June 2019 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™ 2019

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(Internal Parasites, Nutrition, Acreage, Shelter, Weather)

Goats are the most difficult livestock to raise. Learning how to work with them can be a complex and confusing experience. Once you learn to "think like a goat" -- to understand how they live, see, and interact with the world around them -- you will begin to recognize issues as they occur and even learn to anticipate problems. Your life will be easier and the life your goats will be better. Goat health pretty much revolves around controlling the blood-sucking, anemia-causing barberpole stomach worm that kills goats. An established deworming program that involves random monthly fecal counts using a McMaster (green gridded) slide is critical to the health of your goats.

Do fecal counts before you deworm. Find out the number of eggs per gram. Choose and dewormer and give it orally Seven (7) days after you dewormed, do fecal counts again. If you didn't get a 95% reduction in the number of eggs ("kill rate"), then your dewormer didn't work. All it did was kill the susceptible worms while the resistant worms survived. You have to start all over with a new class of dewormer. In most parts of the USA, the "white-colored" dewormers (Safeguard, Panacur, and Valbazen) don't kill stomach worms anymore.

Just because you dewormed does NOT mean that it worked. Only fecal counts will provide that vital information. THE DEWORMER TO USE IS THE ONE THAT YOU DETERMINE WORKS WITH YOUR GOATS ON YOUR PROPERTY. Use this dewormer until it quits working. Do not rotate dewormers. When it quits working, change to a different class of dewormer and continue random monthly fecal counts as well as fecal counts before and 7 days after deworming. You can use FAMACHA eye membrane checks as a guideline to your goats' health, but only fecal counts tell you what is really going on inside the goat. Go to www.tennesseemeatgoats.com to the Articles page and read the article entitled HOW TO DO YOUR OWN FECALS. Buy the MSK-01 microscope, fecal floatation solution, green-gridded McMaster slides, pipettes, tubes/containers and other supplies and learn to do your own fecals. It isn't rocket science. At 2019 prices, you can likely buy all of these items for $200 on Amazon.com. It doesn't take long to spend $200 having a vet do fecal counts (or lose $200 when a goat dies from worms). You will have firsthand knowledge of wormloads in your goats in the timeframe in which you need this information by performing your own fecals.

Sufficient acreage is critical so the goats aren't in constant contact with worms, both in pasture and in feces. You cannot feedlot goats. They can't handle the stress (and disease) induced by the closeness and they can't overcome the worm load that occurs with constant exposure to fecal material in overcrowded conditions.

Raising 35 goats on 2 acres is a feedlot. I've talked with hundreds of people who are raising goats in such overcrowded conditions. Stocking rates for goats are all about reducing exposure to feces so that the wormload can be controlled. If your goats are wormy, you are overcrowded.

Think of goats as DEER. They need space to roam over. They stress easily. They need to eat "from the top down" (leaves and weeds) to avoid microscopic stomach worms that live at ground level and on grass blades as tall as eight (8) inches above ground level. Worms can go into hypobiosis (hybernation) in pregnant does; when the doe goes into labor, the worms "wake up," re-start their life cycle, and are waiting on the ground for her kids to ingest them when they take their first bite. Worms always out-adapt goats, so you have to provide conditions in which the goats can thrive and prevail. This means lots of area over which to forage-browse. Many people don't have enough land upon which to raise goats. WET equals WORMS. Much of the USA is too wet to raise goats successfully. Goats as a species are dry-land animals. If you insist on raising goats in wet environments, you must keep your stocking rates super low and put extra focus on fecal counts. The worm to concentrate on is Haemonchus contortus, the barberpole stomach worm, which sucks blood, causes anemia, and kills goats. The protozoan that you need to monitor and control is Coccidia. Detailed articles on worms, coccicidia, stocking rates, nutrition, shelter, illnesses, and many other things goat related are available without charge on the Articles page at www.tennesseemeatgoats.com.

