New to goats and ready to sell them all

Discussion in 'Beginners Goat Raising' started by Anne_goats, Jan 19, 2021.

  1. Anne_goats

    Anne_goats New Member

    Jan 19, 2021
    I am new to raising meat goats, started my herd this spring. And now I am almost regretting it already. I purchased most of my goats (75 head) from the same herd. Was told it was a closed herd for the past 5 years. Animals all looked healthy, well taken care of etc.
    a few months after getting them home, we noticed one was “off” dewormed her, gave her antibiotics etc and she was still losing weight. We got the vet out and she did a blood sample, from her and 2 others.
    Can back yesterday as johnes positive

    I am now getting all the old does tested in a couple weeks. We have 20 kids(2020 offspring) all from the same herd. We are kidding come May.

    I am so upset and mad at myself, I know buying from a herd that test for disease is not always possible, and I couldn’t fiNd any does from disease tested herd at the time I was looking so this seemed like the next best option.

    I guess my question is, I know johnes is out there, probably more so then goat owners want to admit. I am in close contact with my vet of how to manage my herd going forward, how has anyone dealt with it, how long does it take to remove the disease from the herd? Is that even possible? Is testing every year and culling the positives the best way to do it? Of is it best to cull the whole herd?
  2. Noisy Bottle Babies

    Noisy Bottle Babies Well-Known Member

    Oct 7, 2019
    I’m sorry that sucks we had the same problem only with CL, for me I would’ve culled everyone but with so many goats you would be losing I would get the younger kids tested, if you had any kids born this year I would get moms tested because sadly it can affect the babies even before they’re born
    definitely read up on that, anyone that comes back negative should be put away from positives until you can cull them, it goes through manure and water I’ve read

  3. SalteyLove

    SalteyLove Well-Known Member

    Jun 18, 2011
    New England
    I'm so sorry.

    Johnes is no fun. I've had experience with it in my own Boer herd.

    In my opinion, you don't need to cull the whole herd. However, my herd is much smaller than yours. I would focus on testing does that have kidded once and are in the 2-3 year old range.

    For costs up front, I wouldn't bother testing those older than 5 years old immediately. They probably are not the ones shedding as they would be dead by that age in most cases. Of course there is some mystery about active disease and carriers, but you want to remove the animals that will scour soon first. In addition, don't pay to test does that haven't kidded yet, the immune stress of kidding is what triggers the start of the disease in many animals.

    If it is financially feasible, I would get a good meat price on all the 2020 born yearlings now. It's not worth the wait to find out they are positive in 1 or 2 years. In addition, I would plan to sell every kid born in 2021 at weaning weight for meat only buyers. Again, just my own experience! Last year was the first year I retained back some kids for testing and it will be my final proof of eradication, all my kids for the past 2 years have gone for meat.

    Here in New England, our soils tend to be slightly acidic. Applying lime to raise the pH of the soil has been proven effective at reducing the lifespan of the Johne's on your farm. Lime everywhere you can!

    I'll post the link to my own journey to give you information to help you make decisions. It's a long thread.
  4. SalteyLove

    SalteyLove Well-Known Member

    Jun 18, 2011
    New England
    It does not spread to kid in-utero. The vast majority of spread occurs from dam to kids due to manure contamination on the udder. At some point, the Johne's bacteria is orally consumed by the kids in just the first few days of life. The dam is not necessarily scouring at transmission.
  5. happybleats

    happybleats Well-Known Member

    Sep 12, 2010
    Gustine Texas
    Oh so so sorry you are dealing with Johnes. I would follow Saltys advice here.. shes dealt with it and has a pretty solid plan.
  6. Noisy Bottle Babies

    Noisy Bottle Babies Well-Known Member

    Oct 7, 2019
    thank you for correcting me but it sucks that if you don’t even know which does have it the babies can still get it :(
  7. SalteyLove

    SalteyLove Well-Known Member

    Jun 18, 2011
    New England
    @Anne_goats says the forum is blocking her replies right now as possible spam but she appreciates the help!

    Anne - did the one doe that was losing weight test positive or all three that were selected for testing?
  8. ksalvagno

    ksalvagno Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    You will have to PM TGSAdmin.
  9. Damfino

    Damfino Well-Known Member

    Dec 29, 2013
    Right behind you
    I'm so sorry you're dealing with this nightmare! I have not personally dealt with Johnes, but I have done quite a bit of research on it because my neighbors kept an untested Boer herd years ago and I wanted to be as knowledgeable as possible about the potential diseases they might be carrying.

