Goats: Sustainable Production Overview


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Goats: Sustainable Production Overview

  1. 1. GOATS: SUSTAINABLE PRODUCTION OVERVIEW LIVESTOCK PRODUCTION GUIDENational Sustainable Agriculture Information Service www.attra.ncat.org Abstract: Goats: Sustainable Production Overview provides fundamental information relevant to all goats, espe- cially about feeding, reproduction, and health. An extensive resource list is included. Read ATTRA’s Dairy Goats: Sustainable Production and Sustainable Goat Production: Meat Goats for more complete information, includ- ing sections on marketing and profitability.By Linda Coffey, Margo Hale, and Ann WellsNCAT Agriculture SpecialistsAugust 2004© NCAT 2004 The goat was one of the first animals to be domes- ticated by humans, about 9,000 years ago. Today, there are some 200 different breeds of goats that produce a variety of products, including milk, meat, and fiber (mohair and cashmere). Worldwide, goat meat pro- duction is higher than meat production from cattle or hogs.(Holcomb, 1994) Raising goats can be a valuable part of a sustain- able farm. Integrating livestock into a farm system can increase its economic and environmental health and diversity, thereby making important contribu- tions to the farm’s sustainability. Goats often fit well into the biological and economic niches on a farm that otherwise go untapped. Goats can be incorporated into existing grazing operations with sheep and cattle, Table of Contents and they can also be used to control weeds and brush to help make use of a pasture’s diversity. Erosion on land used for row crops declines when the land is converted to pasture. Rotating row crops Selection....................................................2 and pasture every year or two offers both fertility and Feeding Ruminants........................3 pest control advantages. Goats eat the forages, the goats’ manure replaces some purchased fertilizers, Raising Goats on Pasture .........3 and the life cycles of various crop and animal pests Marketing ..............................................15 are interrupted. Like other ruminant animals, goats convert plant material that is unsuitable for human Profitability ........................................ 16 consumption into high-quality animal products. Resources ............................................... 16 Related ATTRA publications: References ...........................................23 Sustainable Goat Production: Meat Goats Dairy Goats: Sustainable ProductionATTRA is the national sustainable agriculture information service operated by the NationalCenter for Appropriate Technology, through a grant from the Rural Business-Cooperative Service,U.S. Department of Agriculture. These organizations do not recommend or endorse products,companies, or individuals. NCAT has offices in Fayetteville, Arkansas (P.O. Box 3657, Fayetteville,AR 72702), Butte, Montana, and Davis, California.
  2. 2. Selection • No abscesses • Proper conditioning (not fat or excessively thin) • Firm, pelleted manure When selecting animals for your herd you • Well-shaped udder and teatsmust first decide what traits are important toyou and what the animals will be used for. Find Also, ask the producer questions such as whata producer with the type of animals that you diseases have been problems in the herd, whatare interested in. You may locate producers by is the vaccination/worming protocol, and whatcontacting your local Extension agent, searching criteria are used for selection and culling. Youclassified ads in goat publications, contacting goat should also ask your veterinarian about diseasesclubs or associations, or by attending meetings that are possible problems in your area. When se-or seminars for goat producers. Once you have lecting your animals, also observe their conforma-found a producer with goats for sale, visit the tion. Drawings 1 and 2 illustrate some of the char-farm to observe the herd and the management. acteristics of good and bad conformation in goats.The animals will adapt more easily to your farm Dr. Steve Hart of Langston University pointsif their prior management and environment are out that for most operations, conformation is asimilar to yours. relatively minor concern; health and soundness To develop a productive herd it is imperative are much more important. He advises checking tothat you select healthy animals. Never build your see that the bite is correct (not over-shot or under-herd with animals from the sale barn. These are shot) and that the legs and feet are sound.often animals that have been culled by another For more details on selection of goats, see theproducer. There is a reason they were culled, pertinent ATTRA publication for the goats youand you do not want to bring those problems to intend to raise (Dairy Goat, Meat Goat).your herd. To run an efficient operation, it is necessary Listed below are some of the signs of a to identify animals (by tattoos or eartags) andhealthy animal. keep records. Breeding, reproduction, and pro- duction records are helpful in identifying which • Shiny coat animals are most productive and which should • Lively manner be culled. • Easy movement (no limping, no swollen joints or misshapen udders) Good Bad Dairy Meat Goat Goat Drawing 1: Example of poor conformation Drawing 2: Good conformation for Dairy and Meat goats Drawings from Mississippi State University Extension Service 4-H Club Goat Guide. (http://msucares.com/pubs/publications/p2264.htm)PAGE 2 //GOAT PRODUCTION: SUSTAINABLE OVERVIEW
  3. 3. Feeding Ruminants year-round. Therefore, supplementation with concentrates may sometimes be necessary (see Supplemental Feeding section of this publica- tion). Goats are ruminants; that is, they have a four-compartment stomach designed to digest largequantities of forages. Ruminants eat quickly andswallow their food at first without much chewing. Raising Goats onLater, they regurgitate their food and thoroughlychew it and swallow. This regurgitated food iscalled the cud, and healthy ruminants will spend Pastureas much time chewing their cud as they do graz- Contrary to the popular image of goats thriv-ing or eating hay. This is thought to be a predator ing on tin cans, goats actually require a moreavoidance adaptation, as the ruminant can find nutritious diet than do other ruminants. Theira sheltered place to peacefully chew its cud and shorter digestive system does not retain food forbe less vulnerable to predator attack than while as long, and thus does not digest nutrients fully.grazing. This quicker digestion allows them to eat larger The ruminants get their name from the rumen, quantities of food to make up for their reducedwhich is the largest compartment of the stomach absorption of nutrients, but it is goats’ uniqueand serves as a fermentation vat. The health and grazing behavior that really enables them toproductivity of the goat (as with all ruminants) thrive on pasture. With their small mouths anddepends on the rumen function; microorganisms flexible lips, grazing goats are able to select thein the rumen digest fiber and carbohydrates and highly nutritious parts of plants and leave partsprotein to supply the animal with nutrients. that are less nutritious. This gives them an advan-Without those microorganisms, the goat will tage over cattle that graze by taking large mouth-become very sick and may die. Therefore, it is fuls; within that large mouthful there might be aof paramount importance that the animal be fed great quantity of poor-quality forage, includingappropriately so that the ruminal organisms stay some that is dead or overly mature.healthy. Each goat is able to consume up to 3 to 5% of These rumen organisms require fiber, ni- its body weight in dry matter daily (perhaps moretrogen (protein), and energy (carbohydrates). if the forage is highly digestible). To consumeRoughages (forages—pasture, hay, browse) have that amount, however, goats must be pasturedhigher fiber content than grains. More mature in an area with a large quantity of available veg-forages contain more fiber and are less digestible. etative forage. Goats will eat less when they areEnergy is provided by good–quality (digestible) moved to poor pastures. Listed below are someroughages and by concentrates (grains). of the factors that influence intake. The rumen microorganisms have preferredpH ranges; those that digest fiber best thrive in • Age, size, stage, and level of productiona range of 6.0 to 6.8. Rumination (chewing the of the animalcud—required to digest roughage) increases • Animal’s healththe amount of saliva, which buffers the rumen • Animal’s forage preferences (which arefluid and maintains the favorable pH. However, influenced by its mother and peers)grain (especially finely ground grains) decreases • Weatherrumination; which means less saliva reaches the • Palatability of foodrumen, and the pH decreases. Also, in the process • Digestibility (fiber content)of digesting grain, lactic acid is produced, which • Maturity of foragecan further lower the pH. When a goat eats toomuch grain, the rumen pH can drop below 5.5, Goats prefer browsing (eating woody plants)killing the normal rumen microorganisms and but will also graze on grasses and weeds. Goatsresulting in a very sick animal. are known to stand on their hind legs to reach The rumen microorganisms are “healthiest” leaves and brush. Since goats, cattle, and sheepwhen goats are eating good-quality forages, such prefer different forages, in many pasture situa-as vegetative pasture. However, it is difficult (if tions these species do not compete for the samenot impossible) to provide good-quality forages food. Therefore, they can be managed quite suc- //GOAT PRODUCTION: SUSTAINABLE OVERVIEW PAGE 3
