How we choose to raise our herd
G6S: Our entire herd is G6S Normal, either by direct blood test (through TVMDL on 06/09/2011; & October/November 2013 for Carolina and Misha) or by parentage.
CAE, CL, Johne’s & Brucella: Our herd has tested NEGATIVE (that’s good) for the following diseases: CAE (Caprine Arthritis Encephalitis), CL (Caseous Lymphadenitis), Johne’s Disease, and Brucella. We test annually for CAE. See our test results at this link. In addition to their Negative test results, our herd is and always has been abscess free, and we have never had any signs of Johne’s. Our herd is Closed and our animals do not leave the property unless they require emergency care of a DVM or I feel they require a chiropractic care and those professionals (DVM or chiropractor) are not available for a Farm Call. We do not allow visitors to access to our pasture/barn area.
Raising Goat Kids: Since we test for diseases, I choose to allow my does to raise their own kids, which is by far the healthiest way. Free access to milk is just part of the reason that we choose dam raise our goat kids. Dam raised goat kids seem to graze and eat hay much earlier than bottle fed/lamb bar kids do. The kids learn many important lessons while being raised by their dam and being allowed to be members within the adult herd. They are raised on their dam for at least 8 weeks, at which point I either allow their new owners to pick them up, or I keep them with their dam until they are sold. Any bucklings are removed from the doe herd at 4 months old (or when they discover their “boy parts”) and are put in with the big boys, so they are in a herd environment the entire time they are on our farm. When the kids are played with/handled every day, they are very friendly. They DON’T mob you for food when you come out to play with them – they just want you to spend time with them!! I LOVE this about them!
Closed Herd: We are a closed herd. We do not show, instead we participate in Performance Programs available through The American Dairy Goat Association (ADGA): the DHIR (official milk test) and LA (Linear Appraisal), as they are done on the farm. Our animals do not leave the property unless they require emergency care of a DVM or I feel they require a chiropractic care and those professionals (DVM or chiropractor) are not available for a Farm Call. For biosecurity reasons, we do not allow outside breedings to our bucks. We may have some high quality bucklings available for sale or we may have Reservations available. We do not offer disbudding service. Please contact your local Vet or a breeder in your area.
We opened our herd for a period of time to bring in new bloodlines (from tested negative herds) between 2012-2014. As of May 29th, 2014, we officially closed our herd again.
Vaccination: After much research and prayerful thought, we have chosen NOT to vaccinate our animals. We feel it is detrimental to their health.
Now I have to expound upon this statement: When I say that “We choose not to vaccinate” that does NOT mean that I do NOTHING to protect our animals. If you also choose NOT to vaccinate, PLEASE be diligent in protecting your animals by supporting them with herbs or your choice of natural alternative(s). I personally keep on top of these issues by putting my herd through Dr. Christopher’s cleansing formulas (GI Back on Tract mix, Kidney Formula, Liver & Gallbladder Formula, and Blood Stream Formula) (see our Cleansing page for further details, AND by keeping them on an excellent quality herbal vitamin/mineral supplement (see Herbal Minerals), AND I feed excellent quality hay/grain/etc. to provide for their nutritional needs. I also practice herbal preventative measures when I perform herd management procedures (disbudding, castration, etc).
Please do not simply choose to not vaccinate your animals and then do nothing to protect against the issues that the vaccines supposedly prevent. Have a plan in place AND the natural alternative on hand to deal with these issues if they DO appear.
I also mentioned that I feel that vaccines are detrimental to their health. Let me qualify that statement: Observe your animals next time you vaccinate them – they COMMONLY get sick or have a reaction around the vaccination area. I see a HUGE difference in the goats that are born and raised here – they are more hardy, milk better, grow better, etc. (Sideline: I DO have slow growing lines, so our kids take longer get to their full size, BUT their ancestors appear to hold their LA scores longer than the fast growing lines in most cases.)
I saw a big difference in our horses as well. Vaccinations overwhelm the immune system and it drops everything it was guarding against to fight the battle that you intentionally introduce directly into their system when vaccinating. This bypasses all the body’s natural barriers to prevent disease. This is a firm belief here at the farm.
A team at Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine conducted several studies (1,2) to determine if vaccines can cause changes in the immune system of dogs that might lead to life-threatening immune-mediated diseases. They obviously conducted this research because concern already existed. It was sponsored by the Haywood Foundation which itself was looking for evidence that such changes in the human immune system might also be vaccine induced. It found the evidence.
Do a search online and get informed about vaccinations. Search for the insert that comes in the box with every vaccine. A good place to start a general search is www.mercola.com – Dr. Mercola is a D.O. (A doctor of osteopathic medicine (D.O.) is a physician licensed to practice medicine, perform surgery, and prescribe medication. This is a link to his bio.) We choose to support their immune system instead – using herbs, etc. DVM’s are beginning to question their safety and they are also observing some of the same things I have witnessed in my vaccinated animals. OBSERVE your pets after vaccination, NOTE the animals that you lose to sickness and death – were they vaccinated repeatedly?? I’m willing to bet they were.
Holistic Health: I firmly believe in Holistic Health, and treat both my family and all our animals by this line of thinking. I use homeopathics, herbs, and other holistic methods in treating sickness here at our farm. We DO NOT use chemicals unless we HAVE to resort to them for life saving measures, and I personally draw the line at antibiotics because the herbal alternatives have brought faster results in every case I have worked with here at our farm. The natural alternatives do not adversely affect the friendly flora, so I go with them every time. We do our best to use grains/herbs that are certified organic/organically raised OR are non-GMO and unsprayed. I have not been able to locate an affordable source of organic Black Oil Sunflower Seeds, so I buy that at the feedstore.
Other Miscellaneous Information:
DHIR. We are signed up for the ADGA DHIR program (Dairy Herd Improvement aka “milk test”) this year (2010)! I will be starting this program as soon as my does freshen in 2010. We will be on Standard Test, so our doe’s milk records will appear on their pedigree, they can earn their milk star, and they will be eligible for Top Ten Breed records,etc. I was pleasantly surprised how little extra time this program requires of me. The milk is simply weighed and sampled at the AM & PM milking once a month on test day.
Linear Appraisal (aka “LA”). We also participate in ADGA’S Linear Appraisal program each year, so we have scores on all our animals that are old enough to be appraised at that time. Each animal’s LA score is listed on their page.
Go to the American Dairy Goat Association (ADGA) website for more information on these programs. Here are direct links for more information on Linear Appraisal and Production Testing (this is DHIR).