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Archive for the ‘Goat Care (and General Farm)’ Category

Have you noticed? Goats are all the rave.

Goats are:

  • Small livestock (suitable for smaller farms)
  • Provide milk, fiber, and meat (great for small business)
  • Entertaining
  • Intelligent

Goats, like any livestock, can be expensive and difficult to care for.

Before you purchase goats, educate yourself. Read. Absorb as much as you can from books, watch videos, attend in-person classes and conferences, and communicate with other goat owners.

Research your local veterinarian and make sure he/she is educated in goat wellness care, preventive maintenance, and treatment.

Online social forums are also a great place to learn about goats, but I warn you, these can be political areas so keep an open mind. Learn what you can based on your own common sense.

I grieve when I receive an email that says, “I gave my goat an aspirin at midnight,” or, “I’ve given Pepto-Bismol three days ago and now my goat cannot walk.” I find myself riding to work and I open my email to read that a goat is down, and I can do very little from there. Please read the health care posts that I’ve written on this blog, or purchase my book (which covers most goat ailments), better yet, purchase as many books as you can on this topic.

I avoided giving exact dosages for treatments in my book because here is the main scope of my blog post today, I encourage you to go after your dreams, own your goats, you will love them, but seek your veterinarian out when the going gets rough, and it will get tough. You will need assistance from someone who knows what they are doing, until you know what you are doing. Even when you are experienced, things happen.

Happy goating! I hope to hear your lovely goat farming stories! Reach for  your dreams!

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goat care, kid goats, caring for goats, book about goats, goat health, how to raise goats, how to purchase goats, goat farmMy latest book, Annie’s all about Goats, is now available in paperback on Amazon.com.

I am excited to publish this book for new goat owners, as well as those that have experience, and for people considering goat ownership. This is a great reference book to start or add to any goat care library!

I cover a range of topics including:

  • purchasing goats (things to consider and how to select)
  • bringing new goats to the farm
  • goat breeds
  • fencing, housing, and storage
  • livestock guard animals
  • feed and nutrition
  • health and wellness care
  • coat, hoof, and horn care
  • breeding and pregnancy
  • birthing
  • raising kids
  • milking
  • ways to use goat milk

My husband sat down and read the book proof as I was cross-referencing page numbers. He said, “I’ve learned about goats all over again! I had forgotten so many things.”

This book is a true and absolute work from my heart. I hope many people enjoy and learn from it for many years to come!

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sarah are you kidding www..anniesgoathill.comAre you kidding? No, we are not having kids. We are designing a cover…finally!

I have hired the excellent services of Jennifer Smith, talented owner and operator of Eco-Office Gals.

I am thrilled to be at the stage of final formatting of this book, and to have someone with fresh (and trained) eyes helping me with cover design.

This means that I get the book out to you…and yes, I have a growing waiting list, and, I can roll forward on my next books — a devotional, a children’s fiction book which brings fun things to the farm, and a future 2nd edition of Annie’s All About Goats.

As Sarah, the lovely gal pictured above, would say, “Mehhh! Mehhh!” Move forward!

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Annie's All About Goats www.anniesgoathill.comI am allowing myself to become excited, but not so much that I cannot concentrate on my writing. But still…let me give it a shout, Annie’s All About Goats is looking like a book!

This book project has grown. On a daily basis I add fresh notes, new ideas, and the research abounds.

When will it be published? My goal is middle May, 2014.

I want to take the time today to thank you for your comments, your questions, your email. Goodness, this blog’s readership has grown!

Thank you!

Mary Humphrey

Share, Encourage and Grow!

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newborn goat kid www.anniesgoathill.com

Several goat owners have expressed concern about keeping their newborn kids in the barn overnight during extremely cold temperatures, and have asked how to handle birthing (kidding) during a cold snap. In all of these situations the goats were either in a four or three sided barn, and all had a full roof overhead. I advised that the open areas, if there were any, be shielded from the wind. Cold drafts must be blocked.

There are several ways to add extra draft protection –  one is by using tarps, and the other is the use of straw bales. I do not advise stacking bales of straw two and three high within a stall or paddock because they can fall on top of a very young kid and pen them under, but a straw bale, just one high, can provide extra protection for a dam and her kids to butt up against. Straw bales can be stacked outside of a pen wall, though, such as against a heavy wire panel. This provides a thick layer of insulation from wind and drafts.

I also believe in allowing a layer of used bedding to remain on the ground inside the barn in colder climates, especially around the corners and along the base of outside walls. The used bedding, just several inches thick, packs down and provides a layer of insulation from the cold ground. Very damp or wet bedding will lead to the chilling of a kid and must be raked out.

If you use electrical sources of heat, such as heat lamps, always ensure the lamps are on a safe circuit, and keep the lamps high enough, away from combustible materials, and out of the reach of kids and adult goats. I am not fond of using heat lamps when I am not in close proximity of the barn, due to fire danger, but I have known others to use them successfully by following careful safety measures.

I am a fan of using boxes for the kids to crawl into. Inexpensive sturdy plastic storage boxes, laid on their side, lined with a towel or dry straw for the newborn goats to snuggle into, have provided extra protection for many kids on our farm.

