PEISCHEL, continued from Page 6
portable pen in the morning and left them on gravel with plenty of fresh water, but no feed. That night I strategically dewormed them based on the identification of the internal parasite(s), dosing for the heaviest goats in the pen. I did have some actual weights, but not on every animal. They were also drenched with a mix of probiotics, amino acid solution, electrolytes and given a copper oxide bolus. I left them in the pen and for the next five days, gave them good local hay and fresh water. I also ear-tagged the individuals; most of the herd did not have identification at that time. After the five days I turned them out with the mob. If a goat got sick again — I would know because it already had an ear tag — it was culled and sold as meat. Gradually, the weaker animals left the mob, which was good: I didn’t have time for all this!
Another thing we did was put the goats on a high-quality, che- lated loose mineral mix (especially high in zinc and copper) offered free choice. The mix was manufactured specifically for the diverse vegetation that was available to the goats. Kelp meal was also offered free choice to help boost the immune system. The PCV’s started com- ing up as soon as these changes were made.
The mob was moved to fresh brush whenever they started look- ing down at the ground for food; they did not stay anywhere more than a week. That kept them from taking in so many parasites, and the stronger immune system helped them deal with the ones they had. By 1991, the mob was looking much better.
In 1990, I switched to Kiko bucks because the breed was known for mothering ability and resistance to internal parasitism. With this change came high-quality colostrum and increased milk production — therefore stronger, healthier kids. The overall health of the herd improved immensely.
A healthy herd — part of the answer to
being able to run a large number of animals Now, I could spot-check and pull out problem animals when they switched to a new pasture. I moved them just before they ran out of high-quality feed. I had a portable pen available if needed for animals that needed to be sorted off and sold for meat. The whole demeanor of the mob started to change as they got
healthier. By the early 90s, I thought, “This is the life!” I stopped deworming in 1994. We moved in 1996 to northern California (hot/dry, cold/snow), taking 350 of the Kiko does as a base mob. We got paid to do land enhancement, brush cleaning, fire prevention (ladder fuel reduction), create defensible space, stream bank restoration, establish duck fly- ways and invasive weed mitigation; running two mobs with 750 wethers per mob and keeping the 350 does for breeding. The older wethers went for meat and we also sold breeding stock.
2004 I moved to Tennessee (high humidity/hot, damp cold/rain),and currently run 210 Kiko does on a biosecure farm. I don’t deworm. I am adamant about health care; I vaccinate three weeks before breed- ing for leptospirosis and three weeks before kidding with clostridium perfringens CD&T. I also test periodically for CAE, CL and Johne’s. It’s probably not necessary to test anymore because I run a closed herd, but still its’ peace of mind and a selling point for those buying breeding stock.
My current farm is 200 acres. In addition to grazing/browsing my land, I work in the neighborhood, using the goats to clean out hedgerows and eat weeds out of hayfields. Edging hedges keeps the
hedgerows in check; otherwise they move out further and further into the pasture. The landowners are pleased and it’s good clean feed for my goats. We only do the hayfields once a year.
My farm includes 30 paddocks with several paddocks that grow lots of great weeds: ironweed, multiflora rose, giant ragweed, lambs quarters, Queen Anne’s lace, river cane, buck bush, honeysuckle, golden rod, sumac, sericea lespedeza and more. I flush my does on this tall, high quality feed. Remember, the higher the head, the lower the load (internal parasite).
For weaned kids, I use the woods and am careful not to overuse the woods. For late-pregnant does (third trimester), I supplement with a high-quality mix of orchard grass/legume hay, put up early enough to be high quality (12-14 percent crude protein and 54 percent total digestible nutrients - TDN).
Paying attention to nutrition is a benefit for the goats — easier to maintain a moderate body condition score (BCS of 5 based on 1- 9) and reproductive efficiency. Sericea lespedeza hay is fed one week per month in the winter as it is a natural dewormer. During the rest of the year, the mobs are rotated through pastures with productive stands of sericea lespedeza.
As I have mentioned, the key to running a large number of ani- mals is to have a healthy herd. Here is a recap of some tips for pro- ducers:
• First and foremost -— don’t buy auction goats. Find someone using the same management as you who has a healthy herd, and buy from them. This will prevent a lot of problems. • Pasture management is key. Keep them moving! I move every 3-4 days; many producers can’t do that, therefore use the weekends to set fence and move once a week. Leave a minimum of 5 inches of residual when exiting a grazing/browsing area and a minimum of 90 plus days before returning. • Monitor:
•Fecal egg counts (FEC) and packed cell volume (PCV). • Strategically deworm if necessary. • Eyes (FAMACHA) looking for healthy bright pink/deep
• Rumen (left side of the body) should look full at the end of the grazing/browsing day)
•Body condition score (moderate BCS 4-6) based on BCS 1 to BCS 9
• Behavior (should look lively and alert) • Cull all the problem animals for meat.
• Provide a quality chelated loose free choice mineral mix and feed kelp meal.
• Pay attention to quality of the vegetation. Mixture of alternative plants and some high tannin varieties. • Low stress. Work animals calmly. • Clean, fresh water daily, clean water tanks, keep area around watering sites dry. I don’t cull anymore for internal parasites. It took a lot of time and dedication, but it is worth it. I have a Kiko mob that is low-main- tenance, has a resistance to internal parasitism and footrot and is en- joyable to manage.
(Dr. An Peischel, PhD, is the retired Small Ruminant Extension
Specialist, Tennessee State University and the University of Tennes- see. She was the first importer of Kikos into the U.S. She can be con- tacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
September 2020 | Goat Rancher 35
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