Considering Goat Dairy...Having Second Thoughts: Goat Disease Info

Discussion in 'Dairy Diaries' started by GoatGotGirl, Jan 9, 2018.

  1. GoatGotGirl

    GoatGotGirl New Member

    22
    Jan 9, 2018
    Hello All, I've posted my query below to the Dairy Goat Forum and wanted to post here as well as I've been sponging up so much of the great info from the Goat Spot Archives and wanted to ask for advice.

    I am new to the forum and have been slowly making my way through the posts and learning a great deal. Thank you to all who take the time to provide such detailed information and for all of the anecdotes. Greatly appreciated. I am in the info gathering stage and considering a goat based micro dairy however all of the info regarding CAE, CL, meningeal worm etc. has given me pause. Most, if not all, goat dairies here in the NE bottle feed from birth. From what I understand none are dam raised. In Vermont I was told the rate of CAE infected goats has risen to nearly 100%. Could this be true? Is it completely naive to imagine a "grass fed" pastured micro dairy with dam raised babies for at least two months or even one month? I have read many anecdotal stories of dams producing more milk with kids than without.

    Most goat dairies seem to keep their animals inside and never on pasture. I was told this was due to meningeal worm. Dairy goats seem so fragile and the forums are full of stories of sick goats who seem to fall ill at the slightest challenge. It seems as though the trend with regard to managing CAE is to remove the babies from the mothers at birth, CAE Prevention.

    Although I understand the reasoning, a necessary evil of sorts, it seems counterintuitive and we are creating generation after generation of formula babies who have not been raised by their mothers. This is the life of the commercial dairy animal regardless, I do understand this as well. I read that bottle fed babies are not as disease resistant as their dam raised counterparts. It suggested bottle fed does are known to reject their babies more often than dam raised does. I am wondering about the experiences of the members here. This cannot be a good thing long term nor sustainable and seems an extremely time consuming and laborious process. Is this the future of goat husbandry? There is a theory that this practice of separating the babies at birth is not the solution for creating or maintaining a CAE free herd.

    In addition, all of the goat dairies here keep their herds inside. Babies removed at birth, animals kept inside and fed silage, hay, some grain. The animals never venture outside. How is this normal? It is said this indoor set up is due to the threat of meningeal worm.

    I raised horses for twenty years and I've never read of anything quite like what I am reading about goats. I believe in trying to imitate, to the best of one's ability, that particular animal's natural habitat. I raised my horses on pasture, never grained, provided supplements and probiotics. Raised the foals with dams. My animals were never sick until old age. I realize goats are browsers. I've been imagining taking them on walks the way the Rove Goat raisers do in France. Huge horns and all. I am wondering why the Rove goat raisers do not disbud. There are numerous youtube vids of the goats running in to be milked and having no problem navigating machinery with their big horns.

    I am wondering how many members here practice CAE Prevention. This afternoon I decided to abandon my hope for a goat dairy but before I throw in the towel I wanted to reach out and hear your thoughts.

    Thanks again for all of your excellent posts!
     
  2. Ranger1

    Ranger1 Well-Known Member

    Sep 1, 2014
    While it is true that goats are a bit more finicky health wise than other animals, I think it's not as bad as you are seeing on forums. You have to remember that a lot of the people on forums only join and post when a goat is sick, not when they are healthy, so you're not seeing both sides of the equation.
    It is not naive to consider having a dairy where you dam raise the kids for a month or two, nor is it naive to consider grass fed only. Here is a dairy in my state who is grass fed only. http://www.luckyhookfarm.com It is a shame that people keep their goats indoors only, and not at all needful or healthy for the goat.
    If you buy goats from a CAE negative herd-and there are a ton of us out there, even if the goats are more expensive-you will not need to pull and bottle feed kids. And no, I have found no correlation between bottle fed kids and those kids growing up and rejecting their kids. I've even had does that have had their kids pulled and never saw them, who gladly took the next doe's kids as her own, or later kidded and raised the kids herself.
    If you do have goats with CAE, one year of pulling the kids and hand raising, and culling the CAE positive goats, and you are CAE clean in a year and can go back to dam raising kids. BTW, kids do not have to be fed formula. You can pasteurize the milk of CAE positive does and raise the kids on that and they will not get CAE.
    I have no experience with MW, but I would assume with preventative care your goats are just fine out on pasture. Especially if you have a few dogs that will keep deer away and thereby limit the exposure to them. CL is nasty, but again, buy from a reputable breeder that has never had it and you'll be fine. Culture any abscesses that your goats get and cull any that are positive ASAP, but CL is pretty unlikely to show up if you get your goats from a good person.
    Horns are optional-tons of dairies leave horns on. You just have to have head gates that they can get into, but that's easy.

