Welcome to our blog. Check back often for official news and announcements from the KGBA and articles on various topics of Kinder goat care, raising, breeding, showing and more!
Kinder Breeder Spotlight
First, what’s your farm name, and where is your farm?
Our farm name is Barker Kinder Gardens. We are located in Western Washington State.
How did you learn about Kinders?
We researched goats online, joining several goating groups on Facebook. One of which was called “Successful Goating with Rosie.” We put our feelers out on what would be a good dual-purpose goat for milk and meat and easy to handle. Kinders were the hands-down suggestion. From there, we continued to join Facebook groups specifically related to the Kinder Breed. After much research, we chose a local farm to buy our first Kinders from.
Can you tell me about your current herd and goals for the herd? Do you raise them for milk, meat, both etc.?
Our current herd consists of 11 does, 2 bucks, and 20 kids on the ground as of yesterday!
Our goal is to provide ourselves and our local community with a source of milk and meat during these uncertain times. Of course, we will are always willing to sell them as pets, too.
Tell me about your goat mentors! What’s the single best piece of advice you’ve been given?
I must mention Kirsten Simons of River Birch Farms. We purchased our first two does from her farm, and she is more than willing to offer help and advice for any concerns or questions that we may have. She came out to teach us about the basics of goat care, volunteered to be accessible during our first birth on the farm last year and has even disbudded kids for us.
Others that have been helpful include Violetta Laboranti from Autumn Rhapsody Farm and Jasmin Feist, DVM, of Feisty Acres Kinders.
I think the best advice, for us, has been to spend a little time each day with your herd, just observing. It makes it easy to spot changes in behavior that point out a problem. This way, we can address any issues that come up right away, before they get out of control.
What’s one of the biggest challenges you have faced raising your Kinders so far?
I think our biggest challenges have been shelter, fencing and the cost of grain/hay. We are still working on the fence repairs to our 8 acres of woods. Once that is finished, we can let the goats forage. They will be happier, and I think our wallet will certainly be happier. We have spent quite a bit of money on fencing and a new barn, but we are hoping to break even in a few years.
Which is your favorite doe to milk and why?
This is our second year milking. I milked my favorite doe last year, and I am milking her and another doe this year – River Birch Farms B&S’s Cleo and East Valley Kinders Blu Belle. We are hand-milking for now, but do hope to purchase a Simple Pulse very soon. Both the does I am milking this year are well-behaved on the stand. They have calm dispositions, and their teats are large, with large orifices that make milking much easier. We only milk for personal use here on the farm as Washington State has pretty restrictive laws regarding the sale of raw dairy. We may move towards soap and lotion making as the year progresses. I am really looking forward to trying my hand at cheesemaking. Our daughter has a milk allergy, but goat milk is no problem for her. We are hoping to milk enough to feed her AND the bottle babies. It’s exciting to think of all the possibilities farm fresh goat milk has to offer us.
I naively thought nothing bad would ever happen to my pair of does. I hate that it took a tragedy for me to face the reality and responsibility of goat care.
This summer in 2018, I lost my young doe, Scarlett, to listeriosis. Quick and aggressive treatment is critical to the survival of a sick goat. I believe that Scarlett would have had a better chance of surviving if I had started her treatment a day earlier when she just acted lethargic and was running a fever but was not yet “down”. My vet did not want to give antibiotics until she “knew what she was treating” and wanted to wait until Scarlett showed more specific symptoms. By the time Scarlett was drooling and staggering in circles it was too late. Recovery from listeriosis depends on early, aggressive antibiotic treatment. When signs of encephalitis are severe, death usually occurs despite treatment. Note: Scarlett had the encephalitic form of listeriosis, however there is also a form that causes abortion (miscarriage).
Here is the progress of her illness.
Tuesday, I noticed that Scarlett was sunning on the driveway while Belle was grazing in the backyard. Weird, because they almost always stay within sight of each other.
Wednesday, she was lethargic and would walk a while then lie down. When she walked her back leg(s) seemed to be a little weak. But she did eat some and drink water. By late afternoon she had gone to the barn and gotten weaker. I called the vet and was asked to get her temp but I didn’t even have a thermometer. I bought a thermometer and called a friend to help. Her temp was 103.8. The vet did not want to prescribe antibiotics without knowing what we were dealing with. BIG MISTAKE.