  4. 4. PHOTO BY CHARLIE RAHM ©NRCS 2004cessfully in a multispecies grazing system, allow- htm#goats>.ing the land to be used more fully and generate When grazing goats, farmers must protectmore income. Land grazed by both goats and their pastures from being overgrazed. Therecattle returns 25% more than land grazed only are several reasons for this. Overgrazing for-by cattle.(Holcomb, 1994) ages Adding goats to a grazing system will haveweed control benefits. Goats will eat such weeds • eventually kills the plantsas leafy spurge, multiflora rose, and brambles, • reduces the longevity of the standdecreasing the need for commercial herbicides and exposes more soil to erosionor mowing. Meat and fiber goats are particularly • means the animals don’t get enoughuseful for brush control. For a report on work fooddone in North Carolina using goats alone or with • increases the chance of goats ingestingcattle, see “Use of Goats as Biological Agents for internal parasite larvaethe Control of Unwanted Vegetation” (Luginbuhl • creates bare spots, creating opportu -et al., 1996a), at <www.cals.ncsu.edu/an_sci/ nities for undesirable weeds and ero-extension/animal/meatgoat/MGVeget.htm>. sionFor a concise article that explains some of themanagement issues pertaining to grazing goats to The end result of overgrazing is reducederadicate multiflora rose, see the Ohio State Uni- performance of both the pasture and the animals,versity Bulletin 857, “Multiflora Rose Control,” at and health problems for the animals. To prevent<http://ohioline.osu.edu/b857/pdf/b857.pdf>. overgrazing, farmers should be careful to un-One use of grazing goats in the West is to control derstock rather than overstock land and alwaysleafy spurge; see “Controlling Leafy Spurge using remove animals from a pasture when the pastureGoats and Sheep” (Sedivic et al., 1995), at <www. is grazed down to about 3 to 4 inches. Browseag.ndsu.edu/pubs/plantsci/hay/r1093w.htm. must be managed so that it is maintained andPAGE 4 //GOAT PRODUCTION: SUSTAINABLE OVERVIEW
  5. 5. not killed. If you want long-term production of grazing system, also known as managementbrowse, you must rotate the animals and not al- intensive grazing (MIG, commonly pronouncedlow the area to become over-browsed. “mig”). The MIG systems have been used more Fencing is the most critical factor in raising extensively with cattle than with sheep or goats.goats on pasture. There is nothing more frustrat- Much work has been done recently with goatsing than having to constantly chase goats back using MIG, although it is not yet widely pub-into the pasture. Fencing will also be the greatest lished. However, for a review of studies of goatsexpense, other than the initial cost of the animals. and grazing, see “Meat Goats in Land and ForageThe best permanent fencing is 4-foot woven wire Management” (Luginbuhl, 1996b), at <www.with barbed wire along the top. Some graziers cals.ncsu.edu/an_sci/extension/animal/meat-are also successfully using four or five strands goat/MGLand.htm>.of high-tensile electric wire. Goats may have to The basic principle of MIG is to allow ani-be trained to electric fences by placing them in a mals to graze for a limited time and then movesmall paddock to "test" the wire. Once they have them to another pasture or paddock (a subdivi-been trained to an electric fence, goats can usu- sion of a pasture). The pasture forage plantsally be controlled with two strands of wire in a can then grow back without using up all of theircross-fence. Electric netting is also an option for root reserves. Even brush will need a recoverytemporary or permanent fencing in management time if it is being used as forage for goats. Inintensive grazing systems; however, several goat fact, woody plants may need to be rested a fullproducers have lost animals that tangled their year to remain a forage source in the pasture.horns in the netting. It is very important to keep Without this rest period, the goats can kill theelectric fences charged at 4,500 volts or more. brush through continuous browsing. UnderRegular checking and testing are necessary, and MIG, legumes and native grasses may reappearany problems must be fixed promptly, or goats in the pasture, and producers often report thatwill escape. the pasture plant community becomes more Goats also need shelter. They can tolerate diverse. Management intensive grazing can becold weather, but goats will get chilled by wet, used to improve the pasture, extend the grazingcold conditions. The necessary shelter or shelters season, and enable the producer to provide adepend on the producer’s operation. A dairy op- higher quality forage at a lower cost with fewereration will usually have extensive barn and pen purchased inputs. MIG can also be useful inset-ups, while a large meat goat operation may reducing internal parasite problems, if farmersuse only trees in the pasture as shelter. Build- are careful to move the goats to a new pastureings used for shelter may be minimal, but they before the forage plants are grazed too short (tooshould be well-ventilated and clean. Barns and short is less than about 4 inches —see Healthsheds are not the only options for shelter. There section for more about parasites). While theare portable shelters, moveable shades, and even benefits of MIG are substantial, it does requireold hog huts that can be used as shelters for your increased management skill and adequate fenc-animals. ing and watering facilities. For more information Predators are a problem in most areas where on pastures and grazing, see the list of ATTRAgoats are produced. For information on how to publications in the Resources section.control predators, see the ATTRA publication The goal of MIG is to have paddocks smallPredator Control for Sustainable & Organic Livestock enough that they can be grazed in a few daysProduction. (usually one to ten). The time will depend on the number of goats and the quality and quantity of the forage. How long a herd remains in a pad-Controlled Grazing dock will vary, depending on the intensity of management, time of year, and stage of growth In the U.S., continuous grazing is a common of the forage. When beginning with MIG, makepractice, characterized by giving the animals big paddocks and use long rotations. As produc-unrestricted access to the pasture throughout the ers become more familiar with the pasture plantsseason. This works well for goats. However, feed- and the goats’ grazing habits, they usually sub-ing goats in a sustainable and economical way is divide paddocks with electric fence. Temporarybetter accomplished by a controlled, rotational subdivisions allow the grazier to define the pad- //GOAT PRODUCTION: SUSTAINABLE OVERVIEW PAGE 5
  6. 6. docks in response to different growing conditions supplements.and the goats’ changing feed requirements. In some operations—particularly dairies— Fresh, clean water must always be available. goats are raised in confinement, and all their feedIn a MIG system, the animals either have access is brought to them. However, allowing goats toto a central water source available from every graze can lower costs in the following ways.subdivision, or water is provided separately toeach of the pasture’s subdivisions. This can be a • By reducing purchased grain costschallenge, and it is another capital expense. Feed • By eliminating forage harvesting costsintake will decrease more for goats than for cattle • By eliminating manure removal costsor sheep if clean water is not readily available. • By lowering fertilizer costs as manure Along with water, minerals need to be avail- nutrients are returned to the soilable to your animals at all times. It is best to feedcalcium, phosphorous, and trace minerals in a Goats have the ability to select the more nutri-salt mixture to ensure that the animals actually tious parts of a plant. Therefore, they typicallyeat them. Test your forages to determine their will consume a higher quality diet if they have themineral content and adjust mineral supplemen- opportunity to be selective. With the exceptiontation as needed. Your local Extension agent of lactating dairy goats, goats grazing a high-can have your forage analyzed. Mineral content quality pasture can usually meet their proteinof forage is quite variable across the country, requirements without supplemental feeding. Inand the type, stage, and level of production of some cases an energy supplement (grain) may bethe animals influence mineral requirements; necessary. More information on pasturing goatstherefore, no one mineral supplement formula is is provided in ATTRA’s Dairy Goats: Sustainableright for all locations or situations. For instance, Production and Sustainable Goat Production: Meata heavy-producing dairy goat will need more Goats.calcium and phosphorus then a dry (non-lactat-ing) meat goat. Consult a livestock nutritionistfor help in identifying a good mineral mix for Supplemental Feedingyour operation. It is very important that you consistently offer While good quality forages are usually ad-this mix (preferably in a loose form), monitor its equate, goats may sometimes need supplementalconsumption, and ensure that all the goats are feeding, especially during the winter. Goatsin fact eating adequate amounts of the mineral need a proper balance of energy in the form of roughage or grain,TABLE 1. DIETARY PROTEIN AND ENERGY REQUIREMENTS OF GOATS*. as well as protein, vitamins, minerals,CLASS OF GOAT AVG. FEED % CRUDE %TDN2 and clean water. INTATKE / DAY, LB1 PROTE IN Protein and energy requirements vary,GROWING DOELING, 45 LB A 2.4 8.8 56 depending on theGROW ING M ALE KID , 66LB B 2.9 9.0 57 type of goat and itsYEARLING DOE , 90 LB C 4.6 10.0 56 stage of production3 Y R. OLD DOE , 110 LB D 5.0 11.7 69 (see Table 1).MATURE B UCK , 220 LB E 5.3 9.0 55 There is a ruleDAIRY DOE , 150 LB F 7.5 11.6 71 of thumb for all goats: browse and*APPROXIMATIONS; BASED ON DRY MATTER IN THE FEEDS EATEN1 CALCULATED ON BASIS OF THE DRY MATTER IN THE FEEDS EATEN pasture in the sum-2 TDN = TOTAL DIGESTIBLE NUTRIENTS mer, hay and grainA GROWING AT THE RATE OF .25 LB/DAY in the winter, trace-B GROWING AT THE RATE OF .33 LB/DAY mineralized salt atC YEARLING FEMALE, LAST TRIMESTER OF PREGNANCY AND GROWING all times. (The min-D MILKING 2 QT/DAY - ENOUGH FOR TWINS eral mixture shouldE NOT GAINING WEIGHT, MODERATE ACTIVITY be fortified withF NUBIAN, MILKING 1 GALLON/DAY OF 4.0% BUTTERFAT selenium if you live (PINKERTON AND PINKERTON, 2000)PAGE 6 //GOAT PRODUCTION: SUSTAINABLE OVERVIEW