    I hope you at least do some more research and give goats a chance!
     

  3. GoatGotGirl

    GoatGotGirl New Member

    22
    Jan 9, 2018
    Thank you Ranger1. It seems the farm you mentioned is in WA state. It is my understanding that the American grasslands dividing the country serve as a natural barrier to the meningeal worm making it's way west. I do not believe it exists in the west and it seems a grass fed dairy would be easier in the west in terms of MW risk. I did learn of two grass fed dairies in Vermont. I had planned to do as you suggested and try and keep the deer away with dogs and keep the snails and slugs down with poultry. We have been trying to figure out how one expands when attempting to create a closed CAE free herd. You can expand from the inside only I would think. I am encouraged by what you said about there being no difference btw bottle and dam raised kids. There is a thread on this forum about others having trouble but I suppose it all depends on numerous factors. You mentioned reputable breeders. I would love to have that magic list as I see so many posts warning: "trust no one". Your post has enabled me to reconsider and I will continue to research. If I can do pastured/grass fed and dam raised then I would like to give it a go. Are there any reputable breeders in the NE who have CAE free animals. I am interested in Nubians/Saanens/Alpines.

    Could you tell me the maximum length of time one can keep the kids with the dam before milk production is compromised or is that a problem or issue at all. Many sources say dam raising increases milk production. Is there an average time? Two months? One month? Longer? This would not be a backyard/homestead set up but a commercial micro dairy.

    Thank you again for your reply.
     
  4. Ranger1

    Ranger1 Well-Known Member

    Sep 1, 2014
    Yes, MW is not over here, which is why I have no experience with it. I mentioned the grass fed dairy in terms of it being possible nutritionally.
    Closed herds are hard, but possible. Using AI, you can bring in multiple bucks and keep your own does as replacements.
    You are right, “trust no one,” but chances are much better if you find a good breeder that has doesn’t have CAE and has never had CL or Jhones. When you find them, you can request more tests for more diseases, at your own expense, and if they aren’t willing to work with you just leave. Or quarantine and do it yourself.
    I’m not familiar with breeders in your area-maybe others can chime in.

    I don’t know the answers to your questions, because, though I have both dam raised and bottle raised, I have not noticed any difference in milk production from so doing. There are so many variables that determine how milk each individual doe gives in each lactation that I find it hard to believe that they could pin it down to dam raising makes the doe give more milk. Age, ranking in the herd, genetics, weather and hardiness of the individual doe in that weather, lactation number, time of year, number of kids, and possibly even gender of kids all have an influence.
    I would think that milk production would never be comprised with a kid on the doe unless the kid weaned itself and made the doe dry up. Or if the doe gets tired of the big kid butting her udder or its horns jabbing her belly and she weaned it.
     
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  5. Einhorn

    Einhorn Active Member

    282
    Jan 2, 2014
    The only thing i can add is to check breeder listings with goat registries to find breeders in your area. In addition to AGDA, there are breed specific registries too. Many are listed by state.

    Where i live, I don't have half the problems everyone else has, so i can't comment on goat fragility. Mine seem to thrive on benign neglect...
     
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  6. GoatGotGirl

    GoatGotGirl New Member

    22
    Jan 9, 2018
    Thank you both. It can be confusing as some reputable sites such as university edu sites says testing is and is not reliable for each of the three diseases mentioned. I have found Onion Creek Ranch to be a wealth of information. Her article archives are excellent and provide clarification in many cases. CAE testing, CL testing etc. It's my understanding her herd was a test herd for the CL vaccine but then I read many, many goat owners will shun those who choose to use the vaccine. It's very confusing for a newbie I must admit.

