August 2020 Issue



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Subscribe FREE now! Monthly issues with new articles and other educational information on meat goat health, nutrition, and management written by Suzanne W. Gasparotto of Onion Creek Ranch and Pat Cotten of Bending Tree Ranch. In all cases, it is your responsibility to obtain veterinary services and advice before using any of the information provided in these articles. Neither Suzanne Gasparotto nor Pat Cotten are veterinarians. None of the contributors to this website will be held responsible for the use of any information contained herein.


Goat Camp™ 2020

Taking reservations for
Goat Camp™ 2020
Oct 26-29, 2020
Click Here for more info...






The belief that goats can live off anything remains widespread,  both by the general public and within in the livestock industry.     It is one of the major reasons why so many people have such a difficult time raising goats successfully.   The belief  that goats can eat everything and survive on anything more accurately applies to  cattle.

A goat must have  high quality hay and forage.   Rumen passage rates directly affect what the goat   can digest to obtain nutrition. Goats, like the deer with which I often  compare them,  have very fast rumen passage rates, which great affects what goats can and cannot eat.  Cattle have extremely slow rumen passage rates that allow  them to eat and digest coarse and dormant plant materials.

The goat rumen passage rate is about 11 hours. Cattle take  up to three (3)  days to digest their food.   Because of their fast rumen passage rate,  goats have less time to break down complex compounds. They need to consume plants that can be processed  more rapidly by  rumen micro-organisms.

Goat raisers tend to focus on percentage of protein, but energy  and especially fiber  are important.   Goats instinctively know  to focus on  the fiber content of forages that they select to eat. The  more easily digestible plants require less energy from the micro-organisms to break down the complex compounds, leaving more energy for the goat  to use for its body's requirements for maintenance and growth.

Acid Detergent Fiber (ADF) is a measurement used in analyzing forages. The ADF number represents an estimation of the digestibility  of plant materials. Goat raisers are primarily concerned with Acid Detergent Fiber's measurement of an indigestible fiber called lignin. Lignin is the material that gives plants the structural ability to stand upright to receive sunlight for growth. We refer to these plants and grasses as stemmy and coarse. Taller and older plants are less digestible and are lower in energy. This is why you should mow your pastures to a height that will stimulate new growth. An additional benefit of a low Acid Detergent Fiber measurement is that the plant material is usually higher in energy  (calories).   Tall mature pastures are not  quality forage for goats.

A high ADF measurement means that the plant material has a lot of indigestible material in it. For goats, an Acid Detergent Fiber measurement of 39 or higher is too high for them to digest. Because of the goat's fast rumen passage rate, there isn't enough time to process nutrients from coarse, fibrous, and  dormant plant materials.  Because cattle  take much longer to pass plant materials, their rumens have extra time  to break down the complex plant compounds into useable nutrition.

Another nutritional measurement that is critical to goats is NON-FIBROUS CARBOHYDRATES (NFC).     A high Non-Fibrous Carbohydrate  value means that the plant materials have good levels of starch, simple sugars, and soluble fiber. High NFC numbers also indicate that the plants have higher amounts of cell contents which are more readily digestible than the fibrous cell walls, plus they also provide many vital nutrients and energy (calories).

Hay testing is critical and  inexpensive. I use Dairy One Forage Lab in New York. Call 1-800-344-2697 and request their kit that includes a quart ziplock bag for hay sample and a pre-paid mailer. Follow the instructions and put in your outgoing mail.  Current total  cost of "Package 325 testing" is $23.00 (August 2020).   If you are testing native or improved pastures (which by definition have multiple species of plants), then call and ask if a different test is more appropriate to provide the information you need. Turnaround is about one week. They will even call you with the results. You can't beat the service or the price.

My thanks to Kent Mills, goat nutritionist, Hi Pro Feeds, Texas, for his assistance with and review of this article for accuracy. Kent has been my goat nutritionist for over  20 years and teaches Goat Nutrition   at GoatCamp™ every year.

Suzanne W. Gasparotto, ONION CREEK RANCH, Texas        8.1.20


GoatCamp2020™ will be held at Onion Creek Ranch near Briggs, Texas (just north of Austin, Texas) Oct 26- 29,2020.

We  will be doing it a bit different this year. So people are more comfortable with avoiding the China virus, everything will be held under  roofed but open-air facilities. Classroom instruction will be held under the 8,000 s.ft. Goat Barn. I am purchasing windscreen for the north  and west sides of the GoatBarn to provide wind break if weather turns cold or rainy.

Food  and drink will be provided in the building where classes have been held  in the past, allowing us to open roll-up doors on both ends for ventilation.

People who want to wear masks are welcome to do so.

I am accepting fewer applications this year so as to keep population density low and allow for social distancing.

Details and sign-up information on the GoatCamp™ page at

Taking reservations for GoatCamp™ 2020

Oct 26-29, 2020

  •    FAMACHA training. Doing microscopic fecal counts
  •    Learn how to diagnose and treat illnesses and diseases
  •    Nutrition, learn how to feed property
  •    Tubing, injections
  •    Hoof trimming, hoof care
  •    Necropsy demonstration
  •    Tattooing, ear tagging
  •    Diseases affecting goats
  •    Drawing blood, disease testing
  •     Selecting goats for breeding, market sales, etc
  •    Marketing your animals
  •    Routine handling, restraints
  •    Humane slaughter demonstration
  •    Breeding, Kidding, Kid care
  •    Necropsy demonstration
  •    Importance of private property rights to goat owners.
  •    and much more, all on a working goat ranch.

