consequently, high humidity associated with high temperatures is stressful to the animals as it interferes with their ability to regulate body temperature. If indoor temperatures rise above 30°C (85°F), a comfortable environment can be maintained by keeping the relative air humidity below 60%.
Above 30°C (85°F) your Goats will start to experience mild heat stress, more so when the humidity turns up the heat index. As heat and humidity climb, Goats will start to develop a serious problem with thermal stress. Goats get 8 times more relief from panting than sweating so rapid breathing is their primary form of cooling themselves.
During the hotter parts of the day you will notice your Goats will stop eating. You may also notice them lying on their sides flat out. They have stopped not because they have a full tummy but because they are having difficulty in keeping their body temperatures down to a tolerable level if their rumens are very actively digesting food and producing heat.
How we tackle this is to allow our Goats to go out into the paddocks in the early morning for their foraging and come back in the mid-afternoon where they are fed at around 3pm. They might be let out again for more foraging before being let back in during the late evening.
How to read the chart – Find the temperature on top, then move to the left until you find the column for the approximate relative humidity. That number will be the temperature that it will “feel” like. For example, a temperature of 90°F and relative humidity of 50% will “feel” like 95°. Add up to 15° if in the direct sun.
Humidity can be measured indirectly with dry and wet-bulb thermometers. The dry-bulb is an ordinary mercury-in-glass thermometer and measures the air temperature. The bulb of the wet-bulb thermometer is covered by a muslin bag which is kept moist. It gives a lower reading than the dry-bulb because of the cooling effect of water evaporating from the muslin bag.
The two thermometers may be placed in a Stevenson screen, or whirled together in a sling (sling psychrometer), or ventilated by drawing air past them with an electric fan (aspirating psychrometer). The difference between the wet and dry-bulb readings is a good indication of the efficiency of evaporative-type coolers and the wet-bulb reading is a reasonable indication of Goat comfort.
Dr. Teruo Higa, a Japanese professor of agriculture, developed EM – short for “Effective Micro-organisms” – in the nineteen-seventies and published his results in 1982. In 1989 EM was made public on an international level, and is now being used in more than 120 countries but is still relatively unknown in East Malaysia.
EM is a liquid culture of aerobic and anaerobic micro-organisms mainly sourced from human food processing and from nature. It consists of lactobacilli, yeast, photosynthetic bacteria, ray fungi and filamentous fungi. It does not contain any genetically modified organisms, is safe and easy to handle, and harmless to human health even if accidentally ingested.
The sample of EM stock solution we have been testing out at The Kebun is the dormant version of EM. This stock solution is “activated” prior to use with the following materials and steps. One liter of EM stock solution and 1 liter of molasses and mixed with 20 liters of clean water free from chlorine. The container should be of food-grade plastic and must be clean, not contaminated with chemicals (remember, tap water has chlorine) plus have an airtight lid. As little air as possible should be left in the container (between the liquid and the lid). As gas pressure will develop, the lid will have to be opened everyday for a second to release it.
For the period of activation, in tropical regions such as here in Sarawak, East Malaysia, the container has to be placed in shade at ambient temperatures (20-40 degrees Celsius) without exposure to strong temperature fluctuations. Depending on actual ambient temperatures, this extended EM will be ready after 3 to 5 days. You can verify this by a pH of or lower than 3.5 and a pleasant sweet-sour smell.
From one liter of EM stock solution and one kg (or liter) of molasses, we produce 22 liters of activated EM (EMa) solution ready for use. As the ideal microbial composition of EMa will deteriorate over time, it should be used up within one month. We would advise you to prepare only the volume of EMa which you can use within one month. EM should be extended only once.
In our Goat farm practices (also in general animal husbandry), the benefits from EM, improved digestion and general health and increased productivity, can be observed quickly as demonstrated and proven at The Kebun.
