Entries from the Goat Keepers Diary 2013

Here are some of the young Cadenza weaner kids that the participants practised on. Weighing, condition scoring, horn tipping, and wethering. They did a great job.

May 1, 2013. Our bucks Bart, and Barney, are being assessed in a sires trial.

Meat and Livestock Australia in conjunction with Kid Plan, is funding a sires performance program in NSW. Using AI on matched groups of does, bucks from various breeders are being assessed on how their progeny perform under the same environmental conditions. We have two bucks in the program Cadenza Bart, and Cadenza Barney. check out this link to find out more about the study:
May 13,2013.
Training update.
Pics of some of the action.
demonstration of hoof trimming
checking feet
Students in action
May 20,2013. Cadenza Boers is now firmly established in the market place with goat meat product.
While it took a while to get going, we have established our goat products at several farmers markets in the area. Using our own goats, we work with a local butcher to produce high quality, smoked goat products. Last year, we tested the product at various markets and refined it for both taste and package size. Our first steps into the face to face selling of our product began in December last, and now extends to four farmers markets each month in the Gippsland area. Our smoked goat product range is about to be extended by public demand, into gourmet sausages, and fresh prime goat meat.
We guarantee to our customers that the goats used in our products are cared for the whole of their lives in sheltered paddocks and fed and managed in a caring way. The goats are taken with a companion directly and under low stress conditions to be processed. We care about our goats.
May 31, 2013. The boys are growing.
Last Tuesday, Group 1 and group 2 of the weaner boys were weighed for the second time. They are paddock raised with some modest supplementary feeding of about 20o grams each of pellets two or three times a week, and molasses about twice a week. Here are the results.
The top performer is still Cadenza 17, the son of Mae West, putting on a pretty impressive nine kgs over the past two months. He now weighs 47kg at about eight months of age. He is a son of Bart. Four other bucks of this group also put on nine kgs, and the lowest gain was one buck who put on five kgs, with a body weight of 35kg. The average gain for this group was 7.5kgs over the two months with a range of 5-9kg.
The second group were born and weaned later than this first group. They also did quite well. They were weighed about six weeks ago, and they have averaged 5.5kg gain over the six weeks. Their weight gain ranged from 2-7kg. Pretty good for paddock raised goats!
I expect this weight gain to slow down during winter as the feed quality will be poorer, and the hormones are rising in the bucks who use a lot of energy jumping each other and sparring. Will let you know what happens.

June 10, 2013. Love is sweet. Bucks at work.
I was checking the does today to see who had signs of being joined. I have been feeding molasses to the goats as a source of energy as it is cold and the feed is not very nutritious. There was Rocky "in love" with a doe who had molasses from one end of her to the other! I soon realised why. Rocky has a rather long beard. He obviously gets a lot of molasses on his beard and then spreads this all over the does he is serving. The doe was a sticky mess....I'll bet she is pregnant given the signs of action!
Other "more traditional" ways of identifying does that have been joined, is to use a buck harness that holds a crayon that marks the does as they are joined. The other simple way is to rub crayon on the bucks chest, and he leaves a little crayon on the does he serves. The first of these methods is a little risky as the animals can get their horns under the harness and this may cause injuries. The second method just doesn't last very long and the crayon needs to be renewed every couple of days. The molasses method is certainly novel, but I doubt this will really catch on in the goat world........Perhaps this where the saying comes from "love is sweet" :-)

