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The Skinny on Worms and Goats

Carrie Miller

Worms cause Havoc

When it comes to goats, worms are notorious for causing havoc amongst owners and their herds. Protocols and worming medications have changed a lot over the years --some good, some not. Once upon a time it was thought that staying ahead of the worms and preventing outbreaks with strategically thought-out scheduling was the preferred method. Due in huge part to this practice many worms have become resistant to several of the medications on the market. I have been raising goats for about three years, as with any new species of animal I did a ton of research beforehand. The worm debate seems to be among the most confusing of discussions. What works for one farmer may not work for another when it comes to de-worming medications. Goats in certain regions have become resistant to some de-wormers, due in part to the over-use of the regiment in that area.

FAMACHA System

The FAMACHA System is the method whereby only certain goats in a herd are selected for treatment. Goats are selected for treatment based on the degree of anemia they display in their mucous membranes, in accordance to the chart below. "The brighter the red the better!"

Famacha Chart 2

With guidance from our amazing farm Veterinarian, Dr. Elizabeth, we choose to treat only when needed. We use the FAMACHA system which allows us to make de-worming decisions based on an estimate of the level of anemia in each goat. With the Famacha system only goats who show a definite level of anemia are wormed. However, we go one step above this practice and send a fecal sample to our Vet to determine which worms we are fighting against. Why? To make life more confusing, not all worms are treated with the same medications.

The main worms that plague goats are as follows: Lung worms irritate the bronchioles inside the lung and cause a local reaction with mucus and white blood cells. The irritation and pain cause the animal to cough on a routine basis. Stomach worms are parasitic bloodsuckers that will destroy the lining of the stomach to access the bloodstream. The damaged lining of the stomach can cause anemia, colic, diarrhea, and weight loss. Liver flukes burrow tunnels into the liver, causing extreme scarring and damage. Since scar tissue is not functional, the liver’s normal function can be hindered. The liver’s job is to filter the blood of toxins and waste. When the liver is compromised due to the damage from the flukes, other organs such as the brain may become damaged.

There are three classes of drugs that are used to treat internal parasites in goats: 

1. Benzimidazoles-Fenbendazole, Albendazole, Oxybendazole, Thiabendazole 
2. Nicotinics - Levamisole, Pyrantel, Moratel 
3. MacrolyticLactones- Ivermectin, Doramectin, Moxidectin 

The Benzimidazoles (Safeguard®, Panacur®, Valbazen®, Synanthic®), also called "white dewormers" are broad spectrum. They are all effective against tapeworms but have shown resistance towards other worms in some parts the U.S.A. Albendazole is effective against adult liver flukes, but cannot be used in pregnant or lactating females. 

Nicotinics such as Levamisole (Tramisol®), also called a "clear dewormer" is broad spectrum and effective against larvae. Pyrantel (Strongid®) is only effective against adult worms. Moratel (Rumatel®) is an oral feed additive and is only effective against adult worms. 

*Our Veterinarian has asked us to stay away from all pelletized feed additive de-wormers. She believes they do not work and further add to the resistance issues that plague goats.

Avermectins (Ivomec®, Dectomax®, Quest®, Cydectin®) are the newest family of drugs. They are broad spectrum and are also effective against external (biting) parasites, including nose bots, lice and mites. 

A GORGEOUS GOAT

Zoey and Gizmo enjoying a warm summer's day. Photo by Carrie Miller

When are goats more susceptible to worms?

During warm weather, moist conditions, and the summer months goats are at highest risk. Due partially to grazing upon pasture, when eat from the ground parasites are easily ingested. Goats can go downhill rapidly when worm numbers are high. Checking their eyelids more often is a grand idea (every two weeks). Twenty-four hours after a doe gives birth it is recommended to de-worm. We choose to do this because of,“worm bloom”, the stress of kidding can trigger a “worm bloom,” an outbreak occurs because the doe’s immune system is tired and depleted of energy. It is critical that when de-worming is called for, goats are never under-medicated. The wrong dosage will further help to build resistance to medications. Obtaining semi-annual fecal checks, no matter the Famacha score, helps solidify a healthy happy herd.

