July 2022 Issue

MeatGoatManiaHEADER

IN THIS ISSUE:

Subscribe to Meat Goat ManiaEmail UsOnion Creek RanchBending Tree RanchOCR Health & Management ArticlesMGM Archive

Visit us on FaceBook for current news

WEANING KIDS

Birth and weaning are the two most stressful times in a kid's life. Weaning is probably more stressful because it is the first time in the kid's life when it is without the antibodies in its dam's milk that protect from diseases, yet the kid's immune system is still very immature. Stress can cause illness and even result in the kid's death, so you must work to minimize stress at all times.

Intact bucklings should be weaned at three months of age to keep them from breeding their dams, sisters, or other females in the herd. Doelings can stay with their dams longer.

At Onion Creek Ranch in Texas, this is how I handle weaning:

All kids are dewormed, are given their initial and then booster CD/T and pneumonia vaccinations, and have all eartags inserted before weaningC

I wean kids early in the morning of a good-weather day (not rainy, not very hot, and not extremely cold). Morning is chosen so that kids have time to acquaint themselves with their new surroundings long before nightfall. Kids are separated from their dams at the central working pens. If the distance is great, goats are trailered to their new location. If the distance is short but the alleys are dusty from lack of rain, then the route that the goats will travel on foot will be watered to avoid dust-induced pneumonia. The goal is always to avoid stress.

Intact bucklings should be weaned at three months of age to keep them from breeding their dams, sisters, or other females in the herd. Doelings can stay with their dams longer.

At Onion Creek Ranch in Texas, here is how I handle weaning:

All kids are dewormed, given their initial and then booster CD/T and pneumonia vaccinations, and have all eartags inserted before weaning. .

I wean kids early in the morning of a good-weather day (not rainy, not very hot, and not extremely cold). Morning is chosen so that kids have time to acquaint themselves with their new surroundings long before nightfall. Kids are separated from their dams at the central working pens. If the distance is great, goats are trailered to their new location. If the distance is short but the alleys are dusty from lack of rain, then the route that the goats will travel on foot is watered to avoid dust-induced pneumonia. The goal is always to avoid stress.

Weaned kids are moved to pens/pastures as far away from their dams as possible. Kids and dams calling to each other for days is stressful to them and to you. A common fenceline between males and females is not good management because it allows direct access of males to females, resulting in "party girls" who get bred too young through the fence and produce unwanted matings.

When weaning kids (bucklings in particular), I never wean just one or two kids and put them into a herd of already-weaned kids. They will be harassed to the point of exhaustion as the pecking order is re-established. I establish a mini-herd of at least three to five weanlings and if a larger herd of weanlings already exists, I wait at least a week to introduce this bonded mini-herd into the larger weaned group in the morning of a good-weather day.

Polled bucklings trying to establish their place in the pecking order in hot climates can collapse and die of heatstroke. Horns act as radiators to remove heat from the body. Polled goats are goats that have been born without horns. This is one more reason not to disbud kids.

I patrol fences and and check pastures morning, noon, and before nightfall to make sure that newly-weaned kids haven't gotten themselves caught in fences or into other life-threatening situations as the pecking order is re-set and as they try to find a way back to their dams. Doelings are not as aggressive as bucklings, but they too will chase and mount each other until everyone accepts their new positions in the group.

I feed the weanlings after they are in their new pastures. Eating together is a familiar group activity that will somewhat distract them from harassing each other and add some routine to the new herd. I make sure they know the location of their water troughs. Kids tend to wander, getting lost from the main group, and becoming targets for predators. Herding kid goats is like trying to herd chickens. No one is in the lead. I put one older goat of the same sex in with the bucklings to create a leader for them to follow.

A skilled ADULT livestock guardian dog (difficult to find but invaluable to have -- spend the time and money to find one) is put with the pregnant does before they began kidding so that kids got used to its presence. This, of course,depends upon the availability of a livestock guardian dog who isn't aggressive to young kids. If not already done, introducing the livestock guardian dog (LGD) is another hurdle that you have to cross.

Goats are small ruminants that are subject to predation. Livestock guardian dogs are essential in pastures of newly-weaned goats. A livestock guardian dog should not hurt kids but it can initially frighten them when the dog tries to move a straying kid back to the herd by nudging it or salivating on its neck and face in its attempt to familiarize itself with its new charges.

Every livestock guardian dog is its own unique individual with challenges that you must either adapt to, resolve, or change out the dog for one that works under your management conditions. The dog is NOT going to adapt to your needs. The dog is either a guarder or a patroller and is either a good livestock guardian dog or is not. Just because the dog was "raised with goats" or "doesn't kill chickens" doesn't mean it will work under your particular management conditions. NEVER put pups with goats. A livestock guardian dog under 18 months of age is still a pup behavior-wise. I do not use Great Pyrenees or Pyrenees crosses; my personal experience is that they tend to be wanderers. I also do NOT use intact males or females. I neuter/spay all my livestock guardian dogs. I want them guarding, not taking off work to breed and raise pups.

Weaning puts stress on the dam, too. I wean one kid per dam each week, starting the first week of weaning with the biggest buckling. This process allows the doe's body to lower milk output gradually. Weaning all kids at one time can send her udder into milk overload. This is especially true of dairy and dairy-influenced goats, including Boers and Kikos, both breeds of which have significant dairy genetics in them. Remove all kids at one time and the dam's udder is going to be uncomfortably tight by the next day. A too-full udder makes her miserable, the potential for congested udder or mastitis is increased, and you likely will have to milk the dam. Do NOT take the dam off water. Repeat: NEVER take the dam off water. Meat-goat breeds without dairy influence like I raise seldom have this drying-up problem, but I choose to be careful when drying off dams.

