|We raise Full blood Boer and Boer percentages on 450 acres in Mills County, Texas. The terrain is varied, ranging from lush, rich pecan bottom lands to steep rocky cliffs and hills. We are on the banks of the Colorado River and have 2 seasonal creeks running thru our property.
The most economical feed available is what grows in the pasture. Our vegetation is as varied as the terrain and includes a smorgasbord of native and improved grasses, cedar, mesquite, pecan, oak and persimmon trees, and a seemingly endless amount and variety of brush and vines. We try to maximize the amount of native forage production by rotating our goats through cross-fenced pastures, allowing each pasture several months per year to "rest". Our goats stay pretty well exercised as they travel up and down the hills looking for whatever is the most favored browse for the day. We put out Sweet-Lix Meat Maker minerals year 'round. We like this mineral a lot not only because it is specially formulated for goats that live primarily on pasture with minimal feed supplements but also because it has an appropriate amount of copper for goats in it. There is no such thing as a "sheep and goat" mineral. If a mineral mix has an optimum amount of copper for goats, it will be toxic to sheep. Therefore, "sheep and goat" minerals have way too little copper for goats.
We feed very little to our goats unless they are heavy bred or if pastures are poor (think: drought). We begin providing 1/2 lbs. to 1 lbs. of 16% goat feed per head per day during the last months of pregnancy and until the kids are close to weaning age.
Occasionally we experience a prolonged period of inclement weather or prolonged drought and provide a good quality hay and protein blocks during those times especially if temperatures drop into the teens or below for more than a day or two.
Due to the excessive numbers of predators in our area we find it necessary to "pen-kid". We put our heavily pregnant does (we try to wait until at least 4 1/2 months along) in a large pen with a 3-sided shed. We put out round bales of either oat/wheat hay or sudan and supplement with daily feedings of a 16% coccidia-medicated protein supplement at a rate of 1/2 to 11/2 pounds per head per day. We try to get the kids and mothers out of the "maternity ward" as soon as possible. We transfer the family groups to the best pastures as soon as we are sure the kids are nursing well and that the mother is taking care of them - often as early as 2 or 3 days after birth. This helps reduce crowded conditions and stress in the "maternity ward".
We creep feed our kids thru weaning and on for another 2-3 months as this seems to give us the biggest bang for our feed bill.
All goats are vaccinated regularly with CD&T (Clostridium Perfringens Types C & D - Tetanus Toxoid) and for CL (Caseous Lymphadenitis). We vaccinate all does approximately 4 weeks before kidding. This provides protection for the newborns through their mother's milk. Kids receive their first vaccination at approximately 2 months of age, followed by a booster 3 to 4 weeks later. We try to revaccinate the kids again at about 6 months of age. Everyone is revaccinated at least once every year thereafter.
We band almost all of our buck kids at the time we first work the kids - at around two months of age. Only the best of the best with superior conformation and kept in tact. If we wouldn't want to buy it to breed our does, we won't sell it to you to breed to your does.
We cull for parasite resistance. We rotate our pastures. In the close to 20 years of raising goats, we've gone from needing to worm every month to month and a half to only 2-4 times per year, depending on how much rain we get. We check fecal samples regularly and treat for worms and coccidia according to sample results. We always worm our does after kidding in case the hormonal changes cause an explosion of worms. A wormy doe will not have the optimal amount of milk to raise 2 or more healthy babies to weaning.
We are lucky in that there are rocky areas throughout our property and this seems to keep hooves worn down. We trim feet as needed, which is not often.
We consider culling to be an integral part of our herd health management. We select does that require minimum intervention on our part to remain healthy. We cull any does that can't thrive on pasture alone with minerals during times of good pasture. We also cull heavily for mothering ability. We want does that can have twins or triplets and raise them to weaning with minimal input from us.
We live on the banks of the Colorado River and have 2 creeks crossing our property so therefore we have a lot of predators including coyotes, bobcats, mountain lions, wild (feral) hogs, and black headed buzzards. We have 3 Anatolian Shepards / Great Pyr crosses that live with the goats. They are so protective of the herd we rarely have predator losses.
On occasion, we will set snares for coyotes if we start losing any goats to them, but the dogs are our primary defense.