February 2013 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.

LEASING GOATS FOR BRUSH CONTROL AND LAND CLEARING

There are several issues that you must resolve before you decide to lease goats for brush control and land clearing. You can make money doing this, but it is not as simple as it seems.

It takes money to make money, and your first big expense (other than goats) is going to be liability insurance. Customers, particularly government agencies and private businesses, are going to require a certificate of liability insurance issued in their names before you will be able to set foot on their land. You should want to have such coverage to protect yourself.

You are going to be moving goats from site to site with dramatically different plant materials to eat. Because goats are subject to nutritional illnesses like ruminal acidosis, overeating disease, bloat, and listeriosis (to name just a few), you must figure out how to slowly transition them from their current diet to the new food sources without causing illness or death. You should have knowledge of plants that are toxic to goats (azaleas are one example) and look for them on the job site before turning goats onto the land. Goats in a new environment do not instinctively know what is safe to eat. Vaccinating against overeating disease is helpful but is never 100% protective. C&D Anti-toxin (not the toxoid vaccine), milk of magnesia, activated charcoal, and bloat medications must be kept on hand for emergency administration. You need to stock a full medical kit. Any problem that can occur at home is much more likely to pop up in a new location when goats are under stress.

Adequate drinkable water is a big consideration. Is it available on the job site or will you have to truck it in? How will you containerize water from which the goats can drink? What type of portable fencing will you use to limit the goats' movements and how often will you move it? Have other ruminants been on the property and how recently? There is always the possibility that animals previously on the land have left behind organisms that your goats can pick up.

Someone to shepherd the herd will be necessary to keep predators, both animal and human, away from the goats on a 24-hour basis. Depending upon the venue, livestock guardian animals may be necessary. If you are leaving goats at the job location at night, this is even more important. Goats are very susceptible to predators. Human herders will need to know how to administer emergency treatments. Shepherds must also be aware of plants like poison ivy and poison oak that they might encounter personally.

Goats don't move well. They stress easily, like deer. So you will need to select and cull for goats that handle the transitions between jobs well. This will take a lot of buying and culling. Exposure to worms and coccidia will be a problem, as your goats will not be adapted to multiple locations. You will need to accept that a certain number of your goats will die as a result of these exposures.

Are you going to run all males or all females? If you run males and females together, there will be pregnant does and kidding. Pregnancy and kidding bring on a host of new problems. Pregnant does develop immunities to the bacteria, viruses, and other organisms on the property where they normally live. Those immunities are in their milk and do not provide protection against organizations that can harm kids in multiple new locations. Kids are born without a functioning immune system, instead depending upon the immunities passed in their dam's milk to protect them. You might consider simplifying your operation by running only wethers (castrated males); they are usually less expensive to buy and don't reproduce.

You can make money leasing goats for brush control and land clearing if you are prepared, plan ahead, know what you are doing, and are prepared for losses. If it were easy and very profitable, everyone would be doing it.

Suzanne W. Gasparotto, ONION CREEK RANCH, Texas 1/10/12


JeffersLivestock.com


JeffersLivestock.com

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Goat Camp™ 2013

Taking reservations for
Goat Camp™ 2013
Oct 21-25, 2013
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Water Tubs and Baby Goats at Bending Tree Ranch

One of the things we do here at Bending Tree Ranch when there are kids on the ground is to put milk crates in our water tubs to keep kids from drowning when they jump into the water. We have not had one to date slide down between the crate and the tub wall. Unfortunately we have found drowned kids in tubs before we started using the milk crates. The cast iron bathtub is shallow enough that they can keep their heads out of the water. If you look real hard at the drain end of the tub there is a large rock that they can use to climb up onto and they usually can jump back out on their own.

Pat Cotten ©2013
Bending Tree Ranch
www.bendingtreeranch.com

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BendingTree Ranch TexMaster Goats

We will be bursting at the seams with new TexMaster™ babies within the next couple of weeks. Visit our website at www.bendingtreeranch.com or our “Bending Tree Ranch” facebook page to see photos of the newest arrivals.

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CONTACT: Pat Cotten 501-679-4936
Bending Tree Ranch located
near Greenbrier, Arkansas
www.bendingtreeranch.com
bendingtreeranch@cyberback.com


“like us” on facebook………….
Bending Tree Ranch

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Beautiful percentage TexMaster™ doelings 6 days old

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Fullblood TexMaster™ bucklings (both sales pending)

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Percentage TexMaster™ buck on his dam and sister in photo to right

 

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