 

Introducing Goats to an Established Herd

Carrie MillerWhile most often introducing a new goat goes off with little to no problems, sometimes a referee is needed. I have learned a lot this year with introducing goats, we have added nine goats this year!

Each goat came under separate circumstances, creating many different outcomes. While some went off without a hitch, others required more time and work.

We started our herd with two pygmy goats, Coco and Lucy, a few years ago as strictly pets. Last October we added a "pregnant" Oberhasli doe, Ginger.

Ginger Oberhasli Doe
Ginger, Oberhasli Doe

Here comes Ginger

Coco, our dominate Pygmy, was very aggressive at the start, so we kept Ginger secluded not wanting to take the chance of losing the baby. Once we figured out she was not pregnant, we put them together a few hours at a time, placing Ginger in a separate stall at night.

Within a week they got over their issues and became best friends. Coco, Lucy, and Ginger are to this date inseparable, we believe Ginger identifies as a Pygmy, NOT an Oberhasli...

Gizmo Oberhasli Doe
Gizmo, "Big Mama"

Introducing Gizmo

We then added Gizmo, our second pregnant Oberhasli, she was very close to due when we got her, therefore she was kept separate from the others. After she had given birth we waited until her doeling, Izzy, was a good size to introduce them.

Gizmo had playdates with the others for a few weeks before we introduced Izzy into the mix. Gizmo became the herd queen quickly, but not without a fight from Coco.

Gizmo took the longest of all our goats to introduce full time. We had to separate her and Coco on multiple occasions because of the constant head butting.

Make room for Mabel

Mabel, our third Oberhasli doe, came in and went directly in with the herd. She came from the same farm as Ginger, which seemed to make things go much easier.

She was well excepted by all the goats and even became Izzy's favorite aunt. She fell directly under Gizmo in the pecking order. At this point the herd pecking order was Gizmo, Izzy, Mabel, Coco, Ginger, and then Lucy.

Mabel Oberhasli Doe
Mabel "Sweet Cheeks"

It takes two

Next came the twofers, J.J and Zoey. J.J came to us on a Saturday and Zoey on Sunday from two separate farms. J.J a gorgeous yearling and Zoey a mere three-week-old baby.

J.J needed massive medical attention, therefore she was kept excluded from everyone till we got her to the veterinarian Monday morning. She had recently had a baby, way too young, suffered from Mastitis, rain rot, a fungal skin infection, and a bacterial skin infection.

Once she was on the proper medications and the doctor cleared all her lab results, we started introducing her and Zoey. She took Zoey in like her own right from the start!

We even gave them matching mommy daughter collars. They were inseparable from that moment on, even as of today.

As we began to integrate them into the herd, a problem arose. I had always read that goats will not gang up on each other that they fight one on one. Umm NO!

They ganged up on J.J badly, not so much Zoey. It took weeks to have them excepted completely into the herd. The new herd order: Gizmo, Izzy, Mabel, Coco, Ginger, Lucy, Zoey, then J.J.

Here comes J.J
J.J our little princess

Here comes the boys

A few months later we brought in our first buck, Harry, and his best weathered friend Mikey. They were kept in a separate house and pasture so no problems adding them into the herd.

The girls were all very interested in these two. They ran along the fence line strutting their stuff and driving Harry crazy.

Last but not least

Cami, our final doe, showed up a week later, a gorgeous two-year-old. She came from the same farm as Gizmo and Zoey.

Zoey and Izzy are half-sisters with only a month between them in age. This introduction went relatively easy, maybe because our herd queen knew her.

Therefore, she fell right into line. The herd order did change a bit with Cami's addition: Gizmo, Mabel, Izzy, Coco, Lucy, Ginger, Zoey, J.J, and Cami.

izzy Oberhasli Doelingy
Izzabella "Izzy Bizzy"

Over the past few months, I have seen some very neat arrangements. This is how we typically find the girls hanging out: Gizmo, Mabel, and Izzy;Coco, Lucy, and Ginger; J.J, Cami, and Zoey; Gizmo, Izzy, and Zoey; J.J, Cami, Zoey, and Izzy; and sometimes Mabel and Cami snuggle at night.

