Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Deworming Goats

I am a volunteer expert on the subject of goats on a question website. A few days ago a goat owner asked: “Can you tell me when to worm and what to use for does who have been bred and those who have already kidded?”

My answer: Ideally, you would collect the goat berries and send them to a lab for fecal testing to see whether they even have parasites to the degree that they need to be dewormed.

If you can't do that, you can deworm the day after they kid or if they show signs of parasites. The wormer depends on your area, what there is resistance to, what the goats have gotten in the past, etc.

I often use Safeguard, which is safe for pregnant moms, inexpensive and they don't mind the taste. All wormers except Moxidectin should be given orally, even when they say injectable.

Valbazen should not be given during the first 3 months of pregnancy because it can cause birth defects. If you are using the milk you also need to be aware of the milk withdrawal times for each, too. (My book has all that info) If you decide on a dewormer and need to know about milk withdrawal, let me know and I can give you that info (my italics; note that I offered to give her the info from my book).

Sorry, this is so much information and it may be hard to decide what to give. I bought a microscope so I could do my own fecal exams, and I tend to deworm less than a lot of other people. I hope this helps!

The reader’s response: This is not much of an answer and feel it is more an ad for your book. Thanks anyway, I look further on the net.
I think that the real issue the questioner had was that I suggested she only treat goats that actually have worms! What a concept. Much like the resistance to antibiotics that we are seeing today (70% of all antibiotics are used in food animals), widespread resistance to dewormers has become a real problem.

So what’s stopping people from appropriately treating their goats—is it time? Or is it cost? Or is it laziness? I think that the time spent collecting poop (you don’t even have to catch the goat), mixing solution and doing the lab work is probably a trade-off with the time spent catching goats and giving them medication.

If the issue is money, consider this: A good microscope for this work costs as little as $84; supplies may run up to $20 more. You can make solution from sugar or Epsom salts, both inexpensive and available. OR, the cost to send samples to WADDL (veterinary lab) is only about $33 for one sample and $12 (in Washington) or $18 (out of state) for additional. If you are treating all animals for parasites anyway, a group test (berries from various goats in thee herd) would cost only $33. And how much does dewormer cost?

Actual costs will vary by dewormer. For example, fenbendazole, which kills stomach, intestinal and lung-worms is about $10 for 10 doses. The hidden cost is increasing resistance by giving it repeatedly. Rather expensive Dectomax, 100 ml, is broad-spectrum and $85 or more. It is safe in pregnant animals but has a long milk withholding time. One bottle is equivalent to the cost of a microscope, and microscopes don’t have a expiration dates.

Ivomec injectable, 50 ml, should be given orally and has about 25 doses per $38 bottle, or more than the cost of a group test. Safe-Guard liquid dewormer, which many will not use due to resistance, is inexpensive at about $21 per bottle, has from 40 to 100 doses, depending on the size of the goat.

Anyone who is serious about goats should make the investment in their health: If you are concerned that they may have an overload of parasites, get them tested and treat those with problems. And remember, goats should have some parasites in a healthy digestive system. Only when they get out of control is there a problem. Trying to keep all of the worms dead all of the time is asking for trouble.

Finally, while a person could choose to drink milk from or eat a goat with a drug residue, it is a violation of federal law to sell a goat with drug residues in it, when you know that it may be food, or to sell milk that has residues. So be aware of withdrawal times.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

More News on Cottonseed in Animal Feed

Goat Health Care covers feeding goats to keep them healthy and includes a section entitled "Say No to Cottonseed in Goat Feed." The major reason given is that it can kill livestock guardian dogs that may happen to eat it. There are also concerns about negative effects on young goats. Now a new study shows further problems with cottonseed fed to young calves.

Dairy Herd Management magazine reports:

A University of California-Davis study recently found that feeding gossypol, a derivative of the cottonseed plant, can negatively impact embryo development in virgin heifers.The study randomly assigned 50 postpubertal heifers to one of three diets which differed in dietary free gossypol (FG) content:

Control diet: 0 mg of FG/kg of BW

Moderate diet: 17.8 mg of FG/kg of BW

High diet: 36.8 mg of FG/kg of BW

Heifers were fed treatment diets for 70 days before superovulation and embryo collection. Heifers were flushed five days after induction of ovulation.

Researchers found that the higher gossypol concentrations increased the number of low-quality embryos produced. Embryos collected from heifers in the high diet had the fewest number of live cells and had cells of smaller diameter. Higher dietary gossypol compromised in vitro development and increased the number of degenerated embryos

Cottonseed meal may seem like a cheap way to feed goats in these hard economic times, but if the above holds true for goats, it may actually cost more in the long run. So just say no!

Celebrate the Spring Bounty of Goat Milk and Eggs

This popover recipe makes for an easy breakfast using eggs and goat milk.


4 large eggs
2 cups goat milk
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Grease popover or muffin pan and dust with flour so the batter will have something to climb.

In a large bowl beat eggs slightly with a wire whisk. Add milk, flour and salt and beat until smooth. Do not over-beat.

