Winter on your farm:
When the frost is on your goat’s nose, are you ready to keep them healthy through the winter? Here are a few items to take into consideration about your herd's health and nutrition in the winter months.
Be prepared by doing/knowing the following:
Winter can be hard on goats and other livestock. I like to take my morning cup (sometimes two) of coffee into the pastures after feeding/chores (this is before I head off to my real full-time work!) to be sure I am not missing something with any of the goats - this only takes a few minutes. If you see something about a goat that does not seem right, it is easier to start some sort of treatment now rather than leaving it to possibly get worse quickly.
If you have a veterinarian for your goats and have not talked to them for a while, might want to call and say hi to be sure they still have you as a client and/or that they still are seeing ruminants. You might also want to check on their night time/emergency practices. Sometimes these change with the seasons or a change in veterinarians. Most veterinarians that I know do not do night time emergency calls for goats (that is where your fully stocked first aid kit may come in handy). Know who to call if you can't get a hold of a veterinarian.
Winter time might give you some extra time to start reading, so perhaps a good book on goat care or previous answers on Allexperts.com or other goat information sites will fill that time. Donna's goat care book is not out yet but we are in hopes it will be out within a few months, but there are still lots of different goat care books around to read, and there is always a web site like Allexperts.com to seek goat information from or calling your goat knowledgeable veterinarian or an experienced goat person.
If you come upon a goat seminar in your area - perhaps it is a good time to update your goat health and herd management or your herd nutrition.
Here’s hoping your winter season is safe and healthy for all on your farm, and, of course, that includes the goats. Remember, your livestock depends on you – please don’t let them down.
Healthy kid goats ready to fly into winter.
A healthy packgoat, Dawson, on a winter hike.