The goal of any goat herd health program should be to increase efficiency and productivity. Herd health programs should include general husbandry, nutrition, and parasite and vaccination programs. Your emphasis should be on disease prevention rather than treatment. There are three major approaches for disease control:
Keep resistance high
Recognize and address diseases early
Using all three approaches together is the most effective way to eliminate or minimize disease costs and losses in your herd. A veterinarian should take part in helping you develop a vaccination program that helps you with disease prevention regardless of how many goats you have.
Culling: Proper culling will increase productivity. Cull chronically injured, sick, or open (unbred after 1or 2 attempts) does to increase profitability and herd quality.
In this blog I will concentrate on the nutritional impact on herd health. That is one of the four primary factors involved in herd health.
Good quality forages are the cornerstone of goat nutrition. Supplement grain based on the body condition and reproductive and growth stage of the animal. Most goats should be able to thrive on pasture and hay. Over-conditioned (overweight) goats are more likely to have problems with pregnancy toxemia and dystocia (trouble giving birth).
Provide clean, fresh water and a complete mineral salt at all times. Goats are more resistant to copper toxicity than sheep, so a sheep mineral will not provide enough copper for goats. Either a goat mineral or cattle mineral is suitable, but do not feed a sheep mineral. The importance of good water cannot be overstated!
Bucks and wethers fed grain can develop urinary calculi (bladder stones) that can cause a urinary blockage. You will notice it as a “waterbelly” look; the goat’s sides are very distended and stretched to an uncomfortable level. Feeding ammonium chloride at a level of 1% to 2% of the diet will help decrease the incidence of bladder stones. The calcium to phosphorus ratio in the diet should be 2 to 1, which will also decrease the incidence of bladder stones and provide the proper mineral balance for bone development.
Consult your veterinarian if selenium deficiency is a problem in your herd. Vitamin E and selenium injections may be necessary. The best means to prevent selenium deficiency is to feed good-quality mineral containing selenium throughout gestation.
In caring for the newborn kids make sure priority #1 is to get colostrum into them. A kid should receive colostrum in the first 4 hours after birth. Feed colostrum four times per day for a total of 1.5 -2 pints per day. Then follow that will a high quality milk replacer.
The nutritionists who designed the Hubbard Life Goat Feeds have covered all the bases by creating good nutrition products for your goats. Learn more about these products by visiting www.HubbardLife.com or contact your nearest Hubbard dealer on the dealer locator portion of the website.
Hubbard Life Goat Feeds are formulated with quality ingredients to help provide optimal nutrition for all life stages of meat and dairy goats. These feeds contain ingredients like chelated zinc for better immune function, organic selenium and vitamin E for improved breeding and cell health and a balanced calcium/phosphorus ratio to better fit the needs of today’s faster growing animals.
Posted on 6/23/2014 by Amy Brown | Category: Goat
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