Thursday: By the time I woke up Scarlett was drooling profusely. When I was able to get her on her feet she pulled her head sharply to the left and just walked in a circle (hence, the name “Circling Disease). The listeria bacteria infect the brain and, among other effects, can cause paralysis on one side of the face. She was not blinking one eye.
To add to my frustration and panic, my phone reception was terrible, and I had to drive to a nearby restaurant parking lot to be understood. I finally got through to the vet. I had no way to transport Scarlett to her clinic, so she came by and gave her dexamethasone (steroid) for the inflammation in the brain, Banamine (flunixin meglumine) for fever and prescribed Procaine (antibiotic) every 12 hours. But by then it was too little, too late. Even with treatment, she continued to go downhill. I got the supplies to administer subcutaneous fluids, but since she still swallowed I just gave her electrolyte fluids by mouth. Looking back, I wish I had added the sub Q fluids.
Friday: Over the next 24 hours Scarlett grew weaker and weaker. It was heartbreaking to watch. Finally, by Friday afternoon she was almost totally unresponsive, and I accepted the fact that she was not going to make it. I decided to end her suffering. It had been only a little over 48 hours since I knew something was truly wrong with Scarlett. The vet came and put her down. She was very kind and reassured me that I was doing the right thing. She then told me that she had only seen 2 or 3 cases of Listeriosis where the goat survived, and in these cases, it took months of intensive medical care on the part of the owners for the goat to pull through. And, she added, those goats were left with neurological issues. She said she didn’t tell me this at the outset because she could tell I was determined to try to save Scarlett. And, who knows, Scarlett might have been the one goat to beat the odds. I felt guilty but, given that I had a full-time job, I knew I would not have been capable of that level of care.
Now, to be practical, I wanted to treat Scarlett’s body with respect and love. I anticipated that I might be dealing with this situation even before I had decided to put her down. I had no way to move or bury her by myself and calling friends to do it seemed too much to ask, so I went online and researched pet cremation services. I found one that would come pick her up anytime, not just during weekday working hours, and gave them a call to make sure they would handle a goat when needed. They were so kind and respectful and didn’t seem to think it odd that a woman would want to cremate her pet goat. I called after we put Scarlett down and a wonderful man drove 3 hours round trip to pick her up Friday night. It was an expensive solution, but I was comforted by his kindness.
What I learned from this tragedy:
- Have a plan for handling emergency situations so that you can be calm and rational if/when the time comes. Be prepared with a final plan in case the worst happens.
- Make a list of emergency supplies and keep them on hand.
- Find a vet who can make farm calls if necessary.
- Be informed about the varieties of illness and injury and be firm and proactive in demanding prompt and aggressive treatment.
- Learn what medications are best for treating Listeriosis and other illnesses or injury and plan on having as many of them on hand as you are allowed.
I researched the causes and prevention of listeria infections. For all goat owners I encourage you to do the same. For example, I had always heard not to let your goats eat moldy hay, which I certainly tried not to allow. I figured it might upset their stomachs. Now I have a greater understanding of the true dangers of that and other seemingly picky considerations. The bacteria are all around us can breed in any moist, organic environment, like hay, silage, even grain feed. Standing water can also pose a threat and lord knows we’ve had lots of that with all the rain we had in NC this spring. So far, I have not identified the specific source of Scarlett’s infection, so I am trying to deal with anything I can find.
I have read that there can repeated yearly outbreaks in the same herd during winter-spring when conditions are the most conducive to bacteria growth.
Some recommendations for the prevention of Listeriosis:
- Discard spoiled feed and hay.
- Improve sanitation of pens, water supply, pasture, and housing.
- Keep wild birds away from the herd as much as possible as these birds may serve as vectors for the disease.
- Identify the source of infection in order to help eliminate the causative agent.
By Sarah Simon
Here are some online references:
Listeriosis is an infection of the central nervous system and digestive system caused by the gram-positive bacterium listeria monocytogenes.