The following practices are adopted:
- EM used as a feed additive
- EM sprayed on fodder
- EM mixed into drinking water
- EM sprayed in the Goat sheds
- EM sprayed onto Goat dung
- EM sprayed onto paddocks
- EM spread on the bedding
- EM used in septic tanks collecting animal wastes
- EM used to aid our compost and organic fertiliser
The rate of addition of EM into feed is 1-5%. For adult Goats we add 5-10 ml per day, for kids 1-2 ml per day (with milk if bottle fed when weaned early). EM diluted 1:100 with water is also sprayed onto feed/forage, just prior to feeding.
We also use EM in drinking water in dilutions from 1:1,000 to 1:5,000, the higher dilutions for very young animals and for animals not accustomed to EM. We must stress that we apply it on fresh water only.
For spraying of EM in the shed, on floors and walls, we used diluted EM 1:100 with water and see no side effects even when splashed on Goat bodies. We use about 1 liter per 10 square meters once a week. We reduced the use of EM (after our second dose) when we noticed the odours were not noticeable anymore thus having some control over the general cleanliness.
EM can be added to septic tanks at a dilution of 1:1,000 but in our case with shed washing water and animal excreta are already inoculated with EM, this was not be necessary anymore.
EM is just wonderful.
Of the many books I have read on goat farming, this one is one of the best by far if you are an inexperienced Goat farmer. Sue Weaver has all the information packed into this small book in a very organized, easy to find manner.
QUESTION – One of my younger goats has swollen looking knee joints and has like a ‘tremor’ going on all over him, like serious shivering? What is wrong with him?
ANSWER – It sounds like your young buck has a case of encephalitis (Caprine arthritis) This is a disease of goats caused by a Lentivirus. This disease is also called chronic arthritis-synovitis, big-knee, and caprine retrovirus disease. It causes chronic arthritis and sometimes progressive interstitial pneumonia and even chronic mastitis in adults and leukoencephalomyelitis in young kids. Other clinical signs include swelling of the carpal joints and lameness in adults. Other joints become involved as the disease progresses. Young goats can also show nervous signs such as tremors, ‘shivering’, ‘star-gazing’ and paralysis. This disease passes on when drinking colostrum, but can also happen through respiratory and other routes. To my knowledge there is no specific cure is known for this disease, however you can help improve the situation by providing your goat with quality feed, mineral and vitamin supplements, proper hoof trimming, comfortable sleeping quarters and give an anti-inflammatory drug like aspirin.
If you have a surgical or a laboratory area on your farm then the suitable and recommended disinfectants are follows.
- 10% solution of any household bleach
- 10% solution of H2O2
- 5-10% solution of Lysol concentrate
- 5-10% Dettol concentrate
For your housing facilities of which you can use a normal manual dedicated backpack sprayer or a mechanized one then the suitable and recommended disinfectants are follows.
- 5% solution of household bleach
- 5% solution of H2O2
- 5% solution of Lysol concentrate
- 5-10% Dettol concentrate
The following are NOT appropriate disinfectants:
- Ethanol based
- Phenol based
- Formalin based
I apologize if some of you are not familiar with some of the terms used in this web log. Please let me know if there is anything else you need ‘translated’. Now this is the procedure on how to perform a palpation of goat’s testicles(testis).
The Buck is held (you will need someone to help you) in a standing position. Place one hand on each side at the base of the scrotum. Feel for the spermatic cords between your thumb and fingers and gradually move down to the epididymis. Without excessive pressure, most abnormalities can be felt for such as swelling or hardness. A comparison between the testicles (testis) can be made by simultaneously using both hands, one on each side.
The simple diagram should show you where everything mentioned is.
QUESTION - Hi. My goat makes a strange sound with it’s teeth. It sounds like it is grinding the teeth. It also seems to be off food. Please help?
ANSWER – Sorry to hear your goat is not doing well. Teeth grinding is a sure sign that all is not good. The first thing you should do is to take your goats temperature. Then call your veterinarian and tell him/her as much as you can tell what your goat has been up to and give the temperature reading (that will be the first thing they will ask you) I am sorry to be not of much help unless you give me more information as it could range from a fractured bone, bloat or even a snake bite. Goats will grind their teeth when they are in pain and extreme discomfort.
If you do not know how to take your goats temperature, you can refer to this post on ‘How To Take Your Goats Temperature’