CAE - I practice CAE prevention methods such as pasteurizing all pooled milk. All the does in my herd were born here and reared by me. Up until fall 2010, I had known CAE positives (but non-symptomatic) in my herd. As of May 2011, my entire herd is tested CAE negative. I test my goats once per year. Test results available upon request.

CL - I used to test my herd for CL, but due to being told by several sheep & goat vets that the test available is unreliable, I no longer test for CL. My herd has never had any history of CL. Any lumps are cultured and they have all come back negative (testing pus is more accurate than blood sampling.) BECAUSE I VACCINATE WITH COVEXIN EIGHT, MOST OF MY GOATS WILL EXHIBIT SHOT SITE ABSCESSES BEHIND THE LEFT ELBOW. This is NOT CL. This is a reaction to the adjuvent in the vaccine. The vaccine creates a lump the size of a chestnut filled with white pus. When the lump is "ripe", the hair will fall off. At that time, it may be lanced and cleaned. It is not harmful to humans or other goats.

Johnes - I started testing for Johnes through my local lab in 2009.  The entire herd was blood tested and found to be negative. I have no reason to suspect I have Johnes in my herd, but I continue to blood test the entire herd every other year just for peace of mind.

Bruscellosis/Tuberculosis - I have been testing for Bruscellosis and Tuberculosis since the mid to late 90's.  I am a certified/accredited free herd.

My herd has been enrolled in the voluntary Scrapie program for several years.


DHIR - I have in the DHIR program in the past, but my herd has gotten so small I could no longer justify the cost. I do maintain some barn records. I hope to add those to my doe pages in the future.

LINEAR APPRAISAL - I try and participate in LA at least every other year.  Since I have kept my herd very small the past few years I've managed to do it every year even with stale does.  It's a great tool to evaluate what flaws you need to correct and the strengths and weaknesses across the herd.


Here's a list of five catalogs I order from, links to those companies, and what I usually buy from them.

Fir Meadow - Over the years, I have transitioned over to using more herbs on the goats than laboratory-produced chemicals. I have found Fir Meadow's products to be both effective and cost efficient.

PBS Livestock - I usually get anything I need from them that I can't get from the specialty goat catalogs.  They are CHEAP and service is GREAT.

Jeffers Livestock - They are just about exactly the same as PBS.  Same great prices and service. I have been ordering from Jeffers for a long, long time.  Their shipping is extremely fast, I get my orders from them in 2-3 days usually.  No-hassle returns.

Caprine Supply - A specialty goat catalog.  They sell hard-to-find stuff just for goats.

Hoeggers - Basically the same items as Caprine Supply.

New England Cheesemaking Supply - They have a lot of good cheesemaking supplies and equipment. I highly recommend trying the bulgarian yogurt culture even if you don't like yogurt. It is sweet and not terribly tangy and it has a nice thick texture - YUM!

Omaha Vaccine - A pet supply catalog.  Good source for inexpensive stainless steel milk pails and show chains. The stainless steel pails they have sold in the past (not sure about now) had a rolled lip which you should grind off with a grinder so they would be sanitary. Make sure you leave a little bit of lip so you can still pour milk out of the buckets easily. Grinding the rim off makes them quite flimsy but still quite functional and much, much cheaper than buying one from the goat supply places that carry them. Just be forewarned the cheapie pails don't last like the good ones do.



Refer to the column above for links to the places I will list of where to buy stuff.

First you will need water buckets and feeders for hay and grain. 

WATER BUCKETS:  Any old bucket will do for water, you need two or three at least - 3 gallon or 5 gallon work good.  I love the five gallon pickle buckets Chick-Fil-A has if you can get them.  You might ask next time you are there eating lunch.  Otherwise you can buy buckets anywhere just make sure they're good and sturdy.

HAY FEEDERS:  Buy "sheep and goat" panels with 4" square holes.  You can buy them at Tractor Supply locally or ask anywhere they sell cattle/hog panels if they don't usually carry them in stock.  Use bolt cutters to cut them down and hog rings to put them together.  You can make several variations of hay feeders using these panels.  Keep in mind the size of a pad of hay out of a hay bale and go from there.  Mine are large rectangular feeders hanging with wire from the ceiling.  They are 3 squares wide and, oh, 5' long.  when I cut them down shorter I used the 3 square wide leftover pieces to make the bottom and two sides so they are not the entire height of the panel.  It's much cheaper to make the feeders than it is to buy them premade this size.  The feeders I use are okay but kind of bad about waste.

GRAIN FEEDERS:  If you want to buy something already made, the sheep mini feeders are great.  They can be found locally or at Jeffers, above.  They hold about three quarts and hang on a 2" wide board.  Hang them so they hang on the OUTSIDE of a gate/fence/stall front or else the goats will stand in them.  The best feeder ever is a 6" PVC pipe (from Lowes or Home Depot) cut nearly in half but works best if you cut them so they're more than half left and just use one pipe to make one feeder not trying to make two feeders if this makes sense.  You can make end caps, buy them (they're real expensive) or simply hang them without ends.  They are my favorite.  Again hang them on the outside of the gate/fence/stall front.  As far as scoops go, anything will do.  I generally use whatever is laying around here on the farm.

SUPPLEMENT FEEDERS:  Use the cheap black double chamber mineral feeders located in Jeffers catalog if you have PVC pipe feeders.  They'll fit right in the 6" PVC feeder and you can use cable ties or baling twine or whatever to secure them.  Or if you want to build something you can.  Take some scrap 2X4s - a foot long is a good size.  use one for the bottom.  One for a front.  Two short pieces for sides that meet up heigh-wise with the one you used for a front.  You will nail this directly to a wall.  Then build a "roof" for the feeder.  The roof is simply two 2X4s angled to make the whole thing look like a triangle when you look at it straight on.  This will keep hooves and poop out as well as anything else.  OR you can use PVC pipe for this too but totally different than the grain feeder.  There are plans for the PVC mineral feeders on the internet, I'm going to briefly explain it here but please consult other sites for better information.  Take a 2" or larger PVC pipe, cut it to be about 2' or more long, then use a "Y" connector at the bottom gluing it using PVC glue.  One of the tops of the Y should be what you are gluing to the pipe.  Then glue a cap on the bottom of the Y.  Leave the other "Y" hole open.  Pour mineral in the top of the pipe, the goats will eat the mineral out of the open end of the Y. The main stem will be vertical not horizontal like the grain feeder.  I've never made one of these myself so I can't help with exactly all the details - you might have to cut the open end of the Y down some, I don't know.

BEDDING:  I used to deep bed my stalls but last year and this year I have started keeping the stalls swept clean. Last year I swept the dirt, this year I put #78 gravel in the barn, put thin office carpeting on top and now I am sweeping that. It seems to be working quite well so far.

MILKING SUPPLIES:  You'll need teat spray or a good barrier dip, or you can use my homemade recipe of 1 tsp. ground thyme or ground oregano to 1/2 c. corn starch.  A tsp of bleach in a one cup sprayer will work.  Spray the very end of the teat after milking with this.  Udder wash is optional for home milk production but a mild bleach water solution more like a tsp. to a half gallon or so and a tiny bit of dish soap would work fine.  You'll need an assortment of milk pails.  Always use stainless steel and glass when handling milk - never aluminum or plastic.  The exception would be plastic if used once and thrown out. Even then I don't care for it for drinking milk.  Please refer to the supply catalog section above for where and what to buy as far as milk pails go.  You will find it easiest (and less wasteful when you're learning how to milk) if you milk into a small bucket and dump milk into a larger bucket.  I still prefer this method as you never know when one might kick - even a well behaved goat will do it unintentionally on rare occasion. You'll also need milk filters to filter the milk. I've gotten lazy over the years, I buy the largest filters the livestock supply catalogs carry (I think they're 6 1/4" or thereabouts) and I fold them up so they're shaped like a funnel and filter the milk just holding the filter over the jar. It works fine. You can strain your milk into any glass container. I have some Wal-mart apple juice 1/2 gallon glass jars I'm fond of or you can use half gallon canning jars.  You can buy cheese supplies too and soapmaking supplies once you get the hang of milking and have extra milk.  Buy the direct-set cultures and follow the instructions on the package. Once you have mastered direct set, you can go on from there - the sky's the limit.  You don't have to have any special supplies to make the soft cheeses but eventually you'll need to invest in or build a press for the hard cheeses as well as buy wax, etc.

Along with milking supplies you'll need a milk stand.  You need to plan on making or buying one long before your doe is milking.  You should have one as soon as possible so that you can get your goat used to your stand, especially a kid or dry yearling.  Don't expect them to automatically jump on the stand if they've never used one before so get it ahead of time and put them on the stand every chance you get.  At the least I put my doe kids up there for every hoof trimming and give them their grain while in the stand so it's a positive experience.  It's even better if you feed them there occasionally just for the heck of it.  If you make one, you can make it out of wood or metal but make the platform they stand on out of expanded steel.  It will keep much cleaner and be better footing for the goat.

MEDICAL SUPPLIES:  I will only list a short suggestive list of truly basic items, which you will likely never use, but if you don't have these items on hand and you have an emergency, you'll be wishing you had them.  There are many more items to add to your medicine cabinet once you learn how to diagnose different problems should you ever come across them.  It would be to your best advantage to find the name and talk to a GOOD goat vet before you purchase your goats so you can have one lined up in case of an emergency.  Sadly good goat vets are hard to find so good luck.

Fir Meadow products: I won't list the entire arsenol I keep on hand here, but frankly if money grew on trees, I'd have one of every herb blend she makes. Top five would be HerBiotic, MMune, GI Soother, DWorm, and Udder Blast. And Herbamine (-:

Probiotic gel (Probios Max is good, available through PBS)
Electrolyte preferably with some sort of gut slowing product and/or probiotic additive (Deliver with Dialine looks good, available through Jeffers)
Fortified vitamin B complex (any brand, available through just about any livestock catalog)
Triodine (available locally or through catalogs)
Blood stop powder (available locally or through catalogs)
Selenium plus E Gel (use this only if you don't plan on getting or can't get BoSe through a vet)
Feeding syringes (available sometimes locally or through catalogs - get one larger one and one smaller)
4" stretchy bandage (Vetwrap or Coflex - available locally or through catalogs)
Needles and syringes - you'll need a variety - get some syringes of each size available, I recommend if you have a medium sized herd to go ahead and get a box of each - 1cc, 3cc (you'll use 3cc the most), 6cc, 12cc, 30cc and 60cc.  Get disposable needles in size 20 gauge by 1" and some 18 gauge by 1", at least a box of each. You can reuse syringes from goat to goat as long as no blood enters the syringe. Use a fresh needle on each goat and to stick in bottle and to change from bottle to bottle.
Epinephrine (prescription only, get a small bottle from your vet and have them instruct you on when to use and how much)
You may buy lead ropes and collars if you wish.  I don't recommend keeping collars on the goats unless you are taking them somewhere.  If you insist on using collars, use ONLY plastic chain collars and make SURE to connect them with a plastic link connector NOT the metal connectors or use some other easily broken connector.  They might break if the animal pulls away real hard but that's the idea - for the collar to break if they get tangled.  If you use anything other than this you are risking your animals' lives so don't leave any other type of collar on a goat you value!

BOTTLE KID SUPPLIES:  If you dam raise your kids you'll at least want a pritchard teat and a soda bottle around.  Try to freeze some heat treated colostrum from your first milking doe or find someone who has some close by BEFORE your doe kids for the first time.  Don't bother with colostrum replacements, there's no replacement for real colostrum and being without it means life or death for the newborn kid.  If you decide to bottle feed kids, there are many ways to go about doing that.  I free feed my kids for the first month at least but I have plenty of milk and if you are buying bottle kids outright with no milker you won't have any extra milk.  So I don't really feel comfortable instructing you on a feeding method I don't use.  You can read up on that elsewhere.  At any rate you'll need a pritchard teat available locally or from any catalog and a soda bottle for newborns.  There are various automatic type feeders available that are easy to make and use.  Once kids are up in age I like using a lambar type feeder.  You can also use the lambar nipples on soda bottles for older kids being hand fed.  As far as milk goes, feeding them pasteurized goat milk is best but replacer can be used too.  Avoid store bought milk because there is no clear information that shows that johnes disease is killed by commercial pasteurization.  Milk replacers are safer as they have been dried usually by heat.  The best in my opinion is Purina Kid Milk Replacer but it's so terribly expensive. Dumor brand ULTRA calf milk replacer unmedicated is good and fairly cheap.  Merrick's kid milk replacer is okay but not great.  Land-O-Lakes kid replacer used to be terrible but I tried some this past spring and they must've reformulate it sometime between when I last used it and now. It seems to be okay now. Just make sure whatever you use smells sweet kind of like cake mix and mixes easily. If in doubt, take it back to the store for a refund/exchange. It's not worth using bad replacer and having a huge vet bill when your kid bloats or even worse dead kids. On the topic of medicated milk replacers, I avoid them. It's better to medicate against coccidiosis as needed instead of giving it to them all the time. Kids need to build a natural resistance to the coccidia oocyte and if you medicate them constantly their body is not able to do this. What usually happens in this case is when you wean them off the medicated milk replacer they will suddently get very sick with coccidiosis. So I prefer to medicate as needed or ever better move the kids off contaminated ground by using portable pens and fencing. I have done this in recent years and have cut the need to medicate for coccidiosis down to nearly zero.



GRASS HAY -  I feed and recommend high quality grass hay.  Clean, non-moldy, non-dirty first cut is okay for non-working goats (adults not milking or late gestation) but try to stick with fine second or third cutting for young kids just starting out on hay and milking does.  Second and third cut is usually less stemmy and is more palatable.  It is also usually higher in protein and digestable nutrients.  Second and third cut is okay for older dry goats too, you will just have to adjust their grain and give them less, if any.

ALFALFA HAY -  I don't recommend using exclusively straight alfalfa hay unless you have goats that milk too much to be sustained on grass hay supplemented with a little Chaffhaye and/or grain. Even so I would limit feeding alfalfa to 1/4 of their entire diet by weight.  Alfalfa is expensive in this area.  It can be very variable in protein, sometimes having too much protein. It's also prone to leaf shatter if not put up just right.  I don't like the strong urine smell goats fed straight alfalfa, probably because of too much protein or nitrogen, and when I fed straight alfalfa I had more stomach upset because they were getting too much protein and not enough long-stem roughage.  A little alfalfa and a lot of grass hay, or grass/alfalfa mix would be an excellent alternative if you feel you must use alfalfa.   I do recommend supplementing with Chaffhaye (more on this below)

CHAFFHAYE -  Chaffhaye is almost more of like a supplement for my goats. I do not use it year-round, usually only when the goats need a boost, like early lactation. I do sometimes feed it through the winter and I noticed it really boosts the milk production. Some people consider it pricey for alfalfa silage, but I like that it contains beneficial bacterias and yeast cultures and the quality seems to be pretty consistent.



I feed my goats differently at different times of the year but generally what I like to use is a foundation of excellent pasture, hay, browse when I can get them on it, supplemented with good quality feed and Chaffhaye when peak lactation demands it. I used to have grain mixed by the ton but stopped because I was not feeding enough animals to justify buying a ton at a time, so now I just hand mix it.

