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Doug & Christy McLam
360 Birch Ridge Dr
Bradford, VT 
Email [email protected]
Nigerian Dwarf Goat Care
Our goats' health is very important to us.  We have only purchased goats from trusted herds that test regularly as well. In the future, if we decide to bring any new stock in, it will be quarantined for a minimum of 30 days and will be tested prior to introduction to the herd. Any animal that tests positive will be culled. We do not offer breeding services to outside does, no exceptions and we do not board goats.. We feel that we have chosen some exceptional bloodlines and are excited to see what our breeding program produces.

We feed our kids and does Poulin Grain Textra 14.  Our bucks are fed Poulin Grain medicated Meat Goat grower during rut. All of our goats get grass hay put up by us from our own fields. We provide Sweetlix minerals free choice and kelp is fed free choice.  In the winter they have automatic heated water buckets. All of our animals have freedom to come & go from the barn day and night. Our barn temperature does not get below 20 degrees F. They all have shelter from wind & rain and are happy & healthy with this arrangement. 

Birch Ridge Farm
Our daughter, Rylee, at age 4 with our herd sire, Moon as a kid. 
We manage our parasites minimally.  Animals are generally dewormed after kidding, and then on the basis of the FAMACHA system.  We are trying to avoid making the worms resistant to dewormers. 

We try to trim their hooves every 8 weeks or sooner if needed.  In the spring, as soon as it's warm enough, we do a full body clip on everyone. Our goats are copper bolused and given BoSe as needed, 2-3x per year has worked well thus far.  

We do not vaccinate our goats for CDT. We do keep the antitoxins on hand in the event that we ever need it.  Vaccines are simply against our personal philosophy and we have found our herd to be hardy & healthy but, if you want to vaccinate your goats, we will be happy to explain how it's done and where to buy the supplies.

Our whole herd tested negative for CAE, CL, Johnes, TB & Brucellosis in August 2009 and again for CAE, CL & Johnes in 2011 and CAE/Johnes in Fall 2013 and CAE/Johnes in Fall of 2017.  Any new additions since our last test date have been tested and were quarantined for 30 days prior to adding to the herd.

The following is some information on some common diseases that effect goats and how and if they have effected our herd:

Caprine Arthritis Encephalomyelitis (CAE)
Caprine Arthritis Encephatomyelitis is usually transmitted through mothers milk to their kids.  It is more common among dairy goats raised on pooled milk than it is among goats that raise their own kids.  Our animals have all tested negative for CAE and we are confindent that we do not have any infected animals in our herd.

Caseous Lymphadenitis (CL)
Caseous lymphadenitis is a bacterial disease that causes pus filled abscesses.  It lasts in the environment for a long time, and the incubation in an exposed goat can be up to a few years but is usually six months or less.  Our entire herd was tested and all were negative.  We have never had a case of CL and are confident we do not have this organism on the farm.  Please note that not all abscesses are CL.  I have a buck who developed a lump on his neck where a wattle might be located.  Of course I freaked out and CL was the first thing that came to mind.  However, I regained composure, after all the place I bought him from made me disinfect my shoes before entering his pasture so what where the odds he would have CL?  I had my vet send in a blood sample to be tested for CL and placed my buck in quarantine.  The test came back negative.  However, I have done my research and I know full well that a blood test is not 100% accurate. So I loaded up my lonely, smelly buck and took him to the vet again to have him extrude some liquid from the lump to have tested. The liquid was clear- I knew I could breath a sigh of relief because CL is not called the "cheesy gland" for nothing.  In hind site, I would have just had him take some of the fluid from the lump and have that tested as that is the most accurate test.  It would have saved me $150.  That's right, office visit plus cost to extrude fluid & retest. Test came back negative the second time. I could have paid more to have the "Cyst" removed but why bother, it's not hurting him and it's not contagious so he'll probably always have it. I should note that it is smaller that a quarter in size and it never got larger in the month that he was in quarantine.  It is my understanding that CL is larger and that the site of the lump will lose hair right before it is going to burst.  I wonder if he had wattles that were removed when he was a kid, perhaps he has a wattle cyst?  Dunno. 

We have never had any cases of soremouth 
(contagious ecthyma, a viral disease). 

Johnes Disease (“YO-knees”) www.johnes.org
Johnes disease is a bacterial disease that causes wasting.  This usually occurs in middle-aged animals, although the course of the disease varies considerably and it should be considered whenever a goat has chronic wasting.  Johnes' is generally spread from a dam to her kids.  The disease can spread to older animals but with much more difficulty than to youngsters a few days old.  The most susceptible time period is the short time span right after birth, and the environment needs to be heavily contaminated so that oral exposure occurs. Does can have the organism on their udders from laying in infected fecal material, which is one mode of transmission and how the kids get an early and infectious exposure. Johnes is also passed to kids in utero.  The organism can last in soil up to a year.  The ELISA test is presently only 65% sensitive when used in goats with no symptoms of the disease. For this reason, negative tests are no guarantee that you do not have Johnes in any particular goat, but multiple whole-herd negative tests over several years make the odds vanishingly small that you have it, so we will continue to test for both CAE and Johnes by the best tests available. The tests for Johnes' disease all have drawbacks, but are useful if used appropriately.  The ELISA blood test picks up more of the infected animals (not all) but also tends to pick up as positive some that are not infected. The status of the tests is important to consider when evaluating the status of the herd- a negative test coming from a herd of all negatives.  Animals are also only likely to be positive by the test if actually shedding the organisms.  So, an animal with an early, non-contagious case may well be negative and then become positive only later as it develops the clinical disease and becomes infectious.  It is therefore important to evaluate test results on the basis of the entire herd and not only the individuals in the herd.  In addition, testing should be done regularly so that those animals that convert to positive status late are culled prior to becoming overly contagious.  All animals currently in our herd tested negative for Johnes' Disease on their ELISA blood tests done on August 2009 and 2011, 2013 & 2017 through WADDL. 
We cannot say we have no risk for Johnes', nor can any herd make that claim since testing indicates only no positives at a given time.  We feel confident that the present animals in our herd are "low risk".  Our plan to test biannually will allow us to assure ourselves that we remain in the "low risk" status with respect to this disease.  After several consecutive years of negative test results for the entire herd, we will feel confident that we are more along the lines of "little to no risk".

We advise all customers to have their animals tested, by their veterinarian (or we can show you how to draw blood & send it in), on a routine basis to verify that none of these diseases have been unknowingly brought into the herd, especially if they are buying from multiple sources. 

 If you have any other questions about our herd health, please don't hesitate to ask.
This page was last updated: September 17, 2020