The Place Where Animal Lovers
Come Together - Summer 2009
Featured Story |
You're a Goat Owner
In September 2007, Valerie Bryan returned from an out-of-town trip to learn,
much to her surprise, that she had become a goat owner!
It seems that, upon visiting the county fair, her husband Rusty and their
daughter Cady had concluded that goats would make an excellent 4-H project for
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Summer Tips for Raising a Healthy
Some people think
goats can practically feed and care for themselves. But goats need care and
attention, especially in summer. Here are some tips:
Some people think goats can practically feed and care for
themselves. But goats need care and attention, especially in summer. Here
are some tips:
Water is essential for temperature control, waste excretion,
electrolyte balance, digestion and more. Fresh, clean water should be
available at all times, especially for pregnant and nursing does. Water is
essential to bucks and wethers for proper maintenance of their urinary
Place water containers in the shade if possible. Algae grows
like crazy in water that receives direct sun.
Keep water troughs clean. Dirty water leads to
illness, and clean water will encourage water consumption. Goats will not
drink water contaminated with urine or manure (including that from dogs,
cats or birds).
Add ice blocks to your goats’ water during extreme heat or
if you will be away for long periods.
If using small individual water containers, change drinking
water several times a day in hot weather.
Inadequate water consumption can result in concentrated
urine, which can increase the risk of urinary calculi, especially in hot
weather. (Urinary calculi occurs when stones form in the urinary tract and
block the urethra, interfering with urination.) Increase water intake by
offering free choice salt. This will help dilute the urine.
Building ventilation is a must in hot weather. Cross
ventilation, which brings in fresh air and removes stale air and odors, is
preferred. Goats don’t need luxurious accommodations, but they need more
than a stuffy shed to protect them from sun or rain.
Goats hate rain and mud. A dirt floor is okay as long as
it’s clean and dry, but a raised, slotted floor is even better.
Goats sleep low to the ground, and breathing ammonia fumes
is harmful. Ammonia builds up quickly in summer heat. If you can smell
ammonia from eight inches above the floor, your shed is overdue for a
A dirty shed with dirty bedding is an invitation to skin
sores, mastitis, respiratory ailments, foot problems and more. These
problems escalate in summer, so keep your goats’ shelter immaculate.
Diarrhea can quickly lead to dehydration in summer heat.
Keep cool, clean water available at all times. Persistent diarrhea in young
kids can lead to death if left untreated. Consult your veterinarian.
Shear longhaired goats before summer heat sets in.
Goats are playful and inquisitive, always looking for
something to do. A raised platform in the pasture (preferably in shade) can
be a great place for goats to play.
Goats are especially vulnerable to stress when transported
in hot weather:
Have a great summer!
keep travel time to a minimum
provide proper ventilation and keep the truck moving to
prevent heat build-up
avoid transporting does in late gestation
stop to check goats periodically in transit to make sure
they’re not in distress
build in plenty of time to rest, water and feed them along
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Get to Know
Goat Chow® Mineral Supplement
Goats are “browsing ruminants.” Ruminant animals have a
4-section multiple compartment stomach specialized in digesting fibrous
feedstuffs. Browsers are animals that prefer to eat the leaf and bud portion
of shrubs and trees. Thus the ideal grazing situation for goats will be an
environment with lots of high quality browse. All they need to balance their
nutrition is a goat mineral like Purina Mills® Goat Chow® Mineral.
A mineral supplement is a concentrated source of salt, trace minerals and
vitamins. It also stimulates water intake, which reduces the potential for
urinary calculi. To best meet a goat’s nutritional need and to avoid
potential toxicities, always choose a mineral supplement that is
Goat Chow Mineral is ideal because:
It’s a coarse, loose mineral that can be top-dressed on
grain or fed free-choice in a mineral feeder.
Due to its unique, coarse texture, it will not “cake up”
when it gets wet or blow away under windy conditions
It’s rich in nutrients essential to the proper development
and well-being of goats of all ages and breeds
The formula is expertly balanced to overcome the variation
in mineral content found in natural forage
Whether feeding a few goats or an entire herd, it provides
consistent nutrition to help your goats reach their full genetic potential
It’s highly palatable
Goat Chow Mineral is available in 25 lb. bags.
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[Featured Story Continued]
The More the Merrier
Unfortunately, the Bryans would soon discover that the Pygmy and Boer goats
they had purchased were a bit too old for the 4-H circuit. But that was soon
remedied by the addition of two Dwarf Nigerians.
“And it sort of spiraled out of control after that,” laughs Valerie.
Since then, the Bryans have added two Nubians, an Oberhasli, a Pygmy cross
and two more Dwarf Nigerian does born in March there at the farm, bringing
the total to 10 goats on their five acres in Lexington Park, Maryland. Three
dogs, a guinea pig, a rabbit and fish round out the Bryan’s “menagerie.”
Learning the Ropes
“It’s been a bit of a learning curve with the goats,” confesses Valerie, a
lifelong animal lover and former veterinary technician. “As a vet tech, I
saw lots of dogs and cats, but never any goats.” Fortunately, their
close-knit 4-H group includes a lot of other livestock owners. In fact, the
Bryans bought their goats from the 4-H their leader, so when Valerie has
questions, she knows who to call for suggestions.
Because of her job, Valerie is often out the door by 6 a.m., so Cady and
Rusty take care of the morning feedings. In the evenings, Valerie handles
feeding and milking. “Our goats are more pets than livestock,” she laughs.
“Like dogs, they want attention. When they see you’re outside, they want you
with them, they want to be petted. So we spend a lot of time down there in
They Like the Taste of Purina
Valerie feeds Purina® Goat Chow® and Goat Mineral. She finds it at
Canter-Lope Horse Tack in nearby Callaway. “They’re primarily a horse supply
store, but they carry some limited goat supplies.”
“I’ve briefly tried some other brands,” says Valerie, “but I always come
back to Purina. I can tell the goats like the taste better, and I think they
like the ‘feel’ of a sweet feed, so that makes me feel good. They’re pets,
and I like them to be happy.”
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