of the April 2019 Goat Rancher. So what do we record? What are must- haves during pre-kidding health checks? Of course, timing is everything so approx- imately six weeks before kidding season we give CDT vaccinations, trim hooves, check body scores, conduct FAMACHA checks and weigh goats in. We also conduct a fecal egg count— not necessarily on all of our prospective does but those that might not have as pink or red a membrane, during FAMACHA checks, that we had anticipated. Keep in mind FAMA- CHA checks are intended to be done daily so this point in time check is for record-keeping and isn’t in lieu of conducting the check more regularly. And if all of this is done as part of a standard routine, with everyone working together, you can get this all done in about 10 minutes, except the fecal count. Our routine is pretty straight forward. As we are a small to medium operation we do not currently run our herd through herding gates or funnels, we just pull them out of the main herd and run them up on a scale on our trimming/milking stand to start the process. Of course, we grab the weight as we are getting started since they are on the scale and then I get right into trimming hooves if needed. Keeping track of their weight at least yearly for adults gives you a better idea of how they are doing overall from year to year but also gives you some insight into how good or bad forage was over the past year, as long as you are using similar practices from year to year.

It is always a good practice to check your does prior to kidding season so they don’t need to be handled later unless abso- lutely required. Typically, we give a bit of grain to keep our does occupied for hoof trimming. For Kikos, hoof trimming is often just an inspection rather than a full-blown trim, if you have selected for slow-growing hooves, but still an important part of the pro- cess.

If there is anything to trim, I quickly trim up the four hooves before moving on. It’s a chance to look for other potential issues as well, like hoof/foot scald or rot, or pos- sibly something stuck in the hooves or chipped or torn/worn off hooves. Even our bucks get inspected at this time of year, just to make sure there are no issues.

After hoof inspections, I move on to Body Condition Scoring (BCS) and FAMA- CHA checks. Some producers use a ten-point score while others use a five-point score for BCS. We typically use the five-point score. A score of 4 is ideal.

The key is ultimately to determine February 2021 | Goat Rancher 19

whether your goats have poor body con- dition, whether underweight or overweight. You want your goats to be just right. Makes sense right?

When checking the meat or fat adjacent to the backbone, the backbone isn’t promi- nent and the ribs are barely discernible. If

they are boney or their ribs are showing they are underweight. That could be for a number of reasons. We won’t get into that here. If you can’t feel their bones or ribs at all then they are on the heavier side.

On either side of the spectrum, support- ing future kids or kidding, can lead to com-

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