Here's my hand mix. I have fed everything from commodity feeds to premium sweet and pelleted feeds, and it seemed the fancier the feed, the sicker my goats got, so a couple years ago I went back to the simple, hand-mixed feed that has never let me down. You just can't beat feed you can look at and tell what it is. Everything is by volume:

5 parts wheat bran
2 parts barley
1 part oats
3/4 part BOSS
1/2 part Ultrashine from TSC


    I will list what I recommend below with links in order of preference.  Balancing the calcium to phosphorous ratio is tricky - make sure to take water samples along with hay, pasture, and grain if you really want to get the balance right.

1. Crystal Goat Mineral 2:1 - started using this in 2010, seems VERY nice. All chelated and very high in copper as it should be.

2. Southern States Beef Maker Mineral with Availafour - I do not recommend their goat mineral.  This cattle mineral is pretty well balanced.  It is hard to get and would probably have to be special ordered in.

3.  Ultralyx goat minerals  - These people sell a nice goat mineral but their website has no information about it.  I have used it in conjunction with the Southern States mineral (above).

Sweetlix minerals - Fairly good quality popular minerals BUT they put too much molasses in it.  Animals crave salt and will eat the mineral for the salt.

Purina goat mineral - This is an okay choice too in my opinion.


KELP:  I also mix half & half with my minerals Thorvin Kelp.  I don't feed any more than that because they LOVE it and frankly this stuff is very pricey.  Sounds neat when they crunch on it.   Seven Springs Farm in Floyd, VA and Countryside Natural Products in Harrisonburg, VA carry it.  I use about 1/4 kelp to 3/4 trace minerals. 

SODIUM BICARBONATE (BAKING SODA) and DIAMOND V YEAST CULTURE:  This is good when does are milking real heavy and eating a lot of grain. I find with some of my more lower-maintenance girls these days, feeding these additives is not longer necessary. Plus, the hand-mixed feed seems to be kinder on their digestive system.

DIATOMACEOUS EARTH - I mix this about 1/4 or 1/2 with my minerals.  I don't think it does anything for worms but it does do a number on flies.  It doesn't seem to work as well on the biting flies as the regular flies.  If you start adding this in your salt a month before fly season, you will see a marked difference in flies in the barn.  We use it with our sheep and beef cattle too and have seen a decrease in pinkeye in both herds.  Try not to inhale the DE while mixing with mineral.

COPPER BOLUSES - I have been experimenting with copper oxide wire particle (COWP) supplementation for several years now. I believe it has improved the general health of my herd, particulary in the area of worm resistance. Most recently I have been dosing the herd with around two grams per adult goat every four weeks. After taking a few liver samples to be tested, I think I am on the right track, and I may even up the dose slightly. I have weighed out the COWPs and found that one '0' sized capsule holds just shy of two grams when packed full. For worm control, it has been tested and proven that .5 to 2 grams is an effective dose for barberpole worm control. Many people and veterinarians have expressed concern about the toxicity of COWPs. I have found a few references on what levels kill goats and the two livers I have tested in the past were not anywhere near toxic levels. Strangely enough, I had a sheep here on the property for one year, and she got my extremely high copper all chelated mineral free choice for a year. She was butchered and her copper levels were within normal range according to the lab. Even after seeing that, I am still not sure her levels were optimal. I do know one thing for sure, that Dorset sheep had the most wool we've ever shorn off a sheep, and it was long and beautiful. I know it seems strange to focus so much attention on a micro mineral which does not have a huge dietary requirement, but there are many well-documented references on the effects of severe copper deficiency, and anecdotal evidence strongly supports the scientific research. True, there are some cases of toxicity, but those are usually linked to some other cause, like soils high in copper, copper sulfate supplementation, high copper in the grain mix combined with copper supplementation, etc. I could also have some other mineral binding the copper, or perhaps a hereditary factor is involved. Whatever the reason, I will keep supplementing with copper as I have the past five+ years, and I'll continue to sample livers as I come by them.

RC GOLD 4X - This is a probiotic, digestive enzyme and yeast product all rolled into one. Back when I needed this product, I put 1/2 tsp on each doe's grain feeding 2x a day. It seems to help keep digestive upset at bay during times of stress (heavy lactation being one). But I rarely use this now because the wheat bran feed doesn't seem to cause so much digestive problems.


BO-SE (SELINIUM & VITAMIN E - prescription only - ask a vet for a bottle)
DOES - 3-4 weeks before kidding - 1 1/2 cc Bo-Se, repeat every four months. Around my area and for my herd, Bo-Se is not a critical thing to give but it does help with reproductive health especially the bucks and I've found if my does get it before kidding their births will be much cleaner.  Covexin Eight - I give this eight way vaccine once per year according to labeled directions. 
Why not CD&T??? I used to use CD&T but found that it did not remain effective against enterotoxemia for much past a couple months.  Covexin Eight has been found to last more like six months.  I believe it is working as I have no more sudden enterotoxemia deaths.  That is the main reason I use Covexin but it also covers tetanus. Enterotoxemia can strike at any time for no particular reason - it's just not worth it to gamble with this one particular disease. It's naturally occuring in the gut of the goat however all it takes is a sudden change in weather or even just the stress of kidding for a goat to get sick with this and it's usually an extremely excruciating, fatal disease.
About Covexin:  Covexin is bad about giving the goats a quarter sized abscess at the shot site.  It is always given to my goats behind the left elbow so as not to confuse the shot site abscess with contagious abscesses which usually occur around the lymph nodes.  In all the years I've shown goats, I've never had a judge penalize me for a shot site abscess, nor have any show vets questioned the shot abscesses. I have, however, made sure to give all the shots behind the left elbow and no other place, and I do make sure my vet notates on my health certificate that my goats may exhibit shot site abscesses behind the left elbow. And that covers it. The Covexin abcesses can be lanced and drained of the puss they are filled with once the hair falls off of the lump.  Not all goats will get a lump and not all lumps will fill with puss.  The lumps are unsightly but not as unsightly as finding a lovely doe dead as a hammer with very little signs anything was ever wrong with her the night before.

