Our Herd Management
We kid-share with our does, allowing them full daytime access to their bucklings up until 8 weeks of age and doelings for a minimum of 12 weeks before leaving the farm. A retained doeling will remain with her dam for the course of her life on our farm, until the dam chooses to wean her.
We do offer bottles to all of our kids within the first 24 hours so they take to the bottle easily, but there is no guarantee that they will accept the bottle. We will typically offer kids a morning bottle for the first few weeks of age, even though they have been with their dam overnight. Kids are separated overnight at 2-3 weeks of age and given supplemental bottles PM and AM before returning to their dams. This ensures each kid receives their evening dose of Deccox-M (see info below on coccidia prevention) and is growing appropriately.
We do not band any wethers before 8-9 weeks of age to promote a healthy urinary tract and hormonal development.
All kids born here will be disbudded. We personally choose not to vaccinate for CDT and instead keep C&D and Tetanus antitoxin on hand at all times. If the buyer wishes to vaccinate the animal, they are welcome to do so after purchasing of course.
Thoughtful Kid Rearing Practices //
Three-Part Coccidia Prevention //
We take coccidia prevention very seriously here at Fable Hill Farm. We want to raise large, healthy, vigorous kids who thrive as juniors and go on to be well-rounded, hardy adults. This is why we take a prevention approach to coccidia, instead of a treatment-based mindset.
There are three products we use to prevent coccidia in our kids; the first step being Deccox-M, a milk soluble coccistat that we begin adding to evening bottles at 2 weeks of age. This is used until the kids are weaned from the bottle.
The second product we use is GI Soother™, an herbal compound from Fir Meadow LLC containing Cayenne pepper fruit, Cinnamon bark, Clove bud, Ginger root, Mullein leaf, Slippery Elm bark, and Turmeric root. We have found GI Soother™, in conjunction with Oregano essential oil, to be very effective against coccidia and barberpole for our herd. This is something we continue to use in our adult herd as well.
The final step to coccida prevention is feeding Purina Goat Grower, a pelleted grain containing a coccistat. We start kids on grain as soon as we begin separating them from their dam at night.
Holistic Parasite Prevention //
We strive to use holistic remedies to prevent and treat health issues, and only use chemical medications and dewormers when absolutely necessary. In order to have long-term success with maintaining a healthy, productive herd using holistic practices, we focus on fostering healthy immune and gastrointestinal systems for the animals in our herd. A healthy rumen and a low parasite load are critical to keep up a doe's production and to preserve the fertility of our bucks season after season.
We use a rotational system of parasite prevention including our own personal blend of herbal dewormers, Molly's Herbals Dewormers Formula 1 & 2, Bioworma, oregano essential oil, pumpkin seeds and pine needles. We also employ the use of a microscope to assess our herds fecal egg counts as needed and evaluate FAMANCHA scores reguarly.
We also strive to break parasite cycles and promote herd health by employing rotational browsing on fresh forage and cleaning pens regularly, as well as using topical applications of diatomaceous earth each cleaning.
To be clear, there is a time and a place for chemical dewormers and we have a well-rounded arsenal of dewormers that can be used if needed. Sometimes, it is necessary to give an animal an additional push and sometimes herbals are simply not enough.
The Importance of Bio-Security //
We quarantine all animals brought onto our property for 30 days and only purchase stock from clean, tested herds.
We run biosecurity panels annually in October-November to test for CAE, CL and Johnes' disease and plan to periodically test for Brucellosis and Q-fever in upcoming years as our herd expands and we begin to offer raw-milk herd shares to local clients.
Results from our latest biosecurity testing can be found here.
Our entire herd is fed free-choice alfalfa/grass mix hay off of our own hay field. We reserve second cutting for our does in milk. Bucks and does have access to large pastures for browsing during the Spring, Summer and Fall.
We offer free-choice Kent goat mineral, Zinpro 4-Plex C, to our entire herd and additionally supplement with a periodic free choice custom mineral mix including Kelp, ADE and nutritional yeast.
All kids are fed Purina Goat Grower pellets in addition to supplemental bottles.
Our junior does are started on 1x daily alfalfa pellets 2 months prior to kidding as we begin the stand training process.
We feed our milking does a mixture of ADM Dairy Goat Power™ and soybean hulls and top dress as needed with black oil sunflower seeds.