June 24, 2013. The big wet is over for the time being. Who made it through.
Finally it has stopped raining for a while. We have been quite desperate for rain since February with many local dams being only mud puddles and farmers selling their stock because of lack of feed and water. When we have rain, "we have rain". So rather than getting some nice frequent rainfalls we had nearly eight inches of rain spread over about four days. For most of the time it was also very cold, with about a 12 degree max temperature during the day. So what to do about it.
Fortunately we had a couple of days of warning that there would be heavy rain so we started preparing. Under these conditions all goats must have shelter from the worst of the rain and cold. This meant sheds were pretty cramped, and extra sheds were bought into use, including the hay shed for the weaner boys.
My strategy is that even if the goats are short of feed for a day or so, this is far better than having goats wet and cold with no shelter. I think the latter uses up more energy than sitting around in a dry, relatively warm sheltered area. In reality, all the goats here could dash out onto pasture when the rain let up a bit, and when they got cold they headed back to dry off.
The goats most at risk during this type of weather event are the small and weak (because they get chilled down more quickly), and the heavily pregnant does because if they reduce feed input, they may not be able to keep their blood sugar levels high enough to sustain the development of the kids so will sometimes abort.
Fortunately we survived it all, with only one little doe kid needing to be penned and rugged for a while to warm her up and increase her nutrition. Other animals will have lost a little weight, and with the big wet, now comes additional risk of hatching of worm eggs on the pasture.
The positive side is there will be sufficient moisture left for really good spring growth. Come on spring, I am tired of winter already.
For those who got caught without sufficient feed and shelter for their goats during this wet period, please see on this page, the list of 10 essential things you should do before going into goats. Do not waste your money and the goats' lives thinking you will get around to getting shelter for the goats at some time. Make sure your goats have plenty of feed and shelter. Under-stock rather than over-stock. My perception is a lot of people go into goats, and a lot of people go out of goats with lighter pockets, because they do not learn to take care of their goats properly.
I hope the good goat breeders out there are doing well, and I am sorry for the goats with other breeders.
July 10, 2013. Kids are about to drop as a result of pregnancies from the AI Training program in February.
Above are pictures of some of the heavily pregnant does.
July 11, 2013. The first of the AI Training program kids are here! One buck and one doe.
It was very cold here last night and this morning (-1) so I try to do the best I can to keep the does in a place that is as protected and warm as possible to give the kids the best chance of survival. Fortunately I have a large hay shed so that is where I put them at night when they are due to kid.
I have washed and trimmed lamb covers ready to put on the kids, towels to dry them off if necessary, and lugols for the umbilical cords. Even given all these precautions, it only takes a few minutes for a wet kid to chill down and then it is unlikely to attempt to suckle. Fortunately this doe waited until a bit after 8am to kid so I was up and around and could
put lamb covers on quite quickly after the kids were born to keep them warm. It took them a while to get going as even with covers on it was exceptionally cold, and they were having a bit of a shiver. They are now just fine, and they have a great attentive mother. Pictures below.
July 31, 2013. Another successful A.I.Training program held here at Cadenza Boers. This time for serious breeders from Nepal.
We have been very busy over the past few days with International goat breeder visitors from Nepal. Our very charming visitors have successfully completed an intensive training program so that they can collect, process, and inseminate goats in Nepal. Peter Lynch from NZ was the instructor, and he was very impressed with the abilities of the participants. Congratulations to everyone involved....including the goats, who with one or two exceptions behaved exceptionally well. Below, a couple of pictures of the training.
August 26, 2013. Farmers markets "on the go". Quality and passion for the product is the basis for successful interaction with the customers.
Earlier in the year, I announced that Cadenza Boers had expanded into selling goat meat at local farmers markets. I thought some of you may be interested in an update. We now attend four local Farmers markets selling both smoked goat products, and fresh goat meat. We only sell goat meat. I am very surprised by the acceptance, and in fact in many cases, demand for high quality goat meat. We only sell the very best quality goat meat, processed and packaged by the best butchers in the area. While a few people are looking for "cheap" goat meat, most of our customers want to know where the goat comes from, want to meet the farmers who produces it, and want to discuss the best way to cook the meat. They are prepared to pay well for a superior local product.
It has taken nearly a year to get the health requirements right, to take health training programs, to purchase tables, marques, cooling equipment etc. The other thing that is essential is to really take your time to learn how to time the production of the product, and to estimate the customers requirements. Not an easy task I can assure you. Sometime there is a high demand for sausages and diced meats, on other days, the demand is for legs and cutlets. The smoked products sell themselves at every market as we put out tastings and customers cannot resist such a high quality smoked Caprossi.
Please don't think I am suggesting selling at Farmers markets is easy......it is a lot of work, and early morning starts, and a lot of "yakking" to customers. I thought I would be terrible at selling, however to my surprise, it is no effort as I am absolutely convinced I am selling a top quality product from an animal that I am passionate about.......and it shows through. If you do not have the ability or the passion to engage with customers, I suggest you think very carefully before planning an income from Farmers markets.
I will talk more about the markets a little later. In the meantime, thanks to all those customers who are seeking quality and local products, over the convenience of supermarket shopping.