Listeria monocytogenes can live in:
- Animal intestinal tracts
- Spoiled or waste silage, hay, or grains.
- Troughs and bedding, especially in porous surfaces like wood
Listeriosis is zoonotic. In humans, listeriosis can be mild with symtoms such as headache, muscle aches, and diarrhea or very severe flu-like symptoms. Listeria infections in pregnant woman can be fatal to the unborn babies. Transfer to humans is possible through:
- Unpasteurized milk and milk products (listeria monocytogenes can survive some forms of pasteurization) and raw meat.
- Placenta, fetuses, or newborn kids of infected animals
- Dead animals or aborted fetuses
While listeriosis is not considered common, prevention is critical and early detection is key. Even with early detection and treatment, treatment might not be successful. Recommended treatment is large, initially frequent doses of an antibiotic such as penicillin, which is also gram positive, and fortified vitamin B (to replenish thiamine) until the animal shows significant improvement. Then the animal is gradually weaned from the antibiotic treatment, monitoring for relapse. For a full treatment regimen, check out Goat Vet Corner’s note “Listeriosis – Circling Disease.”
“Listeriosis in Small Ruminants: A Review” by Tewodros Fentahun and Atsedewoyne Fresebehat
Goat Vet Corner on Facebook.com
I really enjoy barn design, and I think a lot about the needs of my goats whenever I build. Here’s a sense of what I think about when I’m designing for buck housing. There are many, many ways to meet the needs of bucks, so this is just an example of how I do it. I live in the hills of western Massachusetts, so we have hot summers but not as hot as down south, and we are close to zero some winter nights.
I have a low tolerance for ongoing sexual harassment in my buck pen. I don’t want a buck to be harassed so much that he is constantly defending himself or hiding to avoid being mounted by other bucks instead of eating. There are a few ways I go about providing options to make life easier when bucks are housed together. I’m usually housing 2-3 bucks, and I think there is more jousting in this small herd than in larger buck herds.
Food access is important, so I have a few wall mounted small mangers as well as main manger in case there’s a buck that is low on the pecking order and needs to eat away from his stall mate(s).
I find it helpful to have platforms in many of my goat stalls. Platforms create small spaces underneath where goats can snuggle for warmth during cold spells and also create a space to jump up on to escape when being chased. A buck can avoid being mounted by another buck by retreating under the platform. I often use 4×4’’ posts for corners and 2x4s for the rest of the frame. I usually screw platforms to the wall using 4-6’’timberlocks so that goats rubbing against them don’t move them around.
Here’s what I chose to do for my recent buck stall redesign. Two bucks live in it, an older buck and a young buck. They take turns chasing each other but it’s mostly the young buck who is full of vim and vigor. I wanted to make sure that the older buck can find peace.
The main platform is 5×4’ and 30’’ high. This allows them to stand underneath it but not jump around under there. The platform is against the wall, and two sides are covered with pieces of OSB (oriented strand board). The open side of the platform is farthest away from the door to avoid winter drafts and summer bugs from bothering the bucks underneath it.
With a platform this high, I made a 24×24’’ step-up platform since my older buck would have trouble jumping up without it.
I tend to put water buckets up on a small platform so that it’s higher than butt height, and they can’t rub against it or poop into it. I have a full-size door to the outside but a small buck-sized door that can be used during cold/bug seasons.
By Kathrin Bateman
Every baby goat is perfectly adorable, but none are perfect, and some are more suited to be herd sires than others. Selling lots of bucklings as future sires is tempting. It is natural to want to recoup expenses after you’ve invested so much in buying, raising, and breeding your does. When 7 of your 10 kids are boys, what else can you do? Selling as many boys as possible as intact bucklings is definitely the easiest answer, but it is usually not the best for you or your buyers.
In order to continue to make advances within your herd and in the breed, only the best males should be used as breeding stock. Lesser-quality boys should ideally be culled, meaning that they should be wethered and sold as pets, weed-eaters, or go into the freezer. Selling lesser-quality bucks is never a good idea – it could set someone’s breeding program back years. Don’t forget that that poor quality buck and all of his offspring will have your name on their papers. If you are unsure of the quality of a buck, protect your reputation by erring on the side of caution and wethering him.
