Sunday, December 29, 2013

Testing for CAE

Caprine Arthritis Encephalitis is a devastating disease in goat herds. Unfortunately, it can lie dormant in goats for years before manifesting as severe arthritis or scar tissue in a doe's udder. In kids who develop the disease, it manifests as the encephalitis form, causing seizures.

In my opinion, testing for CAE is essential, and disposing of CAE positive animals is the easiest option for the goat owner who has a small herd to supply milk and meat for the home.

You will see claims that CAE can be "managed" by separating a diseased goat from the healthy herd and by bottle feeding any kids. This method is time consuming and risky. All births must be witnessed, and the kids must NOT receive colostrum from an infected doe. Also, when you sell goats, the ethical practice is to inform buyers that you have CAE on your farm.

Some goat owners don't mind "managing" CAE positive goats, but due to the nature of the disease and the problems of maintaining separate facilities, I recommend putting down any positive goats. I understand that other goat owners may have different opinions.

How to test for CAE:

Things to have on hand:
Syringes and needles
Alcohol swabs
Vacuum tubes (red top, no coating)
Small Priority Mail box
Bubble Wrap
Paper towels
Zip Lock bags
Permanent Marker

Click on links in steps for more info.

1. Draw blood from each goat into a separate red top vacuum tube.
How to draw blood (with pictures)

How to draw blood (video)

2. Insert needle into red top tube, and the vacuum will draw the blood into the tube.

3. Label each tube with the name of the goat.

4. Fill out the submission form.

5. Package as per instructions on the website. Be sure to include your payment.

NOTE: Check the website for testing dates. I always ship on a Monday before a testing date.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Bottle schedules (several options) for full size goats

This question comes up frequently on the goat board at, so I've complied schedules here. Credits given.

Feeding Schedule *this is meant as a general guide, some babies will need more*

1st week~ 4 feedings per day, 2-4 oz. per feeding for small goats and 4-6 oz for large goats, colostrum for the first 24 hours!

2nd week to 8 weeks ~ 3 feedings per day, 5-12 oz. per feeding for small goats and 6-20 oz for large goats, you will be gradually building up to the larger amount of milk

8+ weeks ~ 1 or 2 feedings per day, 10-12 oz. per feeding for small goats and 15-20 oz for larger goats, gradually reducing the amount in the bottle until weaning is complete

*we aim for about 1 oz. per lb body weight for the 1st 3 weeks*

We recommend using Whole Vitamin D Cow’s Milk from the grocery to bottle feed your baby. At 4 weeks of age, we add .5 cc’s of Poly-Vi-Sol to a bottle every day for additional vitamins and minerals.

Always warm the milk to about 102* (a little warmer than you would for a human baby) – a baby goat cannot digest cold milk. The microwave is fine for this, but make sure to shake the bottle before feeding it to eliminate hot spots in the milk. You should start introducing water, hay and goat feed around 4 weeks of age. They probably will do little more than play with it at first, but they will eventually get the idea about solid foods.

Kids usually will drink only until they are full. If they are usually drinking a 12 oz bottle and for one feeding they only drink 6 oz, that is ok. Be careful not to overfeed them. Don't give them more than 12 oz per bottle for the small goats and 20 oz per bottle for the large goats.


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If I have the milk I pretty well let them take what they want every time I feed. When they start playing with the nipple they are done. Same way when I start with the lambar. If they all pull off and there is no milk left I put a little more in it next time. I only feed three times a day for three weeks or so, then switch to two times a day. I have three that are a little over a month old right now taking about 15 lbs of milk a day.


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I 'free choice' feed - meaning kids get as much milk as they want each feeding. This is how I raise my Nubian bottle babies -

They get 10-16 oz of colostrum in the first 12 hours after birth - divided into 3-4 feedings depending on the size of the kid - smaller kids will eat less more often.

For the next 24 hours they are fed once every 4-5 hours - 5 feedings. Here they are switched to milk and eat an average of 5-8 oz a feeding.

At this point I start adding in baking soda to the milk - 2 TBS per 1 gallon.
They are then fed once every 6 hours - 4 times a day for the next 2 weeks. They usually start out around 6-10 oz a feeding are up to 12-16 oz a feeding by 2 weeks of age.

After 2 weeks of age they are moved to a 3 a day feeding - once every 8 hours. Between 2 and 4 weeks of age they increase to about 20 ounce a feeding.

I keep them on 3 feedings a day until they are weaned. After they are month of age I usually give them a 12 hour night, and then the other 2 feedings 6 hours a part. Around 6 weeks of age they are eating between 2 and 3 quarts a day. Some of my largest buck kids will eat just a tad over 3 quarts, but most will only get up to 2 1/2 quarts a day. I have found that 2 quarts is an adequate amount with good growth, but wouldn't feed less. I don't wean my kids until they are 75-80% of adult weight which is usually around 6 months of age. In the end our kids average between 80-120 gallons of milk before they are weaned.

They are also started on alfalfa hay at a week of age, and really eating it by 4 weeks.

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Monday, March 18, 2013

Supplies List

This is a FIRST draft of things to keep on hand.... will be updating it.

For the milk house:
Milk Stand (I have two that I built following the fiascofarm plan)
Paper towels (regular)
Paper towels (blue, cut roll in half, remove cardboard, place in plastic coffee can, pour in udder wash)
Udder wash of your choice
Trash can
Little cups for kitty milk (first squirts from each teat to clear orifice bacteria)
Fly spray
Small shop vac
Plastic trash cans with lids for feed
Motion activated night light

Medicine Cabinet (supplies):
Chlorhexidine concentrate
Vitamin E capsules
Cotton balls
Small disposable paper cups
Rags of all sizes
Syringes (3cc, 6cc, and 12cc)
Red top vacuum seal blood collection tubes
Kid puller
Bolus gun
Drench gun

Medicine Cabinet (meds):
Copper boluses
Various antibiotics
Dexamethasone (anti-inflammatory)
Tetanus antitoxin
E Coli vaccine
Vitamin C powder
Oral Calcium/Magnesium supplement
B Complex (injectible)
Thiamine (injectible)
Safeguard (for tapeworms in kids)

Mo'Milk - Fiasco Farm
Dairy Maid - Fir Meadow
Mastoblast - Jeffers
Better Daze - Fir Meadow

Sheep and Goat Medicine, Dr. David Pugh (Textbook)
(Also google Sue Weaver Goat Books for a variety of good starter books)

Mineral options:
Cargill Right Now - Onyx
Purina Goat Mineral (loose)
Jolly German Ultimate Goat Mineral
Cobalt for top dressing