Friday, August 13, 2010

Again with the goats.

Because I'm dealing with such a serious goat issue this is what I think about, talk about, and blog about. Hopefully somebody might read this an learn and not have to go through what I am having too.

I spoke with the State of Wisconsin Agriculture Disease Control Program.

Plan A.

Test the soil on a different place on my land (We will call this new pasture "A" ) if that test comes back negative build a new pasture and housing. (I let the goat free range so they might have infected all over my place) Let the old pasture and housing sit for one year. (Old pasture will be called "B")

While the the goats are on the pasture "A" test Maggie for Johne's. The three kids are too young to test. (The bacteria wont show on a test even if they have it. The state says that they need to be 18 months old for the test.) If Maggie is positive, cull her. If negative, let them all stay on pasture "A" for one year.

After a year, test soil on pasture "B". Test all the goats (The kids will be 18 months old by then)
If all negative, move them to pasture "B". If any goat test positive, cull that goat.

After another year goes by, test pasture "A". If soil test negative and goats also test negative
move the goats back to pasture "A". If goats test positive, cull that goat. I also should have pasture "C" ready just in case a soil sample comes back negative.

Let pasture "B" rest for a year. Test the soil, test the goats. If all negative, move them on pasture "B" and you are considered Johne's free after three years of negative testing.

During those three years, do not breed the goats. Do not let the goats off my land. Do not let any ruminate type animal on my land.

If at any time a goat test positive, you have to cull that goat and start a three year count again.

This is three years of testing and spending money. I got the goats so that I would have goat milk for soap making. I would need to buy my milk for three years. When it comes right down to it. I don't have the money or resources to do the three year plan. But, at the same time. It is really hard to make the decision to put down goats that may not have Johne's and that act and look with robust health. Beside, yes, I have made my goats my pets. I have great affection for them. I don't want to put them down.

Johne's is bad bad bad. Many goat owners have goats that have just wasted away and it gets blamed on a really bad case of worms when in fact it could have been Johne's. All the other goats that were exposed to it might have it and not show any signs of it for two years.. They get sold and expose the new herd to it.

Some ways to prevent it. Don't buy goats from animal auctions, animals swaps or anything like that.
Only get goats from a goat herd that is aware and has tested and is Johne's free and keeps a closed herd. Closed herd means that they do not let any new animal come onto their land without knowing 100% sure that they are Johne's free and also keep that goat in quarantine while they run a fecal test that takes six weeks. They keep their own bucks for breeding or they AI the does.

Plan B. Put all the goats down now and wait for a year and test the soil. If negative, get goats that have been tested and are free of Johne's and keep a closed herd from that point on.

When I talk to my friend Kellie I get all teary and then she gets teary. At times like this I wish I had a husband and just let him make the call and I take no part of it! It is very hard to make a decision.

Plan C. Put all the goats down, next year sell my place and rent a house in town for cheap, buy goat milk,make soap and keep my part time job at the library and still go to school part time. And not ever have to worry about Johne's again.


  1. Seems to me that the goat lady is not taking this issue very seriously. She sold you a positive goat and then you took them both back for breeding. She could have all sorts of Johns disease in her flock. I don't envy you the decision. Maybe you can test your soil, it will be negative and you wont' have to move any goats at all. Wait three years before breeding anybody and voila, problem solved. As long as Kellie doesn't mix her goats with any other of their kind, it could be kept contained and not spread further. Can it spread to cows?

  2. This is just my opinion, but I think Plan B looks very wise, especially since Johne's is bad. Whatever you do, good luck.

  3. I have no idea what I'd do if I were you. Wait to see if Maggie's test comes back positive before you do anything. Then go through your scenerios again.

    Whatever you plan to do I'm behind ya. I'm thinking of you all the time. I try and think what I'd do if I were in your shoes.

  4. Aunt Krissy, if you go with plan C, you will be heartbroken. It will be worse than if you tried to make things better.

    I understand how Plan B is easier in a lot of ways. But, you will still feel bad. If you put the goats down, will your heart go out of having goats at all? Ask and consider that carefully before you make a decision.

    Putting Maggie down, perhaps unnecessarily will hurt. Test Maggie, test the soil, then decide. That is what my husband would advise me to do (since all critter decisions are really mine). There's no need to be hasty and make hard decisions until you know the outcome of the soil test and Maggie's test.

  5. Just so you all know, plan C is not really a plan. I was thinking that thought just after I got the news on Jujus positive test. That was more of a running away from the problem and never ever haveing to make this call agin. No goats, no worries about Johne's.

  6. Before you do anything, the goat expert at my church wants to talk to you. His name is Paul and he has a herd of Boer goats in Missouri. He knows lots about goats and wants to give you some advice. Will you call him? Alicia is getting his number tonight.

  7. oh Krissy, I'm so sad for you that you have this goat problem and hard choices to make. The goat guy left before I got his number but I'll get it tomorrow and call you. He seemed very adamant that you don't have to put any goat down which is way opposite than what the agricultural board says. hmmmmm

  8. How very sad. My heart hurts for you Krissy. I am so glad that Patty and Alicia are working to help.

    Makes me want to go to Wisconsin, find the Goat Lady
    give her a good SMACK!
    then maybe another one for good measure.. No the first SMACK did the trick.

  9. Whatever you decide to do Kris we will be behind you 100%!!

    This is a tough/horrible situation to be in.

  10. That is such a scary and sad situation. I agree plan C really isn't a plan at all.

    Not sure if this information will be helpful or not, but one thing I read (Coleby again) was the main mineral needed, if Johnes is to be avoided, is copper. She says, as long as goats are being properly fed it is neither a risk or a possibility. In spite of oft repeated warnings of the extreme contagiousness of the disease, in reality well kept herds where the diet is minerally balanced, the accidental introduction of a case of Johnes seldom has a recurrence.

    I'm just telling you this so you know and maybe will do some further research into the goats diet and find a way around all the heartache and pain. I will suggest again that anyone who wants healthy goats should really read Pat Coleby's book 'Natural Goat Care'

    I do hope you are not offended by my comment and I feel a very heartfelt sorrow for the decisions you have to make. I would be devastated as I know you are.

  11. So have you talked to the goat lady to see what she is doing to control it in her own herd since the vet said she had a positive??

  12. I'm glad Plan C isnt an option. I didnt like the sounds of it when I read it!! I'm sure you'll make the right decision.
    you have lots of support!