New to owning goats or just want to learn more? This is an incredibly in depth guide written by Dr. Chastine of Facebook's Goat Vet Corner group.
Basic Goat Care and Nutrition
Our First C-Section
We had our first c-section two days ago. Indigo was to be a first time mom and had a kid get hung up. The vet thinks she had a defect that caused her to be unable to deliver successfully. Unfortunately the doeling was stillborn, but little miss Indigo is recovering with some tlc. Sad that she will never be a momma goat but glad she is still with us. Here's a picture of her:
So it's been a really long time since I've shared anything. My goal is to create a new post at least once a month regarding common ailments, feed concerns, and care of dairy goats. Occasionally some fun and exciting happenings will also be shared.
First off is a great article on goats and coccidia as well as the prevention of coccidiosis (the outbreak of an overload of coccidia in the goats system). All goats carry some level of coccidia that are host specific and cannot be passed on to humans, dogs, horses, chickens, etc. The exception is goats and sheep may pass some forms of parasites with each other so it is not recommended to share pastures with sheep and goats.
Here's a great write up that Sweetlix has on their website regarding coccidia in goats.
"Coccidiosis represents a major economic drain on goat herds. Hot, wet conditions during summer are ideal for development and transmission of coccidia. In order to properly protect your investment against Coccidiosis, it is necessary to understand what coccidia are and how they proliferate.
What is Coccidia? Coccidia are single-celled parasites that live in goats’ intestines. All adult goats harbor coccidia in their gut, even healthy goats. Coccidiosis is the disease that results from uncontrolled infection (proliferation) of coccidia. Coccidiosis symptoms can be either subclinical or clinical. Subclinical cases result in decreased feed intake, reduced weight gain and unthrifty appearance and are difficult to detect due to an absence of diarrhea. Undiagnosed subclinical cases of coccidiosis are quite common. If left untreated, subclinical cases can develop into clinical disease. Clinical coccidiosis can vary in severity. Some goats experience a slight loss of appetite and decreased weight gain along with light, short-term diarrhea. Severe cases of coccidiosis result in dark, bloody, foul smelling diarrhea; diarrhea containing mucous and blood; loss of weight; rough hair coat; dehydration; and, in some cases, death within 24 hours.
Young, sick and stressed goats are most susceptible to coccidiosis symptoms. Kids less than 5 months of age are particularly susceptible since their immune system is often still developing. Stresses that can induce a coccidiosis outbreak include: weaning, drastic weather changes, rapid feed changes, transport and rough/stressful handling.
Continuous exposure to a particular species of coccidia stimulates an immune response that results in limited protection against that particular species of coccidia. This is why adult goats tend to be resistant to the development of coccidiosis. Also, kids raised in pasture conditions will often develop immunity on their own. However, severe challenge or stress can depress the goat’s natural immunity to the point that disease is induced. Goats that survive usually become immune; however, they may be permanently unthrifty or stunted due to extensive damage to the intestinal lining. This damaged lining is unable to effectively absorb nutrients.
Coccidia Lifecycle: In order to manage the impact of coccidia, it is necessary to understand their lifecycle. The coccidian lifecycle begins when goats consume infective oocysts. Once inside the goat, coccidia are released from the oocyst and invade intestinal cells. Rapid multiplication occurs resulting in the destruction of intestinal cells. In roughly 21 days, oocysts (coccidia eggs) are formed and passed in the feces. Oocysts are not immediately infective once they are shed into the environment. Proper moisture, temperature and oxygen levels are required for oocysts to become infective. In general, the warmer the weather the faster the development into infective oocysts. When conditions are right, this process can occur in as little as 24 to 48 hours. Once oocysts become infective they are very hardy and can remain viable in the environment for up to a year; however, 2 to 3 months is the norm. Infective oocysts survive best in moist, shaded areas and can even survive freezing temperatures. When a goat consumes an infective oocyst the process starts over again.
Coccidiostats are drugs that inhibit the development of coccidia. Remember that these do not kill coccidia. Normally, use of coccidiostats prior to anticipated susceptible periods are an effective management tool in preventing and controlling coccidiosis. Coccidiostats that are presently labeled for use in goats include monensin (Rumensin®) and decoquinate (Deccox®). However, use of coccidiostats alone may not provide adequate control under some conditions. Contact your veterinarian for recommendations for strategic use of these and other drugs in the control of coccidiosis.
Goats fed a properly balanced diet are better able to mount an immune response and recover from parasitic challenge than animals that are deficient in one or more nutrients. Proper nutrition involves providing adequate amounts of protein, energy, water, minerals and vitamins. Antibodies, which fight parasitic invaders, are composed of protein. Energy is needed to drive the metabolic functions involved in mounting an immune response. Proper hydration is absolutely necessary for metabolic function. Several minerals and vitamins are also directly involved in the immune response.
