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aka avdpas77
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I don't post much on this thread, but I lurk here a lot trying to learn all I can about goats (and sheep). I have raised most everything but goats and sheep, grew up on a cattle farm, have rasied (and occasionally shown) rabbits, chickens, ducks, pigeons, etc. all very successfuly. After being stuck in a residenentil location for the last few years, though, I hope to be soon buying a small farm.

With every animal there are things one learns by experience, and it takes a while to eliminate one's miscues and failures. But with each of these animals, once I had learned what kind of stock I needed, adequate facilities, and good nutrition, I seldom lost an animal or had one seriously sick. I have been trying to evaluate what kind of meat producing (for our own use) animal would work best on the new place. I know cattle well, but they are too big for my purposes, I will be raising rabbits at least, and probably some time of fowl, but the "right sized" animals would be sheep or goats.

I guess what scares me about this whole thing is, I see experienced breeders having all kinds of troubles with health and birthing issues. I just read through a thread where a lady had lost almost 2/3 of her expected offspring from abortions and other problems. If that happens to me... especially after a couple of years "learning curve" I suspect we might starve.

This is a place where many share experiences, and seek to learn and share. Since health and productivity are such important issues, perhaps I am extrapolating the number of posts on such things in a manner that makes infrequent diasters seem commonplace.

Can a person raise goats or sheep from good stock using good management practaces and expect success? Can one raise healthy animals without haveing to constantly medicate them? Can one expect 95% or more of their stock to concieve and deliver without help?

(PS... I do wish to commend all those on this forum.... it has been a great place to learn. I do not contibute, because my ignorance and lack of experience on these animals leaves me nothing to offer. Thank you all for the great information you are sharing.)
 

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But with each of these animals, once I had learned what kind of stock I needed, adequate facilities, and good nutrition, I seldom lost an animal or had one seriously sick.
Well, if you havn't had trouble in the past, you probably wont have trouble now. You obviously know what it takes to raise healthy animals.

Can a person raise goats or sheep from good stock using good management practaces and expect success? Can one raise healthy animals without haveing to constantly medicate them?
Yes! :) Like you said, good stock, good management, a few vaccines here and there and you should have very little trouble. In theory, anyway. Most everyone has some bad luck now and again, so be prepared.

Can one expect 95% or more of their stock to concieve and deliver without help?
That certainly depends on a number of factors. Certain breeds have less trouble with delivery than others. This is more true in sheep than in goats, I think, because some sheep breeds have larger heads or shoulders or more lambs per ewe, all of which can make delivery difficult without help. In goats it seems to be more of an individual doe thing, though I hear that Nubians and Nigerians tend to have more kids per doe. Anyway, just keep on researching like you have, and you'll probably find some breed or cross that can come close to or meet your expectations.

Sorry for the long answer. :) Hope I helped!
 

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Goats are usually pretty hearty animals. You read alot about problems on these forums, because people go here when they need help. Too many vets out there are good with cattle and horses, but know little about goats. Thus, folks turn to other breeders when they need help. Yes, it is possible to have an abortion storm and some beginners lose kids when they are just learning, but most goat breeders with a little experience under their belts have success raising goats. I do sometimes have to medicate goats, but this isn't an everyday thing. A bottle of Nuflor lasts me two or three years, and I still have the first bottle of Banamine I bought. I mostly use vitamins and wormers and vaccines. Any livestock needs to be wormed and vaccinated. I can't recall the exact amount of kids I had born here last year, but it's somewhere between 30 and 40. Of those kids, I lost only two. In the first case, the dam chewed the cord too close and the kid bled too much before I found her. In the other case, the buckling was tiny and the other babies piled on top of him in the goat house on a rainy night and smothered him. Other than having to tube another newborn her first feeding, and pull a couple of kids, kidding was uneventful. I've learned to become attuned to my goats and stay ontop of them. I can usually stop a problem/illness before it becomes life threatening. If you want to start raising goats, I suggest you find yourself a good local goat mentor who can help you. A problem I see on this forum is that some people come on here when their animal is already pretty ill and hope someone can help them without actually seeing the goat. When one of my goats is sick or injured, I'm on the phone with a fellow goat breeder or my vet ASAP if I don't know what to do. By the time I come on a forum, I've already begun treating the goat.
 