So, how do you decide which bucklings should be sold as breeding stock?
Promising bucklings, with good width, muscle, and rear arch.
First, make a list of your best does. These should be does that have evaluated as excellent, earned milk stars or have records of excellent milk production and long lactations, have performed well in the show ring, kid easily, maintain their weight well throughout pregnancy and lactation, and adhere closely to the breed standard. Yes, that is a lot of qualifications! Ideally, any bucklings you sell as breeding stock should be out of these does. As a general rule, only 10% of boys AT MOST should be kept intact. Since breeders with lots of experience and very high-quality lines often sell more than 10% of their males as breeding stock, new, inexperienced breeders should probably be selling less than 10% of theirs. This means that the bucklings you sell should only be from outstanding does and bucks.
Next, make a list of the bucklings out of the does you’ve designated as your best. Immediately remove any boys that have faults as described by the breed standard. Omit bucklings that are narrow, frail, or otherwise lacking qualities you look for in a buck. Now look at the boys left on your list. Determine which bucklings adhere most closely to the breed standard and embody the ideals of a quality Kinder buck – they should be reasonably big, well-developed kids that have good length of body, broad backs, good depth, and well-sprung rib cages. Overall, the bucklings on your list should have good, strong balance and already appear more masculine than your other kids. Watch them closely as they develop, noting which ones continue to impress you. Immediately rule out any kids that develop faults, grow more slowly, or loose width and muscling as they develop.
A buckling that should not be kept intact. Too narrow, leggy, and dairy.
Never keep a buckling intact based on color or because he is your sweet bottle baby!
While personality should definitely be considered when choosing who to keep intact – no one wants an aggressive buck – conformation and quality should always come first. Although everyone seems to love flashy kids, your buyers will appreciate that you sold them a quality buck instead of a just a colorful one in the long run.
By Sue Beck
The KGBA is thrilled to announce the reintroduction of a KGBA herd evaluation service for our members!
Many years ago, the KGBA was lucky enough to have renowned judge, author, and goat evaluator Harvey Considine agree to help us create an evaluation program for the Kinder breed. Harvey worked closely with KGBA members for many years, developing a Kinder scorecard used by Kinder goat breeders and as a guide for those judging Kinder goats in the show ring. The herd evaluations and scorecard were invaluable in improving Kinder goats as a breed, helping to judge them fairly in the show ring, and helping individuals choose and breed goats more responsibly.
Unfortunately, Harvey did all evaluations himself and the service was lost to us when he passed away. Over the last few years, the association has been working tirelessly to reintroduce the evaluation program, and we are excited to begin the year with two qualified evaluators ready to visit your farms!
In order to make evaluations more cost effective and therefore more attainable to our members, the association will be subsidizing the cost of travel for our evaluators, meaning that the cost to our members will only be $10 per goat with a 5 head minimum. Priority will be based in part on the number of goats signed up to be evaluated in each area, so consider working with others in surrounding areas to sign up for multiple farms or to plan a large group evaluation at a single location. Our evaluators will also happily do evaluations on site before, during, or after shows, so please contact us as soon as possible if you are planning on holding shows in the future. Traveling longer distances becomes much more valuable to many if they can bring their entire herds to a show, spend the morning showing, get their herd evaluated in the afternoon, and go home with ribbons, scorecards, and a plan for herd improvement!
I really hope that people take advantage of this opportunity. I knew that evaluations would be valuable, but had no idea just how beneficial they would be until I had my own goats evaluated and the scorecards spread out on my table. Looking at them, it made it easy to decide who to keep, who to cull, and who to breed to whom.
If you are interested, just send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will work with you to arrange a convenient time for evaluations. Contact us even if you only have two goats and don’t know anyone else nearby with Kinders; we will happily do whatever we can to help you get your goats evaluated. You never know… you may have Kinders or an evaluator living just down the road!
A 10-acre sweep of pasture for our goats to graze in — what could be wrong with this picture? We can just fence it and let our Kinders graze, right? When we moved onto our property in the warm, humid Southeast (a temperate rainforest) in 2013, we found that it’s not that simple.