However, Coco, Lucy, and Ginger are always together it never changes. When it is feeding time Izzy and Zoey are always together with either Gizmo or J.J, but never do you see Gizmo and J.J together.

Coco is still our most aggressive goat when a new doe is added. Yet Coco knows not to mess with Gizmo! It is an awesome thing to see their social dynamic and how it has changed along the way.


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All photos submitted by author.

Easy Garden Salsa

Carrie MillerWhat time of year is it? Canning time!

With all the great left-over garden yummies, salsa is an easy choice. I am going to share my sweet and spicy salsa recipe with all of you. I will make this is easy as possible especially, for all the new canners out there.

tomatoes

Let us start with the canning equipment you will need:

  • Hot water bath or pressure cooker
  • Jars
  • Lids
  • Rings
  • Funnel
  • Jar tongs

jars

Cooking equipment needed:

  • Stock pot
  • Measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons
  • Large spoon

salsa

Salsa ingredients:

  • 3 quarts of peeled and cored tomatoes chopped
  • 2 cups of onions
  • 1 cup sweet peppers
  • 1 bulb of garlic
  • 2-3 hot peppers depending on size and type (milder varieties use 3 hotter varieties 2)
  • 1 Tbsp parsley
  • 1-2 cups of white sugar depending on how sweet you like it (I use 2)
  • 2 Tsp salt
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1 large can of tomato paste (in case salsa is too runny)

canned salsa

Instructions:

  1. Place all your ingredients into the stock pot.
  2. Cook for one and a half hours over medium heat.
  3. Stirring occasionally to help keep from the bottom scorching.
  4. Once you have cooked the salsa for an hour place your canner on the stove add the jars, lids, and rings into the water bath. Bring to a rolling boil.
  5. Your salsa should now be about ready. Pull all your jars, lids, and rings out, they are ready to be filled.
  6. If your salsa is too chunky use an immersion blender to smooth the salsa before you jar it up.
  7. Funnel the salsa into the jars and tighten the lids and rings.
  8. Place the jars into the water bath and cook at a rolling boil for 45 mins. If you rather pressure can them do so at 10lbs for 10 mins.

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Photos property of Carrie Miller.

Old-World Deer Tips Over Noodles

Carrie MillerDeer tip over noodles is an amazing old-world recipe that has been handed down for generations in my family. Raised in the country it's expected that each deer season will end with a freezer full of meat.

What if no one got a deer? That's not an option for many. Other game such as rabbit, squirrel, fish, and turkey would not sustain the family all year.

My dad, uncles, and grandpa hunted day after day until every family had a deer in each freezer. The first meal after the hunt was always deer tips over noodles made with the back-strap. Never frozen, it was the best meal of the year.

Now as each generation has aged, it's down to my husband and son to carryout the family tradition. So, let me share with you our family recipe.

Let us start with the noodles, this is easier than you may think, so do not be overwhelmed. This will make 4-6 servings, depending on portion size.

Noodle Ingredients:

  • 4 fresh eggs beaten
  • 1-1/2 tsp salt
  • 8 tbsp of milk
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder (optional) or chicken broth

Deer-tip Ingredients:

  • 1 lb + of deer meat
  • 1 small-medium onion
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup real butter

Instructions:

  1. Combine eggs, salt, and milk (For a thicker noodle, add 1/2 tsp of baking powder to the flour before mixing into the above ingredients). Separate dough into eight balls.
  2. deer tips noodles

  3. Roll out the dough with a rolling pin or a pasta press. Place dough onto a lightly floured surface and let stand for 20 minutes.
  4. Cut your noodles by hand, with a pizza cutter, knife, or pasta-press cutter.
  5. deer tips noodles

  6. Let the noodles dry for approximately two hours. I put a shower curtain rod above my sink and hang the noodles so they dry faster.
  7. Once the noodles are dried cut the deer meat into tip-size pieces. Place them in a frying pan along with at least a quarter cup of "real" butter. If you have a cast-iron skillet, now is the time to use it!
  8. deer tips noodles

  9. Add sliced onions and minced garlic to the frying pan.
  10. In a separate large pot bring the salted water or chicken broth to a rolling boil for the noodles.
  11. deer tips noodles

  12. Once the meat is close to done, drop the noodles into the hot water or broth for about 10 minutes.

Gravy:

Easy Method:

  1. Add one cup of cold water and one package of brown gravy mix to the tips and cook until thickened.

Homemade Method:

  1. On the other hand, make your own gravy add 1 tbsp of flour and 1/2 to 1 cup of milk to the deer, butter, and onion drippings.
  2. Add salt and pepper to taste.

