DO YOU KNOW WHAT DISEASES YOU MIGHT BE BRINGING HOME?
Before buying goats, educate yourself about the major goat diseases, and the management problems and production losses they cause. Also, some of these are zoonotic - they can infect you along with your goats.
Several years ago, we travelled east in search of new Kiko genetics. We visited several big-name Kiko farms, and attended a large Kiko sale sponsored by the breed association. We wound up buying nothing. Not a single farm could provide disease-free animals. We saw expensive 100% NZ kids unable to nurse due to soremouth. Older does with obvious CAE knee arthritis. Limping goats with probable footrot. Pedigreed Kikos at the sale barn with active CL absesses. We just weren't willing to bring a bunch of new problems home with our new goats.
When we purchased our foundation herd in 2002 from Dr. An Peischel, at first we didn't realize the value of that choice. Her Goats Unlimited herd has been tested for CL, CAE, and Johnes for the last 20 years with no positives. All our live animal additions since then have been either direct from Dr. Peischel, or from her satellite farm, Rancho del Robles, which adheres to the same testing protocols.
That initial decision has paid off well - we have never had a case of CL, CAE, Johne's, scrapie, footrot or soremouth. As of 2015, we are the only USDA Export Certified Kiko farm in the United States.
To assist our continued good fortune, we have a closed herd with new genetics entering via embryo transfer and artificial insemination only. We also manually inspect the entire herd several times a year, to watch for the appearance of CL (it can be carried by flies). Our vet investigates any suspicious sores, illnesses, or deaths. We tested our entire breeding herd for Johnes in 2013 via the "gold standard" fecal culture method, and all were negative. We also tested the entire herd in 2015 for CAE, CL, and Brucellosis, and all were negative.
We do not vaccinate for any disease (including CDT), we do not worm our production herd, and we not use any medications, foot dips, water additives, or supplemental feed. Use of these management tools may boost production, but can also mask genetic differences and hide positive disease status.
We recommend caution when buying goats from CL vaccinated herds - they are NOT the same as test-negative herds. The odds are good that if a farm is vaccinating for CL, it's because they had an outbreak. The disease vector can live for months or years on the farm, reinfecting other animals. The problem is that the CL vaccine is only about 80% effective - it does not provide real protection. But it does make all vaccinated goats test positive for CL. That means it isn't possible for the farmer - or you - to tell whether an animal is truly CL negative.
When we arrange shipping for you, trailers are cleaned thoroughly, and bleached, prior to bedding placement.