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!
- Our most recent biosecurity screen from WADDL was in July 2022, and all goats tested negative for CAE, CL, and Johnes.
- We maintain a closed herd. We bought our last does in 2005 and attended our last show in June 2008. We have purchased only four bucks since then, and they came from herds that have regularly tested negative for CAE, CL, and Johnes, and they have tested negative here.
- Our goats receive free-choice Sweetlix MeatMaker goat minerals 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.
- We do NOT give any drugs routinely, including dewormers. We follow the FAMACHA 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, as well as diatomaceous earth in the past but found that they do not work very well for a goat that is already anemic. We have also experimented with wormwood that we grow on the farm.
- Our first line of defense against internal parasites (worms and coccidia) is management. We rotate pastures to avoid larvae build-up on the pasture. We have many goats that have never had a dewormer in their lives. We do NOT do this to save money. We do it because there are only three classes of dewormers in the United States, and parasites are rapidly becoming resistant to them, which means that they should not be used unless absolutely necessary, so that they will work when they are truly needed. Our ultimate goal is to breed goats that are naturally parasite resistant.
- All kids are disbudded and tattooed, and wethers are castrated before sale.
If you have any other questions about our herd or goat health, please don’t hesitate to ask. We are happy to explain what we do and why we do it.