The GOATCAMP™ Instructors

  • MARK SWENING, DVM - VETERINARIAN, Coleman, Texas Vet Clinic

Classroom Instruction as well as Hands-on Work with Onion Creek Ranch Goats on a working goat ranch


$475.00 IF RECEIVED ON OR AFTER 10-1-20

Registration Form ONLINE

For Additional Information: Suzanne Gasparotto - 512-265-2090 (Texas)


If traveling south on I-35, turn west and go through Killeen-Copperas Cove on Hwy 190. Turn on FM 2657, travel 1.8 miles west of Oakalla, and turn left onto Happy Ridge Rd. Last gate on the left near the end of this 1/2 mile long private road is the Onion Creek Ranch entrance.

If traveling south on US 183, turn east (left) at Briggs on FM 2657 and travel 6.2 miles, turning right on Happy Ridge Rd.

If traveling through Austin, take   US 183 north and turn east  (right)  at Briggs onto FM 2657.   Go 6.2 miles and turn right on Happy Ridge Rd.


Copperas Cove is the closest town only 9 miles east of Onion Creek Ranch. Lots of places to stay and eat. I've made arrangements with Hill Country Inn for a special rate for GoatCamp™ attendees. $54.99 plus tax for a king or double. It is clean, well lit, neat, well managed, with WiFI,  cable TV,  and continental breakfast included. 254-547-2345. Great Italian restaurant Giovanni's across the street on east side of traffic light. If you want a more upscale motel, Killeen to the east has a Holiday Inn Express and other motels.

Students wishing to stay in an RV park close by might want to check out Roberts Ranch RV Park . Located at 9519 FM 2657, this RV Park is about 3 miles east of Onion Creek Ranch. Contact owner Allan Roberts at 512 556 1177 for pricing and reservations.


Cancellations after Aug 1: Forfeiture of 50% of tuition; refund of remaining 50%.

Cancellations after Sep 1: Forfeiture of entire tuition.



My name is Christy Dalros. I attended Goat Camp™ in October 2016. A few weeks ago, I noticed one of my does was not acting like her normal self. She had recently given birth to triplets and had been fine up until then. I check eyes at least weekly and she had good pink membranes prior. When I checked her eyes that day she was at a 4 on the FAMACHA scale. I immediately took a fecal sample and her count was extremely high. I began deworming her but she went down to a 5 on the FAMACHA scale soon after and developed bottle jaw. I have been so worried but I have run fecal samples on her weekly and continued deworming. I started her on daily iron and B-12. I also started giving her all the alfalfa she wanted for the added protein. I am happy to say that today she had no signs of bottle jaw and her eyes were at a 3 on the FAMACHA scale.

I wanted to thank you for the opportunity to attend Goat Camp™ last year. Without your class, I would not have known what to do. I lost more than 10 goats last year by this time and because of the training GoatCamp™ gave me, I am happy to say that ALL of my goats are thriving. I run my own fecal tests, something I would never have known how to do without Goat Camp™, and I refer to your articles and the notes from GoatCamp™ regularly. Thank you so much for the knowledge you shared. You have helped me more than you know.


I want to send you a huge thanks you for doing what you do and offering me the opportunity to attend Goat Camp and learn from the best!! There was a ton of new information for me to absorb but equally valuable was to confirm whether or not I have been doing things correctly or not. It was amazing to see how you setup your operation and all the things you had to consider . Since I got home, I set up monthly random fecal testing to monitor wormload. I also have a Jeffers shopping list and a few books to add to my collection. After the necropsy, all the things that I have read and pictured finally made sense. I found that demonstration fascinating and really well explained. The 4 days for information was more than worth the time and travel and you have provided me with more confidence in looking after my little herd. I wish you all the best with your business and hope you continue to educate others, as your experience and knowledge is priceless. Shelley Helmer Canada


We had the most amazing experience at Goat camp. The information I found there was very impressive. That is one of the best decisions I have made going into this venture. My second best decision is I will be back next year. My brain hurt trying to retain all the info. I will continue to review everything you supplied but I will be lucky if I have retained 50%. My 82 year old Mother was so excited when I explained all that went on she wants to come with us.

Thank you, best money I ever spent. Brian & Lori, Rockport, Texas



Contact Suzanne Gasparotto at
512-265-2090 for prices and availability.

Tennessee Meat Goat™ and TexMasters™
are available now.
Make your reservations!

Thinking about raising meat goats or already have goats and want to improve your skills and knowledge?   Learn from professionals about  parasitology, nutrition, health, and management at the one-and-only GoatCamp™.   Join us for our 19th year of learning.   Find out the do's and don't's of raising healthy meat goats.


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Tennessee Meat Goats™ and TexMasters™ are the cream of the meat goat industry. Contact us for availability, ages and pricing by calling 512-265-2090 or emailing



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