Meet the Herd
MEET THE HERD
We started raising goats in May of 2004 and it's been a delightful journey !
The Nubian breed has always been our main herd focus, falling in love with their delightful temperaments and wonderful tasting milk. For a few years we also raised Kinders and dabbled in Alpines, and now mini dairy as well. Leaving us with a mixed combination, but all in all - fantastic animals. We started in 2004 with just 2 goats - a doe and her kid, which quickly grew to 8, to 12 to 28 within the first 3 years. Soon after we had a herd of 50+ head. In recent years we have done a large cut back getting down to maintaining a herd of 8 to 14 head. Originally we wanted to breed and raise, but with a smaller market for kids and milk in recent years we have cut down to just enough to meet our on milk needs and keep things on a more basic level.
We are very picky in our goats health and diet management - we do not feed processed feeds to our milkers. Instead they are kept on a ration of whole oats and black oil sunflower seeds for their grain mix, at a ratio of 4 to 1. Free choice alfalfa hay 24/7/365, and a good loose mineral. All are feeds are NON-GMO, Corn and soy free. Although we do not show our goats we raise our herd with show quality in mind. Our first purpose is milk - so that's what we consider first - quantity and udder strengths, with the rest to follow - keeping good temperament in mind as well. We have children constantly out and playing with the animals so a 'mean' goat is never an option for us, though when raised right, I hardly come across one.
Vaccines & Diseases
We do not use the typical CD&T vaccines on our girls as we have not found them to be effective, and all too often causing ill side effects. In 2014 we started to use the Lysign vaccine in our herd on does over 6 months of age as part of our mastitis prevention program. We are finding this very effective and so far (happily) the only vaccine we use. In 2016 we have also come back to using more natural wormers (using mainly garlic and oregano), as we find it harder and harder to find a chemical wormer that will continue to work without building resistance. Our last chemical wormer is the cydectin cattle pour on given orally and has worked well for a number of years up until 2014-15 when we started seeing a resistance, and now in 2017 it is no longer effect for us by itself.
In the past we have done annual and twice annual CAE testing for our herd. However - after reassuring continued negative test results and believing we have a genuine clean herd - we now only test every other year just to have something a bit more 'up to date' for our first time goat buyers. We do not show, so our goats never leave the farm, and as always - any new goats brought in are purchase from CAE tested negative herds or animals we first test ourselves. CAE is the only blood test we regularly do, as other common diseases (such as CL and Johne's) are not acuartly dected in a blood test.
Most all of our kids are pulled at birth, bottle raise and also everyone is disbudd. We find this just works best for our herd and goals - but we know this is not for everyone.
Our kids are raised on cocci prevention starting at 3 days of age, given daily in the milk. In our years of raising kids we find nothing grows them out better then milk itself so we prolong weaning as long as possible - often keeping kids on the lambar until their first winter at which time they are generally 6 to 10 months of age. We do also add probiotics and baking soda to the milk to aid in digestion and health. Milk is fed free choice meaning the kids will eat as much as they want. At this rate standard breeds will eat anywhere from 2-3 quarts of milk a day and minis an average of 1-2 quarts a day. Buck kids will most always eat more then does and have faster growth rates. Kids are grown out on cow milk (whole, by itself) whenever goat milk is not available. Alfalfa is also a large part of our growing program, supplying much of the needed calcium and protein growing kids need. Grain is not introduced until the last month of milk feeding / just before weaning. This helps fill in some of the wholes in nutrition left once weaned off milk. Free choice mineral is left out for all stock at all times as well as baking soda.
Initially when we started into goats we wanted to do things 'all naturally'. This quickly ended as we realized we were in over our heads with the learning curve - not only didn't we know much about goats but we knew even less about the natural treatments we would need. Fallowing the more traveled road in which information was more readily avaible we took the chemical route when it came to wormers. From the start we had a hard battle with worms and finding the right wormers. Fecal testing every month and then down to a few times a year once we got to know our herd a bit better. Going through half a dozen or more types of wormers trying to find something that would work. About summer of 2008 we started using cydectin cattle pour on given orally with great results. I thought maybe our worm troubles were over. Then slowly starting about 2013 we started to see a resistance. Worms weren't dying off in the numbers they had before. We needed to increase from 2 to 3-4 times a year wormerings. By the start of 2017 cydectin by itself was no longer working.
I had been dabbling in herbs and had a thought to try and bring the herd back to a more 'natural' keeping. Having a much better handle on goats after 13 years with them, and more avaible resources it seamed it might be a possibility now, so I started where we needed a miracle first - developing a wormer that actually works. We don't have all the kinks out of it yet, but we thank God its working. We have started our own recipe consisting of a ginger garlic paste base with added cayenne, orange, oregano and other goodies. This is dosed to the entire herd three days a week. We are loving the results and continue to 'tweak' our recipe for perfection.
We love our goats !
If you ever purchase a goat or kid from us we always love to hear updates on how they are doing - the good and the bad. We don't know everything in goat raising but always love to 'talk goats' and know how steep of a learning curve your first goats can be! Feel free to shoot us an e-mail anytime with your goat questions, re-selling, and/or any updates - we'd love to hear from you!