  7. 7. TABLE 2: SUPPLYING PROTEIN NEEDS FOR LACTATING GOATS % PROTEIN IN ROUGHAGE, DRY MATTER BASIS % PROTEIN NEEDED IN CONCENTRATE 15% AND OVER EXCELLENT LEGUME HAY OR EXCELLENT PASTURE HIGH PRODUCTION (OVER 4 QUARTS/DAY) 14 LOW PRODUCTION 12 12 TO 15% LEGUME-GRASS MIXED HAY OR GOOD PASTURE HIGH PRODUCTION 16 LOW PRODUCTION 14 10 TO 12% GOOD GRASS HAY OR FAIR PASTURE HIGH PRODUCTION 18 LOW PRODUCTION 16 BELOW 10% FAIR QUALITY GRASS HAY OR POOR PASTURE HIGH PRODUCTION 20 LOW PRODUCTION 18 (PINKERTON, 1993)in an area of the country with selenium-poor soil. Sustainable Production. Fiber goats, on the otherCheck with your Extension agent or veterinarian.) hand, may not do well with supplemental grain,When breeding begins in the fall, producer Sue because feeding too much protein to angora goatsDrummond feeds her angora goats not only hay, can make mohair fiber coarser and reduce itsgrain, and salt but also vitamins (A, D, and E) and value, and feeding beyond maintenance require-di-calcium phosphate.(Drummond, 1995) Kelp, a ments will not improve the fiber production ofseaweed high in minerals, is sometimes used as cashmere goats.a supplement, though it is expensive. Alterna- Goats can be picky eaters, and they maytive feeds such as roots and tubers (sugar beets, not immediately accept new feeds. Any feedmangels, sweet potatoes, turnips) may be fed for changes should be made gradually to avoid up-the energy content of the roots or the nutritious setting the rumen microflora. Feeding very highgreen tops. Various milling by-products are com- levels of grain can also upset the rumen. Grainmonly fed to goats as well. should never be more than 50% of the total diet, Grain is the concentrate most often fed to except for heavily-producing dairy goats. Adultgoats; cereal grains such as oats, corn, barley, meat goats should be fed a maximum of 1% ofand wheat are high in energy (carbohydrate/fat). bodyweight in supplemental grain, with lactat-Less commonplace grains such as amaranth and ing does reaching a maximum of 1.5%. Feedingbuckwheat are also sometimes used. Soybean an animal a large amount of concentrate (grain)meal and cottonseed meal are high-protein sup- causes acidosis: the rumen pH will drop and ru-plements. The choice of concentrate is determined men motility will decrease. Usually the animalby the composition of the forage. High-quality will go off feed, have diarrhea, and show signs offorages usually have adequate or even excess depression for a couple of days. In severe cases,protein; animals eating these will need a higher- acidosis can cause death. If you know an animalenergy concentrate to utilize the protein present has consumed too much grain, you can treat itin the forages. Lower-quality pastures or hays with an antacid (sodium bicarbonate). Call yourwill require feeding a higher-protein supplement veterinarian for help, and offer only forage andto meet the goats’ protein requirement. water until the animal recovers. Dairy goats need both high-quality forage Enterotoxemia can also occur if there is a sud-and supplemental grain to reach their full poten- den change in diet that stimulates certain rumential, especially during peak lactation or growth. microbes to overpopulate and produce toxinsMore information on supplemental feeding of that cause symptoms similar to acidosis. Entero-dairy goats is available in ATTRA’s Dairy Goats: toxemia usually results in death. To prevent this //GOAT PRODUCTION: SUSTAINABLE OVERVIEW PAGE 7
  8. 8. disease, all animals should be vaccinated for balancing rations for any class of goat. Seeenterotoxemia (see Health section) and their ac- Contacts section for Langston University’s Webcess to grain or lush pasture should be controlled site. The Ohio Dairy Goat Ration program is(increase access cautiously). available by contacting a local county office of There are programs available to help goat Ohio State University Extension orproducers determine rations for their herd.Langston University has developed a calcula- Ms. Cheryl Halltor (available on-line) that will be helpful in Department of Animal Sciences 2027 Coffey Road Columbus, Ohio 43210 614-688-3143 Score 1 Very poor body condition - Deep cavity under tail and around tail Some county Extension offices may have ac- head. Skin drawn tight over pelvis with cess to software that is helpful, or your agent may no muscle tissue detectable in between. refer you to a ruminant nutritionist. - No fatty tissue felt at loin. Pins, hooks, and short ribs can be seen; edges feel sharp. Body Condition Scoring Score 2 Poor body condition - Cavity around tail head is evident, but Your goal in feeding your animals is to meet less prominent. No fatty tissue felt be- their nutritional requirements (economically) tween skin and pelvis, but skin is supple. and to keep them in a productive condition. One - Ends of short ribs are sharp to the touch, way to monitor the animals’ condition is to as- but individual ribs can no longer be seen. sign body condition scores (BCS). Body condition While bones are less prominent, they scoring evaluates the body fat reserves of your are still angular and can be easily distin- goats and is an easy method to evaluate the ef- guished by touch. fectiveness of your feeding program. Scores range from one to five and are determined by looking Score 3 Good body condition at the tail-head and loin areas. Use the following - Slight cavity lined with fatty tissue ap- parent at tail head. Area between pins guidelines to determine each goat’s score. has smoothed out. A good source for meat goat body condition - Ends of short ribs can be felt with moder- scoring can be viewed at <http://bedford.exten- ate pressure. Slight depression visible in sion.psu.edu/agriculture/goat/Body%20Condi loin area. Hooks and pins can be felt but tion%20Scoring.htm>. have some covering of flesh. Hook, pin, When scoring your herd, take into consider- and back bones appear smooth. ation the herd average; every herd has individu- als that are too fat or too thin. If the herd average Score 4 Fatty body condition is under or over optimal condition, usually a - Depression between pins and tail head score of three, you need to change your feeding filling in. Patches of fat apparent under the skin. Pelvis felt only with firm pres- regimen. Body condition will vary depending sure. on the time of year. You should try to have your - Short ribs cannot be felt even with firm animals in good body condition before winter, so pressure. No depression visible in loin they can tolerate the cold and still have adequate between backbone and hip bones. Back reserves at kidding season. The animal’s stage and area between hooks and pins appear of production also influences body condition; flat. for example, a doe in early lactation will almost always lose condition. Score 5 Grossly fatty body condition - Tail head buried in fatty tissue. Area be- tween pins and tailbone rounded, skin distended. No part of pelvis felt, even Reproduction with firm pressure. Female goats (does) reach puberty at seven (Fredricks, 1993) to ten months of age, depending on the breed and nutrition, and should be at 60 to 75% of theirPAGE 8 //GOAT PRODUCTION: SUSTAINABLE OVERVIEW
