August 2022 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.


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Oct 24-27, 2022
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The biggest enemy of goats (other than predators) is Haemonchus contortus, also known as the barberpole stomach worm.   Wet conditions are the perfect environment for this bloodsucking worm,  but it doesn't go away during  droughts.

A major mistake that goat raisers make is over-crowding.   Goats are deer in how they live and interact, and it is easy to get too many of them in too small of a space.   When that happens, there is a heavy fecal load, and in those fecal pellets are worm larvae.   When the worms hatch,  goats inevitably eat some of the fecal pellets as they graze for green plant materials.  When that paddock has a heavy load of fecal matter,  the worms are there to stay.

Goat population density is determined by how you can control the barberpole worm load and NOT by what there is to eat in the pasture.   If you have wormy goats,  you have too many goats per acre.  Period.  If you can't get rid of the worm load, perhaps your land is not suitable for raising goats.  Not all land works for raising goats, just like not all land is suitable for raising, for example, alfalfa.

The current drought in Texas and across the middle United States has revealed to goat raisers that having dry land isn't the only requirement for raising goats.  Wet = worms but so can drought if your management practices require changes or adjustments.

Utilizing my article on how to do your own fecals on the Articles page at, goat raisers should determine  actual worm load using McMasters slides, learn  what dewormer works by following the directions in the article, and calculate   how many goats per acre they can successfully raise on their property.

Suzanne W. Gasparotto, Onion Creek Ranch, Texas   8.1.22






Aflatoxin is one of nature's most potent carcinogens. It is a by-product of mold growth.

When aflatoxin-contaminated feed is fed to goats, many health and performance problems result. Commodities in which aflatoxins have been detected include corn, peanuts, wheat, rice, cottonseed, tree nuts, milo, and milk. Corn is the crop that is most often associated with aflatoxins.

Once produced, aflatoxin does not go away, even if the molds die. There are two molds which are the major producers of aflatoxin, Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus. These fungi are found everywhere in the world. They are soil-borne but they like to grow on the rich nutrients of seeds. Their toxins occur both in the pasture and when the feed is in storage.

Weather-created stress, such as drought changing to heavy moisture conditions, help the fungi invade the plants. The fungi require moisture above 14% and temperatures higher than 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Feed stored in closed and/or poorly-ventilated areas is subject to aflatoxin poisoning.

Because aflatoxin does not result in distinct disease symptoms, it is often not even suspected as the cause of poor goat health. Aflatoxin suppresses the immune system, thereby allowing the goat to develop diseases that it would not likely have succumbed to had aflatoxin-contaminated feed not been fed. Aflatoxins can also be passed into milk by dairy goats.

The most accurate and cost-effective method available to detect mycotoxins, including aflatoxin, is the ELISA test (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay). Quanta Lab in Selma, Texas (north of San Antonio on IH35) does this testing. Quanta Lab also tests for Prussic Acid and Nitrate/Nitrite toxicity. 1-210-651-5799.

Young goats are most susceptible to the effects of aflatoxin, although all ages can be affected. In all animals, aflatoxin can cause liver damage, decreased reproductive performance, reduced milk production, death in utero, tumors, birth defects, and lowered immune system function.

Periods of extreme weather conditions demand that goat producers keep a watchful eye on grain and roughages, whether they are out on pasture or being fed commercially-produced grain products. Extreme dry conditions which may be interspersed with heavy rains should make you watch for toxic reactions of all types. When these conditions present themselves, testing of grains and hay must be done before feeding these products to goats. The cost of testing is minimal compared with the animal loss that may occur.

Suzanne W. Gasparotto. Onion Creek Ranch, Texas 8.1.22



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