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I was just looking around some of the topics and it dawned on me what did goats and goat keepers do before all the medication/vaccines came about?

Did shepards use herbal remedies? My point is I think that by overmedicating our goats sometimes we are raising the weakest members of the herd rather than letting nature naturally cull the weakest links.....


What are your thoughts?
 

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I agree, some are breeding and the results have shown a weakness.

I've purchased some (what I thought) to be excellent stock from various breeders across the country. One not such a big name in goats, has excellent resistance to "whatever". 5 other goats we bought from two other very reputable breeders, show the same. You can do anything (almost) or not to these goats and they thrive regardless.

I bought 2 goats from another breeder, very reputable, and they have been doing lousy. Absolutely lousy.

We're waiting to see if it's just a locality/temperate/humidity/weather issue, if it is it should correct itself in a year or so. If not, these does will be culls, and we'll keep the kids for the bloodlines. Not happy with these highly recommended goats.

Do we vaccinate? Only for CD/T. The farm we bought those two does for vaccinated for all kinds of things I've never even heard of.
HF
 

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A lot comes around when we treat the goats as children and giving them human emotions which they aren't and don't have. We medicate in the most part because some of us don't have the money or resources to replace ill animals so we do all we can to cure them.

Goats of old usually knew what was wrong and went shopping for the correct forage to cure what ailed them. Goats were never meant to live in confined areas out of their natural habitat. We have changed this as we wanted the animals for our use in a smaller close to home location. Worms were not a concern as they had acres, and acres, of area to live and dine. They were not in the same locality for any real length of time.

Goats of today are much weaker than their ancestors mainly due to the conditions they are raised in. We can not duplicate the old conditions unless we have mountains and valleys for them to forage in. Animals raised in captivity are always weaker and more susceptible to disease/problems than their counterparts raised in totally wild conditions. Goats of old and in the wild only breed when its right for them, usually only every couple years. In captivity they breed when we want them to and around our schedule, usually several times a year and at a much younger age.

Goats of old and in the wild never get processed anything. They get a balanced diet of good forage because they knew what was good for them to eat. Goats now eat what we give them, good for them or not. They didn't over eat grain as they do now. They didn't have sweet feeds as molasses didn't grow on trees or grasses. Goats are not designed to live on a steady diet of hay and pellets. They are designed to eat a variety of tree branches and bushes/shrubs.
DC
 

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always compare when thinking along these lines the changes in goats and the breeds and characteristics that were developed since those "olden days". those anceint herders may have had hardier goats but they didnt' have gallon a day milkers or thick meaty animals. they had rangy animals that we would consider unacceptable for production purposes by most of todays standards. I want to take a little care using modern medicine and knowleg and have my one milker provide for all of our household milk needs rather than have 8 super hardy wandering goats to milk 1/2 a quart from each day. :shrug:
 

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Alot of folks are doing exactly what you are saying by saving weak kids, every spring we will have those who pat each other on the back for savings kids who should have been put down, parrot mouth is a biggy. Even breeding when you aren't improving is in a way weakening your breed, at least keep them or eat them and don't sell them.

A well managed herd should start with quality colostrum, from hopefully older does who are vaccinated for problems in your area.

And just because we answer questions non stop on heatlh problems, mostly from new folks who purchase before they know enough to make a wise decision on purchasing, because alot of 'reputable breeders' really aren't reputable they just sell alot of goats in their area, and you don't see other breeders purchasing from them.....but just because we do know the answers to most of the questions and keep well stocked med boxes, doesn't mean we need to use much of it anymore. We have had this kind of post before, but we could have another one if you like, the day ends and day outs of the girls here on the farm, it's boring, its repetitive, and other than trying to save a doe who had a immune crisis due to getting colostrum from a cow as a kid, and moving to Texas :) I threw everything in the fridge at her to try to save her, ended up putting her down...but other than her, not one bottle or shot of any antibiotic was given here this year....yes I vaccinate, yes I use cocci prevention..I also wormed kidding, 10 days later, and once after the hurricane in the adult group.

And from someone to shy to post :).................................................................

When reading around on the forum remember this isn't a chatty group of friends talking about their goats everyday, like DGI....it's about helping new folks so we get all the sickness, illness and just plain management questions to answer over and over....this has nothing to do with the herd health of most of the posters who answer questions. Vicki
 

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I have a neighbor who raises meat goats. For quite some time, he wouldn't use wormers or save his sick kids. After a long time, he has a herd that is hardly bothered by worms at all.

Last year, he sent kids to a trial. He was told that they were very wormy and they would worm them for him. He told them not to. The kids went through the trial without being wormed and took the top 4 places for weight gain.

It does work, but it takes a lot of resolve to let it happen. Nature can be cruel.

Genebo
Paradise Farm
 

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I have seen some lines of dairy goats that are more "hothouse flowers" than others. These are usually does bred for heavy milk production. They seem more prone to milk fever than other does. I also agree with Dragonchick that pen raised goats don't have the opportunity to eat things goats in the wild would to correct rumen imbalance. Wild goats would also roam more and not just graze on worm infested pasture. Also, though, would be the dying out of weak animals. I have one friend who breeds La Manchas and is currently culling for things like worm problems. She's breeding for goats with good resistance to parasites and illness.
While I keep a full stock of meds, like Vicki, I don't have to give alot of them. A bottle of antibiotic may last me a couple of years. Most of the shots I give at my place are vaccinations or vitamin/mineral shots.
 