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Yes you can raise goats with excellent results. You have to remember that forums like this exist because some people have nowhere else to turn, perhaps there are no goat breeders local, or no vet they can turn to. So these forums get many questions. Lets face it, if all is going well and there are no issues, people don't have many questions.

Start with good healthy stock.
Keep them on dry ground.
Offer free choice shelter from wind, rain, snow, ice, sun, & predators
Keep an adequate fence to contain them
Offer free choice decent hay (horse quality is good)
Offer free choice loose minerals, preferably one meeting local mineral needs
Offer free choice clean fresh water
Offer free choice baking soda
Offer concentrates (grain) when appropriate (kids, moms, nutrients lacking in hay)
Do not change feeds abruptly, keep toxic plants out of pastures
Offer a companion goat
Vaccinate yearly for CD/T
Vaccinate for any other issues important to you/your area
Purchase goats from a farm that maintains their herd similar to how you will be maintaining yours.

This is basically what we do, and we've had minimal problems. I can't stress enough to start out with good quality goats. Both healthwise & conformation wise. For instance conformation can be important when it comes to kidding, showing, and saleable kids. Health can be important for longevity, general maintenance, foraging abilities, and absense of disease & problems showing up 3-6 years later.
You don't need to buy from top show lines to achieve these results, and you may pay just a little more for quality, but in the end you will be much happier with the results. Remember you get what you pay for, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Easy Peasy. Decide beforehand what you want or possibly want in the future, then decide on a breed. You don't want to buy a meet goat if you are looking to provide lots of milk for your table!

If a situation arises, come to the HT Goat forum & ask questions.
Good Luck, goats are really very hardy & easy to maintain.
HF
 

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This last year I researched for a couple months, planning for the goats I acquired this past summer. Knowledge I believe is the key to success. Through my research I decided, before settling on any goat, number one was Cl and Cae free goats. Any chronic disease weakens the immune system a little or a lot depending on the animal. I want all the vigor and strength possible in my animals. Then, me personally, I wanted raw goats milk raised animals. Then good management knowledge from reading a lot. So far so good. Hope it stays that way.
 

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aka avdpas77
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Goats are usually pretty hearty animals. You read alot about problems on these forums, because people go here when they need help. Too many vets out there are good with cattle and horses, but know little about goats. Thus, folks turn to other breeders when they need help. Yes, it is possible to have an abortion storm and some beginners lose kids when they are just learning, but most goat breeders with a little experience under their belts have success raising goats. I do sometimes have to medicate goats, but this isn't an everyday thing. A bottle of Nuflor lasts me two or three years, and I still have the first bottle of Banamine I bought. I mostly use vitamins and wormers and vaccines. Any livestock needs to be wormed and vaccinated. I can't recall the exact amount of kids I had born here last year, but it's somewhere between 30 and 40. Of those kids, I lost only two. In the first case, the dam chewed the cord too close and the kid bled too much before I found her. In the other case, the buckling was tiny and the other babies piled on top of him in the goat house on a rainy night and smothered him. Other than having to tube another newborn her first feeding, and pull a couple of kids, kidding was uneventful. I've learned to become attuned to my goats and stay ontop of them. I can usually stop a problem/illness before it becomes life threatening. If you want to start raising goats, I suggest you find yourself a good local goat mentor who can help you. A problem I see on this forum is that some people come on here when their animal is already pretty ill and hope someone can help them without actually seeing the goat. When one of my goats is sick or injured, I'm on the phone with a fellow goat breeder or my vet ASAP if I don't know what to do. By the time I come on a forum, I've already begun treating the goat.
I'm thinking animals must be faced with a lot more environmental stress than they used to be. I'm sort of long in the tooth... am looking forward to getting
a piece of land and retiring in the next few years. I grew up on a farm rasing feeder calves. We had from 35 to 50 cows in the 10 years or so I was involved with their care. In that time we lost 1 cow and 1 calf. The cow we actually didn't loose, but she suffered from unrepairable prolapse, and we had to dispose of her. The calf was close to 3 months old and died from complications due to a poisoness snake bite. Of course we vaccinated them and had to give a few calves some terramyacin for scoures. In those 10 years we never wormed our herd nor ever needed to, never had to pull a calf (of our own...we pulled a few for our neighbors). I work with a fellow that has about the same amount of cows as we had and he looses 2 or 3 a year. I know he takes good care of them. I know our experience wasn't just luck, we were careful to buy good stock and we worked hard to ensure their well being, but perhaps animals face a lot more difficulties now. I raised rabbits for years and years. It took me a couple of years adapting to the learning curve and selecting for good stock. After that it was rare for me to loose a kit. The only animals I have ever had much trouble with health and fertility were some highly line-bred show birds. Is there any old-timers out there? were sheep and goats always this fragile? I know they were originally roaming animals. Is it keeping them pasture confined that complicates their health?

