Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Two snows and it's not even winter!

We can have some bad winter weather here in northwest Mississippi, but snow in November and early December is almost unheard of. Two snows is unprecedented. Our first snow in November was just a good dusting, about a half-inch accumulation. But on Dec. 7 we had more than two inches.  I know that's not even worth mentioning in some parts of the country, but that's a big snow for this early. If we get snow, it's usually in January or February.


There's not enough shed space for all the goats so I just keep them locked out. I didn't buy them any hay this year so it took them a little while to figure out they had to scratch through the snow to find some grass. The snow melted over the next two days and the goats made it just fine.

The goats head out into the snow looking for something to eat.

ECR Rusty, who will turn 10 years old on Feb. 12,
seemed to enjoy playing in the snow.

Cooking a holiday goat

For Thanksgiving this year I decided to cook a goat. I prepare goat meat several times a year, usually at family gatherings so that folks can get a "taste" of what we do here on the farm. I had been planning this for awhile, so I had a young wether that had never been dewormed or medicated. 

I slaughter similar to the traditional Halal manner. I use a  well sharpened knife to make a swift, deep incision that cuts the front of the throat, the carotid artery, wind pipe and jugular veins. I also say a brief prayer that seems to calm me and the goat. The goats never jump or cry, and quickly bleed out and are ready for processing. I then use a chain and pulley and an antique singletree to hang the carcass for skinning.

I won't go into the details of skinning a goat and removing the offal. The best advice I can offer is just do it if you want to try slaughtering a goat on your own. I grew up on this farm where each year we slaughtered hogs and cattle, so I had a pretty good working knowledge of the slaughtering process. Believe me, goats are a whole lot easier to process than hogs or cattle. 

I've got the carcass hanging and ready to skin.
Grandson Rylan washes the carcass before we cut it up.
This is the pile of meat we ended up with, about
15 pounds of bone-in meat.

With the meat from this small goat, I prepared two dishes. The easiest was a simple roast. I took the two hindquarters, rubbed them with salt and pepper, put them into a roasting pan with plenty of water and a chopped up onion, and let it bake for about 4 hours at 200 degrees. The meat is tender and retains the unique goat flavor. Folks ask me what goat tastes like. To me it doesn't taste like pork, beef or lamb. It has it's own flavor. I tell people it tastes like goat!


The rest of the goat I put into a large stew pot and prepared to make curry. This included the front legs, the neck, back and even the ribs. I used a meat cleaver to break the front leg bones so that the marrow could melt out and add flavor to the broth. At the bottom of this post is a "real" recipe for making curry. Here is the way I did it:


Into the pot with the meat and bones I put 4 Tbs of curry powder, 1 tsp. of cumin, 1 Tbs of Jamaican Allspice, 1 chopped onion, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp. black pepper and 1 tsp salt. I covered the meat with water and let it boil for about 3 hours, adding water as needed to keep the meat covered.


Once the meat began to fall off the bones, I drained off the broth into a separate container. I then deboned the meat, salvaging every morsel I could off the leg bones, back bones and even stripping out the small rib bones. I chopped the larger pieces of meat into bite-size cubes. (This is also the time I'm continuously taste-testing the spicy meat!)


Because this dish was being prepared for a family gathering, I wanted it to be easy to serve. I made a pot of rice and to this I added the chopped curry meat and added some of the broth for more flavor. One of the most important ingredients for "real" curry is a Scotch bonnet pepper. These hot peppers add the flame and a unique flavor to the curry recipe. I didn't have access to this pepper, so I added a Tbs of Nuclear Hell Hot Sauce, the hottest stuff in our kitchen. 


The curry was served in a large casserole dish and the roasted goat was served sliced on a platter with a bottle of Corky's Barbecue Sauce on the side. The two dishes looked quite nice there next to the turkey and ham, and tasted pretty good, too.

Curry Goat

Recipe courtesy Gregory Jolliff
Show: The Best OfEpisode: Tropical Drinks
ed 5 stars out of 5

Total Time:
--

Yield:
6 servings
Level:
Intermediat












Ingredients

  • 2 pounds goat meat (or lamb) without bones
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Scotch bonnet pepper (any color), seeded and minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice (dry pimento berries)
  • 3 tablespoons curry powder
  • 2 whole scallions, sliced
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk (optional)
  • 7 cups water

Directions

Rinse goat meat well, rub lime juice over it (from 1/2 whole lime), place meat in a bowl, then add salt, black pepper, Scotch bonnet, thyme, allspice, curry powder, scallions, onion and garlic. Leave to marinate for at least 2 hours in the refrigerator, longer would be ideal. Heat the oil in a skillet until it is very hot, and saute the meat until golden brown. Then add the marinade, tomatoes and coconut milk, if using, and simmer for approximately 3 more minutes. Add water, reduce heat and allow to simmer for 2 to 3 hours stirring occasionally until meat is tender.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Rationing winter grazing

There's still lots of green grass in this pasture.