Turns out, that’s not a good long-term plan. Goats actually prefer 60% browse from shrubs and trees. (They eat fallen leaves like potato chips.) We needed trees and bushes and bramble canes to satisfy our goats’ nutritional needs and preferences. After browse, they’d like to eat about 20% “weeds” and 20% grass. They benefit from herbs, brassicas, legumes and (nontoxic) weeds in their pasture. Our picturesque old cattle pasture does not look at all like the smorgasbord they are after.
Not only do we need to add variety to our sea of grass for nutritional reasons, we also need to manage the hazard of letting our Kinders graze in a climate that sees rainy springs and moderate-to-high annual rainfall. Wet grass in warm weather is the perfect environment for parasites that can afflict and even kill our goats. The worst culprit is the Barber Pole worm (Haemonchus contortus), a parasitic nematode that sucks blood out of the gastrointestinal track. The longer goats graze a particular section of pasture, the heavier the parasite load in that pasture becomes, until parasites become a serious management problem.
Here are the factors that contribute to parasite woes:
- Warm, wet weather
- Grass that’s less than four or five inches tall in favorite grazing spots (Larvae wiggle up wet blades of grass.)
- Too many goats concentrated in a space
- Goats left to graze in one area too long
- Parasite resistance to dewormers
Fortunately, there are ways to combat the parasites that dramatically reduce the need for chemical dewormers, and one of these is pasture management. If an area is small, one solution is to eliminate pasture altogether, keep goats in a dry lot, and bring them their food (hay and Chaffhaye, cut branches, garden crops raised for goats, grain mixtures formulated for goats, minerals). Make sure they don’t eat off the ground.
A key practice, if goats will be grazing, is to avoid overstocking. If your goal is a self-sustaining system, you’ll do better to keep only the number of goats you can feed from a parcel of land. The more crowded your goats are, the more trouble you will have with parasites, and the more you’ll have to buy to feed them.
Implementing rotational grazing helps immensely to combat parasite loads. You do not want your Kinders always grazing under their favorite maple or apple tree over in the south corner of the pasture, until the grass is only three or four inches tall there. Ideally you would have them grazing an area for just 4–5 days, but that’s hard to pull off. More practically speaking that time might extend to 2–3 weeks. You want them to move them along before most parasites have time to complete their life cycle. (The life cycle of the Barber Pole worm is 21–25 days. A larva deposited in pasture hatches in about 5 days.) And you want to move your goats before they eat all of their favorite things out of a pasture, leaving only the less desirable plants to grow in their place.
Once you’ve moved your goats to a new grazing area, you want to “clean” the pasture they have grazed. You have two allies on your side: time and other species that can consumer parasites without incurring harm. A pasture could sit for a year and still have some viable parasites, but not nearly as many as it had initially. Keeping goats off an area for 6–8 weeks helps considerably.
Utilizing Other Species
Chickens run with goats or after them will break up goat pellets, exposing eggs to the sun, and will consume some of the parasites. Our goats and chickens already hang out together. They aren’t susceptible to the same strains of Coccidia, though they are both susceptible to Cryptosporidiosis, which can be a problem for both chicks and kids. We’ll take the risk for the benefit. Our chickens sleep in a separate space, and we have a fun time devising ways to keep them out of the hay feeders, which apparently look more inviting to them than their nesting boxes do. The two species like being together.
Horses or other equine grazing an area after the goats do will eat larvae with the grass. Horses are not hosts for goat parasites, so they are essentially “cleaning up” after the goats, and vice versa.
Haying after goats leave an area helps, too, as the haying process mops up and kills most of the parasites. The short grass post-haying also exposes parasite larvae and eggs to hotter, drier conditions that can kill them. Haying, though, also pulls a lot of minerals and nutrients off the land—there’s that to consider. (We are faced with the task and expense of re-mineralizing after our own land was hayed for years.) We cut our pastures twice a season, for two reasons. First, our goats avoid very tall grass—they’ll stay in the barn and eat pricey hay instead. Also, by cutting our pasture, we are controlling horse nettle, a toxic plant. But we let the grass lie where it falls.
