Purina® Goat Nutrition E—Newsletter


Not many people can visit the animals they raised from birth at a zoo, but Cheryl Lacy is one of the few that can. For the most part, she sold her goats to families and people that wanted them as pets; however, in the winter of 2009, Cheryl was approached by an interesting buyer, the Dallas Zoo.

Cheryl sold the Dallas Zoo, the largest zoological park in Texas, 11 of her pigmy goats. The zoo held a contest this past spring to name the goats after cities in Texas, and Paris, Winnie, Wylie, Tyler, Jasper, Alvin, Chester, Allen, Austin, Frisco, and Dallas now call the petting area of the Lacerte Family Children's Zoo home.

Cheryl began raising goats full time 12 years ago. She raises Pygmy and Dwarf Nigerian goats as well as crosses between the two on her farm, Goatsville USA, located on the CC Lacy Ranch in Terrell, Texas. By not separating the goats at breeding times, Cheryl discovered that the crosses had less trouble kidding than the purebred Pygmies.

Pygmy goats are slightly smaller than Nigerian Dwarfs, and both come in many different colors and patterns. Pygmies are known for their agouti pattern, consisting of white hairs intermingling with darker base colors, and their caramel pattern which consists of a tan or cream body with a dark stomach, legs, facial markings and stripe along the back. Dwarf Nigerians also come in a variety of colors including white, black, chocolate, and gold, as well as a variety of patterns including buckskin, spotted, and pinto. Both breeds are known to be gentle in nature.

With its added vitamins and nutrients, Purina® Goat Chow® Feed is always Cheryl's first choice when she needs to build up her goats.

"There's no doubt of the quality of their products," said Cheryl. Cheryl also likes Purina's Kid Milk Replacer when she needs to bottle feed.

Cheryl keeps busy with her goats, generally having between 65 and 70, as well as with her chickens, two dogs, two cats, and two horses. While her chickens aren't quite as sweet natured as her goats, she still manages to raise and sell about 1,000 of them each year, and this number only seems to be getting larger.

"Many suburbs of Dallas allow you to have hens, but not roosters, and our city friends are taking advantage of it!" said Cheryl.

No matter the breed, Cheryl has a lot of fun raising her goats and is constantly entertained by them, as are the people that pass by her farm.

"A lot of people will stop outside our farm just to watch the goats, especially when we have babies," said Cheryl. "Both breeds are very curious and enjoy all the toys I have for them to play on. They are comical to watch even as adults."

Although most goats love to be herd animals and stay with the group, one goat became so attached to Cheryl that she would try almost anything to be by her side. The goat made numerous escapes in attempt get closer to Cheryl, so many that Cheryl had to rework her containment strategies! It's the fun stories like "escape goat" that make owning goats so much fun for Cheryl. Being able to sell her goats to the largest zoo in Texas is an added bonus that makes raising goats not only a joy for this retiree, but also a business.

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GOAT TIPS | Preparing your Goat for Winter

Although goats are hardy and some people think they can fend for themselves, they still need a little help from their owners to keep warm during the cold months of winter. Don't wait until the last minute to prepare you and your goats for the upcoming snow, wind, and ice.

Follow these tips to keep your goats happy and healthy throughout the winter season:

Goats are able to handle cold temperatures much better if they are dry, so their shelter should have a door or enclosed area to block wind, snow, and rain. Keeping them dry and out of drafts will also help reduce the risk of pneumonia.

Generally, heat lamps aren't recommended unless you have very young goats. Goats self-regulate their body temperatures and will get with other goats in the herd for added warmth. Heat lamps provide a great fire risk, and with dry hay easily accessible in most barns, fires could potentially spread very quickly.

Wooden pallets are great in goat housing since goats like to sleep and relax off of the ground. You can put bedding such as hay or straw on top of them and the moisture will drain down, making cleanup easier. Change bedding often to keep your goat healthy and avoid the spread of bacteria.

Food and Water
Like other animals, goats maintain their body temperature by adjusting what they eat. Have clean hay available and offer supplemental grain since there is less foliage for them to eat. Also, have mineral supplements available to your goats at all times.

It is important to always have fresh, clean, unfrozen water available. Try keeping water around room temperature (you can do this by using heaters in troughs or by bringing hot water to your barn and mixing it with the cold multiple times per day).

Keeping warm
Most goats grow a thick coat of hair known as an undercoat in preparation for the winter months. However, there are certain types of goats that don't grow an undercoat. If your goat is one of these types, consider making or purchasing a goat coat; large dog coats can often be used as well. Like other young animals, kids have a harder time adjusting to cold temperatures, so a coat or sweater is a good option for them as well.

Just like people, goats can get frostbite, too. It happens when the body pulls blood from the extremities, including the udders, ears, and hooves, to warm the core. You can help protect your goat's udders and ears by applying udder balm or petroleum jelly to these areas to prevent freezing and chapping.

Regardless of temperature, goats need time to exercise and stretch. Allowing them time to jump and play around helps keep high energy levels, clear lungs, and healthy appetites. As long as it isn't raining or snowing heavily, your goats should be okay to play outside, just be sure to keep their feet trimmed and remove ice often.

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GET TO KNOW | Goat Mineral

To best meet your goat's nutritional need and to avoid potential toxicities, always use a goat-specific mineral supplement. Purina® Goat Mineral is a uniquely formulated mineral supplement that provides a concentrated source of salt, trace minerals, and vitamins. It is rich in nutrients that are essential for proper development and the well-being of goats of all ages and breeds. In addition, giving your goat Goat Mineral stimulates water intake and helps minimize the risk of urinary calculi.

• Copper and zinc—for supple skin and a healthy coat
• Calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and vitamin D—for strong bone and hoof development and excellent milk production
• Potassium, sodium, sulfur, iron, cobalt, iodine and manganese—for overall good health
• Vitamin E and selenium—for strong muscle development and healthy immune system maintenance
• Coarse particle—for less waste and dust

Remember that feed consumption will vary with life stage, environment and activity. Also, be sure adequate amounts of fresh, clean water are always available. This product is available regionally, so please check with your local Purina dealer for ordering details.

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