I-Diamond-I Ranch, L.L.C.


ABOUT OUR BOER GOAT OPERATION

We raise Full blood Boer and Boer percentages on 550 acres in Mills County Texas.  The terrain is varied, ranging from lush, rich pecan bottom lands to steep rocky cliffs and hills.  Currently we have a breeding group of close to 200 Boer and percentage Boer does.

FEEDING

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 tend to have way too little copper for goats.

During the last couple of months of pregnancy we start putting out protein block for the expectant mothers.  We currently use Purina 37% protein range blocks.  37% is a very high level protein but there is a salt limiter in it which means the does will only eat a little bit of it each day.

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 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 to 1 pounds per head per day.  We try to get the kids and mothers out of "maternity ward" as soon as possible.  If conditions are good and we have excess forage behind our high fence (where we raise fallow deer) we transfer the family groups to oat or ryegrass pastures as soon as we are sure the kids are nursing well and that the mother is taking care of them - some times as early as 2 or 3 days after birth.  This helps reduce crowded conditions and stress in the "maternity ward".

Occasionally we experience a prolonged period of inclement weather 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.

HANDLING FACILITY

Our philosophy is that the simpler our handling facility is, the better.  Our handling 
facility is a work in progress.  So far it consists of a  catch pen divided into 3 smaller 
pens.  A larger pen is in the works and will cover approximately 1 acre.  We have 
2 three-sided barns.  The smaller one is 10 X 20 feet and is used mainly to house a
hay manger and provide shelter for any sick or injured animals.  The larger barn is 
25 X 60 feet, and sits in what will be the larger pen.  This pen will be used mainly for 
kidding.  Our goats spend the vast majority of their lives in the brush.

HEALTH MANAGEMENT

Vaccination
All goats are vaccinated regularly with CD&T (Clostridium Perfringens Types C & D - Tetanus Toxoid) and with an autogenous CL  (Caseous Lymphadenitis) vaccine we have specially prepared for our herd. 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.

Castration
Buck kids are castrated before they reach 20 to 25 pounds, which will be usually  between 2 and 4 weeks of age.  We use one of two methods:  banding or surgery.   We generally prefer the surgical method as it is our experience that the kids seem to  recover quicker with fewer side effects, but it requires 2 people (one to hold the kid, and one to operate) and we are not always available at the same time.  All buck kids receive a tetanus antitoxin shot before either method is used.

Parasite control
We check fecal samples regularly and treat for worms and coccidia according to 
sample results.  We pay particular attention during bouts of wet weather and any 
other time the herd may be unusually stressed.

Feet
We inspect hooves a couple of times a year, but trim an average of once a year.  We are lucky in that there are rocky areas through out our property and this seems to keep hooves worn down.

Culling
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 don't thrive on pasture alone as well as any that exhibit signs of chronic problems such as CL  despite vaccinations, mastitis, and lack of resistance to parasite loading.  Any does with chronic foot problems or joint problems are culled as well as any that show poor mothering skills or don't have kids every year.

KIDDING

Kidding is by far my favorite time of the year.  It is immensely satisfying to see a couple of well fed, healthy twins exploring the world for the first time under the watchful eye of Mama.  We cull heavily for kidding and mothering ability - we expect our does to kid every year, to twin, to require little to no assistance kidding as well as to show strong maternal instincts.  We have two kidding seasons each year.  The first generally begins mid-Feb. and is mostly over before the heat of the summer sets in towards the end of April although we seem to always have a few exceptions.  The next season is generally in October, after the brutal heat of the summer has abated but before winter hits.

PREDATOR CONTROL

We live on the banks of the Colorado River and therefore have a lot of predators on our place including coyotes, bobcats, mountain lions, wild (feral) hogs, and black headed buzzards.  We have 3 Anatolian Shepards that live with the goats on the river.  They are awesome protectors, but unfortunately can't be every where all the time.  We have 2 donkeys (jennies) that live with the goats at the other property and apparently do a pretty good job of keeping dogs and coyotes at bay.  Most importantly, we "pen kid" and try not to let kids loose on the river acreage until they are at least 30 to 40 pounds.
 


 

 

   


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