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Photos property of Carrie Miller.

Not all Goat Milk Soap is Created Equal

Carrie MillerWe have all heard at one time or another how great goat milk soap is. This statement is amazingly true when produced to high standards.

Each soap maker's recipe is a bit different from one another, therefore there are some major differences in quality. Not all goat milk soap is created equal! The number one ingredient that differs is the goat's milk.

handcrafted soap
Photo by Author — Handcrafted Soap

The differences in goat's milk:

  • Some use powdered milk and water.
  • Others purchase pasteurized milk from the store.
  • A pre-made mix called a "base" may be purchased and used.
  • Some even buy someone else's goat's milk soap, shred it, melt it, add a scent, and then call it their own.
  • Then there is my personal choice. Those who raise their own goats, love them, care for them, and feed them only the best feeds.
  • Last but not least, those who purchase milk from a farmer and hope that the goats have been fed correctly.

The quality of the milk determines a large portion of how amazing the soap is going to be. When possible, Raw Goat's Milk should be used for the best quality. The feed the goats ingest also plays into the quality of the milk. If you want the best, an alfalfa-timothy mixed hay and a quality grain should be fed. Us personally, we drive over an hour away to acquire a soy free goat feed from a small family run feed mill. Why? According to www.breastcancer.org, there is evidence that supports that soy products may turn on cancer causing receptors. This leads us right into the next ingredients that determine quality.

happy healthy goats
Photo by Author — Happy, healthy goats (J.J and Zoey)

Oils

Each oil chosen should be carefully hand selected to add quality properties to the soap. Cheap filler oils are just that. If you read the ingredients and spot soybean oil, vegetable oil, corn oil, rapeseed oil, or lard the soap is being produced with substandard oils. Trying to stay GMO free? Well, then you really want to avoid the above-named oils, they are often filled with GMOs. Instead look for olive oil, coconut oil, castor oil, sweet almond oil, avocado oil, palm oil, shea butter, or coco butter. There are so many great oils why choose anything else?

Does the soap contain water? There is no need for water in goat's milk soap. Why not add more milk? Price is often the sole reason. Try to purchase soap for a goat farmer, it usually insures you that there is no water. They typically have enough supply that it does not need to be watered down.

What Should you expect?

A quality product should leave your skin feeling soft and smooth not dry. It should not burn your eyes when you wash your face. The scent should be subtle for most of the fragrance choices. It should be gentle on the skin yet have the ability to wash off even makeup. The soap in its rawest form should range in color from beige to chocolate brown. Other colors simply mean dyes have been added. The true color is determined by the chemical reaction between the oils, milk, and the essential/fragrance oils used.

goat milk soap
Photo by Author — Top quality soap is what you want.

Learn to read the labels. The ingredients with the largest weight are listed first, and then they go in descending order. Raw goat's milk should be #1 in a quality soap. With all this being said most producers try to market a good product. Yet, some succeed better than others do. More than anything do not pay top dollar for a low quality product. Goat's milk soap seems to range $4.50–$8.00 a bar. Get your moneys worth.


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For more information on the link between soy products and cancer receptors go to www.breastcancer.com

Jewelweed Tincture Recipe

Carrie MillerSo, you've found yourself in an itchy situation? Well, let's see if we can help ease that itch. Rather than waiting 'till you need it, it is better to have this made ahead of time, since it takes a bit of time to concoct.

jewelweed tincture
Picture By Carrie Miller

What is Jewelweed?

Jewelweed (Impatiens Capensis) is also known as "Touch-Me-Not." It's a member of the Impatiens family. Jewelweed tends to grow in the shade alongside its nemesis poison ivy (Ironic, isn't it?). It easily grows in moist damp areas, like along creek beds.

jewelweed tincture
Photo By Carrie Miller

Why use Jewelweed?