  9. 9. adult weight at breeding to prevent difficult kid- bet. At the very least, you should observe bothding. Does will have higher lifetime production the herd and the parents of the buck. When se-and be more profitable if they are bred to kid as lecting a buck, it is important to perform a breed-yearlings. Does should kid every year thereafter ing soundness exam. A general physical examuntil at least the age of seven or eight, if they re- can check the buck for structural soundness andmain healthy. Most goats are seasonal breeders, abnormalities in the sex glands and organs. Thereacting to shorter days as a cue for breeding. scrotal circumference (at the widest point) shouldThe presence of a buck (uncastrated male goat) be measured, since this correlates with fertilitystimulates the reproductive cycle (estrous) and and semen production. As a general rule, dairythe behaviors of the does that indicate that they bucks should measure 25 to 28 cm at 100 pounds,are in the fertile part of their cycle (in heat). The meat bucks should measure 26 to 29 cm at 100doe’s estrous cycle normally occurs from Au- pounds, and larger bucks should measure at leastgust or September until January, with October 34 to 36 cm.(Mobini, 2003) Have a semen sampleto December being the peak time for breeding. taken and evaluated. A normal concentration is 2The estrous cycle is normally 18 to 22 days long. billion sperm per cubic centimeter of semen. OfDoes in heat (estrus) are at the proper stage for those, 70% should be motile, moving forward.breeding; at this time, they will be receptive to The sperms’ morphology should be evaluated tothe buck. Estrus (standing heat) lasts for 12 to 36 determine whether they are mature and whetherhours. Signs of heat include tail wagging, swol- there are abnormalities. At least 80% of thelen vulva, mounting behavior, decrease in milk sperm should be normal.(Mobini, 2003) Finally,yield if lactating, and a general increase in activ- the buck’s libido should be monitored. A soundity and bleating. Kids are born about 150 days buck is of no use if he will not service does. Aafter breeding. Planning breeding so that kids full-grown, healthy buck should easily serviceare born during the height of forage production up to 50 does. Bucks should not be bred to theirin the spring makes efficient use of the pasture. daughters; inbreeding tends to expose geneticKeeping accurate breeding records will allow you problems and lead to weaker stock.to know when kids are due and help you prepare Some goat producers (especially those whofor their arrival. raise dairy goats) use artificial insemination Some goat milk markets demand year-round (A.I.) for breeding. This requires excellent heatproduction. Breeding season may be manipu- detection skills and is more labor-intensive thanlated through the use of lights and hormone natural service, but A.I. allows the economicaltherapy. However, milk production is less for use of outstanding sires. The American Dairya doe that kids in the fall than when she kids in Goat Association (ADGA) offers a booklet aboutthe spring. A.I., classes are offered by Langston University Male goats (bucks) reach puberty earlier (Oklahoma) and sometimes by goat associations,than females and must either be separated from and A.I. technicians are available in most areas ofthem by the age of four months or be castrated the country. For more information, contact yourto prevent unwanted breedings. Buck kids local Extension agent, order the booklet fromcan be used as herd sires at 8 to 10 months, but ADGA (see contact information in the Resourceshould not be used as heavily as mature bucks. section), or call ATTRA.Have your veterinarian test them for fertilityand soundness before the breeding season. Thistest is called a breeding soundness exam and is Kid Managementdescribed below. The most important animal in the herd is the Kids are raised for replacement stock, sold asbuck. He provides half of the genetics of the herd, breeding stock, or slaughtered for meat. There-and using a sound, high-quality buck can make fore, raising healthy, productive kids is essentialsignificant improvements to the herd. Spend time to the profitability of your operation.and effort to locate a superior buck, one that has It is crucial that kids receive colostrum (thethe traits you have identified as important. It is first milk, which contains antibodies to protectwell worth the investment. A buck that has pro- the kid from disease) soon after birth. However,duction records (has been on test or has relatives in some herds Caprine-arthritis encephalitisthat have been on a production test) is the surest (CAE—see Health section) is a concern, and kids //GOAT PRODUCTION: SUSTAINABLE OVERVIEW PAGE 9
  10. 10. Health Concerns Few diseases afflict goats, and most produc- ers find even fewer health problems when they use management intensive grazing. Practitioners of MIG see their goats at every paddock move. Observation is the best way to avoid, or at least catch early, any diseases or other problems that might occur. When people buy goats, they should proceed cautiously.  Check out the seller’s herd. • Ask the seller questions.from those herds must be bottle-fed heat-treated • Learn as much as they can about goats andcolostrum instead of nursing their mothers. Kids goat diseases. • Decide what diseases or problems they canraised naturally with their mothers usually grow or cannot live with, or which ones they arebetter than those that are bottle-fed. However, willing to vaccinate for or treat.for dairy production, it may be more economi- • Know what can or cannot be treated andcal to separate the kids from the mothers, feed the consequences of getting the disease inkids with a milk replacer, and sell the extra goat their herd.milk. It is essential, however, that kids receivecolostrum on the first day of their lives. Males should be castrated at an early age Keeping livestock as stress-free as possibleto reduce stress on the animal. Castration with keeps their immune systems functioning prop-elastic bands should be done within a week of erly. A healthy immune system is the best diseasebirth. There is some concern that animals may preventive. Conversely, periods of stress, such ascontract tetanus if they are castrated with bands. weaning or transporting, may trigger disease. In-Male slaughter goats are often castrated, since tensively managed livestock become calmer andthe meat can have a strong flavor in intact males tamer, and handling them calmly makes themmore than four months old. Some ethnic groups, easier to work with when things such as loading,however, want intact males. It is important for vaccinating, or other tasks need to be done.you to know your market, so you can plan for the Preventive management is fundamental tomanagement of your herd. Disbudding is often maintaining health. Proper nutrition, sanitation,done in goat dairies to prevent problems with and ventilation, as well as timely treatment orhorns in the milking parlor. Kids are disbudded culling of problem animals, helps keep the herdbetween three and seven days after birth, using in good health and reduces health care costs.a specially designed disbudding iron that is very For example, the teats of milking does are usu-hot. Equipment and instructions for use are of- ally dipped in disinfectant after milking, whilefered by goat supply houses (see Resource list). the teat opening is dilated, because bacteria Recommended Vaccination Program Enterotoxemia and tetanus— Clostridium perfringens types C, D, + Tetanus Toxoid in one vaccine Adult Males Once a year Breeding Females Once a year (4 to 6 weeks before kidding), or twice a year: 4 to 6 weeks before breeding, then 4 to 6 weeks before kidding Kids Week 8, then booster on week 12PAGE 10 //GOAT PRODUCTION: SUSTAINABLE OVERVIEW
  11. 11. COURTESY OF DR. JEAN-MARIE LUGINBUHL, NCSUentering the teat can cause mastitis. Likewise, other diseases or deficiencies. Your veterinarianregular foot-trimming helps prevent footrot and can help you set up a vaccination protocol thatlameness. Having a good predator control strat- will protect your herd from some diseases thategy (such as a guardian animal and an electric are problems in your area.perimeter fence) will also help prevent losses inyour herd. Check with a local veterinarian to get recom- Parasitesmendations for a vaccination and health main-tenance schedule for your goat herd. Because so Parasites, especially internal ones, are thefew medications are approved for use in goats, major health concern for goats. Not only areit is imperative to work closely with a veterinar- goats very susceptible to internal parasites, butian who can advise you on proper drug use and the parasites are rapidly becoming resistant towithdrawal times. It is important to find a vet- all of the available anthelmintics (dewormers),erinarian who is compatible with you and with and no new dewormers are being developed.your management style, and who knows (or is Therefore, management MUST be the primarywilling to learn) about small ruminants. With method for sustainable control of internal para-time and patience, your veterinarian can become sites in goats.competent in the diagnosis and treatment of small If ample pasture is available and goats areruminants. You may locate a small ruminant vet- not overstocked, a herd may have little difficultyerinarian by contacting the Association of Small with internal parasites. However, forcing goatsRuminant Practitioners at <www.aasrp.org/>. to graze close to the ground and overcrowding(See Resources: Organizations.) stock will cause an increase in parasite load. In many areas, veterinarians recommend Animals on highly-stocked pastures will usu-vaccinations for tetanus and enterotoxemia (over- ally carry a heavier parasite load, due to theeating disease). Certain selenium-poor regions increased amount of fecal matter on the pasture.require the use of a selenium and vitamin injec- You can reduce parasite problems by having ation several times a year. In other areas, addi- low stock density and by rotating your animalstional vaccines or injections may be necessary for to different pastures. An understanding of how //GOAT PRODUCTION: SUSTAINABLE OVERVIEW PAGE 11