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I think we're breeding in problems with all of our livestock, not just goats. It's a self-correcting problem, but it requires a direction and a will on the part of the husbandman to not get more animals than is proper for the space, to select animals based on strong genetics, and to cull vigorously and with a regard to the future bloodlines. It's hard to do that when you see your animals as pets who need to be coddled.
 

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I was just looking around some of the topics and it dawned on me what did goats and goat keepers do before all the medication/vaccines came about?
Their animals died. And those that didn't, often became stronger for living through it ("what doesn't kill us makes us stronger").

Yep. In general, as we domesticate, we breed weaker animals that depend on us for care. It started as a way to save/make money and evolved into a way to save our hearts. ;)

I won't let an animal suffer. I don't mind throwing everything I have at a sick animal, especially because it's a learning experience, but what I do with that animal after it recovers, if it recovers, is the real issue. Do I put it down, sexually alter it, keep it forever, or send it on as a pet/companion? Is it something I think was a fluke or something that I think shows genetic weakness that would crop up again in this goat's lines if allowed to procreate? It all depends. Like an injury vs. an illness. Some folks think a broken leg is a sign that the bones were weak (and it certainly *can* be, but is it always? Who's to say?). And sometimes you don't know the answer until you have bred that goat and seen it's kids and other times you never know.

At this point, I don't vaccinate as a preventive measure. My preventive measures are education and the best herd management I can give and I treat only as things crop up. I want kids that are as naturally strong as can be with as little intervention from me as possible.
 

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Tough question and you will get many different answers.
I know breeders who WAY over medicate and throw absolutely everything at a goat when they have a runny nose! If one goat has a respiratory infection, every goat in the pen gets treated whether they are showing symptoms or not. Same thing with worms. Worm them all instead of doing fecals to determine which goats have heavy loads and which ones might have light loads and a stronger resistance to worms. I think their goats tend to become resistant to the constant barrage of medications and have lost resistance to anything else that the meds are supposed to treat. Not the type of breeder I would buy a goat from, but newbies tend to think that this sort of breeder is "responsible" and "caring". Drives me crazy! One such breeder is listed on that "911" goat site and dispenses this same sort of advice. Grrrr. (nobody from here!)

Personally, I seldom have to medicate (but do keep things on hand just in case), but I use alot of naturals here that have worked for my goats in my area. I stopped vaccinating with CDT over 2 years ago after losing a favorite doe to entero toximia (sp?) shortly after vaccinating (I had a necropsy done). I spoke with some other breeders who had does go down after vaccinating as well (but some were saved). I buy a new bottle every year (my crutch) but don't use it on the animals I keep and have had no problems. I'm aware of the risks, but feel strongly that animals are losing resistance and prefer to breed for goats that pass on their overall strengths. I tell everyone who purchases from me, and tell them this is my choice and risk and will gladly vaccinate the goats they are buying.

What I have seen is that we are starting to have more health issues cropping up with reputable breeders as well as middle of the road breeders (I only have experience with ND's though). One in particular that I have experienced first hand, has excellent milk production in the genetics, but is also the most heavily line bred too. I believe the lack of hardiness has gone hand in hand.
Sorry to say, it took a bit for me to catch on that a buck I had purchased years back might be passing his lack of resistance on (he was suseptible to respiratory infection with weather changes, worms, etc), but I had bred this buck to my soundest does and only saw a couple of kids that weren't as robust as my other goats, but nowhere near as bad as him (which is why it took me a while). This buck has since died from complications from an infection.
I had also noticed that his doe kids didn't seem to take until at least 2 years old and have since talked to many other goat people who have had the same problem with goats from the herd he originated from.

So yes, I believe that we are seeing a weakening, but I also think that it is mostly stemming from so many breeders who don't bother to learn about genetics, don't keep their own breedings long enough to determine their own strengths and weaknesses and don't invest in fecals, necropsies, etc. to figure out what is REALLY going on with their herds.
Lois
 

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I believe that we are seeing a weakening, but I also think that it is mostly stemming from so many breeders who don't bother to learn about genetics, don't keep their own breedings long enough to determine their own strengths and weaknesses
I agree with this one! I like to see a farm that still has some grannies around...Sure, they are not as efficient or as attractive as the young gals, but they speak to the genetics of the offspring. We have three grannies in our sheep flock (going on ten years old). They still produce beautiful offspring, have not succumbed to parasites or any other ills, and survive the harsh winters and hot summers. Our flock would be more picturesque without them - but I know what kind of sheep I'm producing beyond middle age...they're durable! If someone just has young stock...I wonder what happened to the old ones...
 

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There are a gazillion genetic possibilities in any mating. That's just the normal genes, never mind the mutations. No breeder can examine every possibility, so we make choices based on an "ideal", which is rarely ideal, and often not even a very good choice. Years ago, Arabian horse breeding in the US became dominated by people who liked Saddlebred horses. So today we have "purebred" Arabians that look and move like Saddlebreds, and would be useless as desert war horses. It's called "selective breeding". It's about what the breeder wants, not the animal.

Madfarmer
 

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We have altered the goats natural environment, so now I feed more minerals and kelp........as supplements to the basic good quality hay and grain. I feed a grain mix that is mostly whole grains (as opposed to "pellets"). In the summer, if the goats do not have access to brambles and weeds, I throw some into them, and they act they are getting the biggest treats!!!

I seem to need fewer medications since I increased the supplements.......in an effort to replace the things they are missing by having altered their natural environment.
 
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