    Einhorn you really gave me laugh. Thriving on benign neglect. It is this concept that I actually relate to more than any other as that is how it has most often been done. You don't have to coddle animals or teach a goat how to be a goat. Do they really need all of this intervention and why are they dying so easily, within hours etc. It is not difficult to get overwhelmed reading many of these threads with eyes wide as it just seems impossible to believe they are so fragile. Throw interstitial pneumonia and gangrene mastitis in there and you could chase away any newcomer. Pneumonia after significant changes in temperature?? What about their native desert which sees 35F at night and 95+F in the daytime. I have traveled through desert regions and never saw any goats dropping dead from pneumonia or shots of banamine and all sorts of injectable supplements or meds being given. It has confused me. What is happening here that is not happening there?

    Is there a lot of grain feeding of goats happening in the US? Many feed companies are happy to get new goat raisers on packaged grain feed. Grain feeding can complicate animal physiology and I see many posts here acknowledging this issue and warning against feeding too much grain. The increasing prevalence of CAE, CL and Johne's should give anyone pause let alone the rise of BLV/Bovine Leukemia Virus in cattle. All of these are only a few decades old it seems. I'm fully supportive of your practice of Benign Neglect. Less is more in many cases. ;)
     
  7. Einhorn

    Einhorn Active Member

    282
    Jan 2, 2014
    Yes, well i only have two goats, living in a high desert location on a dry lot! So I'm not putting that down to much skill on my part!

    There is plenty to learn here b and I'll preparingfor when i DO have a problem.

    I do think the difference between goats and horses is the availability of vets. Goat owners have to know this and do it all then selves. Horses are also pretty fragile for their size!
    Compare them to dogs who eat 13 days dead skunks and live to tell the tale!
     
  8. GoatGotGirl

    GoatGotGirl New Member

    22
    Jan 9, 2018
    Ranger1 could you clarify. "keep your own does as replacements"?

    I had read on Onion Creek Ranch the suggestion that dairy breeders seem to breed to CAE positive bucks via AI, choosing productive dairy genetic over CAE free status. That this is one way CAE is maintaining a presence in their herds.
     
  9. GoatGotGirl

    GoatGotGirl New Member

    22
    Jan 9, 2018
    Einhorn you are really funny. I have personal experience with the 13 dead skunks and begging to get very close to me to tell me the tale. Gallons of tomato juice later I can still remember every detail. Horses do suffer injuries. It's true. A thousand pounds sitting on four tree branches. I am wondering if the desert raisers here have fewer problems than those in wetter regions. The grass is a gift and a curse where MW and parasites are concerned. Do you find you don't have much of a problem with parasites?
     
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  10. Ranger1

    Ranger1 Well-Known Member

    Sep 1, 2014
    Here’s what’s happening-goats are being coddled. If they wanted to pull that stunt of getting sick in the desert, they’d die and their genetics would be wiped away. Not only that, but, as goats are browsers, when we bring them to America and attempt to turn them into grazers and milk machines, health goes down.

    I mean that doelings that are born go into your milking string so that you don’t have to buy more does. Using AI too, you have a closed herd.
    It’s not true that dairy breeders are choosing high production over CAE status. Unless you are meaning commercial dairies, not actual the actual goat breeders who are producing those genetics. Has it ever been proven that CAE passes through semen?

    We don’t live in a true desert, but with the average rainfall around 16 inches and most of that in the winter, we rarely have parasite problems, besides coccidia in kids.

    Where do you live?
     
  11. GoatGotGirl

    GoatGotGirl New Member

    22
    Jan 9, 2018
    I am in the Northeast. What you are saying is what I am coming away with after researching and reading the forums. Coddling as a necessary evil. It's difficult to look at them like dogs but it is similar. Bred for size or for a certain skill set. Dog breeds: Short legs, big body, pushed in muzzles, bulging eyes, floppy ears, etc....difficulty breathing, bloat, etc. Each breed has all sorts of health problems. Mutts rarely do. However, the diseases goat owners are dealing with regularly are worldwide, some shared with cattle. But their ability to handle these diseases is impaired. It is interesting that in Israel the Awassi sheep and Bedouin black goat seem to possess resistance to CAE and I believe CL. I have to look again. It only underlines that we are creating animals which need to be coddled. The Israelis bred a Super Sheep, an Awassi - East Fresian cross and this enabled them to go from an animal/Awassi who produced 40 liters of milk a year to an animal/Awassi/East Fresian cross who now produces 500 liters/year. They call it intensive dairy management. I am assuming the animals are inside being fed hay, silage and grain. For those who tried to use these animals here in the US they found it nearly impossible. Bad feet, lambs not surviving the birth process, etc. I believe this type of breeding is called "improved genetics". Improved for milk production perhaps but not much else.

