I may be losing my mind, but could have sworn I posted a reply to the original poster a while back....I even got an email notification today that there were new posts in the thread? Hmmmmm.
Anyway it sounds to me like mites.
We had a few goats with mites this past Spring. And around the edges of the ears was the worst affected areas. Rough, bumpy and a little bit of hair loss. All we did for treatment was spray with Vetericyn. You can use certain dewormers (ivermectin) as a drench as well.
Nicholas Mason wrote:I need ideas on how to save my trees
We have 17 goats right now. In about 1.5 acres. With plenty of blackberries, and other bushes and leaf matter. But they are choosing to ring some of my trees.
17 goats on an acre an a half sounds a little extreme to start with. Are you raising for meat, milk, fiber...all or none of the above? What kind of goats?
The only trees that my goats go for the bark on are the more aromatic ones..like sumac. Otherwise they eat the low hanging leaves on some trees, but leave the bark alone. What kinds of trees are they after?
Some folks contend that goats eat bark if they are deprived of some nutrient. Do you provide free choice minerals?
As far as protecting the trees there isn't a good way that I know except fencing. Others have reported that wrapping chicken wire has not been too effective.
I see a lot of good advice has already been given on this topic, but I will add this tidbit. After looking into natural ways to deworm I came across a product called Regano that sounds interesting. I have not been able to locate a source for it in my area, but, I can buy Oil of Oregano. I add about 4-5 drops of the oil to a drench of vitamins and probiotics to give the goats on an "as needed" basis and they seem to love it and it appears to work pretty well.
Also, as has been discussed on other threads, plants with high tannin content seem to have a natural deworming effect on goats. Here is a paper on the subject....but in my area the goats that stay in a pasture I have that has a lot of Ashe juniper, which is high tannin content, look awesome with little to no deworming.
Well, the short answer is yes, you can certainly do that.
A longer answer is: it depends on the personalities of the donkeys - both with the other donkeys and with the sheep, how much feed and hay are you willing to buy, how will lambing affect the donkeys.
We keep a jenny with goats. She really does a good job of keeping the pasture that she is in safe (she patrols maybe 15 acres). And 99% of the time there is no problem. But, donkeys will be donkeys and sometimes she gets into a mood and chases the goats. That is not terrible with the adult goats, but with kids and especially young kids it isn't so good. She has injured a young kid. I had a neighbor keeping a mini donkey with large Boer goats and he lost a couple of kids to a donkey.
Your land may be much more productive than mine, but 10 acres with the number of animals you are hinting at would probably require hay and/or feed to sustain the animals. As a rule of thumb one large donkey is one animal unit, two mini's are one animal unit, six goats or sheep is an animal unit. Where I am, you need about 25 acres per animal unit to sustain the population without overtaxing the land. In other areas only an acre or two may be necessary per animal unit. If you are unsure about your area or land your county extension agent could tell you approximately what stocking rates you could sustain.
My two cents are....definitely go with a three sided structure. They will appreciate that extra protection in bad and cold windy weather.
As far as size, I have a 9' by 9' shed in my buck pen/pasture. It has accommodated as many as 8 goats with no problem. Some people think you need as little as 5 or 6 square feet per goat, I think that is a little tight myself, but we raise larger breeds of goats.
One other potential consideration or concern with goats. In my doe pastures and sheds, one alpha doe may demand the entire shed to herself, or her family, making the lower herd members stay out....at least until she lays down and they can sneak back in. We partially solve that problem by dividing sheds into stalls and having several smaller sheds rather than one large one.
Chris Kott wrote:So I would guess that the myotonic goats wouldn't be the breed of choice in an area with high predation, eh? Or is that when you make sure you have a few dogs with the right temperament?
As to keeping the parasite count down, I have read on other threads in this forum that allowing them to browse on certain aromatic tree species, mainly cedars and cypresses, can pretty much eliminate any parasite problem. This might be overstatement due to enthusiasm, but these anecdotal cases point to a very permaculture solution to this problem.
