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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CHOOSE YOUR GOALS AND MENTORS CAREFULLY
Set Realistic Goals and Adopt Sound Management Practices

To be a successful goat raiser, you must set goals and adopt management practices that can realistically allow you to achieve them. Constantly re-evaluate the amount and quality of your acreage, including type of forage/browse/pasture; pens, fencing, cross-fencing, and other facilities in existence or that must be constructed; the number of goats you are raising on that land; the climatic conditions in which the goats are living; the amount of money available to spend on the goat-raising venture; and the availability of a market for the animals being raised. If you don't understand the terminology or the importance of items mentioned here, that should be a *red light* for you to stop and learn more before investing money in goats.

There are many websites and discussion groups on the Internet that provide information about raising goats. Do not assume that all are equal. Some of the advice is incorrect and sometimes dangerous to your goats. I have seen recommendations to give CD/T injections to kids at birth (won't help - newborns don't have an up-and-running immune system but instead operate off their mother's transferred-via-milk immunity for weeks) to giving an oxytocin injection to a doe if she has not passed her afterbirth within an hour of kidding (unnecessary and possibly harmful - a placenta is not considered "retained" until 24 hours after kidding) to other advice that is probably going to kill the goat (how to feed bottle babies comes to mind). Just because someone raises goats doesn't mean they know what they are doing.

Unfortunately, some of this bad information also comes from a few university and other professional-level sites. Some years ago, a goat vet at Texas A&M's Large Animal Clinic told me that "you folks in the field often know more practical information about raising goats than we do" and she made an effort to interact with people who are on the front line of raising goats on a day-to-day basis. The meat-goat industry, both organizationally and informationally, is in its infancy in the United States. We need to share information with each other, but we must be sure that what we say is accurate before we present it as such. Producers who have "been there, done that" can be helpful to the rest of us by sharing their experiences. Learn from those who have experience that you don't have; don't waste time "reinventing the wheel." Make sure the information you are being given is accurate. Ask WHY, even when dealing with veternarians. Few vets have a working knowledge of goats.

You can over-manage and over-medicate your goats. If you desire to make a profit raising goats, you cannot waste time and money on unnecessary or unproductive activities. If you care about the health of your animals, which I believe most of us do, you can do harm by over-medicating and over-managing. A goat needs a healthy immune system in order to survive and thrive. A healthy immune system is predicated on there being some challenge to it environmentally in order to cause that immune system to be stimulated to produce antibodies that protect the goat.

The main things that goats need to live and grow healthily are simple: lots of space, shelter from severe weather (strong winds and rain and extreme cold), fresh clean water, and adequate forage and/or grass hay and minerals. The more goats are managed, the more they lose adaptability -- the ability to survive and thrive in their own environment. Goats must be able to live, survive, and thrive in their natural outdoor environment. Don't do things that take away this ability from them.

Before accepting advice on how to raise, feed, and otherwise care for your goats, find out if the person giving the advice is successfully raising goats. Learn about his/her background. Successful people always have detractors, so use your good judgement and common sense when making your evaluations. Be suspicious of anyone who constantly speaks negatively of specific individuals and their animals unless they have provable facts to back up their statements. Responsible successful producers don't have time for non-productive behavior.

Raising meat goats is a wonderful adventure and can be an excellent business. Use common sense and good judgement in all aspects of your goat-ranching venture; you will enjoy it and make money at the same time.

Remember that it isn't what you don't know about raising goats that will hurt you. Rather it is what you don't know that you need to know that will bite you in the butt every time.

Suzanne W. Gasparotto, Onion Creek Ranch, Texas 9/3/14

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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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