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Herd Health- Test Results

A healthy herd is paramount for the the work we do here on our small farm. We run annual blood tests for the entire herd to be sure everyone is negative for CAE, and we immediately quarantine and test any new animals brought onto our property. Our most recent recent negative CAE test is below, Jan 2023.

In agreement with what our veterinarians and studies have shown, testing the blood for Johne's is wildly inaccurate, and often times can read false positives resulting in unnecessary cause for alarm. This is especially true on farms who free range poultry around their ruminants.

We instead have chosen to run a fecal PCR for Johne's disease every few years. Fecal PCR's and extended cultures are the only accurate way to test for the presence of Johne's disease, even though blood serology tests are available. Our next johnes test will be Aug 2023, we have always been negative.

We monitor our herd carefully and do daily health checks on all animals. Any abscesses are treated extremely seriously and result in quarantine and a vet call for fluid to be tested, we have NEVER had a CL+ abscess in our herd. Below are our 2023 CL test results. One doe's sample was too coagulated to test, so she will be tested in Aug when we send our fecals in. She has always been negative along with all other herd members.


Products we use, brands we trust, and how we feed.

Note: Products and supplements used are at the direction of our veterinarian coupled with our own experiences and research. What works for one herd may not for another, and you should always discuss feed and supplement usage with a vet or expert in small ruminant nutrition.

Our Milkers are fed a variety of grains in their daily milking routine.
  • The Blue Seal Goat 18 is what is most readily available to us, while we really loved feeding other brands in the past they were inconsistent as far as availability. You should always choose a feed you know you can easily have access to so you don't go through unnecessary feed changes often. Freshness and consistency are best!
  • We do make sure to purchase this poulin feed on our trips north and store it to feed to our heavy milkers and does we feel do best with higher proteins. 
Black Oil Sunflower Seeds (BOSS)
  • We feed BOSS daily to our does as a natural source of vit e, selenium, zinc, and fiber! They love them and their coats stay nice and shiny! Some herds have reported an increase in butterfat from the natural fats of the BOSS.
  • Merrick's Goat Probiotics offer Lactic Acid Bacteria and Vitamins and works well as a top dress on feed. In times we cannot get this brand we have had luck with the ProBios brand, but our goats eat this without issues on their grain as a daily supplement. probiotics help to keep the gut happy and functioning so we get the most out of our feed, I also find this helps with topline cover in our does and having nice full rumens.
  • Chaffehaye was something that we took a while to get on board with but after hearing of the success it brought others, we really gave it a chance and some of our does prefer this over grain on the stand. While you do need to be careful on how you store it (esp. in warmer and humid climates) it has been a real help with some of our heaviest milkers, and also in getting does appetites back post kidding
What we are careful with and use in moderation: 
  • Beet Pulp is often a staple for many goat herds, but the calcium:phos ration is nearly 10:1, this can pose a risk of throwing the ratio off and particularly in growing animals lead to developing bone and joint issues. Times that we use Beet Pulp we have always balanced this with a Stabilized Rice Bran like Max-E-Glo or Equi-Jewel as the Phosphorous is very high and can help balance the beet pulp. plus both products help with weight gain.

  • Liquid fat supplements like Omega Oils. We use these post-kidding to help our does  bounce back, just something we feel helps skin, coat, and overall vitality. But too much fat can certainly disrupt the gut and also throw stools off, among other things. We like using the HealthyCoat supplement. A cow farmer once told us that oils can sometimes be used to cause rapid growth in cattle, but at the detriment of bone strength and joint development (Perhaps like the beet pulp and calcium levels) so again, everything in moderation and certainly as the direction of a vet and/or nutritionist.

Feed them, and they will grow. Kids!

  • Free Choice Grain? *Gasp* yep. If they are hungry, they can eat. Our Kids begin getting offered grain at just around a week old and from there as they start to nibble, we let them eat as much hay and grain (and milk) as their hearts desire. We only switch to filling grain twice daily in the fall when the youngest kids are at least 4 months old.
Free-Choice COOL Milk?? Yikes!
  • Yep, we lambar raise all our kids. started on a bottle and fed warm colostrum, then free fed warm milk three times daily for around a week. After that? Well, our lambars are filled up with cool milk twice daily and hooked onto the pens for the kids to drink as much as they like. We have never had issues of bloating, over eating or other concerns we have heard in the past. The lambars are thoroughly cleaned and disinfected in the evening and ready for the process to repeat the next day.

  • We use Calf-Pro Liquid supplement daily in our Lambars. We are now drenching this product, we no longer add this into the lambar as there is zero way to ensure the proper does be administered when you group feed, some kids drink more, some less. We use at a rate of 1ml/11lbs weight. We also STOP using this product once kids are regularly eating the Medicated feed. DOUBLING up on your coccidiostats can be dangerous for numerous reasons, ionophore toxicity being a rising concern as more and more products like this are abused and misused.

Boys, Boys, Boys!

  • We don't really treat out boys too different, they get the same minerals, free choice Baking Soda, Alfalfa and Orchard hays,. We feed Blue Seal Medicated Grower feed. We make sure to give plenty of access to fresh water and free choice hay and that their calcium : phosphorous is as balanced as we can help it. We have never had urinary calculi issues.

Hay, You? Hay!

  • We feed as much variety in hay as we can find, this can include Orchard, Timothy, Oat, Alfalfa, or a mix! Our most important hay is our Alfalfa for the milkers. It's what they thrive on, even in the hot months and what we feel keeps our herd the healthiest. We would never cut back on the quality of our hays even if the price of it can be outrageous at times. If we have to offer lower quality to maintain our herd size, then it's time for a smaller herd. Just our "two cents". We sometimes travel a ways to get the hay we desire, but our ungrateful goats are all the better off for our troubles. The biggest things we have had to look out for in our hay adventures are wet, poorly baled hays that were baled before being fully dried, or were simply baled at too high of a moisture content and thus mold easily once tightly baled.

Minerals, and other Free Choice Products

Below is a list of products we leave out for all of our goats at all times. We firmly believe that these products are consumed as-needed and that they benefit the health of our animals, ensuring they get required vitamins and minerals. Some are higher in protein, some in calcium, etc. Sometimes our goats will go through one extremely fast yet seemingly leave the others alone, we allow them to choose what and how much to eat and trust their bodies know what they're doing.

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