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Goats clearing brush are thin

Discussion in 'Pasture, Hay, & Forages: Information & Management' started by superbouncyballs, May 15, 2018.

  1. May 15, 2018
    superbouncyballs

    superbouncyballs Just born

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    We have a small herd of goats 6 goats and 1 alpaca. We recently loaned them to a friend to clear about an acre of brush.

    They have been there 1 week. I've checked on them 2 times. We are rotating them around with net fencing.

    Last time I was here they were looking kind of thin. Like their bellies were not full. That was 3 days ago.

    I'm here now and they look the same. All are acting fine though. And I see them eating.

    One does have diarrhea though.

    I'm wondering of this is because of a sudden change in food. As they were getting strictly hay, as nothing was really growing yet for them to browse on. But now there is tons for them to browse on.

    There are no known poisonous plants here.

    I'm thinking of getting a couple bales of hay for them while they are here.

    Any thoughts?
     
  2. May 15, 2018
    greybeard

    greybeard Herd Master

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    What you see missing, is probably 'hay belly'.
    Look at the rest of the animal..the whole enchilada to determine if they are undernourished or not. If the objective is to clear brush, I wouldn't want to fill them up on hay.

    With any ruminant, any time a forage change is made, the gut's flora has to make adjustments as well, so the first few days there will be physical changes seen. Keep in mind as well, that instead of just walking right to a hay feeder (and probably feed supplement close by too) and filling up, they are now exerting a lot more energy browsing on brush. That means burning more calories.

    The one with diarrhea, keep a close eye on. Tho not unusual for it to happen in a pasture change, It don't take long for the squirts to drag an animal down bad. If it persists very long at all, you might want to bring it back home and get it looked at.

    I've seen lots of goats in West and South Texas do perfectly well on not much more than different kinds of cactus, mesquite leaves and a few blades of grass.
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2018
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  3. May 15, 2018
    Southern by choice

    Southern by choice Herd Master

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    When goats are moved they typically will have a parasitic bloom. If they have low level parasites the bloom may not be too bad, however if the load was high you can have more serious issues.
    The diarrhea quite possibly may be from the rich forage change. Do your self and the goat a favor. Have a fecal run.
    Clearing brush is great but sudden change in diet can cause issues. When we would move our Kikos into the trees and vines once spring hit we adjusted them slowly... so many hours out into the area each day. Still providing hay.
    When they were in the areas that were just coming alive with spring growth it was automatically gradual be cause growth was slow... they needed no adjustment.
    We have done it both ways.

    Not sure what kind of goats you have and that will make a difference. Meat goats, cross bred brush goats or dairy goats? Wethers?
    When our kikos were moved from winter lot with hay only to lush forestry they certainly did not lose weight but were definitely fatter and happier.
    Hopefully they are all vaccinated for CD & T.

    Well, I haven't. I am not in TX but I can say I do see many that just want goats to live off nothing and that would be considered nothing. They are nutritionally deficient, skinny as a rail and not healthy.
     
  4. May 16, 2018
    greybeard

    greybeard Herd Master

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    I thought I had some pics of my cousin's goat herd right out of San Angelo Tx, but looks like all I have is his cattle and sheep, but you can see the kind of land they're living on.
    Sheep and goats can make it good any where a deer can and his place is crawling with white tails too..big ones. I worked part time fixing fences on a sheep, cattle goat ranch when I lived out there, and the land looked same as this.
    DSC00030.JPG

    Some of his goats were penned in the area to the left background near the buildings you see.
    DSC00028.JPG

    Hard to see, but these are a mix of sheep and goats of some kind, come down to the Pecos river for water about 1/4 mile from where it meets Rio Grande about 200 miles South of San Angelo between Del Rio and Langtry.
    goatsonthepecos.jpg

    Here's what it looked like at the top of the canyon where they spend most of their time.
    pecos lookingtomexico.jpg

    This, is goat & sheep country. There have been goats and sheep successfully raised here for hundreds of years. For decades, San Angelo was known as the wool and mohair capital of the world.
    https://tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/asw02
     
  5. May 16, 2018
    Southern by choice

    Southern by choice Herd Master

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    Well I work with with goats specifically, not cattle. I certainly wouldn't tell a cattle person how to raise cattle.
    Bottom line is unless the goats are bred for such conditions they will not fair well.
    Having land to continue to move on can provide enough for them to eat however most don't have that arrangement and have fences.
     
  6. May 16, 2018
    greybeard

    greybeard Herd Master

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    I'm always open to suggestions regarding cattle, fencing, forage and all other aspects of ag regardless of where it comes from.

    Evidently, even tho synthetic textiles have caused a huge decrease in the number of sheep and goats raised in West Texas, they're doing something right out there.
    Producers Livestock Auction
    Tuesday, May 8, 2018

    San Angelo-Producers Livestock Auction sold 6679 head of sheep and goats

    A map supposedly showing every goat in the USA.
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news...ap-literally-every-goat-in-the-united-states/
    goatland.jpg
    "You'll find commercial goat farms operating in 2,996 of the country's 3,143 counties. Of the top ten goat-producing counties, 8 are in Texas and two are in Arizona. In Sutton County, Texas, goats outnumber people 14-to-1. In Edwards County, also in Texas, the ratio is 22-to-1. All in all, goats outnumber people in 21 U.S. counties, all but one of which are in Texas."

    Sutton County is 70 miles SSW of San Angelo.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2018
  7. May 16, 2018
    Baymule

    Baymule Herd Master

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    There are several strains of Spanish goats that have been kept alive and flourishing in West Texas for over two centuries. They are appreciated for their hardiness and are now slowly spreading across the country. That’s not to say that all West Texas goats are Spanish goats, but to point out that goats have done well there for a very long time.

    Like SBC said, any time you change an animals diet, do it slowly. If @greybeard took his cows from his lush green pastures to dry West Texas, they would have a hard time adjusting to the difference in vegetation. Like a good cattleman, if he moved, he would sell his cows and buy cattle already acclimated to that part of the country.
     
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  8. May 16, 2018
    Southern by choice

    Southern by choice Herd Master

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    @greybeard not really sure of your point but whatever.
    The point is the owner (OP) noticed the goats getting thin and one having diarrhea. That was the concern.
    Anytime a goat starts losing weight it is a concern. Period. Not whether some goats can live off nothing.
     
  9. May 16, 2018
    greybeard

    greybeard Herd Master

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    I don't remember saying or seeing anyone else even mention "living off nothing'. If it were 'nothing' all those black dots wouldn't be there or have ever been there at any point in history. This is all natural, sustainable, low input/relatively high return single species livestock production, worth $100 million/ year.
     
  10. May 16, 2018
    Southern by choice

    Southern by choice Herd Master

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    I did, I mentioned it.