Goatkid, you seem like you have done very well when I compare your success to some of the other stories I hear. I do not mean to sound pompous... I am truly tring to understand the situation with these animals. But loosing 2 babies out of 35 would have seemed awful to farmers 50 years ago. The worth of those two animals for would probably have equaled the profit for the whole herd, meaning they had worked hard for a whole year just to break even.

I have been out of (larger) animal raising for quite a while now..perhaps the whole siuation has changed and my expectations are totally unrealistic.
 

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aka avdpas77
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Yes you can raise goats with excellent results. You have to remember that forums like this exist because some people have nowhere else to turn, perhaps there are no goat breeders local, or no vet they can turn to. So these forums get many questions. Lets face it, if all is going well and there are no issues, people don't have many questions.

Start with good healthy stock.
Keep them on dry ground.
Offer free choice shelter from wind, rain, snow, ice, sun, & predators
Keep an adequate fence to contain them
Offer free choice decent hay (horse quality is good)
Offer free choice loose minerals, preferably one meeting local mineral needs
Offer free choice clean fresh water
Offer free choice baking soda
Offer concentrates (grain) when appropriate (kids, moms, nutrients lacking in hay)
Do not change feeds abruptly, keep toxic plants out of pastures
Offer a companion goat
Vaccinate yearly for CD/T
Vaccinate for any other issues important to you/your area
Purchase goats from a farm that maintains their herd similar to how you will be maintaining yours.

This is basically what we do, and we've had minimal problems. I can't stress enough to start out with good quality goats. Both healthwise & conformation wise. For instance conformation can be important when it comes to kidding, showing, and saleable kids. Health can be important for longevity, general maintenance, foraging abilities, and absense of disease & problems showing up 3-6 years later.
You don't need to buy from top show lines to achieve these results, and you may pay just a little more for quality, but in the end you will be much happier with the results. Remember you get what you pay for, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Easy Peasy. Decide beforehand what you want or possibly want in the future, then decide on a breed. You don't want to buy a meet goat if you are looking to provide lots of milk for your table!

If a situation arises, come to the HT Goat forum & ask questions.
Good Luck, goats are really very hardy & easy to maintain.
HF
This was my intention from the beginning. It is the kind of care one must give any animal if they wish to be successful. I have learned the hard way about obtaining good stock, hopefully that will be a trap I will not fall into again. I tend to stay away from top show lines. I have learned hard lessons about show animals being too inbred for optimal health. I am guilty of it myself, one gets a lot more "show quality" offspring that way. But in this case I am looking for health and viability. Still, a show breeder is more likely to ensure that his herd is healthy and diesease free, so I would not be afraid to purchase animals from one, if I could cross them into unrelated stock.

I hear of people who have bred for worm resistance, and who have bred for animals that can consistently produce health young without delivery problems. Is this possible these days? I hear stories of young that are consisently up and nursing within a few minutes. Is it reasonable to expect that if I start with carefully selected stock from the right breeder that I can attain a healthy, mostly trouble free herd in a few years? I will make sure they get good nourishment and a safe environment. Goats have lived for tens of thousands of years without somone dumping Tramisol down their throats every couple of months.. is it possible that I can breed that back into them?

Btw.. I know that most of y'all raise dairy animals, but I am looking for meat animals if that makes any difference. And....oh yeah....I haven't heard about the baking soda thing before...what is that for?
 

