July 2014 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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Newborns and young kids have trouble controlling internal body temperature. You must watch for the conditions that cause this problem, try to prevent them, and be prepared to fix them when they happen. Summer kidding in hot and/or wet regions of the USA brings with it serious health issues. High heat during the day and cooling at night means kids have a hard time controlling their body temperature. Newborn and young kids born in winter in very cold climates will have the same problem if their dams don't keep them full of milk so their bodies can generate sufficient heat to keep them warm. Dams must receive enough nutrition themselves to produce milk for their newborn and young kids.

Extreme changes in weather result in big swings in outside temperatures that stress goats enough to make them ill or cause death. Dams protect their young kids by making sure that kids have full bellies. Growing kids and adults need long fiber (weeds, leaves, hay) to rub against the walls of the rumen, creating contractions that digest food and generate heat to keep the goat's body temperature within normal range (101.5*F to 103.5*F).

If young kids are adequately fed, both by their dams and supplementally in the form of hay and grain, and they still over-heat in very hot temperatures, you must mist or spray their bodies with cool water several times a day so that evaporation of that water helps them cool. This is especially true of black and other dark-colored kids. Mouth-breathing and panting are signs that young kids are over-heated. If the producer is bottle-feeding young kids during periods of high heat, make sure that they are fed amounts small enough that the kids can digest before offering milk again. Remember that dams feed a small amounts frequently to allow proper digestion. An over-heated kid (or adult) can actually feel hot to the touch in the mouth, on the horns, and on the tail web.

You must check dams at kidding for good colostrum flow from the teat orifices and you should verify milk flow daily during the first two weeks of life. Once the kid gets old enough to eat solid food, he stands an improved chance of surviving if inadequate amounts of milk are available to him.

Do not disbud goats. Goats do not have sweat glands; horns are their bodies' radiators for removing heat. Goats without horns have to mouth breathe to expel excess heat. In extremely hot and humid areas, hornless goats cannot remove heat fast enough, making heatstroke or pneumonia real possibilities. An experienced goat producer can touch a goat's horns and tell if the goat's body temperature is too high.

A kid is born without a working immune system. All the immunities he gets are through his dam's colostrum and milk. Kids should begin to eat solid food at around two weeks of age.

When the kid is weaned at three months old, he enters a very vulnerable time in his life. Since his dam is no longer providing milk to him, he is on his own immunity-wise yet his immune system is far from fully operational. When eating near or off the ground, he encounters worms, coccidia, bacteria, viruses, and other organisms that can sicken or kill him. You must carefully watch kids and juveniles from weaning to one year of age for evidence of illnesses. Diarrhea is just one of the possible symptoms to anticipate. Goats are yearlings before they have a well-functioning immune system.

Goats have the fastest metabolisms of all ruminants, except deer. You cannot expect growing kids to feed themselves solely on forage/browse or pasture as adult goats do. Everything growing kids eat goes first to maintenance of life-sustaining body systems (heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, etc) and then to growth. Growing kids require some supplemental feeding under most management conditions.

Growing kids MUST receive better nutrition than mature goats. Fast metabolisms require good nutrition.

Unlike cattle, goats will not eat every plant that grows in the pasture. They simply cannot get adequate nutrition out of mature grasses. Goats can survive on some of them, but they cannot thrive on them. See my article entitled "Foragers/Browsers - not Grazers: This Is Why" on the Articles page at www.tennesseemeatgoats.com.

Suzanne W. Gasparotto, Onion Creek Ranch, Texas 7/1/14

The Superior Commerical Meat-Goat Breed

Four years after I had begun raising fullblood Myotonic meat goats and about nine months after I imported a trio of Boers from New Zealand, I began to wonder why people were so excited about Boers as "meat" goats. My Myotonics had far more meat on them, were much easier to manage, kidded easily, and were cheaper to feed. I asked myself this question: Why can't I take the more heavily muscled fullblood Myotonic bucks that I trademarked as Tennessee Meat Goats™, breed them to Boer does, and begin the development of a new meat goat breed that put more MEAT on the offspring (coming from the TMG sires) and with a bit faster growth rate and frame size (contributed by the Boer females)? So in 1995, I began the multi-year process of creating the superior commercial meat goat breed that I trademarked as TexMaster™. A new breed was in the making.

