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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TOP TEN MISTAKES MADE BY GOAT PRODUCERS

NOTE: The author has articles on each of the following topics on the Articles page of Onion Creek Ranch's website.

10. Fencing and Pens. Determine the proper fencing and pens needed for your location, management style, and breeds of goats being raised. One size does not fit all. Fencing materials that make good pens and working traps are different from pasture fencing.

9. Livestock Guardian Animals. The writer prefers livestock guardian dogs, specifically Anatolian Shepherds, but each producer should find out the predators in his area and purchase livestock guardian animals that fit both his needs and his budget. In addition to livestock guardian dogs, donkeys and llamas are used.

8. Raising Goats Like Other Species of Livestock. Goats are not sheep or "little cattle." Almost everything about goats is unique. Learn about goats before you wind up killing some of them through mis-management.

7. Understanding the Real Function of Registries. Registries record pedigrees of livestock . . . sire, dam, grand-sire, grand-dam, age, sex, number in litter, tattoo or other identification methods. Registration does not mean that the animal is quality.

6. Medications and Other Animal Health Supplies. Learn what you need to have on hand and purchase it before you need it. You won't have the luxury of time to go get it when an emergency arises.

5. Caprine Health. Take the time to locate sources of help so you can contact them when you need it. While sometimes difficult to find, a good goat vet is essential. Meat-goat discussion groups on the Internet are valuable sources of information and sometimes can be helpful more quickly than the local vet. One of the largest "Lists" is ChevonTalk (chevontalk-owner@yahoogroups.com), owned by this author. Find and join a group that fits your needs. If you don't already have Internet access, get it now; a world of information that you need is at your fingertips.

4. Breeding Techniques. Don't breed larger-framed males to more moderately-framed females. Don't breed does too young or too soon after kidding. Learn from the mistakes made by breeders of other species of livestock and apply that information to your breeding program.

3. Feeding Goats. Goats are picky eaters with easily-upset rumens needing a wide variety of high-quality forage/browse. Research how to feed them properly. Protein is only one element of a feed ration. Long fiber is essential to rumen function. The rumen is the goat's digestive factory. Calcium-to-phosphorus ratios are critical. Copper, selenium, zinc, and thiamine (Vitamin B-1) are but a few of the important minerals and vitamins essential to caprine health and reproduction.

2. Choosing a Breed. Find a breed of goat that fits your climate as well as your goals. Goats are primarily dry climate animals (under 25 inches of rainfall per year), but some breeds seem to be more adaptable than others to different climatic conditions. For example, Boers were developed for living in the hot and dry climate of the African veld and reportedly encounter serious stomach-worm problems in very rainy areas of the United States.

1. Research Your Market BEFORE You Buy Your First Goat. Find out what demand for goats exists in your area, then breed for that market. Take a hard look at yourself and your operation. Decide if you are going to be a hobbyist or a serious market-oriented producer. If your market is production of animals for meat or raising herd sires/dams, do not solicit advice from producers outside your chosen field. Show-goat producers manage and feed very differently from other breeders. Applying their techniques to your herd will result in serious health problems for your goats and your pocketbook.

Summary. Do your "homework" before you start raising goats. If you don't, goats will die unnecessarily due to your lack of knowledge and preparedness.

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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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