    I do want to address this particular reply:

    Testing babies for Johnes won't work. For the first 2-3 years of life, Johnes disease hides in nervous tissue where it can't be detected in fecal or blood samples. So your kids will test negative even if they are actually positive. It's not until the disease starts shedding when the goat matures that it can be detected in fecal and blood samples. Fecal testing is the most accurate. However, blood tests are usually cheaper and offer quicker results so they can be a good tool for a first screening of your herd. False negatives are more common in the blood test but false positives are a pretty sure bet for disease.

    SalteyLove is a great resource and will probably have the best advice here. I agree that all your kids from last year and this should be sold on the meat market. Waiting around to see if they eventually test positive will only prolong your pain and likely the disease positivity of your herd. I wish there were some easy answers here. :(
  10. GoofyGoat

    GoofyGoat Well-Known Member

    Sep 21, 2018
    All the advice you’ve gotten is great. I have none to add as I’ve never dealt with it. I’m sorry you’re dealing with this it must be so stressful. I wish the best for you.
  11. Noisy Bottle Babies

    Noisy Bottle Babies Well-Known Member

    Oct 7, 2019
    So it’s a hard situation with those kids you can’t test them and it won’t show up until a little later in life that sucks and then it goes through manure so if all goats were together there’s a pretty good chance they could also carry it:(
  12. SalteyLove

    SalteyLove Well-Known Member

    Jun 18, 2011
    New England
    Not necessarily, there is little to no evidence of adult goats contracting Johne's, even exposed to positive manure. It really is a disease they contract the first week of life but doesn't show up until several years later. It's quite possible a good majority of the herd is negative.

    One concerning things Anne mentioned in her private message is that the goat that tested positive has a low appetite and was drifting apart from the herd. That is definitely not typical with Johne's.
  13. AlabamaGirl

    AlabamaGirl Well-Known Member

    Jun 18, 2020
    That sucks.. I've seen the pictures of Johnes and it's so sad..
    MadHouse and Moers kiko boars like this.
  14. CountyLineAcres

    CountyLineAcres Well-Known Member

    Jan 22, 2014
    Mineral Ridge, Ohio
    Very sorry to hear this!

    Keep in mind that Johne’s blood tests can give a false-positive with CL vaccinated or infected animals. I would ask the owner if he vaccinated any of his animals for CL.

    The Johne’s ELISA is 99% in specificity which means it’s less than a 1 in 100 chance for a false-positive. However, the sensitivity is ridiculously low (8% to 56%) in subclinical animals. That’s a 44% to 92% chance of a false-negative.

    One thing I highly suggest is looking into testing group fecal samples (PCR), so you can see which are actively shedding the disease and help you separate them. You’ll have to continually test, because inactive shedders can still be positive.
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2021
  15. toth boer goats

    toth boer goats Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2008
    Corning California
    All great advice, I am sorry that happened.
  16. Moers kiko boars

    Moers kiko boars Well-Known Member

    Apr 22, 2018
    Im glad you caught this so soon. Johnes is nothing to fool with. If you follow @SalteyLove will come out with a better herd than what you started with. Its not easy..but you can do it. Then close your herd and enjoy your hard work!
    MadHouse, GoofyGoat and AlabamaGirl like this.
  17. Goats Rock

    Goats Rock Member

    Jun 20, 2011
    NE Ohio
    Question about Johne's. Does pasturized cows milk carry it if the cow had it and the farmer didn't know or didn't care? (the milk from the grocery store)
    MadHouse and AlabamaGirl like this.
  18. SalteyLove

    SalteyLove Well-Known Member

    Jun 18, 2011
    New England
    I remember reading during my research that pasteurization does not always kill the Johnes bacteria. I can't remember if I was able to find a study finding Johnes in pasteurized grocery store milk. I have wondered about feeding bottle kids but active Johnes would significantly reduce a cow's production so I can't imagine a dairy ignoring that.
  19. Caileigh Jane Smith

    Caileigh Jane Smith Well-Known Member

    Dec 1, 2019
    Missouri, USA
    I have no experience with Johnes, but reading @SalteyLove 's comment about most kids contracting Johnes in the first few weeks of life...would it be possible to use the same strategy to control Johnes spread as you would use for CAE? Be present at birth, pull kids, feed only safe milk/replacer, keep a separate herd. That would be a tremendous amount of work, but might enable you to keep at least some of your kids.
    I have also read about Johnes not being killed by pasteurization...I wonder just how prevalent it is in dairy it managed the same way some goat breeders deal with CAE? Don't test, only cull symptomatic cows, don't worry about the rest?
    AlabamaGirl likes this.