Summary: Wet conditions result in ideal conditions for the development of coccidiosis. Coccidiosis is a potentially fatal and economically significant disease of goats caused by an intestinal protozoan. Kids up to weaning age are most susceptible to coccidiosis. Control of coccidiosis involves a combination of drugs and management practices that limit exposure of goats to infective oocytes and minimize stress. Consult your veterinarian for recommendations for strategic use of drugs in response to coccidiosis outbreaks and to help prevent future outbreaks."
It is not recommended to feed coccidiostats to lactating diary goats as the milk is then unsafe for human consumption. However, it is great for kids that have been separated and newly weaned to keep the coccidia in check till the kids have built up a healthy immunity. It is recommended to feed it until they are at least 6 months. Non lactating does and bucks can also be fed feeds containing a coccidiostat as a preventative measure for coccidiosis in wet and warm areas.
NC State University shares:
"How to Minimize the Risk and/or to Prevent Coccidiosis?
Good husbandry practices are the best preventive measures against coccidiosis. Regular removal of manure and wasted feed, not feeding on the ground, designing feeders and water systems that minimize fecal contamination, providing a clean source of water, cleaning water tanks and feeders regularly, making sure that watering systems do not leak and that sufficient sunlight enters buildings are examples of such husbandry practices. If goats are kept on solid floors during the winter, maintaining clean and dry bedding is important.
On farms where coccidiosis problems keep recurring, it may be advisable to treat the herd preventively.
Several choices are available depending on the situation:
When goats come down with the signs of coccidiosis:
Extension Specialist (Goats & Forage Systems)
Crop and Soil Sciences
Professor, Ruminant Health and Production Medicine
There is also a wholistic/herbal option for preventing and/or treating coccidiosis in goats. Fir Meadow LLC has a wonderful blend called GI Soother that is formulated by a master herbalist to be used in diarrheal incidents in livestock, pets, and poultry from coccidiosis, bacterium, ulcers, pasty vent, and barberpole worms.
It is available here: https://www.firmeadowllc.com/store/p811/GI_Soother%E2%84%A2_Digestive_System_Support_16_oz.html
Wow, time flies!
I have been so busy with family and farm work I've been absent from updates here. We still have a few goats available for sale.
We've added a pair of Kune Kune gilts to the farm. They are quite animated and fun to watch. Draw back is they weren't supposed to be much of a rooting pig but these two seem to have missed that memo! We named them Ginger and Spice.
The boys are in full relentless rut! I'm not going to have as many does bred for next year so I can really focus on my soap business. So far I have Jade bred to Blue and Rainey bred to Knight. I hope to have Abba, Storm, and Mimzy bred and that be it. Five is enough to milk next season. I need to get pics up of the doelings I decided to keep and the ones available for sale. It has been a hard decision but I need to get my numbers down for next year. Such as it goes in farming.
I hope you have a wonderful and thankful holiday this year. Thanksgiving is around the corner and then the big Christmas holiday. Our family only buys gifts for the children and the adults receive a big family dinner with yummy food and good company. Spending time with family and getting to visit is far more important than the volumes of gifts we all fret to purchase.
2018 flew by so fast I didn't have time to share farm happenings.
However, 2019 has been stalled in it's tracks. We have been hit with a rare snow storm that produced 20 inches of snow in less than 24 hours. Plus, we have the joy of two more storms follow it. The first hit Friday/Saturday, the second last night, and the third is to hit tonight into tomorrow. The last time we saw this much snow was in 1996 in which there were building collapses all over the county.
While we have lost the tarp roof over the young boys (no goat was harmed), the barn and shelters are holding up well. We dug trails for the goats to get to and from their shelters to the barn and gates. Well, also so we could carry feed and water to them as well. I was a little concerned Saturday with some shivering going on but everyone seems to have settled to the cold. Towels were added to door openings to block the windchill and everyone has been getting grain in the morning and evenings. Fresh water with probiotics several times a day as well. I'm keeping my fingers crossed this next storm is a light one and we can finally warm up and have the white stuff go away!!
Spent the day yesterday trimming feet on the goats and dis-budding Jubilee's kids. Neither one is much fun. Stinky dirty feet vs. the smell of burnt hair that lingers forever!
Everyone is growing up nicely. The older boys are practicing their bucky ways slobbering and chasing the girls. Just a couple weeks to go till the hormones are removed!
Here's a couple shots of Jett and Jayden--Jubilee's kids out playing with the big kids.
Jubilee delivered twins early Sunday morning. A flashy buckling and a lovely doeling. She's doing a great job with them. The little buckling will be up for sale. I've decided to retain the doe at this time. So much fun getting to watch them explore the world.
Jubilee is due this coming weekend. If I had to guess I'd say she's going to have twins. She will be in the kidding pen soon and on baby watch with our cameras. Excited to see what she has as these are the first Taro babies. Georgia was also bred to Taro but she's not due till mid April.
The babies are growing fast. Here are a couple photos from today.
Babies are here!!!
It has been a busy couple of days. Lacey delivered triplet girls Saturday, Feb 11th and Birdie delivered triplet boys this morning on Valentine's Day.
Babies and Mommas are doing well.