All stock should be vaccinated once a year. Goats should be vaccinated against pulpy kidney, blood poisoning, tetanus and black leg. Commonly known as a ‘3 in 1 or 4 in 1 vaccine’. Vaccinate your in-kid Does within two to three weeks prior to kidding. This not only vaccinates the Doe, but also the kid, as immunity passes from the Doe to the unborn Kid through the umbilical cord. A booster dose may also need to be given to the Kids at 6-8 weeks after birth, depending on the product which was used.
There are many differing opinions on drenching goats, and many different types of drench.
Drenching animals is very important, and it is advised that farmers create a drenching plan based on their personal circumstances and farming style. There are currently areas of New Zealand where there is a problem with resistance to some drenches. It is advised that you speak to a local vet or goat farmer about the best options for your location. Always weigh your animals if possible and drench to the heaviest, this will help to reduce the risk of drench resistance.
It also helps to control worms if you can do a faecal egg count, or have one done by your Vet, as this will tell you when it is necessary to drench. In the long run this will save you money and time.
When adding any newly purchased goats to your flock, you should always quarantine and drench the animals. This involves keeping them in a shed, if possible, or separate from any existing for 12hrs. Drench them with whatever is recommended by your Veterinarian or local goat farmer, keep them in holding overnight, to drench again after 12 hours.
Most Angora goat farmers will keep hoof trimming to a minimum, or if possible, not trim at all. When trimming feet, try to make sure that you don’t cut them deep enough to make them bleed, as this can be where infection enters.
All hoofed animals are susceptible to hoof damage, and will not function or feed well if the feet are in a bad way. Treatments for hoof infections are to put the animals through a foot bath of zinc sulphate, which has a ratio of 10% solution to 90% water. Any overgrown hoofs will need to be trimmed before the hoof bath. If the treatment is not successful, and the animals have not stopped limping, then you will need to repeat the bath process until the problem has cleared.
There are also aerosol sprays available to treat small numbers of animals with hoof problem.
Goats with a chronic hoof problem should be culled, but keep in mind that they can only be trucked if they are not lame.
While goats do not have many problems with fly strike, it can happen. Fly strike is most common during the warm and wet months of Summer and Autumn, between December and April.
If you notice animals scratching themselves, jumping about, or in the case of Bucks stamping their feet, they will have fly strike. Make sure that animals are crutched around their rear, and that buck are crutched around their pizzle, as these are target areas by flies. Any open wounds on the body or hoofs may get fly strike, and when they lay down, the strike can transfer to the body.
Goats are subject to the same parasites as sheep, with the breeds able to cross-infect each other. There are many lice products which cover this problem available on the market . Make sure you follow instructions carefully, as some products may not be used during periods prior to shearing.
Goitre causes a swelling of the thyroid gland due to an iodine deficiency, leading to difficulty breathing and the underdevelopment of foetuses during pregnancy. This deficiency is common in New Zealand, especially in areas where soils are deficient in this mineral.
This symptoms of this condition in kids includes; kids who look hunched, are too fat and podgy, not growing in height, seem very lethargic, always end up at the back of the mob during driving, or have swelling under their jaw. If you believe that your animals may have goitre, them speak to your vet immediately. Current treatments for this condition are iodine injections, which can improve animals straight away.
Previous ideas surrounding Angora goats created a misconception that they were incredibly susceptible to pneumonia. Goats are now acknowledged as hardy animals, which can easily winter outside during cold conditions. Some reports seem to show that Angora goats actually enjoy warm rain and frosty temperatures.
Following shearing and during kidding are the most important times to be aware of adverse weather events. Strong cold winds and rain during these periods can create dangerous conditions for exposed goats, so some form of weatherproof shelter for the animals is advised, preferable in a close location where the stock can be monitored.