I read somewhere that, in certain areas, Myotonic goats are kept with sheep. If predators threaten the herd, the Myotonic goat is sacrificed (because they freeze up) and the rest of the herd gets away....LOL....cruel, but oh well. But, here where I am in Texas, coyotes and other predators are plentiful, so most everyone has LGDs or, like myself, a guard donkey. We have a jenny that is great with the goats and have seen her chase dogs, feral cats, foxes and deer from the pasture behind the house.
Interestingly though, a Myotonic goat generally will only stiffen (aka, faint) once during an episode. So, if you are working the goats and want to catch one you had better do it quickly. Spook them and grab them. Otherwise they can run about as well an other breeds of goats.
Another fact that might interest you...we had several of our Myotonic goats put on quite a nice coat of cashmere for the winter. So, they would fit everything you want (meat, manure, fiber and brush control) except milk. They have plenty for their kids, but I doubt they'd make good milkers.
And, with this kidding season now over (for us) I am strongly considering getting rid of the rest of my Boers and Boer-Nubian crosses and adding more Myotonic goats. I really like their dispositions and they are very good at mothering. They even seem to "kid sit" each others kids at times.
Another Myotonic point in favor. They come in various sizes. If you have a smaller sized property you can get smaller body sized Myotonic goats. We have those that are of the "Texas line" and are larger framed bodies and can get close to the size of a Boer. But, there are other people I know that have the smaller "Tennessee line". They are smaller frame, but still very muscular (meaty).
that raises another question. I have heard that goats are herd animals, and that it is not good to have one alone. On the other hand, I also hear that advice to separate the buck because the smell gets in the milk. As one buck is all the most people usually ever own, how do you correlate these two?
Yes, goats definitely prefer to be in a herd. Our answer to having company for a buck is a "buck buddy", as a wether or two to stay in his separate pasture and pen area. Bucks can be destructive anyway, but a bored and lonely buck can be even worse. We have found that leaving a buddy with him pretty well solves the problem, though they can be hard on the wether when its getting close to rut time....chasing the poor guy around trying to "practice" for the ladies! LOL.
Elfriede B wrote: what I am writing about is not our brush clearing method, but that we suspect the cedar in the goats diet has something to do with parasite control. Does anyone here have experience in this regard? I am planning on growing plants to keep parasites in my animals in check. Who is doing that and what are you growing? Not everything grows for everybody.
There has been some research regarding tannin content of browse/forage and its deworming effects on goats.
One hay, or pellet, that I have been trying to find is Sericea Lespedeza. Research shows it is effective in reducing fecal counts by 50% or so....here is a snip from an article I had bookmarked:
"Condensed tannins have been shown to suppress fecal egg counts and reduce worms in the digestive tract. Tannins are a large group of polyphenolic compounds that differ in many physical characteristics. Some tannins such as in sericea lespedeza and other plants have been shown effective in suppressing worms whereas tannins in oaks and other plants do not appear to possess those characteristics. There is an excellent summary of research on sericea lespedeza for worm control by ATTRA (Tools for Managing Internal Parasites in Small Ruminants: Sericea lespedeza"
And a question for you...where I am located, west Texas, we have a lot of Ashe juniper. Almost everyone refers to them as "cedar" even though that is not correct. My goats have eaten a good bit of the "cedar" out of the main pasture that they stay in. And I have noticed, as you have as well, that the goats appear to need less worming when dining heavily on our cedar. Where you live is it cedar (like Eastern red cedar) or might it be ashe juniper?
My goats also love Live Oak acorns in the fall....which are very high in tannins. Though the article I reference above says that they haven't noticed and effectiveness in parasite control from oak tannins...when my girls are eating the acorns in the fall they sure look fat and healthy (NOTE: GOATS CAN OD ON ACORNS!! Don't let them have them on an unlimited basis. If one goes off feed while eating acorns you need to move them out for a while)
Anyway, the sericea lespedeza may be available as hay to those living in the mid-continent area over into the southeastern US. I'd love to try it. If anyone has knowledge of its actual use, and where it might be available let us know.