  12. 12. parasite infestations happen will help to avoid score. The system recommends anthelmintics ormajor problems. culling for animals scoring 5 or 4 and sometimes All parasite infestations occur when the ani- 3. Keep records and use those individuals withmal ingests the infective larval stage from con- fewest parasite problems for breeding, whiletaminated pasture, hay, or living quarters. The those with the most problems should be culled.larvae develop from eggs that were passed from This selects for parasite resistant animals. Thean animal through its feces. If there are no adult FAMACHA© system is only useful in detectingworms in any goats in your herd, this infestation those animals infected with barber-pole wormscannot occur. Even if larvae are present in the (Haemonchus contortus), which is the primarypasture, goats are less likely than other ruminants species that causes problems in goats and sheep.to consume them, because goats prefer to eat at The FAMACHA© system is now available ineye-level, and the larvae do not climb up grass the United States through the Southern Regionblades to eye level. This is one of several good USDA-SARE (Sustainable Agriculture Researchreasons for managing pastures to prevent grazing and Education) group, which tested the system inthem too short. Try to maintain a forage height the United States. Only veterinarians or properlyabove 4 inches, at minimum. trained sheep and goat producers will be able to Symptoms of a parasite problem include purchase the FAMACHA© charts. Veterinariansweight loss, rough coat, depression, and anemia may inquire about FAMACHA© by contacting(evidenced by pale mucous membranes, espe- <famacha@vet.uga.edu>. A Web site is beingcially in the lower eyelid or gums). Animals that developed by the SARE group. In the meantime,are carrying a heavy parasite load will produce further information can be found at <http://less and lag behind their herd mates. It is impor- scsrpc.org/SCSRPC/FAMACHA/famacha.tant to realize that heavily infected animals are htm> .“seeding” the pastures with parasite larvae, thus Another way to assess the parasite load inamplifying the problem over time by contaminat- your herd is to have a veterinarian check fecaling the environment. Also, there is a great deal samples for parasite eggs and recommend anof variation in individual animal resistance to appropriate dewormer, if necessary. Since veryparasites. Culling animals with severe parasite few anthelmintics are approved for goats, andproblems will decrease the herd’s problems by since many parasites have developed resistancereducing pasture contamination and by retain- to anthelmintics, the help of a veterinarian ising and encouraging parasite-resistant genetics essential to administering effective anthelmin-in the herd. tics. For milk-producing goats, it is necessary to A clinical on-farm system called FAMA- consider the withdrawal period that a chemicalCHA© was developed in South Africa for clas- dewormer may require (in order for the goat tosifying animals into categories based upon level be free of residues) before the milk can be soldof anemia. This is done by monitoring the color for consumption. Be sure to reworm three weeksof the lower eyelid on a scale of 1 (healthy color, after the initial treatment to kill any parasites thatno treatment needed) to 5 (very pale, anemic). were ingested the day of the first worming. (ItA special colored card is used to determine the takes three weeks for larvae to mature to adult The main points to keep in mind about parasite control in goats are that your best defense is 1) good pasture management, including use of browse as a forage source, and 2) selecting parasite-resistant animals (culling those that suffer most from parasites). No dewormer will compensate for poor management, and many dewormers are no longer effective in the United States. New dewormers for goats are not being developed, so we must learn to control parasite problems through good management and selection of resistant animals.PAGE 12 //GOAT PRODUCTION: SUSTAINABLE OVERVIEW
  13. 13. worms.) Worming and then moving the goats for Livestock for more information on managing24 hours later will leave behind the vast majority parasites.of contaminated feces. Pastures are considered“clean” if goats or sheep have not been grazed on Caprine arthritis-encephalitisthem for 12 months, or if they have been hayedor rotated with row crops. In the meantime, Caprine arthritis-encephalitis (CAE) is thecattle or horses may be grazed in the infested most serious disease facing the goat industry.area, because they do not carry the same species It is an incurable viral infection that causes ar-of worms. Goats and sheep, however, do share thritis, a hardened udder that produces no milk,the same parasites. and a general wasting away. There is currently Researchers have found that plants with no vaccine for the disease, and the only way tohigh tannin levels show anthelmintic proper- avoid its devastating effects is to prevent animalsties. The tannin in sericea l1espedeza has been from becoming infected. To keep your herd freeshown to suppress the egg laying ability of adult of CAE, cull any animals that have tested positiveworms and inhibits the hatching of eggs that are for CAE or are showing signs of the disease.shed.(Min et al, 2004) This reduces the worm load The most common route of transmission ison the pasture and in the animals. Other plants, through the milk, although saliva and possiblyincluding wormwood, may also have anthelmin- semen are two other routes. Heat-treating co-tic properties. Allowing the animals to graze on lostrum and pasteurizing milk will kill the virus,a variety of plant species will assist in providing and these are the only known ways of preventingbetter nutrition, and may also help with control- the infection from passing to uninfected kids.ling internal parasites. Not all plant species have Producers who implement a CAE-preventionbeen evaluated to determine whether they have program face a rigorous regimen that includes ob-anthelmintic properties. In the future, more re- serving all births, preventing kids from nursing,search may be done in this area. feeding heat-treated colostrum and pasteurized The complete eradication of livestock pests milk, and segregating or culling all CAE-positiveis not feasible or economically necessary—some animals. This is a very labor-intensive method oflevel of pests may be tolerable. Goats, like other kid rearing. Anyone purchasing a goat shouldspecies of livestock, may develop some immunity ask how the goat kid was raised and whether itto worms, making a low-level infestation some- has had recent CAE blood tests. Because sometimes more advantageous than no parasites at all. goats do not seroconvert to CAE-positive for twoLack of immunity is very damaging to Angoras, years, a single negative blood test is not neces-for example. When they are moved from arid sarily reliable. When kids are bottle-raised onrange conditions, where there are few internal non-pasteurized milk, the milk is usually pooledparasites, to more humid areas, where parasite for all kids, so that one positive doe can have apopulations are higher, serious problems often disastrous effect on a goat herd’s CAE status.develop. Some individual goats have a higher Goat producers who are really conscientiousnatural immunity than others, and those are the about ridding a herd of CAE will not allow in-animals that you should select. Young goats fected goats to have any contact with non-infectedwill be most susceptible to parasites and should goats. It is always easier to purchase non-infectedalways be weaned to a clean pasture. animals than to rid your herd of CAE once it is Coccidiosis, a disease resulting from infection introduced. (When purchasing goats, it is a goodof the intestinal tract by parasitic protozoa called idea to look at the entire herd; swollen knees orcoccidia, causes scours (diarrhea) in goats, par- emaciated animals may be signs of CAE infectionticularly in kids. There are several coccidiostats in the herd.)(anti-coccidia medications) on the market, but Some CAE-positive goats never show anyagain, management is key for control. Coccidiosis symptoms of CAE; a good kid producer or aoccurs in damp, crowded areas. Keeping kids heavy-milking doe that is CAE-positive mayaway from those areas prevents serious prob- still have a place within the herd. The producerlems. Animals gain immunity to this organism should consider the goals and priorities for his orby nine months of age, and clinical disease rarely her enterprise before determining whether a goatoccurs in adult animals. should be culled on the basis of its CAE status. See ATTRA’s Integrated Parasite Management At one time, it was thought that only dairy //GOAT PRODUCTION: SUSTAINABLE OVERVIEW PAGE 13
