September 2020 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.


Goats are not pasture animals. Because they are very susceptible to Haemonchus contortus (barberpole stomach worm) infection, they are foragers/browsers   like deer. Goats  need to eat "from the top down," eating weeds and leaves, to avoid stomach worms that exist at ground level.

Goats have a very fast 11 to 15 hour rumen passage rate.  The net venation structure of the leaf is much easier for the goat to break down and digest than grass blades which have a parallel vein structure.   Lignin is necessary to hold the grass blade up to receive sunlight, but it isn't easily digested by goats.   Leaves are attached to small stems that fall out from the main stem of a tree or brush don't require the amount of lignin that grass blades need.

The number of people who proudly tell me how tall their pastures are and therefore how much they have for their goats to eat is an indication of widespread misinformation about goats, how they live, and how they survive.

Apparently goat raisers who  have pasture but lack forage/browse think they can offer tall grasses to their goats and keep them from contacting stomach worms. Not so. Goats  will go to ground level for the newest and most tender plant material, right where the worms are. Unless there are seed heads on the tall grasses, goats won't eat them. As grasses grow taller, they become  less digestible to goats.

Pastures that have tall grasses tend to stay wet at ground level, increasing the exposure to worms, pasteurella, and other organisms. Goats are dry-land animals.   WET = WORMS.   Mow your pastures to about 8 inches high  or shorter, if the density of the plant material is so great that it blocks out the sun.  Sun must be able to reach the ground to dry it out so that  the worm population is hopefully reduced.

Years ago during an  unusually wet spring when I lived in  West Texas, the  goats were enjoying the  green pastures.     I allowed one pasture containing 15 Tennessee Meat Goat™ bucks to stay high enough to cover their heads. Every one of them contracted pasteurella pneumonia, even though I had vaccinated against it. I treated them and they appeared to get well, but the problem became chronic. Over the next 18 months,  each of them slowly declined in health  despite every effort I made and died. I wasn't sure what was happening. I verified it wasn't worms. My vet necropsied the last one at GoatCamp™ that year and discovered pasteurella abscesses in his lungs. Because I didn't mow the tall grasses, the ground never dried out, setting up conditions that resulted in pasteurella pneumonia abscesses that killed 15 top-quality Tennessee Meat Goat™ bucks. An expensive loss and my fault.

Improper management is almost always the cause of problems with goats. Analyze every decision you make before you put it into effect.  The Law of Unintended Consequences is a hard teacher.

Suzanne W. Gasparotto    ONION CREEK RANCH    9.1.20



Goat Camp™ 2020

Taking reservations for
Goat Camp™ 2020
Oct 26-29, 2020
Click Here for more info...






GoatCamp2020™ will be held at Onion Creek Ranch near Briggs, Texas (just north of Austin, Texas) Oct 26- 29,2020.

We  will be doing it a bit different this year. So people are more comfortable with avoiding the China virus, everything will be held under  roofed but open-air facilities. Classroom instruction will be held under the 8,000 s.ft. Goat Barn. I am purchasing windscreen for the north  and west sides of the GoatBarn to provide wind break if weather turns cold or rainy.

Food  and drink will be provided in the building where classes have been held  in the past, allowing us to open roll-up doors on both ends for ventilation.

People who want to wear masks are welcome to do so.

I am accepting fewer applications this year so as to keep population density low and allow for social distancing.

Details and sign-up information on the GoatCamp™ page at



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

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

Thinking about raising meat goats or already have goats and want to improve your skills and knowledge?   Learn from professionals about  parasitology, nutrition, health, and management at the one-and-only GoatCamp™.   Join us for our 19th year of learning.   Find out the do's and don't's of raising healthy meat goats.


OCR Swayze TexMaster™ buck


TexMaster™ does


TexMaster™ does


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



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