With parasite management in mind, we are planning a rotational grazing system with enough small paddocks that we can keep goats grazing in a single paddock for 2 weeks and then move them along, not to return to that paddock for 2–3 months.
Planning a System
We’re fencing a large section of our pasture with RedBrand sheep and goat fence. (Coyotes visit occasionally, and we don’t trust electric fences to be infallible.) We will initially rotate goats within that large section of pasture using movable electric fencing, but we will gradually make permanent paddocks. If we were still young and energetic and had lots of time, moving electric fence might be an ongoing option. But we are time-challenged and getting older, and we want to be goat keeping when we are 80. We are building infrastructure now while we can to make things easy for ourselves down the road.
Enhancing Browse and Pasture Species
We will create “fence pockets” along paddock fences and within paddocks using goat panels attached to posts at either end with carabiner clips. That’s where we will establish our brambles, shrubs and trees for goat browse. We will develop pastures that offer not only grass, but rye, turnips, chicory in cool seasons, and cowpeas, sorghum, soybeans in warm seasons. Sericea lespedeza and Birdsfoot trefoil (like chicory) are legumes that reduce parasite loads, but they are harder to establish, so we’ll consider small plots of those.
Cultivating Parasite-Resistant Goats, Not Resistant Parasites
Once a new pasture is fenced and ready, the temptation might be to worm everybody one last time and then move your Kinders onto clean pasture. Again, that turns out to be a bad idea. The only surviving parasites would be those resistant to the dewormer you used. You would be introducing only “Super Worm” breeding stock into your new goat pasture. You are better off deworming only those goats that have a parasite problem so that parasites that have developed resistance breed with those that haven’t. Your herd will probably carry a few parasites; the load needs to remain light.
Feeding your goats to keep them in good body condition, especially pregnant and lactating does, is vital to controlling parasite loads. The more kids a doe has, the more nutritional support she will require. A depleted goat is far more susceptible to parasites than a well-nourished one. Protein in the diet helps heal tissues damaged by parasites, and adequate copper and zinc help your Kinders to fight off parasites. Cottonseed meal as a supplement is also effective in reducing parasite loads by half or more.
If you have a goat that you are having to treat regularly for heavy parasite loads despite optimal nutrition (including adequate copper and zinc), that goat is simply more susceptible, and you should consider the option of culling that individual from your herd. Tracking fecals and using the FAMACHA method of assessing parasite loads, you’ll likely find that your herd reflects the general rule—20% to 33% of the goats have 80% of the parasite problems. You can, through culling, develop a herd that is reasonably parasite-resistant, so that good management practices such as good nutrition and pasture rotation minimize parasite issues.
To sum up, as parasites of one kind and another become resistant to one dewormer after another, your best defense for your beloved Kinder herd will not come in a bottle. Your battle plan will be threefold: (1) maximizing your herd’s health and resilience through good nutrition, (2) reducing pasture parasite loads through optimal grazing management, (3) culling selectively, if individual goats need treatment again and again. Here’s to your happy and healthy herd!
By Elizabeth Sweet
Recommended for Further Reading:
- “How to Grow Worms (Or Not),” by Steve Hart (http://www.wormx. info/growworms)
- “Goat Pasture and Browse: A Permaculture Approach to Raising Healthy, Productive Goats,” by Chris Ostrander (Google author and title for PDF download.)
- “Tools for Managing Internal Parasites in Small Ruminants: Pasture Management,” by Linda Coffey and Margo Hale for ATTRA. (Google author and title for PDF download.)
- “Management of Barber Pole Worm in Sheep and Goats in the Southern U.S.,” by Joan Burke (https://attra. ncat.org/downloads/goat_barber_ pole.pdf)
- “Barber Pole Worm War,” by Jonathan Dohonich, DVM
- (http://www.rosehillvet.com/print_ version.php?articleid=68)
Disclaimer: The opinions, views, and thoughts expressed by newsletter and blog contributors do not necessarily reflect those of the Kinder® Goat Breeders Association. Goat husbandry advice found in the newsletter and blog is not meant to substitute a valid veterinary relationship. Please request permission to share or reprint newsletter and blog posts.