I tried to get a ground view of this grass to show that's it's still about 8 inches deep. There's still lots of green despite two hard frosts lately. This photo was taken on Nov. 19.


You can see the summer grasses have pretty much withered and died. I'm no plant expert but I'm guessing the green grass is fescue or a perennial rye. 


This pasture is lying idle for now. The main doe herd is about a quarter mile away on a pasture that has practically no green left. They're trimming up the sage brush and eating lots of falling leaves. There are still some acorns to be had.


I put out a couple small molasses protein blocks, but the goats are barely eating on them. That shows they're still getting pretty good nutrition in the woods. If they can make a living out there for another few weeks, I can keep stockpiling the grass in the photo above until around Christmas. 

Goats getting their head stuck in fence

These twin doelings do everything together, even getting their heads stuck in the fence.


The goats that get their heads stuck in the fence seem to do it for no reason -- and do it over and over. But I've never had a set of twins that consistently get their heads stuck -- together. And if you look at the ground, they have the same dry leaves on both sides of the fence if they're looking for a snack.

Thank goodness I don't have a lot of the 6x6 field fencing, Most of my pastures are electric fencing or 6x12 field fencing. 





Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Tree makes precision strike on gate

Gusting winds Tuesday afternoon blew over a dead tree that I had been watching for awhile. I knew the tree was getting rotten; dead limbs had been falling off for awhile. I had not cut it down yet because of its close proximity to two pasture fences, a catch pen and a goat shed. I hadn't figured out how to take it down without damaging something. Mother Nature took care of the problem for me with precision that few loggers possess.

This rotten tree fell between the two metal gate posts
and destroyed the gate. The shed at left escaped damage.
The tree took out a small gate, but completely missed the shed. With a chainsaw and a cattle panel, the damage was repaired in less than an hour. 


I'm really glad the goats were on the other side of the small pasture when the tree fell. This herd is made up of own daughters of Nick, Onyx and Rusty.

"G" and his girls survey the damage after a tree fell into their pasture.
Fortunately the tree didn't hit any of the goats. "G" made use of a broken 
limb 
to scratch between his horns.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Time to pull bucks off the does

These 100% New Zealand Kiko yearlings have been with a buck for 
the past month and a half. The buck (hiding in the rear) 
is an Onyx son 
owned by Rittenhouse Kikos. His dam is 
ECR Hanky Panky (Nick x JTV Queen).
I started pulling bucks out of the breeding pastures last weekend. The first group was this Onyx son and his girls. They had been in a small pasture since September and had no supplement (or any other attention) during that entire time. I ran the girls through the chute and checked their eyelids. Not a single doe needed deworming so I moved them into another pasture and put "HP" into a billy pen. He's done his job for the year (hopefully).

Cream of the Crop fun for family

Egypt Creek Ranch has been a part of every Cream of the Crop Kiko Production Sale since it began in 2008. I partner with Goat Hill Kikos of Porum, Okla., to put on the sale and usually have a half dozen or so guest consignors. To read about the sale, click here


I have enjoyed my annual trips to Corydon, Ind., where the sale is held. It's a nice little town with lots of sights and is always decorated for fall and Halloween during our sale time. This year my daughter Lindley and her family went, too. We needed the help and they were ready for a vacation so it worked out for all of us. Below are some photos from the trip.


Lindley with husband, Stephen Daniel;
their baby Lane; and 3-year-old nephew, Grayson.

Some our percentage Kikos.

Grandson Rylan helps at the registration desk with (from left)
Deb Johnson of Windy Hills Kikos and Karen Brown
of the National Kiko Registry.

Monday, October 24, 2011

ECR Rusty Kat consigned to Cream of Crop

ECR Rusty Kat, an ECR Rusty son out of a Sports Kat daughter, is back home from the Western Illinois University Buck Performance Test. Rusty Kat finished in the middle of the pack with an overall average daily gain (ADG) of .39 pounds per day. His best performance was his feed efficiency of 4.33 (second best in the test), which means he gained 1 pound for every 4.33 pounds of feed consumed. You can tell by looking at the photos below that he takes a lot after his maternal grandsire, Sports Kat, with the stockiness and muscling, even on the rump. Rusty Kat was born March 8, 2011.