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aka avdpas77
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
This last year I researched for a couple months, planning for the goats I acquired this past summer. Knowledge I believe is the key to success. Through my research I decided, before settling on any goat, number one was Cl and Cae free goats. Any chronic disease weakens the immune system a little or a lot depending on the animal. I want all the vigor and strength possible in my animals. Then, me personally, I wanted raw goats milk raised animals. Then good management knowledge from reading a lot. So far so good. Hope it stays that way.
Good luck Laverne,
I too will want to ensure that my purchased goats are disease free...though I'm thinking that may be easier said than done unless one checks them himself. I can check the animal over for abcesses and stuff a the time of purchase, but from what I have heard on here the test are not always that accurate, and may need to be taken several times. I really would not want to get the goats on my property before I find out they are infected....even if I have the finances to replace them, my ground might already be contaminated. It will be even harder as a new breeder, for I won't have any experience yet. I hope everone here will be around, I have a feeling I will be needing lots of advice. I'm afraid my knowledge of rabbits, and cattle are not going to transfer much to goats.
 

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aka avdpas77
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I want to thank everyone for posting...

When I realized the optimal sized animal for my farmette would be sheep or goats, I was excited about the thought of reseaching both kinds and comming up with best for my needs. After researching both, I was becomming increasingly daunted and discouraged about my prospects of being successful. Thanks to everyones encouragment perhaps I can yet work around my doubts.
 

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I guess what scares me about this whole thing is, I see experienced breeders having all kinds of troubles with health and birthing issues. I just read through a thread where a lady had lost almost 2/3 of her expected offspring from abortions and other problems. If that happens to me... especially after a couple of years "learning curve" I suspect we might starve.

Dont get discouraged because of my post. I assume you were refering to my posts on all my problems. Let me give you a little history on why I am having these problems. I purchased part of my stock from a local farmer. Those nannies and the billy are the ones I have had no problems with. It is the ones I have bought from sale barnes and people wanting out of the goat business. I believe happyfarmer posted you get what you pay for.... That is me. I paid very little for the problem nannies. Now I think I have narrowed down where we came up with the chlymedia not that it matters now because from what I gather they will be immune to it from now on. Listen to these people when they say pay a little extra for quality stock. I am rethinking my situation. I have given thought on where I want to go from here and I think I am going to wait until next kidding season to take any further action nanny wise except one that never even cleaned her babies off. Since the chylmedia is suppose to be a one time deal I should have better luck next time. I know my post sounds awful, and it is. I have gotten the short end of the stick this year. I have had very little sleep and havent eaten much because of all the time I have had to spend outside so I am a little emotional about it. Now I have cried as much as I am going to. It is time to buck up and start looking for wethers for the 4-h girls. And it is not a total loss. At least all my daughters 100%ers made it that is good. I have more girls than boys that is good. My daughter and the other 4-h girl will have doelings to show and my daughter can still show the full bloods. We will pick up the pieces and try again. Goats are not really hard to raise I was just unfortunate. Sometimes it happens. Please dont let my problems prevent you from getting your goats!!
 

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Baking soda is often offered free choice for when an imbalance occurs in the rumen. The baking soda neutralizes the gut & can prevents problems. It is not necessary if the basic rules of feeding are applied, however we all know goats don't follow the rules, get out & into things they shouldn't, etc, etc. The baking soda is cheap cheap cheap insurance, and if you keep it out all the time, you probably will never know how many times it has saved a goat.
I always recommend it as like I said it's cheap insurance. They will eat it when they need it.

Since you asked, buy from herds that vaccinate minimally, and allow the weak to perish. These as someone has stated are IMO the healthiest. Herds such as these have already bred for the strongest, survivors if you will.

I posted a while ago comparing various breeders I bought from across the country. One breeder in particular vaccinated for many things I've never even heard of nor would consider vaccinating for. I wanted those bloodlines & the polledness, then closed my herd. Those 2 goats I bought from them require a lot of care compared to the other breeders I bought from. I havn't determined if it is a genetic thing or a locality thing yet, as the breeders climate differs from ours quite a bit. But, given the vaccinations those girls had, I'm leaning towards the herd has inferior stock, and btw this breeder has a good reputation. Given what I paid for them, I will be breeding them to the hardiest bucks I own, hoping to improve the offpring. Time will tell & the weak will be culled after suffient monitoring & adjustment time has passed.