    Ag scientists are putting more effort into researching heritage breeds in an attempt to combat the challenges associated with climate change, understanding that these ancient breeds are hardy, disease resistant, etc. I never wormed my horses after about 4 years. They were always negative on quarterly fecals. They had become resistant over time. The neighboring farm fed wormer laden feed. They developed super worms on their farm/soil and could not sell the farm. The animals were always sick. It was a nightmare.

    Your mentioning of the grass fed vs browser issue is the one which bothers me the most. It is why I imagined taking them on "walks" but this is impractical for a large dairy of course. The Rove goat raisers take them on walks daily so I thought, why not. Goats need to be on the move snipping the tops of bushes and the bottoms of tree branches. It is heartbreaking to think of these beautiful, curious, elegant, intelligent and restless animals being stuck in these indoor barns and being turned into kid-less milk machines. I agree. :(

    As I am new to this I will have to look into your question about the semen/CAE issue. I don't know. It was suggested on Onion Creek Ranch that the AI use of CAE positive bucks is problematic. I just looked at it again. The title of the article is below and can be found on Suzanne's article page. It is worth a read for any newbies like me as she provides a wealth of info. I was intrigued by info in the aforementioned paragraph stating her stance on CAE prevention practices and that taking the kids away from the mothers actually perpetuates the disease. I have no opinion of course just relating what I have read. I have no experience at all. And yes, she seems to mean the goat dairies not buck breeders.

    CAE, CL, and JOHNES DISEASE
    Understanding Three Very Misunderstood Diseases
    by Suzanne Gasparatto at Onion Creek Ranch
     
  12. lottsagoats1

    lottsagoats1 Well-Known Member

    Apr 12, 2014
    Middle Maine
    I have raised dairy goats for 35 years or so. Some were bottle fed, some dam raised. I never had a bottle raised doe reject her kids. I also had a cattle dairy, and I never had a problem with the cows rejecting their calves because they were bottle fed.

    My bottle fed kids are fed goat milk that has been heat treated/pasteurized, I very seldom use milk replacer. If I do, it is mixed with pasteurized goat milk.

    My goat are dry lotted because I do not have a lot of land. They have an outside area to wander in, and they actually get their hay fed to them outside unless the weather is horrible. They can stay in their inside pen or go outside at will, their choice.

    While goats seem to be susceptible to worms, it can be managed. In the wild, they lived on browse, so they very seldom came in contact with worms. That is the reason they are susceptible to worms. A well balanced diet goes a long way in keeping a worm load low by strengthening their immune system.

    My goats are very healthy over all. Worm loads are low. Very few cases of any bacterial or viral infections. 1 case of mastitis in 35 years, and that doe came with it when I got her.

    I feed both native oats and commercial feeds. Hay in my area is poor quality, harvested late because of the wet springs/early summers we have and most fields have not been fertilized. Daily concentrates are a must.

    It has never been proven that CAE is passed thru semen. 35 years ago, very little was known about CAE, not that that has changed much. I had + animals in my herd that ran together. None of the negative animals ever became + from being bred to a + animal or by living with + animals.

    Most breeders are trying to clear their herds of CAE, CL, and any other diseases passed along. I do not hear of anyone passing over health just to get production. A symptomatic CAE doe can be hampered in the production department due to severe congestion in the udder that causes her to have almost no milk at all. That would certainly cut her from the milking string. It would also keep her from placing in the show ring. A sick doe is a poor producer, would have sickly, and fewer, kids, and would be at risk of dying before, during and after kidding.
     
  13. Ranger1

    Ranger1 Well-Known Member

    Sep 1, 2014
    Where is the Northeast? Russia is pretty Northeast, but so is New Hampshire. Are you in America?