Rusty Kat, a 100% New Zealand Kiko, is consigned to the Cream of the Crop Kiko Production Sale (Lot #53) scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 29, at 1 p.m. at the Harrison County Fairgrounds in Corydon, Ind. Click here for pictures of some of my other consignments to the sale. 



Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Acorns are a part of our goats' diet

Acorns can supplement a goat's diet in the fall.

These does are pawing underneath oak trees looking for treats.

Found one!
I've heard supposed experts say that acorns will kill goats. I guess if they ate too many at one time they might, but that could be said of anything in their diet. Acorns have always played a part in our goats' diets. Every fall when the acorns begin to fall, you'll see the goats running from tree to tree to nibble on the tasty nuts.


I've had ranchers in Texas tell me that a large acorn crop helps give the goats a nutritional boost at breeding time, which can help conception rates. Others have told me that the tannic acid in acorns acts like a natural dewormer and that is why goats look so slick and healthy in the fall.


How true all of this is, I don't know. But I do know that my goats have been eating acorns for many, many years with no ill effects. The acorns this year are tiny compared to some years — probably because our lack of rain. Surprisingly, other foodstuffs, such as persimmons and muscadines, had bountiful crops. So our goats have had a variety of tasty treats this fall — which means a lot of free nutrition. (I took the above photos on my way to the office this morning.)


While doing research, I was reminded that humans have been eating acorns for thousands of years. Acorns were a large part of the Native American diet. They knew how to soak them to remove the tannins and used the the nuts in a variety of ways. Click here for an article on how you can prepare your own acorns for safe consumption.







Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Goats adapt and thrive on Bermuda grass

These Kiko-cross does graze on Bermuda grass.
Experts will tell you that goats don't like Bermuda grass and that parasites (worms) love it. The trouble is that Bermuda grass is a fact of life for most of us Southern ranchers. It grows naturally, it thrives in our heat and moisture, yet is drought tolerant. If you buy hay in this part of the country, it will be some variety of Bermuda.

It is possible to kill it out with chemical sprays and plowing, but that is expensive. Over the years, our goats have adapted to Bermuda, and goats raised on our farm don't know they are not supposed to like it. It's not their favorite food — they much prefer the weeds and few broadleaf grasses they can find, but as a staple, Bermuda grass makes up a large part of their diet.

Haemonchus worms like Bermuda because it holds moisture next to the ground and makes a perfect habitat for worm reproduction. Our solution has been to rotate pastures as often as possible and use Kikos genetics, which are more parasite resistant than some breeds. When raising goats on pasture in the Deep South, it takes strategies from several angles to keep your goat business successful and profitable. And one of our strategies is to use the forage that is free and readily available, which is Bermuda grass.

Bermuda Grass Facts:
• Bermuda grass pasture seed produces the most commonly used pasture grass for livestock grazing and hay production throughout the southern and central USA. Improved bermuda pasture grass seed varieties produce excellent quality hay for all grazing animals and have a high production yield. These improved seeded forage varieties also exhibit more frost resistance than hybrid or sprigged varieties
Pasture: Bermuda grass is a perennial, tropical and sub-tropical forage (warm season grass) and should not be grown in the cooler areas because of winter kill.

• Bermuda grass is a warm season, perennial grass that has been found growing in many native forms all over the world. Bermuda is a drought tolerant, fast growing, full sun grass and can grow on soils of low fertility as long as they are well draining. This is a tenacious grass and in one form or another is found growing in approximately one third of the USA at this time (warmer areas).

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Breeding season begins

BHF 3rd G Traveler (or "G" as we call him) with an ECR Rusty daughter 
and our best Nick daughter, BBM Vicky. 

This double-bred CCR Xcelerator buck, ECR Xcaliber, with his does.

Breeding season got under way Saturday and Sunday. I had planned to begin breeding on Oct. 1, but I will be out of town tthe next two weekends, so I decided I had rather start a week early rather than late.


Normally I have seven or eight breeding programs going on at once, but this year I didn't have eight separate pastures and pens available. (Remember, I've often said you can't have too many pens!) So at the moment I have five bucks in five pastures working.


I couldn't use my smaller pastures this year because I don't have any round bales of hay to put out. Locally, square bales of bermuda are $6.75 a bale. Too much for my budget to feed for the next 45 days. So I'm only using pastures large enough and with enough grass and browse to support the herds without supplementation. 


