Our goats' health is very important to us. When I was building my herd and buying new goats, I always asked a lot of questions about herd health, because I didn't want to bring an unhealthy animal into our herd. So, here are the answers to the questions that were important to me. If you have questions not answered here, please ask!
- We maintain a closed herd. We bought our last does in 2005 and attended our last show in June 2008. Since that time, none of our goats has left the farm. In 2009, after more than one year with no outside contact, we tested our herd for CAE, CL, and Johnes, with all negative results. The ELISA test was used for CAE because it is more sensitive (has fewer false negatives) than the AGID test. We purchased two new bucks in 2010. Both came from CAE negative herds.
- Our goats receive free-choice Sweetlix MeatMaker goat minerals, kelp, and baking soda in separate feeders, so they can eat as much or as little of each one as they require.
- We are enrolled in the USDA's scrapie eradication program.
- Illinois is a certified TB-free and brucellosis-free state.
- Our goats have never had any type of abscess.
- We follow the FAMACHA and "smart drenching" protocol for dealing with parasites. This means that we only use a dewormer when goats are exhibiting signs of anemia. Copper-oxide wire particles (also known as COWP or copper boluses) are our first choice for treatment. If that doesn't work, we will use a chemical dewormer. We have tried Hoegger's, Molly's, and Fir Meadow herbal dewormers in the past but found that they do not work very well for a goat that is already anemic. We are currently experimenting with diatomaceous earth and wormwood.
- All kids are disbudded, and wethers are castrated before sale.
- Although we originally vaccinated all goats for CDT, we have changed our protocol and no longer do this. We stopped vaccinating our own goats after about three years, and in 2009, we stopped vaccinating kids we sell. Vaccines are simply against our personal philosophy, but if you want to vaccinate your goats, we will be happy to explain how it's done and where to buy the supplies, which cost $5 to $10 for vaccinating 1-20 goats.
If you have any other questions about our herd health, please don't hesitate to ask.