Ask questions, if they say they do something ask for proof(like blood testing), ask to see health records, and note how many related animals (to the one you are buying) they are keeping for breeders. Chances are if they are keeping a sister or several aunts, they've had good experiences with that bloodline.

Worm resistance is sooo variable depending on where you are, and the management practices of the breeder. It can be a whole nuther thread with umpteen responses & thoughts. If you can find a breeder (see para 2), chances are worm resistance will follow, as the weak would have perished generations prior....
HF
 

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aka avdpas77
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Baking soda is often offered free choice for when an imbalance occurs in the rumen. The baking soda neutralizes the gut & can prevents problems. It is not necessary if the basic rules of feeding are applied, however we all know goats don't follow the rules, get out & into things they shouldn't, etc, etc. The baking soda is cheap cheap cheap insurance, and if you keep it out all the time, you probably will never know how many times it has saved a goat.
I always recommend it as like I said it's cheap insurance. They will eat it when they need it.

Since you asked, buy from herds that vaccinate minimally, and allow the weak to perish. These as someone has stated are IMO the healthiest. Herds such as these have already bred for the strongest, survivors if you will.

I posted a while ago comparing various breeders I bought from across the country. One breeder in particular vaccinated for many things I've never even heard of nor would consider vaccinating for. I wanted those bloodlines & the polledness, then closed my herd. Those 2 goats I bought from them require a lot of care compared to the other breeders I bought from. I havn't determined if it is a genetic thing or a locality thing yet, as the breeders climate differs from ours quite a bit. But, given the vaccinations those girls had, I'm leaning towards the herd has inferior stock, and btw this breeder has a good reputation. Given what I paid for them, I will be breeding them to the hardiest bucks I own, hoping to improve the offpring. Time will tell & the weak will be culled after suffient monitoring & adjustment time has passed.

Ask questions, if they say they do something ask for proof(like blood testing), ask to see health records, and note how many related animals (to the one you are buying) they are keeping for breeders. Chances are if they are keeping a sister or several aunts, they've had good experiences with that bloodline.

Worm resistance is sooo variable depending on where you are, and the management practices of the breeder. It can be a whole nuther thread with umpteen responses & thoughts. If you can find a breeder (see para 2), chances are worm resistance will follow, as the weak would have perished generations prior....
HF
The question now is finding that (those) breeders. I have read good things about spanish, (a few lines of ) boers, and especially kiko's. The spanish, seem a little smaller than I would like to have. Most everyone says stay away from horns and every picture of a kiko that I have ever seen has them, so apparently it is not common to dehorn them.

What if I find a breeder with the "survival-of-the-fitest" attitude...will he have vacinated them for CL and CAE? If not, and I get them tested (negative) before I buy, should I? (The two pieces of land I am currently looking at have not had anything on them except horses for at least three years)
 

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there is no vaccination for CAE and the vacc for cl is not available for goats specifically unless you have it essentially, custom made. the best thing to do is to buy goats from a herd that manages CAE responsibly or tests completley negative. a negative cae test before purchase is prudent. as far as cl goes I would suggest you buy from someone who does not have cl in their herd (they could lie) and agree to have your money refunded and the goat returned if it turns up with cl in quarantine.

if a breeder has a survival of the fittest attitude then they likely will not test or treat or manage much of anything. often the "survival of the fittest" breeders are just using that as an excuse to have disease in their herd. we have a responsibility to manage disease that is basically caused or excacerbated by domestication imo. now that might mean responsibly when animals are difficult or diseased which is acceptable but allowing an animals to continue to infect other animals jus because they haven't died yet is not acceptable.
 

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aka avdpas77
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
there is no vaccination for CAE and the vacc for cl is not available for goats specifically unless you have it essentially, custom made. the best thing to do is to buy goats from a herd that manages CAE responsibly or tests completley negative. a negative cae test before purchase is prudent. as far as cl goes I would suggest you buy from someone who does not have cl in their herd (they could lie) and agree to have your money refunded and the goat returned if it turns up with cl in quarantine.

if a breeder has a survival of the fittest attitude then they likely will not test or treat or manage much of anything. often the "survival of the fittest" breeders are just using that as an excuse to have disease in their herd. we have a responsibility to manage disease that is basically caused or excacerbated by domestication imo. now that might mean responsibly when animals are difficult or diseased which is acceptable but allowing an animals to continue to infect other animals jus because they haven't died yet is not acceptable.