The fence sounds like it is tall enough for sure. A four foot fence is adequate for most goat operations. Make sure it is tight enough as well. Goats love to lean into fencing with all their weight and scratch/groom themselves as they walk along the fencing. Even fairly tight fencing will bow out under their weight.
What kind of goats are you getting or considering getting?
If the purpose of the buttermilk in the mixture is for bacteria for aiding rumen development than a cultured buttermilk should be of some benefit. If it is for "richness" (both viscosity and calories) in the mixture, I am guessing that the evaporated milk would take care of that part by itself.
Whenever we have to drench a goat, for whatever reason, we add a product into the mix called "Probiotic Power" which is various Lactobacillus strains and vitamins, and add also a few squirts of NutriDrench.
Looking at the label of the Probiotic Power it indicates a dosage for adding to milk/milk replacer...so maybe it would suffice, or be better than, the addition of buttermilk in the above recipe.
If anyone has a favorite bottle baby recipe I'd like to read some of them. I got this recipe from a couple of breeders that raise a lot of goats (over 100 each and including some Permanent Grand Champions).
One gallon of whole milk
One can of evaporated milk
8 oz. buttermilk
I have NOT used this formula yet, but they contend that it is works well, the goats love it and tolerate it well.
We use the Pritchard nipple...the red and yellow one that attaches to a plastic bottle. Available for about $2 apiece.
Also, if anyone has tips on getting a stubborn kid to take a bottle I'd love to hear them.
We've tried a few cross breed experiments. Boer-Spanish, Boer-Nubian, Full blood Boer-percentage Boer, Boer/Nubian-Myotonic and Boer-Myotonic.
IMO the crosses do show a vigor. Some other breeders of Boers have conducted their own X-experiments and, keeping better notes than I do, illustrate that there was no real advantage to a hybrid at weaning date at least as far as weight gain.
I like the personality of the Boer-Nubian cross. They do tend to be leggier than full blood Boers and less meaty in the hind quarters (which is roughly 30% of the meat on a goat). If I were wanting a cross for milk-meat I would definitely consider this cross.
For meat alone, in my area anyway, I like the Boer-Myotonic cross. You get the quick growth of the Boer and the better muscling of the Myotonic. The cross yields about 6-10% more muscling. The Myotonic breed is also an easier kept goat - less parasite problems, easier on fences, etc. And, just based on my own observations, are less picky eaters. They will clean up hay that my Boers turn their noses up at!
We have been raising goats for a few years and have experience with:
- Myotonic (fainting goats)
We are currently shifting our small herd from mostly Boer and some Nubian to mostly the Myotonic breed. We now have several full blood Myotonic does, a full blood Myotonic buck and still have some Boer does to cross-breed with the Myotonic buck.
Why the shift to Myotonic goats?
First - the cross-breeding of a Myotonic buck to a Boer doe adds about 6 to 10% more muscle....and...
the full blood Myotonics are very hardy, easy to keep, funny as heck, more resistant to internal parasite problems, easier on fences, good mothers, can keep more goats per acre, less picky eaters, more efficient foragers...for a start.
We are also starting an up-breeding of a Myotonic blood line from our Boer does (only 50% crosses so far). We are attempting to add a little more length to the body size of the Myotonic lines that we have. It will take around 6 to 7 years to get back to a pure-bred Myotonic line....keeping the best cross-bred does and breeding them back to Myotonic bucks.
Fencing is a big issue with most goat operations. Myotonic goats can be contained very easy. One breeder that we purchased several goats from uses a single strand of electric wire across the front of his property...and said it was not even live! He had also cut some cattle feedlot panels in half length-wise (so only 2' tall) and built pens for young goats.
Once the kids are about 2 to 3 weeks of age the myotonia "kicks in" and the goats will readily stiffen (and/or faint) when startled, excited or otherwise get a need to move quickly. It can be quite hysterical to watch. At feeding time here we lock the goats out of the area where the troughs are so we can fill them. When we open the gate to let them in, some get so excited they can't move! They grunt and groan and try to move - poor things.
The Myotonic breed is still on the "recovering" list (up from "threatened") as listed by the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy. As such, it can be somewhat hard to locate quality animals.