Purina® Goat Nutrition E—Newsletter

FEATURED STORY | Pygmy Goats—A Helpful Family Addition

When Beverly Taub and her husband, Joel, retired, they moved to the country. It's there that she's finally been able to live out her dream of having a horse and where she acquired her favorite living pieces of backyard 'machinery.'

"I was in horse heaven," said Beverly, who in addition to owning two horses and a donkey, has fostered at least 30 rescue horses over the years. "And my fence line was in bad need of clearing, so I decided I wanted a couple of goats."

Joel said no for several years, not wanting anything else that would be a potential vet bill, the Taubs already had six dogs and a cat on top of the horses and donkey. Instead, Joel offered to buy Beverly a weed wacker, but last year he finally had to give in.

"He made the mistake of asking me what I wanted for my birthday, and I said 'goats' without any hesitation," Beverly said. "As it always goes, in the end, I got my goats. How could he deny me my birthday present?"

Beverly got two pygmy baby goats that she appropriately named Weed and Wacker.

"Wacker is my spoiled brat," said Beverly. "If I don't move fast enough for him with feed, he gets behind me and 'helps me' move faster by butting the back of my legs."

Wacker is also very attached to Beverly and gets upset when she tends to her other animals.

"When I muzzle my founder horse, Gypsy, before turning her out to pasture, Wacker will keep pushing me away from her if he isn't locked up," Beverly said. "If that doesn't work he stands up on my back and pulls my hair from behind."

Wacker isn't always a bully about his affection for Beverly. When she leaves the barn and he doesn't want her to, he gets behind her, puts his front feet on her back, and 'walks' with her to the gait.

"It's our private Congo line dance," Beverly said.

Even though Weed and Wacker are good friends, playing and sleeping together, if Weed tries to come near Beverly, Wacker butts him away.

"Poor Weed has given up trying to get special attention, but he's my good boy," Beverly said. "He mostly stands on the sidelines and watches Wacker's antics. When Weed does feel mischievous though, he likes to chase my barn cat, Miss Attitude, or my hen, Chik."

A few months after getting Weed and Wacker, Beverly acquired Pepper when a friend wanted to find a new home for her pygmy.

"At first I had so much trouble remembering his name, until he cut his leg one day," Beverly said. "When I went out to take care of him I said I was going out to doctor Pepper, and that I could remember—Dr. Pepper!"

All three of Beverly's goats are wethers because she doesn't want to breed, milk or do anything more with them than play and enjoy.

Joel does agility with his Labrador Retrievers and Beverly flyball with her Pomeranians, so they set aside some land for a field.

"We have tried several times to get my 'weed wackers' to maintain the fence line around our agility/flyball field, but because the horses are not allowed on it, my spoiled pygmy goats won't stay in, jumping the 4-foot fence to get with back the equines," Beverly said. "But I love them anyway. No one ever said my goats are perfect!"

Beverly has tried several Purina Mills feeds with her goats, but their favorite has always been Purina Mills Goat Chow® feed.

"They are used to the sweet feed and rebel over any changes," Beverly said. "Who knew goats could be so picky?"

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GOAT TIPS | Prepping For A Kid

This kind of kidding is no joke; it's important to fully prep yourself before your goats give birth. The following tips will help insure that you have all the supplies you need to make your kidding experience goes as smooth as possible. And if you've got a kidding story of your own, we'd love to hear about it! Did everything go as planned? What was your strategy? Special tip? Funny situation? Let us know!

You should always consult with your veterinarian first, but this is a basic checklist to prepare you for kidding:

1) Keep a paper and pencil on hand to write down the dates of the birth and any problems you had. These notes can help a veterinarian if future health problems come up.

2) Clean coveralls and a clean jacket—you'll want to keep things as sterile as possible.

3) A large, heavy-duty, clean cardboard box to put the newborn kids in and a fresh bale of shavings to serve as bedding.

4) A heat lamp for cardboard box and electrical cord.

5) Keep it sanitary with antibacterial soap, a clean hand brush, several rolls of paper towels, lots of clean old towels, and a hair dryer for cleaning and drying kids in cold weather.

6) Clean string to tie off umbilical cord and scissors to cut the string and umbilical cord after cord is tied. The scissors should be clean and dipped in alcohol, iodine or Nolvasan prior to use.

7) Strong iodine in a pump bottle to spray the kid's navel after the cord is tied and cut.

8) Sterile surgical gloves and KY Sterile Lubricating Jelly in case you have to reach inside the doe to examine her or assist with the birthing process.

9) A stack of paper feed sacks cut halfway down with a "flap" in which to catch the second and subsequent kids so they don't land in the first kid's mess. These sacks are also very useful for wrapping up the afterbirth for disposal.

10) Clean old washcloths and a small clean plastic bucket of clean warm soapy water to clean the doe's udder after she kids.

11) A clean 20-ounce plastic pop bottle with black rubber nipple to feed colostrum to newborn kids. A new 18-gauge 1-1/2" needle pushed into the lower rim of the nipple will provide an air vent; this prevents the creation of a vacuum inside the bottle when the kid sucks and makes it much easier for the kid to get colostrum.

12) Popsicle sticks and surgical tape to splint weak legs in case the kid can't stand.

13) Feed-grade molasses to mix with warm water to feed to the doe after she gives birth. A handful of raisins or roasted peanuts will reward the doe for a job well done.

14) A thermometer and a stethoscope. A goat's normal body temperature should be in the range of 102.5 degrees to 104 degrees F. Normal heart rate should be 60 to 80 beats per minute, but it might be slightly higher in the newborn.

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GET TO KNOW | Kid Milk Replacer

Kid Milk Replacer is a premium quality milk replacer for kids, lambs and foals. This high-energy formula is easy to mix and use, supports sound development and encourages vitality.

• No added copper
• Made with all—milk proteins for optimum digestibility
• Contains 23 percent protein and 25 percent fat
• Fortified with 25 essential vitamins and minerals
• Easy mixing with Purina's exclusive Instantizing Process

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