That narrows me down to five pastures because I also have pastures tied up with doelings too young to breed right now, does going to my production sale which don't need to get bred, young buck prospects and another pasture for yearling bucks and herdsires not being used (cleanup bucks).


Herd sires we are using now are:
• BHF 3rd G Traveler, who has produced some of biggest kids lately.
• BHF Onyx's Shadow, an Onyx grandson who throws great color and sired most of our 2011 replacement does.
• BBM Hanky Panky's 266, an Onyx son owned by Rittenhouse Kikos who also throws color and whose offspring have done great in performance testing.
• ECR Xcalibur, a double-bred CCR Xcelerator buck that is packed with muscle. This is our first year to use him. I put him with my best white Kikos. I haven't bred for white goats in a long time and I am anxious to see a bunch of solid white kids next spring.
• ECR Rusty, who turned 9 this year. I didn't think he would be able to service many does this fall. He came out of last winter skinny and looking terrible. I've had him penned up near the barn all summer and feeding him about three pounds of feed a day. Over the last 6 weeks, he has blossomed. Right now, he is the best looking 9-year-old buck I have ever seen. I don't know what he will look like after breeding season, but I'm glad to have him available for another year. That means his son ECR Rusty's Rambo will have to wait another year before he has to try and fill him father's shoes.




ECR Rusty on Sept. 25, 2011. He was born
Feb. 12, 2002.



Sunday, September 11, 2011

Goat sales just about over for the year

Three March-born percentage ECR Rusty daughters.
A local buyer picked out these girls about a month ago and paid a 50% deposit. He and his family returned Saturday and picked them up. I have three more percentage does to deliver next month and that will be all we will be selling off the farm this year.


I have picked out 14 head that I will be selling at the Cream of the Crop Kiko Production Sale Oct. 29 in Corydon, Ind. I have uploaded some of their photos on my for-sale page. All of the adult does have been raised strictly on pasture with very little attention. 


In another few weeks, it will be time to launch the new matings and see what kind of kids we get next spring. Can't wait!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Uh-Oh! Doeling in the buck pen!

This 6-month-old doeling is surrounded by "admirers".
When I was heading out of town last week I noticed a doeling in the buck pen. I'm not sure how she got there; she was supposed to be two pastures away with the big doe herd. I watched her for a few minutes and decided the eight bucks in the pasture didn't seem to be bothering her. I've seen a doe get into a buck pen before and they nearly ran her to death chasing her.


I left word for someone to try and get her out while I was gone. Apparently all efforts to catch her failed -- she was still there when I returned. The bucks still weren't bothering her, so I have left her there all this week, too.


Tomorrow is a roundup day, so we'll get her and the boys to the barn and separate her out then. I'll probably give her a dose of Lutalyse. (If a doe has an unwanted breeding, 2cc intramuscular around 11 days post breeding will cause an abortion.)

Monday, September 5, 2011

Try my new blog

Some of the more than 200 head of goats that sold Monday at the Lazy S-T

dispersal sale. The Duseks of Lazy S-T are known for their colored Boer genetics.
My grandson Rylan and I have spent the last three days attending the Labor Day weekend sales in San Angelo, Texas. There were two sales on Saturday, two on Sunday, and the Lazy S-T dispersal sale was today. For a rundown of the top-sellers, visit my new "news" blog.


Saturday, September 3, 2011

Heading to Texas Labor Day sales

My grandson Rylan and I left Thursday afternoon heading to West Texas for the series of Labor Day sales planned Saturday, Sunday and Monday in San Angelo. We stopped just short of Dallas Thursday night. We got an early start Friday morning but still caught part of the Dallas morning traffic. 


Once we got out of the city we made good time and got to the weekly sheep & goat sale in Goldthwaite in time for lunch. Prices were down somewhat, with most meat goats bringing in the $1.40/lb. range.

Rylan took this photo through the windshield as we 
drove the HOV lane through Dallas' rush hour traffic Friday morning.
Grandson Rylan on the catwalk at the Goldthwaite sale.


Thursday, September 1, 2011

Tattooing goats

My herd prefix is ECR (Egypt Creek Ranch). For registration
purposes, most registries require the herd prefix in the right
ear and the tag number and year code in the left. Until 
you 
get comfortable with the process, you might want to tattoo
a piece of paper first to make sure all your letters and numbers
are in the correct order.
The first step is to apply the tattoo ink. I like the paste in
the little green tube. Green ink works best in most situations.
Line the tattoo up between the veins and squeeze. Don't
pay any attention to the goat screaming. They get over
the shock and pain pretty quick.
I scrub the tattoo site with a toothbrush to get the ink down
into the needle holes.