When due dates fall into the cold season, or when newborn kids are on the ground (in the barn) during extremely inclement weather:

  • ensure newborn kids are nursing (which gives them a much better chance of retaining body heat and surviving)
  • promote the eating of hay at a very young age (it helps the young goat to develop rumen activity, and helps them to generate their own body heat)
  • ensure kids are dried off after birth as quickly as possible (keep dry towels on hand to assist the doe with cleaning the kid, which prevents the kid’s body temperature from dropping below normal, and prevents frostbite – especially important for kids with susceptible long ears)
  • set an alarm during the night, more than once if the temperatures drop below freezing, and check on the youngest of kids frequently
  • have supplies on hand that will help you revive an overly chilled kid (see Reviving a Chilled Newborn Kid link below)
  • Provide warm water as often as possible – goats tend to shun the drinking of ice cold water

I have several blog posts in my archives that may assist you:

Reviving a Chilled Newborn Kid

Bottle Feeding Goat Kids

Colostrum – The Most Important Nutrition In a Goat’s Life

Thiamine Deficiency

Selenium Deficiency

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www.anniesgoathill.com dreamstimefree_148621

Fortified Vitamin B Complex is a staple in my goat medicine cabinet. This post will help you understand the importance.

Are B vitamins necessary in a goat’s diet?

Goats manufacture B vitamins in the rumen through micro-organisms during the digestion process.  Goats utilize (absorb) the B vitamins that the rumen creates and eliminate any excess.

B vitamins are not necessary supplements in the diet of a healthy goat. In fact, B vitamins are not metabolized (absorbed) through the ingestion of feeds at all. They are only absorbed through the rumen system, solely through the internal manufacturing process.

What causes a thiamine deficiency?

Any illness  or condition that leads to a goat not eating can cause the rumen to function poorly, or not function at all, resulting in a drop (or cessation) in B vitamin production, which lowers the absorption of the most important vitamin (B1, Thiamine) to a goat’s health.

Goat kids are very prone to thiamine deficiency. The rumen does not fully function at a very young age, and the immune system continues to build during the first year of life.

Symptoms of thiamine deficiency include: weak back legs, staggering, confusion, star gazing (looking upwards, stretching the neck), diarrhea, muscle tremors, convulsions, circling, and blindness and depression. In the later stages, the goat is unable to stand or rise up, death will follow.

The importance of the correct fiber to starch ratio is extremely important to a goat’s health. When the ratio is incorrect, or when the goat overloads on carbohydrates resulting from too much grain or starch, the rumen stops functioning correctly resulting in less production of B vitamins, or no production at all. Long stemmed fiber, such as good quality hay, is very important to proper rumen function.

A change in diet may also lead to rumen function issues. Feeds must be changed gradually, allowing the rumen to adjust over a period of 7 to 10 days.

Moldy hay or feed also leads to poor rumen function and illness.

Goat Polio (Polioncephalomalacia) is a disease that results from thiamine deficiency. It is easily treated, early on, with larges doses of thiamine. Goat Polio and Listeriosis have very similar symptoms and causes. For this reason, I also include penicillin in the treatment. Note, Listeriosis normally affects full-grown goats, not kids.

How is thiamine deficiency treated?

Fortified Vitamin B Complex contains 100 mg/per ml of Vita B1 (Thiamine). When injected under the skin the goat is able to absorb the B vitamins, replacing what they are not able to produce. A goat will not overdose on an injection of B vitamins. The excess is expelled through urination.

As prevention, probiotics are often administered by goat owners each time feed is changed, when oral medications are given, or when the goat is stressed. The administration of probiotics assists with proper micro-organism balance in the rumen.

Note: purchase Fortified Vitamin B Complex, not Vitamin B Complex, the latter does not contain the correct percentage of thiamine (B1), 100 mg/per ml, required for treatment of thiamine deficiency.

General health note:

When a goat is “off,” the quicker the problem is diagnosed and treated, the better the chances of successful treatment and survival. It is best to separate an ill goat from the herd, provide clean dry bedding, fresh water, and adequate feed – especially good quality hay.

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hammering the books out (via dreamstme.com)

My book, temporarily called All About Goats from Annie, is firmly on the road of progress.

Never did I think I would see 71 pages of goat health related reference material in one chapter, but it happened. Whew! I have been refining the content, completing the research, which has amounted to more time devoted to one chapter than the entire 36,000 words I have so far written in the book.

At this point, I have set a goal to publish by October 31, 2014, with that being the latest date, hoping for a sooner release. For those of you waiting for the book, it is not going to take much longer!

Other writing projects on my white board:

Advanced Soapmaking: Removing the Mystery, co-authored with Alyssa Middleton, is soon to be released. We hope to have the book proof in our hands within 7-10 days.

Annie’s Adventures On the Farm (temporarily named), a youth fiction novelette, is nearly 80% complete. It will set sail after All About Goats from Annie is published.

Hammering the words out, onwards!

Share, Encourage, and Grow

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