Fill muffin cups 1/2 to 3/4 full. Bake for 20 minutes and then lower temperature to 350 degrees. Bake until they are well-browned and crusty, about 10 minutes longer. (If they are not browned, they will collapse.) Avoid opening the oven until the last 5 minutes to prevent them from deflating. Remove from oven and serve immediately.

This makes 16 regular sized popovers or 6 large ones.

From Ruminations #39, 2003

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Acini de Pepe with Spinach, Feta and Garlic

Goats are in milk again, and it's time to start making cheese. Feta is one of the easiest, and a favorite, so here's a great side dish that uses both feta and that early-sprouting spinach for those with a winter garden or greenhouse. Make it as garlicky as you like. Enjoy!

½ lb acini di pepe or orzo pasta (1¼ cups)

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons butter

3 cloves garlic, minced (1 tablespoon) (or to taste)

¼ teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes

3 green onions, chopped

¾ lb fresh spinach, chopped

½ cup crumbled feta cheese

Cook pasta in an uncovered 4- to 6-quart pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain well. Transfer to a bowl and keep warm, covered.

While pasta is boiling, heat oil and butter in a heavy skillet over medium high until hot but not smoking. Sauté garlic, red pepper flakes and green onions, stirring occasionally, until garlic is golden, about 2 minutes. Add spinach and cook, stirring until completely wilted.

Toss pasta with spinach mixture and feta until combined. Season with salt and pepper.

Makes 6 servings.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

New Test for Scrapie in Goats

Considered a "minor" species, goats have long gotten short shrift when it comes to disease research. That is gradually changing, no doubt because goat meat is catching on as a food in this country. The Agriculture News Service reports on a new test for scrapie in goats, as well as research findings regarding genetic resistance and susceptibility.

Scrapie is a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (related to "mad cow" disease and chronic wasting disease in deer). While it is a horrible disease, and can take two to five years after infection to show clinical signs, it is not exactly a big problem in US goats. Only 21 goats had ever been diagnosed with scrapie, as of the beginning of 2009. Not exactly an epidemic, unlike caprine arthritis encephalitis virus (or CAEV, the goat form of HIV).

I really wish that USDA would put their money into researching genetic resistance of CAEV in goats. CAEV was first discovered in 1974 and in the 1980s more than 80% of goats were found to be infected. Since then, despite the failure of management programs to eradicate it in US goats, that figure has changed to between 10% and 30% infected.

You can find more on scrapie and CAEV in Goat Health Care.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Goat Stories

The New York Times yesterday ran an article by Henry Alford entitled "How I Learned to Love Goat Meat." Apparently he was either unaware of a male goat in Oneshila, Namibia, that had started chasing children, or he likes eating caprine meat so much that he was willing to risk the wrath of New York goats.

According to one of the street vendors at the Namibian market, the goat went crazy after it found out that people are selling goat meat there. “I also used to sell goat meat, but now I stick to cow meat. I’ve been telling my fellow street vendors to follow suit so that we don’t make the goat angrier than it already is, but they have so far refused.”

So far, no one has called the police on the goat. Unfortunately, a meat goat that escaped the slaughterhouse in Minnesota DID have the police called on her. Despite reports that she wasn't aggressive, the cowardly St. Paul police shot her with a high-powered shotgun and then left without even cleaning up the blood. She was the 3rd goat shot by them in the past year.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Chupacabra Strikes in Low Pass!

Caprine keepers in Low Pass, Burp Hollow and other communities in the Oregon coast range have long had to be concerned about cougars, coyotes, bears and domestic dogs attacking their animals. Many have livestock guardian dogs, donkeys or llamas to protect the animals; others just make sure the goats are locked up safely each night.

On Mystic Acres Farm last night the livestock guardian dog, Marley, was chained up because he had started jumping fences. This left him in a place where he could warn off predators in the lower barn, but he no longer had access to the upper barn, where eight new goat kids, their mothers and two yearlings live.

When owner Cheryl Smith went to the upper barn on the morning of April 1, she was confronted by a horrible sight. Several of the goats were lying in the barn, looking almost as flat as a pancake. Their gums and eyes were completely white and their bodies were much lighter than they had been the night before. Having read about the Chupacabra previously, she took one of the goats to Oregon State University College of Veterinary Medicine, where a pathologist confirmed her suspicions: All of the blood had been sucked from the goats!

Whether it had been lurking previously, or just reached the area last night is unknown, but for the first time in Oregon history a Chupacabra is believed to have attacked goats.

Chupacabras are normally found in Mexico, the southwest US or Puerto Rico and survive by biting the neck and the sucking the blood from livestock, particularly goats. The Chupacabra can fly or leap very high. It also is very smart and has the ability to become undetectable. Descriptions of the Chupacabra vary widely with reports that it is either hairless or short-haired, or has coarse black hair; that it looks like a cross between a coyote and a pit bull, or it looks half-human-half vampire beast, or it looks like a cross between a “Grey” extraterrestrial and a dinosaur. The size of this one was estimate to be small because of the small fang-marks and the lack of footprints.

Smith says that she will not be chaining her dog up at night again. She wants to get word out in the community to be on the lookout for this horrid creature. Her final words of advice for those without guardian animals is: Lock your goats up at night!

Happy April 1st!