  14. 14. goats had a high incidence of CAE. However, the combination of two different bacteria, one ofwith so many kids of all breeds being fed infected which cannot survive outside of the host for moremilk, the situation has now changed. Anyone than two weeks. The other is present in the envi-buying any type of goat must be just as concerned ronment. The infection is generally painful andabout its CAE status as someone purchasing a is characterized by limping and signs of pocketsdairy goat. of pus on the hoof. There is a strong, foul odor There are tests available to determine whether associated with footrot.an animal has CAE. Testing should be done ev- To treat footrot, first trim the feet so they areery year. Positive animals should be isolated or level and smooth (stop when you see pink in theculled. Contact your veterinarian or diagnostic sole, but remove loose bits from the side). Thenlab for further information on CAE testing. soak the animal’s foot in a footbath containing zinc sulfate or copper sulfate or formaldehyde. Ideally, it should stand in the solution for five Abortion minutes and then move to a dry area. (The lot should include dry areas, because mud and There are several factors that can cause a moisture will aggravate footrot.)goat to abort. A deficiency in vitamin A, iodine, Animals that do not respond to treatmentor copper can cause abortions. Parasites, certain should be culled. Many producers cull animals bydrugs, poisonous plants, and stress can also cause sending them to the sale barn: yet another reasona doe to abort. to avoid purchasing stock there. Always observe If abortion is widespread in the herd, animals with the herd before purchasing them,there is most likely an infectious cause. Chlamydia and do not buy any animals that limp. Quaran-psittaci is the most common cause of infectious tine all new goats for two weeks before puttingabortions. However, there are other organisms them with your herd, and watch closely for signsthat may be the culprit, and treatment depends of limping. Consult your veterinarian for assis-on knowing the infectious agent. Therefore, at tance in treating footrot and other diseases.the first abortion in the herd, send the placenta toa diagnostic lab. Keep the placenta chilled until Caseous Lymphadenitisit arrives at the lab. Also be sure to wear rubbergloves and be cautious; some agents can infect Caseous lymphadenitis (CL) infects animalshumans as well. through breaks in the skin, such as cuts or scrapes Toxoplasmosis is another major cause of from shearing, barbed wire, thorny brush, etc.,abortion in goats. This is a disease that can also and becomes localized in a regional lymph node,infect humans, and it is particularly dangerous most commonly in or around the neck. The re-to pregnant women. Toxoplasmosis organisms sulting abscess can be either external or internal.are carried by cats, particularly young cats, which Draining or opening an external abscess can causedevelop immunity once infected. It may help to reinfection. CL is transmitted by direct contact;keep one or two adult neutered cats for rodent therefore, all infected animals should be isolated.control and to prevent other cats from coming CL can be picked up in bedding or by touchingonto your farm. Toxoplasmosis is contracted by some other area that has been contaminated bygoats ingesting cat feces. It can be brought onto goats with abscesses, and the infectious organismyour farm in hay or straw, if there were cats on persists in the environment for several months.the farm where the hay or straw was stored. Cer- Internal abscesses occur when the thoracic lymphtain feed additives (Deccox, monensin) can help duct is affected. Animals with internal abscessesprevent abortions due to toxoplasmosis. Consult often waste away— or they may have no clinicalyour veterinarian for details on how and where signs. Do not buy any animals from a herd thatto ship the placenta and how to treat the herd if has abscesses. Diagnostic testing is available toan infectious cause is identified.(Patton, 2003) determine whether an animal has CL. Extreme caution must be used when aspirating an ab- scess, because CL is transmittable to humans. Footrot All infected material (gloves, bedding, towels) must be burned to minimize the risk of spread- Footrot is a contagious disease caused by ing disease.PAGE 14 //GOAT PRODUCTION: SUSTAINABLE OVERVIEW
  15. 15. See the Resource section at the end of this Contagious Ecthyma publication for information on several excellent books on goat health and diseases. This disease, also known as soremouth ororf, is caused by a pox virus. It is characterized Fliesby blisters and scabs on the lips and can spreadto a doe’s udder by an infected nursing kid. This In confinement situations, implement flydisease is usually introduced into a herd from a control programs early in the season, before thepurchased animal or one returning from a show. fly population gets out of control. A sustainableThe disease is highly contagious, including to approach is Integrated Pest Management (IPM).humans, and the virus can live for several months Parasitic wasps are a biological control for barnto years in the environment. flies. These wasps lay their eggs in fly pupal There is a vaccine for soremouth, but it should cases; wasp larvae kill the developing flies bynot be used in a herd that is free from the disease. feeding on them. Light traps, baited traps, andIt is a live vaccine, meaning it will introduce the sticky tapes are physical controls for barn flies.disease into your herd. Usually, if an animal has Because moist manure, spilled feed, and dampbeen infected with the disease, it will be immune bedding encourage fly populations, practicingto further infections. good sanitation on a regular schedule is impor- tant, especially in confinement areas. Eliminate Scrapie Eradication Program drainage problems that allow water to accumu- late. ATTRA has more information on alternative Scrapie is a fatal, degenerative disease affect- fly control and IPM available on request.ing the central nervous system, one of the classof diseases known as transmissible spongiformencephalopathies (TSEs). Other examples of The following are the keys toTSEs include BSE in cattle and Chronic Wast- maintaining a healthy goat herd.ing Disease (CWD) in deer and elk. There isno evidence that scrapie can spread to humans, • Buy healthy stockbut negative public perceptions and the loss of • Keep animals as stress-free as possibleexport opportunities have encouraged the effort • Use preventative medicine—good nutri-to eradicate scrapie from the U.S. The incidence tion, sanitation, foot care, vaccinationsof scrapie in goats is extremely low, so it is highly • Have a relationship with a veterinarian • Learn about the major diseases that canunlikely that your herd will be affected. Never- affect your herd and how to prevent themtheless, goat producers (and sheep producers) are • Be observant and responsiverequired to participate in the Scrapie EradicationProgram. Details about this program are avail-able from your state veterinarian or by going tothe National Scrapie Education Initiative Website, <www.eradicatescrapie.org/index.html>. MarketingBriefly, you must contact your state veterinarianto request a premises identification number. You This section should probably be on the firstwill then receive free eartags with your premises page, because marketing must be thoroughlyID printed on them, and you must install tags on researched and planned up-front. Before begin-any breeding animals over the age of 18 months ning production, it is essential to know what goatbefore they leave your farm. Dairy goat produc- products you are going to sell, and where anders may use tattoos instead of ear tags; the state how you will market them. Goat meat, whichveterinarian will assign an ID tattoo that consists is 50 to 65% leaner than beef, will be either theof your state abbreviation and the ADGA tattoo primary product or, in the case of dairy or fibersequence assigned to the farm. In addition, any enterprises, an important secondary one. Calledbreeding goat (or sheep) that crosses state lines “cabrito” or “chevon,” goat meat is considered(for shows or to be sold, for example) must be a gourmet or health food by some, is popularaccompanied by an official Certificate of Veteri- in areas with certain ethnic populations, and isnary Inspection (health certificate) issued by an often processed into products such as sausage oraccredited veterinarian. jerky. See ATTRA’s Sustainable Goat Production: //GOAT PRODUCTION: SUSTAINABLE OVERVIEW PAGE 15
  16. 16. Meat Goats and Dairy Goats: Sustainable Production plan, especially the marketing section.(Universityfor more information about goat products and of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives, 1998) Iftheir markets. the feasibility study indicates that your business It may be possible to establish a niche mar- idea is sound, the next step is a business plan. Aket through direct marketing. Many consum- business plan is an analysis of how the businessers would like to buy products that have been will work—your competition, the market, yourraised with a minimum of synthetic chemicals capital and operating expenses, management andand pesticides. With any agricultural enterprise, staffing needs, manufacturing process, etc. It isit is important to determine market potential also one of the written documents usually neces-before making an investment in production. See sary for obtaining a loan.(University of WisconsinATTRA’s Resources for Organic Marketing, Direct Center for Cooperatives, 1998)Marketing, and Alternative Meat Marketing for ad- While developing a business plan may takeditional information. time and effort, it will be well worth the effort in the long run. An excellent tool for developing a business plan is Building a Sustainable Business: ACertified Organic Production Guide to Developing a Business Plan for Farms and Rural Businesses, developed by the Minnesota In- Certified organic products have found a stitute for Sustainable Agriculture. This publica-niche market with growing potential. The U.S. tion addresses all the steps of developing a plan,Department of Agriculture released the National from identifying your goals to implementing yourOrganic Program final rule, effective October plan. This publication can be viewed at <www.2002, that details the requirements for organic misa.umn.edu/publications/bizplan.html>. Tocertification. ATTRA has information about the order a spiral-bound copy of this workbook,rule and the certification process available on contact 802-656-0484, <sanpubs@uvm.edu>, 800-request. 