The Place Where Animal Lovers Come Together - Fall 2008

Featured Story | For this self-described “old hippie,”
raising goats has
been a lifelong passion 
At 68, Beverly Calcote laughingly describes her goat farm in Monterrey County, California as a leftover 4-H project. “It’s a small operation, with about six to nine milkers.” The total number of goats fluctuates, depending on the cycle. Last year she kidded out 12 boer goat does, and more than half of them had triplets. She also kidded out 15 dairy goats, and it’s dairy goats that are her main love. But Calcote’s very first goat wasn’t a milker. He was a club mascot that she and husband Skip rescued from the pound 48 years ago. It was later that she developed an interest in dairy goats when she discovered her nine-month-old daughter was allergic to cow’s milk and formula. > click to read more!

Keeping your Goats Healthy This Winter
Winter is just around the corner. Taking a few simple steps this month to prepare can save you from having to improvise when the thermometer dips in coming weeks.

  • Shelter. Now’s the time to make sure your goats have access to a shelter that can shield them from the wind and wet—emphasis on wet. A wet hair coat loses much of its insulation capacity and puts your goats at risk. Your shelter should be secure enough to keep bedding dry, but still allow for proper ventilation. So make the most of these pleasant autumn days and turn shelter maintenance into a family project. Remember, there’s nothing more miserable than discovering a leaky roof and then traipsing through mud to slap together a makeshift solution in finger-numbing cold.

  • Fresh Air. Even during the cold months, goats need fresh air—especially young goats. In fact, constant confinement is unhealthy. Since bedding should be fluffed and rotated regularly, and wet, soiled bedding should be replaced, this can be a good excuse to turn the goats out while you work. In fact, as long as there is no heavy precipitation or extreme cold, goats are usually better off outdoors in winter. Consider constructing a simple raised platform in the pasture. It can provide a playtime diversion for young goats while keeping them up off the cold ground this winter.

  • Water. Access to clean, fresh water at all times—even in frigid weather—is essential to your goats’ good health. A heater for the water tank can ensure that unfrozen water is available day and night. And it’s so much more pleasant to install it now than on the night of the first hard freeze.

  • Frostbite. If you own dairy goats, take extra precautions to prevent frostbite of the udders during freezing weather. Stock up now on one of the many bag balms available, and when the weather turns cold, apply it regularly to tender exposed skin to prevent chapping.

  • Worming. Nature throws enough hurdles at goats during the cold winter weather. Parasites needn’t be one of them, especially considering how easy it is to prevent them. Consult your veterinarian about a worming schedule, but a good rule of thumb is to do a treatment after the first frost, but prior to winter setting in.

  • Extra Calories. Finally, because they must generate body heat to keep warm, goats need to consume more calories during cold weather. Fortified with vitamins and minerals, Purina Mills® Goat Chow® is a highly palatable, coarse sweet feed supplement containing corn, oats, barley and a nutritious pellet with 16 percent protein. In addition to all of the tips above, providing proper nutrition is one of the most important things you can do to support your goats’ own inborn immune system during cold weather months. You can feel good about feeding Goat Chow® because it’s all-natural with no animal protein by-products.

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Get to Know Purina Mills® Goat Chow® Goat Feed

  • High Quality Natural Plant Proteins: All natural product with no animal protein by-products

  • Natural Oils from Pure Ingredients: Helps keep skin supple

  • Highly Palatable Ration: Goats love the taste; Helps reduce sorting

  • Key Trace Minerals: For bright eyes, reproductivity, strong bones and healthy immune system

  • Vitamins A, D & E: For supple skin, healthy coat, excellent milk production and overall good health

  • Proper Calcium to Phosphorus Ratio: For strong bones

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Raising Goats - continued

“She thrived on goat’s milk,” recalls Calcote. “At first, we went to a farm to buy the milk, but then we got our own goats.” Eventually, her family started showing goats at fairs and national competitions. Her children raised goats in 4-H, and so did her grandchildren. After showing goats for 40 years, today Calcote still gives a lot of her goats to 4-H kids.

She also sells does to a nearby dairy that makes cheese. “They take all of the goats I’m willing to part with because my does are so healthy on Purina® feeds,” claims Calcote. “Their milk production is good, which makes for great baby goats. I get top dollar.”

Her children and grandchildren have followed in her footsteps, raising horses, pigs, steers and goats and competing at the national level. Two of her grandchildren earned scholarships to California Polytechnic State University, a fact Calcote proudly attributes to their extensive 4-H experiences.

Calcote insists the secret to her success is cleanliness, good food and good management.

“I give my baby goats lots and lots of milk, then I feed them supplements. Purina Mills makes a lamb starter called Honor® Show Chow® Showlamb Starter DX that I creep feed along with Honor® Show Chow® X-Clamation DQ,” Calcote says. “My goats are on pasture and browse, too. And I swear by the Grainland Select® Alfalfa Pellets,” she says. “Hay is very expensive here so I buy a year’s worth at a time and supplement with the alfalfa pellets so I don’t have to worry about the quality of the hay so much. Once my goats are old enough to go on the milk stand, they get coarse Purina® Goat Chow®, which they love. And I can’t tell you how often they jump down off the milk stand and go right over to take a couple of nibbles of Purina® Goat Mineral®.”

“The biggest mistake I see people make is that they don’t trim down their herds,” claims Calcote. “It’s the saddest thing I see. They keep more animals than they can afford to feed properly. I’d rather spoil six than feed 40. Plus, if you skimp when they’re babies, their not going to put it in the bucket down the road.”

  Calcote is also a big believer in cleanliness. “I give tetanus and clostridia types C&D vaccines, and I do worm my goats a little,” she says, “but I mostly rely on rotating pastures. That way, you don’t have to use heavy meds.”

Calcote says her goats are big and have very few health issues. Her goats have never tested positive for Caprine Arthritis Encephalitis Syndrome (CAE), a devastating disease believed to spread through colostrum and milk. “I think it’s because, since the beginning, I’ve never brought in does from the outside, just bucks.”

She’s also a stickler about feed quality. “You have to have confidence in the people putting the feed into the sacks,” she insists. “You have get on a program and stick with it—stop switching around looking for a better mousetrap. I’ve invested in generations of these animals, so I’m not going to take chances. I’ve visited the plants where they make Purina Mills® feeds, and I’ve seen the truckloads of corn they turn away because it’s inferior. You just know that corn is going into someone else’s feed, and I don’t want any part of it.”

Calcote calls herself “an old hippie” and says the feeling she gets from raising goats on her small farm is hard to explain. “When you go down to the barn, and you sit there and milk, and the goats are waiting their turn, and the kitties are waiting for milk, and the dogs are lying there with their tails thumping on the ground, well, I guess it’s almost a spiritual experience.”

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