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Herd Health
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General Information


  Herd health is an important factor here at ValleyShire. We follow a routine of herd testing, vaccinations,worming, and hoof trimming. Our goats are fed orchard grass hay, a 16% dairy mixture,which includes ammonium chloride to prevent urinary calculi, free choice minerals, and lots of clean fresh water. A healthy goat is a happy and productive goat.

We annually draw blood from any goat over 6 months of age. We test for CAE, CL, and Johnes. Although we do not annually test for TB and Brucellosis, we do have every animal that leaves the state tested and all have been negative. Any animal we purchase will be tested for before coming to the farm and we do not offer breeding services to protect our herd. Since we know that a negative CAE test means that the doe is not shedding the virus at that time, we feel it is important to continue to repeat the test every year as a safety measure. We also feel it is important to test for CL. Some herds do not test for CL because they haven't had any abscesses, but abscesses can be internal also, so how would they know for sure without the blood test?

The Nigerian Dwarf was originally imported from West Africa in the mid '70's. They are a miniature dairy goat, producing a quart of milk two times a day. Nigerian Dwarf milk is well known for it's delicious taste. Nigerians have the refined structure of the large breed dairy goats, but only 1/3 the size. The maximum height for does is 22 1/2 in. and 23 1/2 in. for the bucks.

A 20 in. goat is much easier for a child to handle, making the Nigerian Dwarf an ideal candidate for a 4-H project. They are very friendly and personable and in our opinion the perfect pet. Most of ours want to be on our laps like dogs, this is great except when you have a 4 year old buck that is in rut!! Nigerian Dwarfs also require less space than the larger breed goats and can be kept in yards and sheds,or even large dog houses.

They come in a wide variety of colors and patterns, and don't forget some of them have those beautiful blue eyes.

Nigerian Dwarf goats breed year round and their kids are just too cute! Nigerian Dwarf does can have several kids at a time, 2 or 3 kids being common and sometimes even having 4 or 5. The average weight for a Nigerian dwarf kid at birth is 2 lbs., but they grow really quickly. You must seperate your buck and doe kids by 8 weeks of age, they have been known to be fertile by this age.

Goats are herd animals, they depend on the companionship of other goats. Goats can not be wet!! They must have housing, either a barn, shed, or large dog house so they can get out of the sun, wind, rain, or snow. You must provide them with a fence, never tie or chain a goat!! You want to be able to keep your goat in as well as keeping dogs or coyotes away from your goats. Never trust a dog with your goat, unless it is trained for this.

Goats are ruminants, their diet should consist primarily of hay, which should be dust and mold free. We use an orchard grass/timothy mix. Always provide your goats with free choice loose minerals. Always provide clean fresh water. A 16% goat feed should be fed to milking does. We use a 14% goat feed that contains Corrid for our kids and pregnant does. Bucks and wethers are prone to developing urinary calculi and ammonium chloride helps prevent it, this can be an additive in several feeds. Mature non-breeding animals may be maintained on good quality hay, but we choose to feed them a 12% feed as well, they are spoiled. Never change the diet suddenly, always introduce new things in small quantities. If you change brands of grain, mix them gradually until you get them over to the new brand. Goats need to be immunized with CD/T and should be given BO-SE if you are in a selenium deficient area. You should worm your goats 4 times a year and rotate the brands of wormers you use.

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