909-6472, or <misamail@umn.edu.> As of 2004, An organic goat feeding program will prob- the cost is under $20, including shipping.ably require a combination of organic pasture and Producers can make effective use of labor andpurchased organic feed grains. A pasture must other resources by processing together, market-be free of synthetic pesticides or other prohibited ing together, buying in bulk, etc. Cooperatives cansubstances for three years prior to organic certifi- also help producers gain better access to fundingcation. Producers may want to request ATTRA’s and technical assistance. The USDA Rural Busi-Organic Livestock Feed Suppliers Resource List. The ness-Cooperative Development Service providesmajor difficulty with organic production of goats technical support for cooperative development.may be the issue of how to control internal para- Contact them for a catalog of publications andsites without recourse to anthelmintics. Cost and services (see Resources).availability of organic grains, hay, and beddingmay be obstacles to organic production as well. It is expensive and time-consuming to gothrough the certification process. Make sure your Resourcescustomers require certification before undertak- Many states have Extension publicationsing it. Refer to NCAT’s Organic Livestock Workbook about goats. Check with your local and statefor organic requirements. Extension offices for titles available in your state. Your Extension agent may also have information on local markets and sources of stock.Profitability Goat experts at Langston University’s E (Kika) de la Garza American Institute for Goat Unless goat production is just a hobby for Research are valuable sources of information.you, it is vital to do feasibility and business This is a goat research program with specialistsplanning. A feasibility study identifies “make or who are willing to answer questions about allbreak” issues that would prevent your business types of goats—dairy, meat, mohair, and cash-from being successful, and answers whether the mere. Langston’s Web site is <www.luresext.business idea makes sense. A feasibility study edu/goats/index.htm>.also provides useful information for the business The University of Florida Cooperative Exten-PAGE 16 //GOAT PRODUCTION: SUSTAINABLE OVERVIEW
  17. 17. sion service has a Dairy Goat Production Guide commoditysheets/fvsu005.htmthat is very informative and useful. This publica- Meat Goat – www.aginfo.fvsu.edu/publicat/tion can be viewed on-line at <http://edis.ifas. commoditysheets/fvsu006.htmufl.edu/DS134>. Caprine Supply and Hoegger Supply Com- North Carolina State University – Extensionpany both sell goat equipment, including vet- Animal Husbandry (see Meat Goat)erinary supplies and equipment for disbudding www.cals.ncsu.edu/an_sci/extension/animal/and tattooing, insemination, and milking and eahmain.htmldairy equipment, and more. In addition, theysell many of the books available on general goat Florida A & M Goat Programproduction and specialty books on dairy, meat, www.famu.edu/index.cfm?a=and fiber goats. A list of books is also provided goatsat the end of this publication, along with contactinformation for suppliers. The University of Maryland’s National Goat A good way to learn about goats is from other Handbookproducers, either formally or informally. Some www.inform.umd.edu/EdRes/Topic/farms provide internship opportunities. See AT- AgrEnv/ndd/goatTRA’s Internships and Apprenticeships ResourceList at <www.attrainternships.ncat.org/>. There University of California-Davismay be an association of goat producers in your www.animalscience.ucdavis.edu/facilities/area. Associations may focus on a locality, a type goats/index.htmof goat, or a particular breed. One way to findan association is to contact your local Extension University of California Cooperate Extensionoffice. There are goat listserves on the Internet www.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/vetext/INF-GO_with active producer participation, as well as CarePrax2000.pdfmany sites offering goat information. Empire State Meat Goat Producers Associa- tionWeb Sites www.esmgpa.org/index.cfmMaryland Small Ruminant Page Association of Small Ruminant Practitionerswww.sheepandgoat.com http://aasrp.org This site provides links to many topics about sheep and goat production and marketing. Livestock for Landscapes www.livestockforlandscapes.comCyber Goatswww.cybergoat.com BEHAVE–Behavioral Education for Human Animal Vegetation and Ecosystem Manage-Goat Connection mentwww.goatconnection.com www.behave.net Offers managers tools and resources to harnessLangston University – E. (Kika) de la Garza the power of behavior to induce beneficialAmerican Institute for Goat Research outcomes on the land.www2.luresext.edu/goats/index.htm National Scrapie Education InitiativeOklahoma State University www.eradicatescrapie.org/index.htmlwww.ansi.okstate.edu/breeds/goats FAMACHA informationFort Valley State University http://scsrpc.org/SCSRPC/FAMACHA/Georgia Goat Center Publications– famacha.htmwww.ag.fvsu.edu/mainpages/publications.cfmDairy Goat – www.aginfo.fvsu.edu/publicat/ //GOAT PRODUCTION: SUSTAINABLE OVERVIEW PAGE 17
  18. 18. CD-ROMs Dairy Goats: Sustainable Production This publication is intended for those interestedMulti-Species Grazing and Leafy Spurge in starting a commercial goat dairy. It discusses TEAM Leafy Spurge. 2002. the five major considerations to be addressed in USDA-ARS Northern Plains planning for dairy goat production: labor, sales Agriculture Research Laboratory and marketing, processing, regulations, and 1500 North Central Avenue budgeting and economics. It includes production Sidney, MT 59270 information specific to dairy goats, including 406-433-2020 choosing breeds and selecting stock. www.team.ars.usda.gov This CD provides a variety of useful informa- Small Ruminant Sustainability Checksheet tion about using grazing as an effective, afford- This checksheet is designed to stimulate critical able, and sustainable leafy spurge management thinking when evaluating a farm that produces tool. It contains economic reports, posters, sheep or goats. The sustainability of a farm photos, a PowerPoint presentation, an exten- depends on many factors involving farm man- sive bibliography, and more. A great resource. agement, use of resources, and quality of life. The questions in the checksheet are intended toGOATS! For Firesafe Homes in Wildland stimulate awareness rather than to rate manage-Areas ment practices. Use this guide to define areas in Kathy Voth your farm management that might be improved, 6850 West County Road 24 as well as to identify areas of strength. Loveland, CO 80538 www.livestockforlandscapes.com This CD/handbook is designed to provide fire managers, communities, and livestock owners Health information on using goats to reduce fire dan- ger. It includes expected results, and the Integrated Parasite Management for Livestock “hows” of managing animals, choosing treat With parasites developing resistance to all de- ment sites, developing contracts for services, wormers, and more farmers producing livestock estimating costs, and starting projects. This is by “natural” methods, there is interest in looking a great CD with some excellent videos. for alternative ways to manage parasite problems. This publication outlines a systems approach to assess and manage the soil, forages, and animalsATTRA Publications to decrease internal parasites and their effects.The following publications are available free Predator Control for Sustainable & Organicfrom ATTRA. Copies can be requested by call- Livestock Productioning 800-346-9140 or downloaded at our Web This publication focuses primarily on the controlsite, <www.attra.ncat.org>. of coyotes and dogs, which are the main causes of livestock lost to predation. It discusses manage- General ment practices, physical barriers, the use of guard animals, and other predator control measures.Sustainable Goat Production: Meat Goats Offers information specific to meat goat produc- tion and should be read after Goats: Sustainable Forages Production Overview. It discusses topics that include selection, breeds, marketing, feeding, and Assessing the Pasture Soil Resource profitability. It also includes sample budgets, case This publication explains how to take a soil sample studies of farms in Montana and Missouri, and and an easy way to assess soil biological activity and many further resources. water infiltration. Assessment sheet included. Matching Livestock and Forage Resources This publication examines how to manage pas-PAGE 18 //GOAT PRODUCTION: SUSTAINABLE OVERVIEW