September 25, 2013 The boys semen has arrived in Nepal

While it took a while and there were many hurdles to cross, semen from six of our top bucks has now reached Nepal and has been cleared through quarantine there. Nalu Boer Goat Stud in Nepal can now offer top quality Australian genetics to the goats in Nepal. The owners of Nalu Boer Goat Stud have also been trained in Australia by one of the best AI veterinarians, to prepare and inseminate the goats. We congratulate them on their enormous commitment to the industry in Nepal and wish them great success with their breeding programs.

October 15, 2013. Where to buy A.I. equipment.
Breeders ask us where can they buy A.I. equipment for their goat programs. We have used two suppliers of equipment, and have found both of them excellent and very reasonably priced. So here is a bit of information. We get no "kickbacks" from this so I am not promoting them for profit, just information for goat breeders.
All the equipment used in the A.I. training programs, and the equipment sent to Nepal for the A.I. breeding there was sourced at www.minitube.com.au
and the other place I have sourced A.I. materials from is Genetics Australia. Predominently for the dairy cow industry, buts lots of it suitable for goats. Will put their web site here soon.

December 28,2013. The last kid for this year
The last doe to kid had a big doe kid early this morning. However rather than mother her own kid, she wanted to mother one of the other kids who was three days old. I separated the "other" kid from the doe and put her new born kid with her to drink. The doe did not like the smell of this kid and did not want it to drink. She is a particularly quiet doe so with some encouragement she stood still enough to let the kid suckle. However without my intervention she kept walking away from the kid. Frustrating all round, as no one is really happy. The doe was not really to blame as she had the kid on well trafficked wooden slats where other goats had been walking and so it was pretty contaminated. What to do next?
I dipped the kid's umbilical cord in Lugols iodine to prevent joint ill, put it in a closed area next to its mother and left them for a while. A couple of hours later I tried again to get the doe to accept the kid, but she did not like the smell of it and would not stand still for it to drink. So I tried something different.
It is very hot today so I wondered if I washed the kid to get rid of the soiling on its coat, whether the doe would accept it. I washed the kid with just warm water and dried it off with a clean towel. No soap or detergent as I did not want to introduce other smells on the kid. After this I put the kid with her mother to drink. While there was one false start where the dam was suspicious, after that she kept smelling the kids butt and decided it was a good smell and this truly was her kid after all. Happy ending as the doe is now feeding the kid, the kid is happy because it can get a drink when it likes, and I am happy as I don't have to intervene any more. Sometimes it is worth trying something different.

December 18,2013. How the kids are going.
Busy, busy, busy. With the success of the Farmers markets, and the kidding, we have been a bit remiss in putting up information in the goat diary.
So here are a few comments from me about the farm at this time. We have had a wonderful spring, with lots of feed, and it has remained fairly green here until now. The dams are full, and summer feed should be plentiful unless we get a week or so of scorching weather and then we will have lots of dry feed without much nourishment. The kidding went well, and the first two lots of kids are weaned, with only one group to go. It is pretty clear to me, that the later the season gets, the fewer triplets are born, and that is a great thing. While sometimes I leave triplets on a doe, it is rarely successful, in that the kids are usually stunted, and the doe is struggling to keep her weight on. Sometimes I am a bit slow to take the kids off to hand feed them, and they often refuse to take the bottle after a few days on their dam. I then need to deal with the consequences of this.
The bucks used this year were Rocky, Cadenza 92, Bart, CA1FE94, and a few kids for a couple of yearling bucks. The yearling bucks from last years drop have hit their straps and while Bart's kids are wonderfully strong and correct, another buck's (CA1FF0118) kids are starting to take my eye. This buck has since been sold, probably a mistake by me, but these kids have very nice ennoblement and more importantly, very very nice behinds. There are enough of these kids to select the very best of them to continue with this bloodline if they keep developing as they promise to do.

I hope your kidding has gone well this year and I wish all good goat breeders a happy and rewarding new year.