DRY YEARLINGS / DRY DOES / BUCKS / WETHERS - Same as above, I just give their shots during when I do the milking does.  Follow the label on Covexin to start the animals on their first shots as kids. If you ever have problems with neonate enterotoxemia, I would recommend contacting Betty Longman at Longman Nubians and ask her about her vaccination schedule for young kids.


     Thanks to monthly copper wire particle bolusing and Fir Meadow's herbal wormer blend, I very rarely chemical worm my goats. If you prefer or find the need to chemical wormer, here are several options that might work in your herd.  Whatever you choose, stick with it until it stops working.  Don't switch products every month unless you are trying to treat something like a meningeal worm or specifically target tapeworms. Also, you should be familar with milk withdrawal times before using any meds in food-producing animals.

Levasole drench - Here's how I give it. I give this at regular strength and then repeat in 12 hours.  I have used this product at times and it is still working great to kill worms in my herd.  Do not overdose on this wormer because it has a low margin of safety.

Ivomec products - I give this at three times regular strength.  This is another alternative that might work in your herd.  I rarely use this drug because it has such a long milk withdrawal.

Valbazen - I give this at two times the labeled strength. Do not give to goats in early pregnancy.  Same family of wormer as Levasole and Safeguard.

Safeguard - You should give this at three times the labeled dose - even the goat product needs to be tripled.

   Whichever product you choose, it is best to worm the animals again in two weeks to break the worm cycle and reach all stages of worms. 

     In order to really gauge worm load, you need to work closely with a breeder and learn how to read your animals for worm overload.  It's best not to worm prophylactically without the animal having a worm load that it can't handle.  Even if a fecal test shows a heavy worm load, if the animal is handing the worm load and doing well it should not be wormed unless the animal is suffering from anemia or showing other signs of not handing the worms well.  There are several signs of worm overload.  I first look at the lower eyelid to see if the animal is becoming very anemic.  You must learn how to do this from experience - consistently keep an eye on eyelids throughout the year and get a feel for when they are pale vs. good pink coloration.  I also note how well the animals are eating.  A gradual drop in feed consumption when nothing else is wrong can mean worm overload.  A gradual drop in milk production is a good indication in a milker.  For those of us on DHI testing, an increase in somatic cell counts with no evidence of mastitis is a sign of a heavy worm load. My husband says he can smell worms on his sheep's breath but I am not able to determine worm overload by smell.  He can also taste "worminess" in the milk of a wormy animal.  Again I'm not that sensitive.  If you can develop these two senses they are just two more tools to use.  Once I suspect worm overload I sometimes follow this up with a fecal exam which nine times out of ten will show a heavy worm egg infestation if they are showing other symptoms.  There are instructions for doing the fecal exams on the internet and it's not hard or expensive to do.  Lastly if an animal EVER gets an unexpected soft swelling between the chin and the jaw (not the same as a milk goiter in a baby goat but instead a swelling that just shows up overnight), worm the animal IMMEDIATELY with Ivomec ONLY.  If you use Levasole to worm you might cause hemorrhage in a case like this.

     I have trialed the herbal wormer product sold by Fir Meadows for several years.  Overall I like this product and I think it does work pretty well. I would not recommend it as an end-all to worms, but as part of the equation it does have an effect worth its cost (which is cheaper than some of the pricier wormers) and is worth feeding to your milkers should you wish to avoid chemical 'binge and purge' worming. Plus it does appear that since I started on it a few years ago Kat has reformulated the product so that might make it a bit more effective.  I still have animals get fairly loaded with worms even given twice a week instead of once a week, but I do have a heavy grazing herd and I have never had anything get really overwhelmed with worms when using this product, I just have some that I can tell are chronically wormy and eventually I worm them with chemicals. But again, it's pretty rare I have to reach for the chemicals, and only on a few goats.  I think if you are going to use their product, do so but keep a close eye on your animals and be prepared to spot worm as needed.  That being said, I am still continuing to use their products most years. Overall I like the lack of "binge and purge" using the herbal products combined with the aforementioned copper wire particles. The animals are not stressed with overloads and purges so much and cost wise I am saving money vs. using pricey chemicals.

     I do not recommend moxidectin.  It is the newest latest greatest but has also killed a many animal in herds I am personally familiar with.  Plus it's expensive.  Not necessary unless you are having major worm resistance problems to all other drugs and if you have to use it, do so under supervision of a veterinarian. I suggest if you are having that much trouble with worm resistance that you have to slam them with moxidectin, you should instead think about looking at your management practices.