Jewelweed is great for combating poison ivy, oak, sumac, and even bug bites! It helps to clear up rashes, speeds the drying time of blisters, and soothes the itchy rash that follows.

How to use jewelweed?

Making a great tincture from jewelweed and witch hazel is a sure-fire way to help relieve the itch and discomfort. Fresh jewelweed is best to use but dried or frozen will work as well. It just may not be as strong. Other great ideas include: Infusing a carrier oil and adding it to homemade soap or salve. But for this article we are going to make a simple tincture to help fight the itch.

What will you need?

  • 1 quart jar
  • Fresh jewelweed; you want leaves, stems, and flowers
  • Witch hazel (enough to fill the quart jar)
  • Crockpot

How to make it:

  1. Chop up the jewelweed plant.
  2. Place the chopped jewelweed into the quart jar (pack it full).
  3. Cover completely with witch hazel and close the jar.
  4. Place jar in a crockpot.
  5. Add water around the jar as high up as you can without covering the neck of the jar.
  6. Place crockpot on low/warm.
  7. If your jar is too tall, simply lay a clean kitchen wash towel over the top of the crockpot.
  8. Leave crockpot on for 24-48 hours.
  9. Strain the tincture and place in a cool dark place when not using. You can also use an amber colored jar to keep it in. Either spray onto infected area or use cotton balls to dab it on.

The end result is not the best smelling mixture, but who cares when it comes to easing misery? I try to make this ahead of time each year to keep in stock. Here at Miller Micro Farm, the whole family is highly allergic to poison ivy and poison oak. So, when we get it, we get it bad! Taking trips to the doctors and requiring steroids is no fun. We have found that this mixture helps us dramatically. I hope it can help you or your loved ones as well.

jewelweed tincture
Photo By Carrie Miller

I make no guarantees on how well this will work for you. It depends a lot on how fresh and strong the jewelweed is you use. It also has a tendency of getting strong the longer it sits in a cool dark place.


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Summer Linguine Salad

Carrie MillerLet's make it Yummy!

This is the perfect salad for a hot summer dinner or a dish for the pot-luck party. The simplicity of the salad is why so many love this summer side.

It can be found at pretty much any summer party we attend. Memorial Day, Father's Day, Labor Day, July 4th, even graduation parties.

Summer Salad
Summer Salad. Photo by Carrie Miller.

Ingredients:

  • 1lb linguine
  • 1 large sweet pepper (add some color red, yellow, or orange)
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1-2 large carrots
  • 1-2 heads of broccoli
  • 1 package sharp cheddar shredded cheese
  • A hand full of pepperoni, cut up
  • 1 can black olives
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan
  • 1 to 1.5 Jars of you favorite Italian dressing or two packages of dried Italian dressing prepare as instructed on package
  • Salad Toppings "Typically found by the salad dressings or croutons"

Salad Topping:

  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp celery salt
  • Or, cheat a little and grab Salad Supreme by McCormick for an all in one option!

Instructions:

  1. Cook pasta till al dente, drain, and run under cool water. Once the pasta is cool to the touch finish draining. Place pasta into a large mixing bowl.
  2. Dice your peppers, onions, broccoli, pepperoni, and olives.
  3. Shred the carrots.
  4. In large bowl add all the vegetables, pepperoni, cheddar cheese, 1 jar of salad dressing, spices, salad toppings, and mix well together with a rubber spatula.
  5. Once everything is all mixed together add in the cold pasta and re-mix. Add the remaining Italian dressing to your taste.
  6. Set in the fridge for an hour or so, letting it all marinate together.

Tips:

  • Add seasoning and salad toppings to your taste, everyone is different. So, add slow and taste before adding more. If you're unsure then buy the Salad supreme from the seasoning isle. Let the mixture sit in the fridge a few hours before serving, stirring a few times along the way. Add 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese to the top before serving.
  • Add whatever vegetables and toppings you love! Cauliflower, bacon, tomatoes, and even radishes also work well in this recipe.






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