I totally agree, I want to raise a herd as diesease resistent as possible, they will be tested. If they have dieseases such as these they will be eliminated. That could be very expensive if I don't get good healthy (or resistant) stock in the first place. My plan with goats that have excessive worm or foot problems is that they will go into the freezer first. If it is a doe, and she is pregnant or nursing kids, then I will keep her till she is done, and then remove her from the herd....and pay special attention to the kids to see if she has passed her poor resistence on. (I should state that of course I plan to use good management practices to eliminate situations conducive to hoof problems or worms)

I really would like to keep from ever getting parasites etc. on this land in the first place, but apparently that is practicly impossible.

Question: Are barber worms (they seem to be worst problem in this area I am told) just in sheep and goats, or do other farm animals have them too?
 

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DQ is right, there is no CLA or CAE vaccine. The CLA vaccine for goats has been close to going to market for a few years now, supposedly coming out this year. CAE can be irradicated by bottle feeding, and CLA can be managed, but of course it is far better not to have to do this. Johne's disease, however, is one I am paranoid of, there doesn't seem to be anything even remotely close to producer hopes in regards to controlling it.

I agree it's a hard bill to fit, particularly since many meat goat breeders don't test. We just had a discussion about this about 2 weeks ago, dairy vs meat goat testing. I did a google using "boer goat disease testing" and there was at least one that came up in MO. I didn't see all the diseases listed on their website, but it could be a start in your search. You may not find a breeder with all you are looking for, but definately keep looking until you get one that fits as closely as you can.

I do think that as knowledge of diseases grow, that more breeders are moving towards cleaning up their herds, or selling out, it's a slow process yes. You really have a good situation there, being no goats have been on the property for over 3 years.
HF
 

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aka avdpas77
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
DQ is right, there is no CLA or CAE vaccine. The CLA vaccine for goats has been close to going to market for a few years now, supposedly coming out this year. CAE can be irradicated by bottle feeding, and CLA can be managed, but of course it is far better not to have to do this. Johne's disease, however, is one I am paranoid of, there doesn't seem to be anything even remotely close to producer hopes in regards to controlling it.

I agree it's a hard bill to fit, particularly since many meat goat breeders don't test. We just had a discussion about this about 2 weeks ago, dairy vs meat goat testing. I did a google using "boer goat disease testing" and there was at least one that came up in MO. I didn't see all the diseases listed on their website, but it could be a start in your search. You may not find a breeder with all you are looking for, but definately keep looking until you get one that fits as closely as you can.

I do think that as knowledge of diseases grow, that more breeders are moving towards cleaning up their herds, or selling out, it's a slow process yes. You really have a good situation there, being no goats have been on the property for over 3 years.
HF
Oh great! :rolleyes: another one. What is Johne's disease? I don't think I have seen it discussed before.
 

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For some reason Johne's doesn't take the limelight like CLA & CAE on these boards. Here is a link:

http://www.johnes.org/

Be sure to read the success stories, also.

I'm so glad you as a future meat goat breeder are educating yourself. Google is a wonderful thing. Yes there are more, these are what I consider the big 3 (except TB & Brucellosis, which have been almost irradicated by now in most states).
HF
 

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aka avdpas77
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
For some reason Johne's doesn't take the limelight like CLA & CAE on these boards. Here is a link:

http://www.johnes.org/

Be sure to read the success stories, also.

I'm so glad you as a future meat goat breeder are educating yourself. Google is a wonderful thing. Yes there are more, these are what I consider the big 3 (except TB & Brucellosis, which have been almost irradicated by now in most states).
HF
I guess I need to make a list of what to have tested for and how. I guess my age is showing.....I was thinking Brucellosis was a new diesease, just comming on the scene in the last 20 years or so.... after checking I find that it something we vacinated our cattle for it in the '60s...
it was known as "Bangs diesease" back then.
 
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