HOOVES:  NEW FOR 2011 - I am offering hoof trimming, disbudding and castration services to the Roanoke and Christiansburg areas. $15 per goat per service, no trip fee as long as you are willing to work around when I am 'going to town'. I suggest first you please contact a veterinarian to perform these services, however if you are unable to find a veterinarian who is willing to perform these services, you may contact me.

I trim my entire herd about every other month, or whenever they look like they need trimming. A good pair of hoof trimmers is the difference between trimming 20 goats in a day or 5 goats in a day, so be careful of your choice of trimmers.

I recommend the pruning shears sold at BigLots if you can find them.  They are seasonal - try looking for them in the spring.  They cost around $3.00 per pair, are very durable, stay sharp, and are lightweight.  You do have the watch the quality on their trimmers, sometimes they pass off some junky ones instead of the nicer ones they carry.  They will have sharp edges on each blade and the blades are about 2" long and straight.  It's getting harder and harder to find the good ones. In fact recently I have bought the green handled ones from the livestock supply catalog.

     Another breeder uses a Mikota grinder.  I have never tried it but she has a LOT of goats and it must work well.  If I had as many as she does, I would probably try it myself. I own a grinder but it's so loud I can't imagine using it on hooves. I CAN imagine it doing a great job though.

     Whatever you use, hooves should be trimmed regularly.  Don't neglect this, or you could cause your goat to have permanent feet and leg problems.

     To actually learn how to correctly trim hooves, have an experienced breeder show you how, or get Diane Grey's book, Nanny Manicures, available at the goat supply catalogs listed above (see catalogs).

Wait to trim hooves when it's wet out.  Hooves are much softer and easier to trim after a rain or when snow is melting.



COCCIDIA: This is a major problem in young goats.  Coccidiosis and enterotoxemia (see shots, above) are the leading killers of kids.  If your kid gets diarrhea unexpectedly without any reason that you can think of, it is probably coccidiosis.  Coccidiosis can be prevented by raising kids up off the ground on a well-drained floor and moving them frequently off contaminated land. I do this by raising my kids in a stock trailer, using electric netting fences and moving the kids around the yard. Sounds rather redneck but it works, I only have to treat my kids maybe like two times a year. Coccidiosis is not hard to treat.  Here is what I do when I have to treat them:

HERBS:  Since I very rarely have to use any sort of chemical coccidiostat on my kids, I now simply use Fir Meadow's GI Soother. I have not had any overloads in years though, so I am not sure what I would do if I had a bad problem.

ALBON (or equivalent generic) powder form:  Purchased through any of the livestock/goat supply catalogs (see catalogs, above).  Give in their milk  if you are using a lambar free feeder, or give in a syringe if you are dam raising.  Give for five days.  I don't usually treat my kids until one of them has diarrhea and then I fecal check to confirm that's the problem and treat the entire kid crop.  Sometimes I don't treat until my kids are weaning age, sometimes they get two treatments during bottle feeding.  Dose as follows: 1/4 tsp. for a 33 lb. goat or 1/8 tsp. for a 16 lb. goat - give this for five days.  You should be able to adjust for weight of goat from here.

Alternatively you can dilute as follows and dose as needed:  Mix 1 1/2 tsp. powder to one ounce (30 ccs) of water.  Multiply weight of the kid times .15 (that's POINT one five - not fifteen).  This will give you the amount of ccs you need to dose the kid by weight and you can just use a syringe and either put the mixture in their bottle or dose by squirting it in their mouth.   3ccs of this dilution will treat 20 lbs. of kid if you don't like doing much math. 

DECOX:  I have used this once the kids are weaned.  You can buy medicated feed and that will work okay but is usually not mixed strong enough for goat kids so be forewarned and keep an eye out for diarrhea.  That being said, it is still okay to feed because of its effect of just reducing the amount of coccidia and not completely killing it off.  Decox is a coccidioSTAT not a coccidiocide meaning it controls the coccidia the animal is being exposed to but isn't a total killer.  It's best used after an animal has been treated with Albon as the Albon will completely wipe out the coccidia.  The Decox is a great product though because it allows the young goats to do what they are supposed to do - develop an immunity to coccidia.  Albon used too heavily too often will not allow this to occur.

SULMET / CORID:  These are good too and may be less effective or more effective for you depending upon the resistance of the coccidia.  For instance I had to quit using Corid because it no longer worked for my goats.  Maybe in another ten years I can use it again. . 

In 2011 I plan to try using Fir Meadow's herbal product for coccidia. I am not expecting it to make a huge difference one way or the other, because I usually do not have terrible coccidia issues. I will report back on my site how it performs.;

DISBUDDING KIDS: If you plan on breeding your does, you need to make plans to disbud the kids at about one week of age.  I recommend disbudding when small bumps can be felt where the horns would normally come in.  Do not neglect this, if you wait too long, it becomes painful for the kid to endure.  Disbudding them at about one week is very simple and quick, and subjects the kid to little or no stress.  They will return to normal activities right after you are done disbudding.  Some swiss breed buck kids need to be disbudded at one or two days of age, while I have had some Nubian kids (like triplet doe kids) go until nearly two weeks of age until I could feel a bump.  So it is best to go by feel in most instances. 