Growing kids require a higher level of nutrition than mature goats, so be prepared to provide quality nutrition to these weanlings as they transition to eating on their own. Do not creep-feed (free-choice) feed them grain products or you will run the risk of ruminal acidosis, bloat, or founder. Do not ever suddenly take any goat off one type of feed and change to another feed type.

This is a very vulnerable time because weaned kids no longer are receiving antibodies in their dams' milk that protect them from disease yet their own immune systems are far from mature. Just -weaned kids are very susceptible to Haemonchus contortus (barberpole worm) infestation. These worms suck blood, causing anemia, and can kill them. Just because you dewormed doesn't mean it worked. The only way to know if your dewormer worked is to do fecal counts with a microscope using McMasters slides randomly each month.

Follow my motto of learning to "think like a goat" , many problems can be avoided and the weaning process will be less stressful for all involved -- kids, dams, and you.

Suzanne W. Gasparotto, Onion Creek Ranch, Texas 7.1.22

Article references on the Articles page of www.tennesseemeatgoats.com

Doing your own fecals, Feeding newly-weaned kids, Livestock guardian dogs, Deworming and vaccination schedules.

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.

CampLogo1a1a1a1a1a1a1a1a1a1

Goat Camp™ 2022

Taking reservations for
21st annual Goat Camp™
Oct 24-27, 2022
Click Here for more info...

item14
PAN AMERICAN


Shop JeffersLivestock.com


Shop JeffersLivestock.com

item13

EARTAGGING SIMPLIFIED

A simple yet inexpensive goat identification system is important for accurate record keeping and identification. This is how I eartag for quick and easy visual identification at Onion Creek Ranch. Because eartags can be lost or removed, this system is generally not considered a form of permanent identification (like tattooing or RFID chipping).

There are six pieces of information that eartags are used to provide at Onion Creek Ranch: sex, breed, herd, individual, sire, and scrapie. The first five items are identified by a single eartag; sire is identified by a second color-coded tag. Location of the tag identifies sex. Color of the tag identifies breed.

All females receive this five-item identification tag in the right ear, while all bucks are similarly tagged in the left ear. The information printed on the tag includes the OCR herd ID (numbers that are used both to identify the goat within the ranch's herd and for purposes of the scrapie program) and Onion Creek Ranch's Texas scrapie herd tag number.

Raising breeding stock requires the maintenance and utilization of multiple genetic lines, so a second tag was introduced to identify the sire of each goat. I use a small (about one inch square) double-sided mini-tag that is available in multiple colors and can be imprinted on both sides with the sire's name. This sire tag is put into the opposite ear. Does are sire tagged in the left ear and bucks in the right ear. If I run out of available colors, then blank white double-sided tags with the sire name written on it with permanent marker are used.

Onion Creek Ranch raises breeding stock and ships them across the country and around the world. Therefore, scrapie tagging is required. By using the double-sided mini tag, it has been possible to combine all this information into one color-coded tag. The individual scrapie tag number also serves as the individual goat identifier within the herd. This combo tag has eliminated the need for a third ear tag, leaving each goat with one eartag in each ear . . . . one tag identifying the breed, herd, sex, scrapie, and individual goat ID and the other tag recording the goat's sire.

While this may sound complicated and difficult to learn, you will be pleasantly surprised just how quickly you learn that a the color of the sire tag indicates the genetic line of the goat. The colored tags "jump out" at you when you are in the pasture looking at them. An additional benefit is that if one tag is lost, the remaining tag makes it easier to backtrack and find out who the goat is for retagging purposes.

There are additional benefits in managing the annual kid crop: I tag kids with the appropriate herd tag when I give them their first CD/T and pneumonia vaccinations. I install the sire tags when the booster vaccinations are given 30 days later. Because of the number of kids born at Onion Creek Ranch and the extended time frame that kidding entails, the older kids are vaccinated sooner than the younger ones. If kids have a tag in each ear, I know they've have initial and booster vaccinations. If kids have only the herd tag in the ear, I know that booster vaccinations haven't been given. No tags means that no vaccinations have been received.

When weaning time arrives for the boys, the placement of the herd tag helps me easily identify males from females at three months of age.

These tags are inexpensive, customizable, easy to use, and a tremendous management tool.

 

Suzanne W. Gasparotto, ONION CREEK RANCH, Texas 7/1/22

BendingTree Ranch TexMaster Goats

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

"Like" Bending Tree Ranch on Facebook

TexMaster™ Meat Goats when Meat Matters

item10
item16

 

BACK TO ARCHIVE....

Subscribe to Meat Goat ManiaEmail UsOnion Creek RanchBending Tree RanchOCR Health & Management ArticlesMGM Archive

Meat Goat Mania
Shop for the Best Discounted Pet, Equine, & Livestock Supplies!

All information and photos copyright © Onion Creek Ranch and may not be used without express written permission of Onion Creek Ranch. TENNESSEE MEAT GOAT ™ and TEXMASTER™ are Trademarks of Onion Creek Ranch . All artwork and graphics © DTP, Ink and Onion Creek Ranch.

item2a1a1a1a1a1a1a1a1a1a1