This presentation was originally given at a meeting of the Midwest Goat Producers Association in Flora, Illinois, on April 20, 2007. Goat Management Basics. MIDWEST GOAT PRODUCERS April 20, 2007 Flora, Illinois SUSAN SCHOENIAN Sheep & Goat Specialist W. Maryland Research & Education Center
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Goat Management Basics
MIDWEST GOAT PRODUCERS
April 20, 2007
Sheep & Goat Specialist
W. Maryland Research & Education Center
Univ. of Maryland Cooperative Extension
Western Maryland Pasture-Based Meat Goat Performance Test http://mdgoattest.blogspot.com
large and small producerscommercial and hobby
Know where you fit.
The act of managing something.
The supervising or directing of an enterprise/business.
Effective utilization and coordination of resources such as capital, plant, materials, and labor to achieve defined objectives with maximum efficiency.
Your management practices will be dictated largely by the goals and objectives of your goat enterprise.
Why are you raising goats?Business (profit), hobby, show, pets, brush control
What product are you producing?Meat goats, goat meat, dairy products, fiber, pets, breeding stock, wethers, show animals, land management.
What and who is your market?Other breeders, 4-H and FFA members, consumers, restaurant owners, meat processors, stockyards.
Kiko kids Many Rocks Farm
The one that fits your system, matches your resources, and makes you the most money.
There is as much difference within breeds as between breeds.
There are relatively few reasons not to crossbreed goats . . . and fewer reasons to inbreed goats.
From a commercial standpoint, the best goat is one that performs the best, not necessarily looks the best
This is especially true for does and the bucks used to produce replacement females.
A Boer goat . . . no.
A purebred goat . . . no.
A registered goat . . . no.
An expensive goat . . . no.
A free or cheap goat . . . no.
It depends on your management system and resources.
Boer x Kiko
Goats can be raised in different production environments.
All confinement/dry lot
Combination of both
Kiko buck - Many Rocks Farm
It depends on
Time of the year
How much you supplement?
Whether you graze year-round?
How intensively you manage your pastures?
As a general rule of thumb, 1-2 acres will support 1,000 lbs. of grazing livestock.
Ideally, roughage (pasture, range, browse, and/or hay) should comprise the majority of the diet for your goats.
Goats are ruminants.
Goats are selective grazers. They prefer browsing to grazing when given the opportunity.
Forage diets tend to cause fewer digestive problems.
Browse diets cause fewer parasite problems.
Provide supplemental feed when the forage is deficient in nutrients and/or it is economically justified.
Free choice minerals
Last 1/3 of pregnancy
First 6-8 weeks of lactation
Creep feeding and/or supplemental feeding of kids to increase growth, condition, and worm tolerance.
Flush does in poor condition for breeding.
Poor quality pasture
During drought or wet conditions.
Goat-proof and predator-proof.
5-7 strand high tensile electric
Woven wire with offset wires
Same as perimeter
Good neighbor relations
When and where do you kid?
Donkeys (standard size)
Llamas (not alpacas)
Shooting, trapping, denning, livestock protection collar, M-44 cyanide injector**contact APHIS WS
Depends when you kid.
Spring, fall - minimal
Winter - maximum
Need facilities to work goats.
Need a place to store feed and equipment.
Need a place to keep bucks when they are not being used.
Shelter areas in pasture.
Housing is also for convenience and comfort of people.
Age of puberty averages 7 to 10 months (affected by breed, season, and nutrition).
Can breed doelings when they reach 2/3 of their mature weight.
Goats are seasonal in their breeding habits.
Seasonality is affected by breed and individual.
There are pros and cons to different kidding seasons: winter, spring, and fall.
Accelerated kidding.Pregnancy lasts approximately 5 months, so more than one kid crop per year is possible.Is it practical, profitable?
Ranges from 1 to 5
Twins most common.
Yearlings often have 1 baby.
4-5 babies is rare
Tend to be more prolific than traditional sheep.
Reproductive rate is affected by breed, age, season, and nutrition.
Genetics of reproduction
Number of offspring determined primarily by doe (number of eggs ovulated sets upper potential)
Sex of offspring determined primarily by buck (Y). In long run, will be 50:50.
Yes, if . . .
You don’t sell or cannot separate buck kids from their dams and female siblings by the time they are three months old.
You are selling for kids for market projects or as pets.
Your market discounts intact males.
You want better growth rates in the late summer and fall.
For dairy purposes
Wethers for show ??? (depends on rules of show)
As a personal preference
While individual goats can be restrained by the horns, disbudded goats are easier to work in a handling system, safer to handle, and less destructive to people, other animals, fencing, feeders, and equipment.
Disbudding is stressful to the goat.
Most meat goat producers do not disbud.
Maybe, if . . .
Milk production is a limiting factor.
You have lots of multiple births.
To go along with an early weaning program.
Pasture is a limited resource.
To get kids to grow faster.
To improve fleshing and body condition of goats (grade and price).
To improve resistance to parasites.
To feed a coccidiostat.
Only if it’s economical.
Early (60-90 days)
Remove lactation stress from does to breed back earlier.
Put weaned kids on better pasture or save pasture for more does.
So you don’t have to castrate buck kids.
Focus internal parasite control on more susceptible kids.
Late (4-6 months)
Less risk of mastitis
More economical pasture gains.
Pasture-raised kids are more vulnerable to parasites and predators.
Need to sell, separate castrate males by 3 months of age.
Many does will rebreed while they are lactating.
Internal parasites - worms
Stomach wormsbarber pole worm
Digestivescours, acidosis, bloat
Manage grazing height
Genetic selection (within and between breeds)
Selective dewormingNot everyone, not every month
Proper drug use
Fecal testing to determine effectiveness of drugsdrug resistance is a major issue
The FAMACHA© system should be used as part of an integrated parasite management program that employs other best management practices.
Single-cell protozoa that damage lining of small intestines and cause diarrhea in kids.
Species and site-specific.
Proper stocking/penning rates
Use of coccidiostats in water, feed, or mineral.
Bovatec®, Rumensin® and Deccox®
Treat with Corid or sulfa drugs
***Rumensin®, Bovatec®, and Deccox® are toxic to horses, donkeys, and mules.***
Frequency of hoof trimming varies among goats, people, and farms.
Restraint: lift hoof while goat is standing on table, platform, or ground.Harder to tip goats on rump.There are tilt tables available
Don’t buy goats with foot rot.
Foot scald can occur seasonally when it is wet.
There are many different causes of diarrhea (scours) in goats.
Infectiousbacterial, viral, protozoa
Non-infectiousnutrition, management, stress
Most digestive problems (bloat, acidosis) are caused by diet changes, usually sudden.
Know what you’re dealing with and treat symptoms.
Nutri-drench (corn oil + karo syrup + molasses)
Often occurs as a secondary infection associated with ketosis, milk fever, bloat, acidosis, etc.
Normal body temperature is 102-103°F.
Caseous Lymphadenitis (CL)
Internal and lymph node abscesses
Caprine Arthritic Encephalitis (CAE)
Colostrum is primary mode of transmission
More common than we think?
Regulatory issueUSDA ID requirements
Is she done yet?