I then wipe off the excess ink. This helps keep the goat
from getting ink all over itself, but more importantly, it helps
keep the goat from getting ink all over me later.
A perfect tattoo that will last a lifetime!

Infected ear tag


This is not a pretty sight but this is what can happen sometimes with an ear tag. We usually coat the stud with an antibiotic salve before inserting, but simetimes you still get a infection. We cut this ear tag out, treated the raw wound with iodine. I also gave her 5cc of the anti-biotic Biomycin (oxytetracycline) under the skin.


Be sure to keep the ear tag to re-insert later, especially if you have already tattooed the doe or registered her number. New studs can be purchased to use with the top part of the ear tag.

Do a little grooming for new owner

I've been using this grooming stand for more than 15 years. I like the 
adjustable arm that holds the head secure and the bars that keep
the goat from moving side to side.

Just a little trimming is needed, but it makes the hoof
look so much better.
We were getting this Kiko doeling ready for her new owner to pick up. We checked her tattoos, trimmed her feet and made sure she was in overall good health and attractive. This 100% New Zealand doeling and two others have a new home with Caleb Beard in Water Valley, Miss.

Securing a big buck


Using a horse lead rope is the best way to handle a big buck. This guy is not mean or wild, but you want him secure when you go to trimming hooves. We were getting this guy ready for breeding season, so we tied him to a strong post with the lead rope, which easily fastens and unfastens.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Planning for October breeding

With plenty of grazing available, the does are adding back weight after their kids were weaned.
You can tell by the headline I have decided to breed for spring kidding. Yes, the spring kids didn't grow as fast as the winter-born kids, but they are growing at an acceptable level and are starting to look much better since they have adjusted to a diet without momma's milk.


Also, looking at the bottom line, I have sold most of the March-born percentage doelings — and at the same price I would have charged for winter-born doelings. So I sold the kids at an earlier age and got just as much money (and no one froze to death). It didn't take me long to figure out that if the money is the same, why go through the trouble of kidding in January when temperatures could drop into single digits and I could lose a lot of kids (revenue). There's no need taking the risk.


I have sold all the March-born doelings that I wanted to sell.
The 1/2 and 3/4 Kiko doelings brought $200-$350 at 4 months old.



Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Helping your goats handle the heat

This simple shade structure was constructed using T-posts,
1-inch box tubing and an inexpensive plastic tarp with the silver side turned up.


See the difference a little shade makes: 
Temperature in the sun (left) and under the tarp (right).

This article by Dr. Dave Sparks, DVM, is reprinted from the August 2011 issue of Goat Rancher.

