for people who love the littlest dairy goats
I'm being gifted two new bucks from a family member in a couple of weeks after they are fully weaned. They're currently about 9 1/2 weeks old. They've never been wormed although they did receive decoquinate a week ago because they had diarrhea. Diarrhea has resolved and they appear healthy, active and are gaining weight.
They'll be kept in a separate pen and wood lot from my two does that are 5 and 6 months old.
Any tips on what to do and not do (e.g. worming, quarantine, pasture transition etc.)?
Hi Philip. Congrats on your new bucklings! This is actually a little complicated to answer =/ LOL... so I'll apologize for the book now!
1)Worming- you should never de-worm any goat just because. That is the fastest path to de-wormer resistance that you can travel. Instead, you should check their FAMACHA score and pair that with a 5-point check to make your de-worming decisions. A 5-point check includes 1-FAMACHA score, 2-is bottle jaw present(swelling under the jaw), 3-overall body condition, 4-coat condition, 5- is diarrhea present More information on these 2 screening tools can be found here- https://60f7303d-ac52-4cac-b7fb-6050f500b0b6.filesusr.com/ugd/6ef60...
On another note- coccidia should be of concern to you, especially since they have already required a treatment for it. Coccidia are protozoa that are present in all goats to a certain extent. They are easily kept under control by healthy adult goats. Biggest problem with them occurs in kids from 1-6 months of age, before their immune systems are fully established. Stress is a big issue with causing over population of coccidia which can quickly take your kids down with coccidiosis. Giving them medicated feed for 4-6 weeks after arrival to their new home can be helpful in assisting them to keep coccidia populations in check as the stress of weaning and/or relocating can be very taxing on kids.
2) Quarantine- any new goat that comes onto my property is quarantined for a minimum of 30 days in an area away from the other goats. Some people also practice quarantine de-worming to reduce the risk of bringing de-wormer resistant parasites onto their property. That is a de-worm for the goat that includes all 3 classes of de-wormers at the same time, and is really the only time that experts recommend a 'standardized' de-worming practice.
I think I understand your note to mean that this is your plan already, but just in case...it is best practice for little bucklings and little doelings to always live in separate quarters. This will allow you to escape an entire litany of complicated situations. The most serious would be a doeling getting pregnant when she is way too young and then being in a situation that warrants a c-section to save her life. Some bucklings can do the deed as young as several weeks old, which means your doelings could easily become pregnant during their first heat cycle at 4-6 months of age. A nigerian doe should be a minimum of 40# (2/3 of her adult weight) before being bred for safest odds during delivery.
3) Pasture transition- be sure that they get plenty of hay to fill their bellies before turning them out onto the new pasture each day. This will decrease the amount of new green forage intake, and hopefully help you deter diarrhea from consuming too much at one time. I would also highly recommend that you gradually work up to all day pasture access over several days. We had a terrible situation of dark green pudding poop this year when our bucks helped themselves to a pasture that we were experimentally growing a goat specific forage in. We were waiting until the forage was about a foot high before starting the transition, and the little boogers broke through the barrier and helped themselves for several hours before we discovered them. It was a 2 day disgusting poop fest!!!!
If you enjoy podcasts, please follow Deborah's. It is called For The Love of Goats and there is sooo much amazing info covered. You will not be disappointed. (There are also transcripts for reading, if you prefer that) I would also highly recommend visiting thriftyhomesteader.com and clicking on the Goat icon. That will take you to over 100 articles on goats. GREAT info!!!
Hope this info helps!