for people who love the littlest dairy goats
We're going to start doing farm tours at our place this spring as an add-on to our goat milk product business. Everyone is so keen to see the goats (especially the babies). But I worry about maintaining goat health if people are interacting with them. Just wondering how others deal with keeping their critters healthy if they have visitors come to the farm. Thanks!
When we have an open farm with a couple hundred people here throughout the day, we don't let people go into the livestock pens or barn. They have to look at animals through the fence. When I do classes on the farm, I do let those attendees go into the barn and through the pasture. Being open to the public is not much of a problem because most of those people are not coming from farms or ranches. However, if you have someone coming from a farm, that's more of a risk, which means that I probably should have class attendees wear plastic booties or do a disinfectant foot bath when going through the barn. The goats are not going to get a human disease from people, but it would be possible for them to get something like Johnes if someone had manure on their boots from a Johnes-infected cow, sheep, or goat.
I had a spinning group at my home for several years and most of the people came from farms. I had a lot of problems during that time. Pink eye, more worm problems. I felt like I was bringing in a lot of problems for my flock.
Finally stopped having anyone go into my barn or pasture area because of it. I fortunately had a large llama that didn't really like people so it worked well to keep people out.
I went to a farm to see some romney's for sale one time and they had a foot bath and bleach and water bottles at their gate. With directions on putting some in the pan and standing in it for a couple of minutes before entry. They said they had experienced problems brought by others. Plastic booties would be a good idea Deborah, especially when you think something as serious as Johnes could be brought in.
I have everyone wear fresh clothes (at least, I ask them to), clean hands, and disinefect their shoes in bleach water when they get here (with the exception of friends/family that I know don't have farm animals). I also disinfect my own shoes and change/wash clothes if I go to another farm (I farm sit and also occasionally go help new people do things like draw blood and disbud, plus I have friends with goats). In addition to that, I have a pair of farm-only shoes that never leave my property. I always say one day I'm going to buy booties, and I think I will soon - I feel like that would be easier for people and more effective, since it covers the tops of shoes, too. I *usually* don't let people into the goat's living area.
I am probably a little overly cautious/paranoid, but I'd rather be too careful than be too lax and regret it later.