     The widespread use of air-conditioning has made life much better for people, but little has changed for our livestock. Summer is still a high stress time. Goats, as a desert animal, handle heat better than other livestock, but they can still have serious issues when the thermometer climbs.
     Dark colored goats are more affected than light colored goats by heat, although light colored goats are more susceptible to sunburn. Males are more affected than females; fat goats more than thin goats; mature more than young; and polled or disbudded goats are more likely to be affected by heat than horned goats. Goats with any compromise of the immune or respiratory systems are at serious risk.
     Some advance planning and observation of your goats can make a big difference in your goats' comfort and in your profits.
     Unlike humans and horses, goats do not sweat, at least not in amounts sufficient to be beneficial for body cooling. They maintain their body temperature at or near a constant, normal, level (102.5 F) by panting. This moves air across the highly vascular and moist mucous membranes of the mouth, tongue, and nasal passages, thus cooling the blood passing through these tissues much like the water in an engine is cooled as it passes through the radiator.
     For this to occur, they need a lower environmental humidity and adequate water for evaporation on the surface of the membranes. The blood is also cooled as it passes through the horns. 
     If goats are not able to maintain their normal body temperature, they start to show signs of reproductive compromise first, followed by heat exhaustion at about 105 F, and cell breakdown and death at about 107 F.
     It is normal for body temperatures to rise moderately above normal during the heat of the day and to cool off at night when environmental temperatures are less. It takes several hours, however, for this to occur.
     Although air temperatures often decline in the late afternoon or evening, the goat's body temperature may not fully recover its normal level until 2 or 3 o'clock in the morning after several hours of cooler temperatures. Because of this, taking the temperature to determine if a goat is sick is best done early in the morning to get a true indication.
     If you must "work" or handle goats during hot weather, do it as early as possible in the morning and be finished before their body temperature starts to rise.
     The digestion of grain generates a lot of heat, so in hot weather it is best not to feed high levels of grain and to feed grain early in the morning.
     In hot weather the first thing to suffer in your goat herd is reproductive efficiency. Reproductive problems can range from poor fertility to no fertility. In some male goats, high core body temperature causes suppression of libido, but that is only the beginning of the problems.
     In bucks, the testicles cannot produce or maintain sperm cells at body temperature. The scrotum is designed to keep the testicles several degrees cooler than the body's core temperature by means of special muscles that lower the testicles away from the body as air temperature rises and pull them back closer as air temperatures decrease. 
     Also, the pampiniform plexus is a heat exchange unit that cools the blood entering the testicles. When these mechanisms are overcome by the environmental temperature, problems occur. Sperm cell formation, or spermatogenesis, starts to decrease when the testicular temperature rises as little as 1/2 degree; sperm cells start to die if the testicular temperature rises as much as 2 degrees above optimum.
     This can be significant because if extremely hot weather causes the death or deformation of the sperm in the male system, it can take as long as 6 weeks for new cells to be formed and to mature. This can result in a temporary sterility in the buck. 
     Research has shown that in the doe, high body temperatures can result in lowered conception rates, embryonic death, and thus, reduced average litter size. Excessive heat affects embryo survival and fetal development most markedly during the first 21 to 30 days after breeding. This is part of the explanation of why does bred early in the year, in high heat conditions, have more singles than does that are bred after temperatures moderate.
     Charles Dudley Warner, a friend of Mark Twain, is famous for saying "Everyone complains about the weather, but no one does anything about it."  So what can we do? The simplest answer is shade and the simplest shade is the shade tree.
     Closed in spaces are not very helpful because they restrict air movement.  If you use a barn for shade, utilize a breezeway or fans. If natural shade is not available, a little creativity and simple materials can provide permanent or temporary shade.
     The accompanying picture shows a temporary shade structure constructed of an inexpensive plastic tarp, some used T-posts, and a few sticks of 1" X 1" box tubing. Turning the silver side of the tarp up helps reflect most of the radiant heat. On an extremely hot day this shade shelter can cause a drop of 12 to 15 degrees F in environmental temperature.
     Sprinklers and misters, which are often used for cooling with other species, are not very affective for goats because goats avoid the water. Wetting the ground, however, can help to reduce temperature by evaporative cooling and also helps to keep dust irritation down.
     There is a theory among some goat producers that dirty, stagnant water with lots of growth in it is good for goats. Nothing could be farther from the truth. A good rule of thumb for drinking water is that if you wouldn't drink it and enjoy it, neither will your goat!
     In cool temperatures, mature goats drink about 10% of their body weight per day in water. This is about 1 1/2 gallon per day for a 120-pound doe. In summer this doubles or even triples in order to meet body cooling requirements. Cleaning water tanks and supplying fresh water becomes even more critical. The question is not "does my goat drink", but "does my goat drink enough?"
     Summertime temperatures also necessitate more frequent tank cleaning because as the temperature rises, bacteria and algae grow much faster. Young goats have even more critical requirements. They drink smaller amounts at a time, have a higher metabolic rate, and are more likely to be finicky drinkers.
     Another hot weather water concern for all livestock is blue-green algae. This organism is not really an algae but a bacterium capable of photosynthesis. At warm temperatures, especially when fertility levels are high on adjoining fields, a paint-like scum forms on the water on the downwind side of ponds and lakes. This scum can be various shades of blue, green or even brown. It is very toxic and can cause sudden death or chronic liver damage, depending on the particular toxin present.
     Dead animals of commonly found in or around the edges of the water. If you suspect a problem in your water source, ensure that clean water is available, restrict access to the suspect water source, and contact your local veterinarian or extension agent.
     Excessive heat can affect your goats and your profits in several ways. Hot goats have poor appetite and growing goats that don't eat don't grow. Does that have weaned their kids and are trying to pick up body condition prior to breeding season need to eat to capacity as well. 
     While air conditioning is not practical, adequate shade, plenty of clean water and a moratorium on handling in the afternoon and evening can limit health problems and help ensure good reproduction rates in your herd.

     (Dave Sparks, DVM, is the Oklahoma State University, Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service, Area Extension Food-Animal Quality and Health Specialist. He can be contacted at dave.sparks@okstate.edu.)