plications so it is important that conditioning is checked regularly. From Body Condition Scoring we move on to a quick FAMA-

CHA check. Again this is intended to be done daily but we like to add this particular step in because every doe is under the same con- dition — in the stand and facing the same direction with the same light on their faces. In short, the FAMACHA check is a quick view of the mucous membrane surrounding the eye, which gives you an indication of the level of anemia the goat is experiencing. This check is only applicable to understanding the infestation of barberpole or Haemonchus Con- tortus.

You are looking for a score of 1 to 5, 1 being the best with a deep red or maroon indicating the goat is not anemic. It is a quick check, and only a moment in time so it is important to do this check more often.

Just before we let our goats out of the stand we give them a

CDT vaccination as a preventative measure. This vaccination is an aid in the prevention of enterotoxemia as well as providing long term protection against tetanus. We give it annually to our herd and typi- cally about six weeks before kidding season to offer a chance for any antibodies being transferred via colostrum to future kids. And then kids get primer and booster shots after they are birthed, at specific intervals. If you are maintaining regular checks for Caprine Arthritis and Encephalitis (CAE), Caseous Lymphadeni- tis (CL), Johne’s Disease (JD) and Query or Queensland Fever (Q- Fever) it is a great opportunity to collect a quick vial of blood at this point to send off to a lab if desired.

Last we grab a fecal sample, if needed, and run those checks inside the warmth of the house. Sometimes goats are cooperative and will give you a sample while they are hanging out with you but other times you have to be more vigilant and catch their pills later on.

Whiteboards are set up in the barn and are used to keep up with individual goat mainte- nance and upcoming tasks.

The key though is knowing which goats you want to do a deeper dive on based on the previous steps in the health check. Yes, we con- duct those fecal counts right in the kitchen, at the kitchen table. That always gets people’s attention. As long as goat pills are the shape they are supposed to be in, it is a pretty clean job. We run our own fecal checks and, no, they are not as good as what a vet or vet tech could do for you, but they do give you direc- tional information to better evaluate a questionable goat so you can start to watch more closely or take action as needed. As I started out noting, health checks are an important part of making sure the herd as a whole is good to go but more importantly, your does are in the best shape they can be as Spring approaches. It doesn’t take much time, about 10 minutes per goat, and gives you peace of mind as you are heading into kidding season. And if you are lucky enough or can find someone who is interested in learning, it is a great time to enlist the help of local youth to help you. A bit of preventative maintenance, health checks go a long way to ensuring you do not have to conduct corrective maintenance, so to speak, when goat health goes south.

(Josh and Kathy Crise, and their grown children, Amelia and Kevin, operate Marble Creek Acres in Lee, Maine. For interest in a fu- ture year’s Kiko waitlist, questions, or if you have topics you might like to read about in a future Goat Rancher, we can be reached at 207-619- 3758, email or

20 Goat Rancher | February 2021

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