Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Does Your Goat Suffer From CAE

Caprine Arthritis Encephalitis Syndrome (CAE) was first discovered and reported in 1974, the year I finished my first year as a teacher of Vocational Agriculture on the Papago (Tohono O'odham) Indian Reservation in Sells, Arizona. There is much to read about this disease, and some folks get pretty excited when they talk about the spread of this disorder. As a backyard goat rancher, you should not have to deal with it if you refrain from adding goats to your small backyard herd unless they have been recently tested negative for CAE.

Top Ten  Facts about CAE
1. Kids delivered by a CAE infected dam will be non-infected if the kids are not allowed to nurse from the mother and instead bottled fed formula or stored (CAE free) colostrum.
2. Infected goats become progressively weaker with eventual paralysis.
3. The disease affects all breeds of goats and both male and female.
4. There is no known treatment for CAE
5. CAE can be easily detected from a blood test/analysis
6. The disease infects goats (caprines) only
7. According to Washington University there is NO evidence that the CAE virus is transmissible to humans.
8. Goats can carry CAE their entire lives without showing any signs, they can test negative until it is later activated by stress or other factors in a goat’s life.
9. I think CAE infected goat milk is OK to drink by why would you.
10. I do not drink milk from infected goats.

Because I really care for the health of my little herd of goats, I have done a real study of diseases. CAE for me is simple. It should be for you also. Do not add a goat to your herd that has not been CAE tested. If you find one infected, dry it up and stop breed it. Continue to test, or have your herd tested every year. If you do not mind drawing blood from your goats, you can take and send a blood sample to one of several labs around the country or give your Vet a call.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Raising Goats in Cold Weather

I prefer raising goats in cold weather. I have had the opportunity to raise goats in Arizona, moved to Alaska and I think they get along better and maybe are happier in this colder temperature.

Water is Important
I know you know how important water is to all livestock, especially goats. They are pretty fussy drinkers. When it gets really cold out and snow is all over the place, it's easy to cut corners and not keep the water as clean as it should be or as full as it should be. 

Give them Hay
Don't be cheap on hay during the winter months. Goats love to nibble when they get cold. Any left over hay will be most efficiently used to lay on. Excellent bedding is critical. During the coldest months, I do not clean the goat stalls daily, I throw more hay or straw and allow their bed to build and provide more insulation to their bed.

Goats do not necessarily need a fully enclosed barn but they certainly need constant relief from rain and snow and protection from the wind.

A few Extra Treats
I do not believe in over-feeding any of my livestock, especially goats but during the coldest nights here in Alaska, I provide a little extra cracked corn or some of my home-made goat treats just to give them something to chew on and get their minds off of the cold temperatures. On the first day of January, 2012, at the Red Fence Farm here in Palmer Alaska the thermometer read minus 15.

You may be interested in reading more on this topic, take a look at these: