Purina® Goat Nutrition E—Newsletter

FEATURED STORY | The Bond of Friendship: Lynn & Jim Bystrom

People often say that loss brings us closer. Despite a difference in species, this is no more apparent than in the story of Al, Lynn and Jim Bystroms pygmy goat.

The Bystroms raise Quarter Horses, and in 2007, one of their mares, Lulu, was diagnosed with lymphosarcoma, a form of cancer. Diagnosed late in her pregnancy, Lulu ended up delivering a healthy colt two weeks early. The Bystroms named him Dexter, after the steroid Lulu was given before he was born to help make her more comfortable as her cancer rapidly progressed.

In the end, the cancer spread so fast that it was necessary to euthanize Lulu 10 days after Dexter was born, devastating everyone. The Bystroms had planned ahead and got milk replacer and bottles to supplement Dexter, but he was lost without his mother and wouldn't take it.

Luckily, shortly after the vet left, Lynn got a call from her friend Margie. Margie told Lynn about her goat, Al, who had recently lost his sister. Although planning to get a lamb as a companion for Al, Margie offered him to Lynn as a friend for Dexter.

"I hopped in the truck and went right over to Margie's to meet and bring home Al," said Lynn. "He obviously had been cared for very well over the years, and Margie guesstimated his age to be about 10 years old. She gave me a quick lesson in 'Goat-101' and I was on my way back home."

Back at the farm, the Bystroms led Al into Dexter's stall.

"We put them together and watched," Lynn said. "They checked each other out, and it was truly an immediate bond."

Jim and Lynn watched for the next few hours, as the two animals ate hay side by side. Giving up on the bottle, Lynn and Jim brought in a bucket of milk replacer. When Al began to drink it, Dexter followed and drank some as well.

"Truth be told, we didn't have an orphan. Al was raising Dexter for us!" said Lynn. "We never did have to bottle feed that colt, and the two have been inseparable."

Having never owned a goat before, the Bystroms didn't realize the ordeal in trying to contain one. For the first week or two, they tried everything, but eventually had to give into their failure. The solution for containing Al was not to contain him, and that is how things are to this day.

"He has full run of the farm, but chooses to hang out up by the barn. He's not destructive in jumping on things or eating things he shouldn't," Lynn said. "He's not your typical goat. It's truly like having another very well behaved dog in the family. A barn mascot, if you will."

Although goats are known for being hardy and eating almost anything, Lynn says that Al is actually quite a finicky eater. When he's not sneaking the milk replacer from the foals, he eats Purina® Goat Chow® feed and loves the occasional human food treat like popcorn.

Not only is Al great for the farm, but also the community. Each year he participates in a live nativity at the nursing home where Margie works.

"We live in a farming community, and to see the nursing home residents light up when they see and pet the animals just warms my heart," said Lynn. "I'm so proud to be a part of it, and I think Al is too."

When thinking about what they've learned from Al and watching him interact with not only Dexter but also the subsequent foals over the years, Lynn cannot imagine their farm without him.

"The adult horses, and even our stallion, have a good relationship with him," said Lynn. "He's one of the gang when the dogs are around, as well as the cats. This goat was truly heaven sent."

Back to top

GOAT TIPS | Trimming Your Goat's Hooves

Goats need to have strong feet and legs to survive. Wild goats keep their hooves in good shape by wearing the hooves down on rough rocks; however, domestic goats, even if they have hard surfaces and play areas rely on you, their owner, to keep their hooves in good condition. Ideally a domestic goat will get its hooves trimmed every three to four months, more often in show goats, but at least two times a year.

Overgrown hooves not only cause your goat pain, but can also cause foot problems such as footrot and footscald if goats are kept in damp environments, laminitis, joint and tendon problems and arthritis.

Hoof trimming takes a quite a bit of practice to master and good tools help. To trim a goat's hooves, you will need a pair of hoof shears (pruning shears will also work) and a rasp to make a smooth finish on the hooves. Use extreme caution when working with sharp tools.

Dry conditions can make hooves more difficult to trim. To soften hard or dry, brittle hooves, let your goats stand in a wet area for a few hours before you trim. The water will soften the hooves and make it easier to trim.

When kids are born they have perfect feet. The line between the two halves of the hoof is perpendicular to the hairline. When trimming the two halves, do so evenly so that both sides of the hoof meet the ground equally. The sole of hoof should be flat and level on the bottom. There are many drawings and photographs available online on what your goat's hooves should look like if you need help.

Listed below are some general steps for trimming your goat's hooves:

  1. Restrain the goat in a standing position and lift the first hoof to be trimmed. Always fold the leg with the natural movement of the joints of the leg. Angling the leg outward too much will cause discomfort to the goat and make trimming a problematic activity.
  2. Using the hoof shears slowly remove pieces of the overgrown hoof. If you're just starting out take only very small amounts off at a time. If you see pink on the hoof STOP, if you cut any farther the animal will bleed.
  3. Cut off all of the hoof that has grown down from the sides and folded over. If a good job has been done, the hoof will be flat and level.
  4. Use a hoof rasp to make a smooth finish on the hooves.
  5. If the hoof has a lot of rotten tissue, dip it in hydrogen peroxide or bleach after you finish trimming.
  6. If your goat does bleed, wash the hoof off and soak the hoof in hydrogen peroxide or any other disinfecting solution.
Repeat this process as necessary and your goat will have a solid foundation on which to thrive.

Back to top

GET TO KNOW | Purina® Goat Chow® Goat Feed

Purina® Goat Chow® Feed has been proven by extensive research to provide health and vitality for all breeds of goats. It is fortified with all the essential vitamins and minerals, such as selenium, Vitamin E, and cobalt and contains 16 percent all natural protein. Goat Chow® Feed can be fed to dry does, growing does, bucks, Pygmy goats, show goats, and as a milking ration.

  • Uniquely balanced for optimal body condition
  • Helps build strong kids into healthy goats
  • Finest, fresh ingredients make up this all-natural formula (fortified with vitamins & minerals) for superior nutrition
  • Highly palatable coarse sweet feed supplement containing corn, oats, barley and nutritious pellet

Feeding Tips: Feed one pound of Goat Chow® feed for every three pounds of milk produced in addition to what is required for maintenance. Use Goat Chow® feed free-choice for young kids. Feed with good quality roughage to all goats after weaning. Goat Chow® feed is a supplement to be fed with free-choice forage.

Back to top

Bookmark and Share

A library of past issues of Better Animal E—zines and an introductory video is maintained and can be accessed by clicking here. 

NOTE:  If you wish to unsubscribe to this publication, click on the unsubscribe icon below:

Please do not reply to this email. Contact Us

Better Animals®
10715 Kahlmeyer Dr.
St. Louis, MO  63132

(c) 2007—2011 FeedDealer.Com
Unsubscribe Policy Statement

Ensuring E-Zine Delivery