"Animals are more than ever a test of our character, of mankind's capacity for empathy and for decent, honorable conduct and faithful stewardship. We are called to treat them with kindness..." - Matthew Scully
They say it costs just as much to care for a good goat as it does a bad one, but the truth is it usually costs less to care for a good one. Factor in feed costs, supplements, medication and vet bills- healthy well bred stock that are cared for properly often incur far less medical expense and utilize feed better. Our focus is a hardy homestead milker that also adheres to breed standard. We want them to not only look correct, but produce well and thrive on a basic management routine.
We are a small family farm, not a large commercial operation. We absolutely love our goats and they are the backbone of our homestead, however we raise animals for a reason and not just for fun. My does provide our family with fresh milk that we drink and cook with as well as make cheese, soaps, lotion, cajeta, kefir, etc Buck kids are primarily raised for the freezer- a delicious and nutritious meat. Goats are a true dual purpose animal.
The doe herd has a large open barn to allow air flow but still provide shelter from the weather. While they can be contained into a small yard around the barn, their gate is usually open allowing them to roam and graze. They have free choice grass hay and minerals. They are fed alfalfa pellets daily and receive a dairy ration when on the milk stand.
The doe herd lives together year round. I do not separate them for kidding or raising their young. Does with new babies may be sectioned off into a bonding pen, but this is located in the main area of the barn so she can still see and interact with her herdmates. The does also live with two livestock guardian dogs, Mochi and Macaroni.
Prior to breeding, and again prior to kidding, does receive a workup- they are given BoSe, Replamin, CMPK, and probiotics. After kidding does are given warm water with electrolytes and molasses. They are also treated to warm oats and alfalfa hay. Finally they are wormed, given CMPK, and Replamin.
Bucks have a smaller pen adjacent to the barn. They often receive time out to graze and run in the main yard area. Bucks have free choice hay and mineral at all times.
Most does raise their kids and we do not wean until at least four months old. For this reason, we do not typically milk a doe until her kids are two weeks old. At this age we put the babies up at night, milk in the morning, and then return them to their mother for the day. If a doe has a single kid then we will milk as needed to help keep her udder as even as possible.
I begin by wiping the udder clean with chlorhexidine udder wash. Milking is done either by hand or machine. When finished I apply udder balm and iodine teat dip. Milk is strained, jarred, and chilled asap.
I do not vaccinate for anything.
Worming is done only as needed for individual animals based on FAMACHA and fecals. I use herbal wormers as a preventative supplement. When chemical wormers are needed I most often use cydectin, valbazen, or prohibit. I use deccox for coccidiosis prevention and di-methox when treatment is needed. Hooves are trimmed every six weeks. All of our keeper goats are disbudded.
The herd is tested yearly for CAE and results will be posted. G6S results will be listed on an individual animal's page. We are working on having all animals tested for alpha s1 casein.