A minimum of seven generations of breeding is required to produce animals that breed "true." Breeding "true" means that breeding pairs reproduce offspring with consistent characteristics, i.e. they produce traits that replicate themselves from goat to goat enough to be called a BREED. I have been producing TexMasters™ for over 17 years. That's a lot of breedings and cullings.

Important: TexMasters™ are not simply a cross breed of Myotonics and Boers. TexMasters™ are the result of many years of crossing, evaluating, re-evaluating, re-crossing, and heavily culling in every generation. More importantly, TexMasters™ are the product of Onion Creek Ranch Tennessee Meat Goat™ genetics and specially-bred Boer and TMG-Boer cross does produced at Onion Creek Ranch in Texas. Over the years, I've improved the TexMaster™ breed by removing much Boer influence because I learned that it didn't take much "Boer" in the mix to reduce the meat produced on the offspring. Only Tennessee Meat Goat™ bucks were used as foundation sires. I used just enough of the Boer on the maternal side to increase slightly both the growth rate and frame size of the offspring. The precise formula is proprietary, i.e. Onion Creek Ranch's trade secret. The MEAT on the TexMaster™ comes from Onion Creek Ranch Tennessee Meat Goat™ sires; the meat does not come from the Boer females. The TexMaster™ breed retains the hardiness of the Tennessee Meat Goat™ with excellent mothering instincts, ease of kidding, lower maintenance, and most importantly higher meat-to-bone ratio than any breed other than fullblood TMGs. TexMasters™ are in use in many commercial herds across the USA. Go to www.texmastermeatgoats.com to read testimonials.

Pedigree International currently operates the TexMaster™ registry. You can breed and register percentage TexMasters™ by using fullblood TexMaster™ sires. You can breed up to purebred status but you cannot produce fullblood TexMasters™ without breeding fullblood TexMaster™ to fullblood TexMaster™ -- just like any other breed. I created TexMasters™ to be the meatiest commercial meat-goat breed by using specific genetics that I carefully selected and evaluated in every breeding. If you want to produce commercial goats, you should buy and use these specific genetics as herd sires. You should not use "bred-up" crosses as sires because you will be using genetics of other breeds and you will lose the MEAT advantage provided by Tennessee Meat Goat™ sires that make TexMasters™ so desirable as a terminal product. Example: If you buy a percentage TexMaster™ buck because a producer is close to you or it is cheaper than you can buy a fullblood TexMaster™ buck from Onion Creek Ranch genetics, you will be getting a goat that is the offspring of a TexMaster™ buck and does that are not the specially-developed Onion Creek Ranch genetics that produce superior meat-goat offspring. Such offspring would be a 50% TexMaster™ since the sire is a fullblood TexMaster™. But that 50% TexMaster™ isn't going to have anything close to the amount of meat on it that a fullblood TexMaster™ out of Onion Creek Ranch or Bending Tree Ranch genetics has on it. Crossing with other breeds decreases the "meatiness" of the offspring. This is acceptable for terminal animals but not for use as breeding stock.

Pat Cotten and I are constantly fine tuning the TexMaster™ breed, thereby improving it. You should buy your TexMaster™ herd sire out of genetics that we have developed to breed to your other breed does. Your buck is at least 50% of your herd and more likely 75% if you keep any replacement does. I recognize that costs and distances affect goat purchases but you should always be working towards acquiring better genetics, especially for your herd sires. Don't be cheap about buying your herd sire. Buy the best you can afford. Stretch a little financially and you will get more "bang for your buck." Quality never comes cheap.

If you are interested in purchasing fullblood TexMasters™, come to the source. Contact Suzanne W. Gasparotto at Onion Creek Ranch in Texas or Pat Cotten at Bending Tree Ranch in Arkansas. Suzanne can be reached at 325-344-5775 or email her at onioncreek@tennesseemeatgoats.com, and Pat can be reach at 501-679-4936 or bendingtreeranch@cyberback.com. If you cannot reach one of us, contact the other. We are in contact daily, share information about inquiries, and work together to fill orders.

Suzanne W. Gasparotto, Onion Creek Ranch

Bending Tree Ranch Giovanni, fullblood TexMaster™ buck is available for sale.

BendingTree Ranch TexMaster Goats

2013 TexMaster and Myotonic (TMG™ prospects) buck and doe kids available.

Pat Cotten
Bending Tree Ranch
located near Greenbrier, Arkansas


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