Regarding shelter and weather conditions, goats need protection from wind and rain. They also need shade, especially darker colored goats. Goats expel heat from their bodies through their horns. If you disbud or dehorn, they can overheat, mouth breathe, and die. Goats, especially kids, have trouble maintaining internal body temperature during wide swings in outside temperature. Pneumonia is often the result and is second only to worms in killing goats. You can do all of the above right and if your goats aren't properly fed, you will still have problems. Proper goat nutrition is difficult to get right. Most people either overfeed or underfeed. You have to know what you are feeding nutrition-wise. If you mix your own feed or buy it from someone who does the same and isn't a trained goat nutritionist, then you have no idea what amount of protein, fat, fiber, energy, vitamins, and minerals you are feeding. You can't "starve the profit" out of a goat. Goats as a species have a very fast rumen passage rate (11 to 15 hours). Whatever the goat eats, it must be palatable, easy to digest and highly nutritious or the goat's digestive system won't have time to extract nutrients from it. Cattle can survive on dead grasses in poor pastures because their rumens take two to three days to digest them. Believing that goats can eat anything is 180* out of sync with reality.

Develop a relationship with a goat nutritionist at the plant that produces your feed and have that professional analyze your particular needs. There is usually no charge for this valuable service if you are buying their feed. I am a believer in feeding pelleted feed. Textured (horse & mule-type) feed has a molasses base that molds easily. Mold kills goats in multiple ways, including but not limited to Listeriosis. You don't want to go there. I developed the protocol for treating Listeriosis years ago. It works, but it is time consuming, tedious, expensive, and exhausting. Avoid such problems by not feeding sacked or bulk feed that can easily mold. Keep the feed room securely locked and located away from the goats.

When buying hay, never tell the sellers that you raise goats. Most of them think goats can eat anything, including tin cans. Ignorance about goats is mind-boggling. Tell them you want to buy horse-quality hay. Never feed hay with mold on it. This includes sileage, baleage, haylage, and alfalfa that has been packaged with high moisture content. Test your hay. Dairy One Lab in New York can provide a basic analysis via their postage-paid mail-in sampler for $22 (2019 prices). You can't look at hay and determine if it is of good quality. You (or your goat nutritionist) can take samples of plant materials in your pastures for nutritional analysis too. Spend the money necessary to buy good quality feed and hay for your goats. Proper nutrition helps prevent health problems with goats. Get these five basics of raising goats right and managing your goats become much easier when you approach their world from the goats' point of view. Suzanne W. Gasparotto, Onion Creek Ranch, Texas 6.4.19

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

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


TexMaster™ bucks.


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 onioncreek@tennesseemeatgoats.com


Some TexMaster™ and Tennessee Meat Goat™ bucks of varying ages for sale.

Personalized Consultation Services Available

I am pleased to announce that beginning February 1, 2019, I am offering individualized consultation services on health, nutrition, and management to goat raisers.

Raising goats in a challenge, given that few vets know anything about goats. We have to learn to use medications off-label. Limited help is available on nutrition or just about anything involving goats.

This subscription service is $195 a year, with no limit on number of contacts. Payment may be made via CASH app on your phone, using a debit card, or you can mail a check for $195 made payable to Suzanne W. Gasparotto to 300 Happy Ridge Road, Briggs, Tx 78608. Provide contact information so I can confirm receipt and set up your account.

Although I am not a vet, I have been raising goats full time since 1990. I've been writing articles on goat nutrition, health, and management for 25+ years. I know goats.

My meat-goat education group ChevonTalk, the meat goat e-magazine MeatGoatMania, and the articles on my website http://www.tennesseemeatgoats.com will remain free.

I already offer ranch layout/design consultation on a case basis.

Taking the individual consultations to a fee basis will allow me to better help persons seriously interested in properly taking care of their goats.

If you wish to sign up and have questions, please email me at onioncrk@centex.net or call me at 512-265-2090.

Suzanne W. Gasparotto, Onion Creek Ranch, Texas



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