  19. 19. tures and grazing animals to make more profit- rural areas and want to add new enterprises to able use of the farm’s resources. their operations. Its sections guide the reader in evaluating resources, assessing finances, gather-Meeting the Nutritional Needs of Ruminants ing information, and marketing. It also discusseson Pasture choosing an “alternative” enterprise and offers Impact of grazing management on nutrition, further resources. supplemental feeding on high quality pasture, feed profiling, feed budgeting, and matching Holistic Management livestock and forage resources for efficient pasture This is an introduction to holistic management. use are all covered. Holistic management is a decision-making frame- work that assists farmers and others in establish-Multispecies Grazing ing long-term goals, creating a detailed financial This is a brief overview of why multispecies graz- plan, developing a biological plan for the land- ing is beneficial, and includes considerations for scape, and implementing a monitoring program multispecies management. to assess progress toward the goals. Holistic Management helps managers to ask the rightIntroduction to Paddock Design questions and guides them in setting priorities. This presents the basics of paddock design and considerations in fencing and water technology. Keys to Success in Value-Added Agriculture Many enclosures. This publication presents, largely in the words of 14 farmers, important lessons they learned inRotational Grazing adding value to farm products and marketing This publication examines how to manage pas- directly to consumers. tures and grazing animals to make more profit- able use of the farm’s resources. Marketing Strategies for Farmers and Ranch- ers (SAN publication)Sustainable Pasture Management This includes managing fertility and pests, Adding Value to Farm Products: an Overview grazing systems, conserved forages, maintaining This publication introduces the concept of value- productivity, and additional resources. added farm products, explains a few of the nuts and bolts for starting a food processing business, Marketing and provides resources for additional informa- tion.Alternative Meat Marketing This is a comprehensive introduction to producer Value-added Dairy Options marketing of meat products. It discusses pitfalls, This presents considerations for those who want producing and packaging for quality and con- to increase their profitability by bottling milk, sistency, direct marketing options, value-added making cheese or yogurt, or doing some other products, food safety and labeling, and niche mar- processing of their milk. This publication dis- kets. Contains a list of resources. cusses regulations and organic milk certification and offers resources for further information. CallDirect Marketing 800-346-9140 to request this publication, since This publication on direct marketing alterna- enclosures are available only with the hard copy. tives— with emphasis on niche and specialty markets and value-added crops—features many farm case studies, as well as information on en- Books terprise budgets and promotion/publicity. A new section discusses implications of Internet market- The following books offer useful information ing and e-commerce for agriculture. on a wide variety of production and marketing issues. These titles may be available throughEvaluating a Rural Enterprise your local library, or may be requested through This publication is for people who already live in inter-library loan. Most of these books will be worthwhile purchases for individuals new to //GOAT PRODUCTION: SUSTAINABLE OVERVIEW PAGE 19
  20. 20. goat production. Previewing the books at a li- The New Goat Handbookbrary is the best way to select the titles that will Jaudas, Ulrich. 1989. Barrons Educational Se-be most useful to you. ries, Inc., Hauppauge, NY. 93 p. A colorful book with many photographs andUsed copies may be available through on-line line drawings. Very interesting and infor-services or through other booksellers. Many mative.suppliers of sheep and goat equipment alsooffer books in their catalogs, and copies are Goat Husbandryavailable from the publishers as well. Mackenzie, David. 1967. Faber and Faber Ltd., London. 368 p.Meat Goats: Their History, Management, and An older book, it can be found in librar-Diseases. ies and from sellers of used books. BritishMitcham, Stephanie, and Allison Mitcham. terminology. Very good reading. A classic.2000. Crane Creek Publications, Sumner, IA.264 p. Angora Goats the Northern Way A well-written combination of the author’s Drummond, Susan Black. 1988. 2nd edition. personal experiences raising goats, veteri- Stony Lonesome Farm, Freeport, Michigan. nary knowledge (Stephanie Mitcham is a 203 p. DVM), and a compilation of information Order from: Stony Lonesome Farm from other experts in the field. Includes 1451 Sisson Rd. information about handling systems (hard Freeport, MI 49325 to find elsewhere). Raising Goats for Milk and MeatSmall- Scale Livestock Farming: A Grass Sinn, Rosalee. 1995. Raising Goats for MilkBased Approach for Health, Sustainability, and Meat: A Heifer Project International Train-and Profit. ing Course. Heifer Project International, LittleEkarius, Carol. 1999. Storey Books, Pownal, VT. Rock, AR. 140 p.217 p. Written for persons with limited resources, Not specific to any species of livestock, this this is a very practical book. Available book contains farmer profiles and quite a bit through Caprine Supply (among other of holistic planning and economic informa- sources). tion. Very complete in treatment of rota- tional grazing. The Meat Goats of Caston Creek Tomlinson, Sylvia. 1999. Redbud PublishingStorey’s Guide to Raising Dairy Goats (re- Co., Victoria, TX. 181 p.vised and updated; originally titled Raising Personal experiences of the author.Milk Goats the Modern Way)Belanger, Jerry. 2001. Storey Books, Pownal, Your Goats: A Kid’s Guide to Raising andVT. 288 p. Showing Very good general book for producers of Damerow, Gail. 1993. Storey Books, Pownal, dairy goats. VT. 172 p.Goats and Goatkeeping Gail Damerow writes very good books; thisThear, Katie. 1988. Merehurst Press, London. one is easy to understand and very informa-176 p. tive. Not just for kids. Very interesting book for goat producers, geared for the small farm. Covers milk, Natural Goat Care meat, and fiber. Practical and concise, very Coleby, Pat. 2001. Acres U.S.A, Austin TX. similar to The New Goat Handbook, but 371 p. with added detail. Order from: Acres U.S.A. Austin, TX 78709 800-355-5313 Fascinating book; Australian author paysPAGE 20 //GOAT PRODUCTION: SUSTAINABLE OVERVIEW
  21. 21. much attention to nutrition and maintain- through every step of the process in creating ing health organically. a business plan. Includes many examples from existing farms. This workbook is aGoat Medicine bargain.Smith, Mary, and David M. Sherman. 1994.Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Baltimore, MD. …May Safely Graze: Protecting Livestock620 p. Against Predators This book is recommended as a useful gift Fytche, Eugene. 1998. Published by the au- for a veterinarian. Very scientific, some of thor. 103 p. To order, write to Eugene Fytche, the terminology will only be understood by R.R. #1, Almonte, Ontario. K0A 1A0. a veterinarian. Chapter 1 (Fundamentals of This book explores how to identify and Goat Practice) is very helpful to producers quantify the predator problem, and includes as well as veterinarians. Chapter 20 (Herd information on many methods to control Health Management and Preventive Medi- the problem, including guard animals, cine) is also very useful to producers. fencing, and management.Sheep and Goat Medicine Fences for Pasture & GardenPugh, D.G. 2002. W.B. Saunders Company, Damerow, Gail. 1992. Storey Communications,Philadelphia, PA. 468 p. Inc., Pownal, VT. 160p. A great gift for a veterinarian. A wealth of information for producers and for veterinar- Sheep Housing and Equipment Handbook ians. Knowledge of veterinary terminology Hirning, Harvey J., Tim C. Faller, Karl J. will be helpful in using this book . Hoppe, Dan J. Nudell, and Gary E. Ricketts. 1994. MidWest Plan Service, Ames, IA. 90 p.Goat Health Handbook: A Field Guide for This book is useful for goats, as well.Producers with Limited Veterinary Service Can be ordered by visitingThedford, T.R. 1983. Printed in collaboration <http://www.mwps.org/>.with Agricultural Experimental Station, Uni-versity of Arkansas. 123 p.Available from: Magazines International Winrock Publication Sales The Stockman Grass Farmer P.O. Box 9363 P.O. Box 2300 Arlington, VA 22209-0363 Ridgeland, MS 39158 800-748-9808Building a Sustainable Business: A Guide to www.stockmangrassfarmer.com/sgf/Developing a Business Plan for Farms and $32 per year (12 issues).Rural BusinessDiGiacomo, Gigi, Robert King, and Dale Nor- Countryside & Small Stock Journaldquist. 2003. Minnesota Institute for Sustain- W11564 Hwy 64able Agriculture, Saint Paul, MN, and the Sus- Withee, WI 54489tainable Agriculture Network, Beltsville, MD. 800-551-5691Available for $14.00 + $3.95 S/H by calling 802- www.countrysidemag.com656-0484 or 800-909-6472. Publication can also $18 per year (12 issues).be viewed at <www.misa.umn.edu/publica-tions/bizplan.html>. The Goat Magazine Business planning is an important part of 2268 CR 285 owning and managing a farm. A business Gillett, TX 78116 plan helps farmers demonstrate that they 830-789-4268 have fully researched their proposed enter- 830-789-0006 FAX prise, that they know how to produce their editor@goatmagazine.com product, how to sell what they produce, www.goatmagazine.com and how to manage financial risk. This $24.00 per year (6 issues). $5.00 for a comprehensive workbook will guide farmers sample issue. //GOAT PRODUCTION: SUSTAINABLE OVERVIEW PAGE 21