     Buy a Rhinehart X30 iron.  They are available at any of the livestock/goat supply catalogs listed in catalogs, above.  If you buy the X30, the tip it comes with is already the right size for a goat.  You might also want to purchase a kid holding box or make one yourself.  The goat supply catalogs above carry these boxes, we made our own out of scrap lumber.  Or you can wrap kids up fairly tightly in a towel.  Restraint is important because you are working with a hot iron.
     The actual process of disbudding is fairly quick and simple:
     Let the iron get hot enough to immediately burn/scorch a brown circle when held on wood. If it does not get that hot, you need to heat it with a blow torch right before using and do this before reapplying (this is why you want a good, hot iron like the Rhinehart).  The heat of the iron is crucial.  An iron that is too cool will take too long and you might risk cooking their brains.  A real hot iron like the Rhinehart will burn them quickly and effectively.
     Trim the hair off of the area where the horn "bud" is.  I trim hair off in a 1" area on and around the bud.  You can do this while the iron is heating up.
     Restrain kid and place iron directly over center of bud.  Press down with moderate force and twist the iron while counting to about eight OR until you can feel skull instead of soft skin under the iron. Try hard not to let the skin scoot around under the iron.  Should you have to remove the iron because the kid is moving too much, reapply for the remaining seconds.  Do the other side the same.
     Go back to the first side you did and attempt to pop the "cap" off (the inside area) with the edge of the iron.  Be careful not to slip and disturb the skin around the outside edges.  If the cap does not pop off, reburn the areas where you can see skin still attached.  Try to do this as QUICKLY as possible.  (NOTE:  I don't look for the so-called "copper ring".  I burn down to the skull.)
     When you have popped both caps off, you might have to use the edge of the iron around the edges of the ring to make sure you have burned all of the horn tissue off.  If you don't, you may have scurs there later on.  Bucks can have the scent glands burnt off, if you are facing the kid, the scent glands are above and to the inside of the horn area. I don't recommend burning scent glands.
     Before you let the kid out of the box, put a little blood stop powder around inside the ring. You can also use 1/2 c cornstarch plus 1 tsp ground thyme or 1 tsp ground oregano to control oozing.   Sometimes the skin around the horn bud can get infected, especially if it gets milk in it from feeding off a lambar.  I recommend reapplying the powder a week later.  You can use some sort of spray disinfectant product if you don't like or have powder.
     Your kids might knock their scab off and start bleeding or in a rare case get an infection under the scab.  Keep an eye on the scab to make sure no infection is growing under it and if they knock the scab off and bleed put more powder on the wound. If they do get a nasty puss-filled infection, treat it topically but I would highly recommend putting the goat on antibiotics. Penicillin usually works. If you don't see the infection recede, call your veterinarian or you could try switching to gallimycin or biomycin.



     Preparing for the show is not all about primping.  Some training must be done beforehand.  I know some of you have seen my goats wailing at the ringside and think this is horrible... I do work with my goats ahead of time.  They do that because they want their mommy (me) to stay with them every waking moment!

TRAINING - Once your goat can do everything below, they are completely ready for the show.  Honestly I don't worry too much if my kids behave, I just try to do a little work ahead of time and don't worry so much if they don't act perfect.  They usually won't.

     Walk beside you being lead with choke chain
     Stand still while you walk around the front of it from side to side
     Let you touch and move their feet and legs without objecting
     Stands quietly when tied and you are not standing right beside them

     You'll have to learn from someone in person how to set them up correctly and move around the ring the correct way - that's too hard to do in writing!

     I start out training with a bigger collar but then move on to a piece of bailing twice - the bigger collar does not choke them and dig into their neck (or your hand) as much as the choke collar does when you are just beginning their training.  Make sure when leading that you hold the collar high up on their neck, right behind their ears.
     Dairy goats are shown with choke chains.  They are not used to choke the goat but are used to accentuate their long, graceful necks.  Big, bulky collars and halters are a no-no in the show ring.  I buy my show chains from Omaha Vaccine (see catalogs, above).  They are inexpensive and very durable.  If the chain doesn't fit, a small link connector or a small snap and a heavy duty key ring to attach it will work to make it fit.  If it's too big I will sometimes knot the chain but it's hard to get the knot out.
     Make sure to always lead your goat SLOWLY when training.  The judge will appreciate that when they are shown.  Lead them as slowly as they will walk without stopping.

CLIPPING - I recommend the Double K brand of clippers.  They retail for something like $300 or more new.  They are expensive but worth the investment.  I found mine used.  The motor is separate from the clippers itself and they stay much cooler than the Oster A-5 clippers.  They are whisper quiet unlike the big cattle/horse clippers.  Plus they can be adjusted to run at any speed from really slow to really fast.  I love them.  I have owned and used A-5's and the big Clipmaster clippers and I wish I had bought the Double K's first.  They are the only clippers I own.
     Find someone local to sharpen your blades and immediately after purchasing clippers, have that person show you how to disassemble, clean, tighten blades, and maintain your clippers.  Clippers are pretty sensitive instruments and it stinks to have them dull all of your blades with half clipped goats right before a show just because they needed a $2 part that takes two minutes to replace.  Been there, done that. 
     I would recommend purchasing the following sets of blades for your Double K clippers:

At least three sets each of No. 7, 8 1/2 and 10 blades (to body clip with)
     At least one set of No. 30 blades (trimming around feet & tail)
     At least one set of No. 40 blades (for the udder)

     You might wonder why so many sets.  There are two reasons why.  One is that if you have one set go dull, you have a couple backup sets.  Second reason is that the blades themselves will get hot during use and you should switch to another set.
     I want to add here that I used to recommend clipping without washing but I have changed my mind after trying the washing method myself.  It really doesn't take much time to wash the entire herd and it makes clipping cleaner and the blades last much, much longer.   Only one of my goats actually like being clipped but the rest don't totally hate it.  I use any type of soap - dish soap is great - but if you want super sparking white goats use blueing if you can find it.
     I generally clip against the hair.  I have a lot of goats to clip so I like to do them in two or three phases.  This way they don't hate to stand on the milk stand for hours while I clip everything off them at once.  Begin by starting with this two weeks before the show if you have ten or more to clip, or one week before if you have less than ten:

      Clip above hooves and legs up to where they join the body with a #10 blade.
     Clip head up to where it joins the neck with a #10 blade.  Remember to get the whiskers around their eyes (not lashes - leave them) and muzzle.
     Clip tail with #10 blade.  Leave 1" or less on the end and block it off.
     Once this is done, I put them in the pen and go do another goat.  Once the entire show string is done this way, I start with the first goat I did and continue in the same order.  I usually do this one week before the show or a few days, something like that.

     Clip entire body with #7, 8 1/2 or 10 blade.  You have to learn which goats are best to do with which blades.  My guidelines are only for what works for me.  Generally black does always need to be clipped first and with the seven blade.  Brown goats can be done last with the 10.  White goats are in between but usually do better with the longer blades too lest they burn.  Clip grey roans in between the blacks and the browns and the red roans can be done before or after the brown goats and either color can be clipped with a #10.  So to paraphrase in order of colored animal to be clipped first to last, with blades to be used for each color:  Black #7, grey roan #10, whites #8 1/2, red roan #10, browns #10.  For spotted animals follow the base color - example black with white spots clip with or right after the solid black goats.
     Trim up around tail, hooves and remove hair in ears with a #30 blade.
     Dry Yearlings and Kids only:  At this time you should go on ahead and clip out their entire udder area (where their udder will be) with a No. 30 blade.  I like the shorter, cleaner look of the #30 around the udder area on a dry doe.  Follow the natural lines of where the hair changes in the rear (called the escutcheon).  

     Udders on milkers are not shaved down until the last minute.  I try to clip them at home some before milking time but save the final trim the day of the show while we are waiting for the other breeds before me to finish.  If Nubians are first then I get to the show early and clip udders before show time.  Do them with a #40 when TOTALLY full of milk and be careful not to nick them. the 40 is not as bad about nicking as the #50, which I can't recommend any more because it's just so easy to nick them.  Follow the natural lines of the udder or you can go a little outside the lines to show how smoothly the udder blends into the body (a desirable trait).

     You can use a hair removal cream around the rear udder arch and foreudder if desired - not on the entire udder.  Preclip the udder with a 10 or 30 blade and don't use the hair removal cream until a couple days after you clip up their udders.  It takes practice getting the cream right where it needs to go to make a perfect rear udder arch but it can be done if you are careful.  Use lots of hand or udder cream on their udder after you wash off the hair removal cream.  After using the hair removal cream you will still have to trim up with a 40 blade.

     I keep my udders clipped down pretty short all of the time except for in the dead of winter.  It keeps them cleaner and keeps hair out of you milk.  Use a No. 30 or No. 10 blade to do this and save the #40 for show udder clipping.
GROOMING - Not much needs to be done as far as grooming.  Once they are clipped, this is what I do right before I take them into the ring.  Please note:  This is not standard fitting for showmanship.  Showmanship class is when they judge how you prepare and present the goat to the judge.  Showmanship requires a LOT more cleaning than just this!  This is how I recommend you prepare your goat for the class you will be going into where the just judge the goat.

     Brush them with a soft horse brush - with and against the lay of the hair
     Spritz them with a little bit of ShowSheen (a horse hair polish) and wipe with and against the hair with a towel
     Brush hair down (with the lay of the hair) with soft horse brush and then with a soft towel.
     Wipe off udders on milkers and udder area on dry yearlings and kids using baby wipes or water in a pail and a washcloth.
     Use a baby wipe to remove any soiling from around the mouth, muzzle or eyes.
     Spritz them with fly repellant paying special attention to the legs
     Buy some Udder Balm and put it on the goat's udder the night before the show.  Hopefully your udders are kept trimmed short all of the time so it won't be so messy (see clipping tip, above).  Clean off whatever didn't absorb entirely with baby wipes the next day.  Their udders will be silky soft and who knows - you might get a tad bit of udder texture advantage.
     Buy a pair of lightweight bibs or coveralls for cold weather to groom in at the show.  This way your show whites will remain clean and you can slip the bibs off over your boots right before class.
     Trim hooves NO CLOSER THAN two weeks before the show.  Murphy's law, if you trim them on show day or the day before, you will nick them and they will limp!