Practicing Herd Health

by admin Email

Our Heritage Spanish Goats have almost finished kidding. We have two first time doelings that are still about a month away from birthing but all the others have finished. We have 17 happy, healthy kids on the ground. They are 3-4 weeks old and following their mothers to the field every day. We have 9 doelings and 8 bucklings. Two of the bucklings are sold.

We wait until their 3rd or 4th week after birth to give them their first CD&T shot. This is the time that we also ear tag them to record whose baby they are, when they were born, birth weight, etc. By keeping excellent records from birth we can see what does are doing well, producing excellent, strong offspring and who is not. Herd health is very important to us. We follow up with their second CD&T shot three weeks after the first. Our goats all get an annual tetanus shot. It's a good practice.

My wife and I are old enough that we have made the decision to stay with our current bloodlines instead of working toward developing our own Cozine Springs Ranch blood line. It is a very long and drawn out process. We will instead devote ourselves to developing an excellent, healthy Heritage Spanish Goat herd.

Herd health is achieved in several ways. I strongly believe that if you are going to raise a healthy herd that you have to follow some stringent guidelines that will give you the optimum advantage over people that do not. The very first thing that you have to decide and stick to from the get go is never accepting an animal into your herd unless you have seen PROOF of the animals origin, it's vaccinations, history and abilities to reproduce healthy off spring.

Unfortunately there are people that want to get rid of animals so bad that they will not be truthful when it comes to these things. Many people start raising livestock and then decide that is too much work or too expensive and they want out quickly. I can't help but remember the very first calves that I purchased many years ago. The lady that sold me the calves spoke glowingly of their heritage, that they had been born on her place and had all of their vaccines right on schedule. She told me that she was selling them because she was moving to a place where she could't have large animals. Sounded great. The price was really low and she agreed to deliver them without charge. I don't have to tell you that what I got was a huge headache.  Nothing that she told me was true. At the end of the day I could have bought beef at the grocery store much cheaper. When you put things off or let your herd health fall behind, it is always more expensive to try and catch up.

One of the scams that I have seen on The List is that people beg for people to give them any unwanted animals so they can properly care for them and give them good homes, etc. If you keep track of these people you will find that some of them are just turning around and selling those animals through livestock auctions to turn a quick buck.  You are much more likely to get excellent livestock by dealing with producers that have been in the business of raising livestock for many years. Producers that take their profession seriously will be willing to show you the records of their herds health and what they have done to maintain it. If they won't I suggest that you look for another producer.

Once you choose and purchase a new animal, never let that animal mingle with your herd right away. Here at our ranch we have an isolation pen where we hold all new livestock for at least a week. That gives us the opportunity to get to know the animal and them to get to know us. It also allows us the opportunity to look for any tell tale signs of problems. We do this even though we only purchase from sources that we know and trust. The way I look at it is that anyone can make a mistake and I don't want those mistakes to become part of my herds. I am speaking of our cattle here primarily because our goat herd is a closed herd. We started our Heritage Spanish Goat herd with four bred does that we purchased from a long time breeder with an excellent reputation in Montana and had them shipped to Oregon. One of our two herd sire bucks is from that same herd, the other is from a trusted source in California. We have no need to add new goats to the herd. The herd is growing from within.

I have studied a lot of books about raising livestock and I have learned from actually taking animals from birth to adulthood. I have shipped animals off to become food, some ( our goats in particular) to become brush eaters, others to become family pets and some as breeding stock. My books are open to customers that purchase our animals. My wife and I are proud of the way we care for our animals.

I have never sold an animal that I didn't get a positive report back from the new owner. It is important to me that people know that they can trust me, that my word is my bond. I think that is how the business world should work.

Until next time, find something to laugh about. It's good for the spirit, soul and body.



These are a few of our beef cattle that will go to market in 2011.