    The only paper I ever read on CAE passing through semen was where they collected semen from some bucks, inoculated it with the CAE virus, and bred a couple of does with it-the does got CAE. However, is CAE even present in semen naturally, and if so, is it active or dead? Were those does ever exposed to CAE in any other form? There were too many questions for me to believe it, and I've heard from too many breeders who have kept a CAE positive buck, quarantined, on the property and bred their does to him, and never had a case of CAE from it.
     
  14. Einhorn

    Einhorn Active Member

    282
    Jan 2, 2014
    As far as browse, we give our goats all the tree trimmings (not stone fruit leaves in the fall though!) And rose shrub cuttings, grass/weeds that we pull. We live on an old orchard so there isn't a lot of toxic browse on our property. Most of our weeds are quite edible: lambs quarters, creeping jenny, amaranth, alfalfa, sunflowers...
     
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  15. GoatGotGirl

    GoatGotGirl New Member

    22
    Jan 9, 2018
    Ranger1 and Lottsagoats thank you. I did find one study below which indicates as you both suggest that it has never been proven/no evidence that CAE is an STD. I do not know if Onion Creek Ranch has more information or why it is suggested that it is an STD in her article, mentioned above.

    http://www.aphis.usda.gov/animal_health/emergingissues/downloads/prcaevinfosheet.pdfsays "What routes of transmission are of concern to mature goats?...Milking machines, contaminated hands and hand towels, leaky udders, contaminated tools (such as needles, tattoo tools and dehorners), estrous mucus, prepuce mucus, semen, and saliva and nasal secretions from bucks may be vehicles of transmission, although clear-cut evidence of transmission via these routes has not been established." "Can CAEV be transmitted in semen? CAEV was isolated from parts of the semen of experimentally infected bucks in 1998. However, it must be emphasized that the infection in these bucks was experimental, not natural. One year later in 1999, it was shown that semen from naturally infected bucks can become contaminated with CAEV. At the present time, there is no evidence that bucks transmit the infection to does via semen, but an appropriate level of caution must be taken by producers when using natural or assisted reproduction with semen from seropositive bucks."

    Lottsagoats I agree most dairies seem to be trying to establish CAE/CL free herds. A large dairy here in the northeast (United States) is undertaking a complete herd dispersal (many if not most of their animals are CAE+) and replacing with a new herd, CAE negative, from the Western US.

    It does seem that goats do better in a drier climate. I did not initially understand the reason they advise raisers not allow their goats to graze the pastures down below 18" and keep them moving so their mouths stay off the ground (parasites) at or above that 18" mark. I hope I am getting that right. 18"?

    We know that MW/meningeal worm does not exist in the West. Is there any evidence that CAE or CL is less prevalent in the drier West than wetter Eastern US? Do goats tend to have fewer health issues/problems in the drier West? This seems to be the case. When I had my horses out West they were at their best.

    I want to clarify, I mentioned the does who are confined to barns. I meant the large stanchions. The enormous indoor confinement in large open barns/stanchions where the goats spend their days 24/7. This is what they do in Europe. There is a farm in the Netherlands with 7,000 goats. They are all inside. Never outside. Not at all like regular farm barns, pens and shelter.
     
  16. GoatGotGirl

    GoatGotGirl New Member

    22
    Jan 9, 2018
    This is very interesting Einhorn. I have been looking for a book with information on what I can and cannot give to goats. I have been looking online for a list like this. I would very much like to provide as much browse as possible.
     
  17. Suzanne_Tyler

    Suzanne_Tyler GreenTGoats

    Jul 19, 2014
    US
    I'd always read it's 4 inches, higher if the grass is wet.
     
  18. GoatGotGirl

    GoatGotGirl New Member

    22
    Jan 9, 2018
    Thank you Suzanne! This is what I was looking for yet didn't see this on the Fias site. I am hoping to incorporate Molly's herbs in my herd if I decide to move forward. Her site is also a great source of info. Thank you for the link. I will have to research most of those poisonous plants. I'm not familiar with most of them or at least the names used on the list.
     
  19. GoatGotGirl

    GoatGotGirl New Member

    22
    Jan 9, 2018
    Suzanne, in the book Holistic Goat it indicates what you have described: 4", ideally 6". Graze only when grasses and plants are dry.

    Graze only when grasses and plants are dry? Goats cannot eat wet grass?