Onion Creek Ranch, Lohn, Texas
Suzanne W. Gasparotto, Onion Creek Ranch, Lohn, TX
Lohn, Texas
Onion Creek Ranch "Chevon, cabrito, goat... No matter what you call it, it is the HEALTHY red meat™
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FERAL VS. IMPROVED GOATS

A feral goat is a mixed-breed animal that has evolved in the wild with minimal to no human intervention and has adapted to its specific environment. That adaptation is NOT transferable to a new location, despite widespread popular belief otherwise. Every time an animal is moved, it must re-adapt to its new location, bacteria, viruses, and other organisms. So-called "spanish" goats in western parts of the USA and "brush" goats in the southeastern parts of the United States are examples of feral goats.

Feral goats are neither large nor meaty. They adapted to the food supply in their area. They don't have the luxury of extra nutrition that will permit them to put on weight. They are in survival mode. When plant materials are plentiful, they reproduce and thrive. When food is scarce, starvation and predation kill many. They've been naturally selected for small size because a feral animal must be able to live on minimal amounts of food. There is a survival level of nutrition, but growth and muscling require better input.

Starting in 1990, my vision of goat raising has always been to produce an improved (meatier) animal that is managed with an economically-sound level of nutritional input. That means that sufficient amounts of land over which they can roam is essential. I don't intend for my goats to be placed into feral conditions without any supplementation or care. That isn't what happens with improved breeds of cattle or other species. You can't raise a better animal without some level of management and nutritional input.

Goat raisers need to re-evaluate their understanding of and attitude towards goats as a meat source. Putting goats into the brush or woods and rounding up those who survived starvation, predation, and winter conditions is not a business model tailored for profit. The only way this ever remotely worked in the USA was when wool sheep and hair (Angora) goats were run on native pasture and their fiber was harvested and sold to the U.S. Government under a so-called "incentive" program offering fixed prices. This isn't market-based free enterprise but rather taxpayer-subsidized price supports also known as WELFARE.

Truthfully there has never been a viable meat-goat industry in the USA. No one I know of raises meat goats as their primary source of income. I want to see that happen. Forty percent (40%) of the goat meat in this country is imported frozen from Australia and New Zealand. The American market is open for the taking by some entrepreneurial goat raiser. See the July 2017 issue of MeatGoatMania http://www.tennesseemeatgoats.com/MeatGoatMania/July2017 to read the lead article entitled Making Money Raising Meat Goats.

Suzanne W. Gasparotto, Onion Creek Ranch, Texas 9/10/17

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Important! Please Read This Notice!

All information provided in these articles is based either on personal experience or information provided by others whose treatments and practices have been discussed fully with a vet for accuracy and effectiveness before passing them on to readers.

In all cases, it is your responsibility to obtain veterinary services and advice before using any of the information provided in these articles. Suzanne Gasparotto is not a veterinarian.Neither tennesseemeatgoats.com nor any of the contributors to this website will be held responsible for the use of any information contained herein.

The author, Suzanne Gasparotto, hereby grants to local goat publications and club newsletters, permission to reprint articles published on the Onion Creek Ranch website under these conditions: THE ARTICLE MUST BE REPRODUCED IN ITS ENTIRETY AND THE AUTHOR'S NAME, ADDRESS, AND CONTACT INFORMATION MUST BE INCLUDED AT THE BEGINNING OF THE REPRINT. We would appreciate notification from any clubs or publications when the articles are used. (A copy of the newsletter or publication would also be a welcome addition to our growing library of goat related information!)

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