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The Old Mountain Farm herd, for several years was usually sixty to seventy strong with the population temporarily growing during kidding season. However from 2010 to 2011 we did a major herd reduction cutting our herd by more than half. By fall of 2014 the herd is down to approximately thirty-three members and we have no intention of growing it any larger.

Our herd's foundation is built on many of the most influential bloodlines comprising the Nigerian Dwarf breed and we are breeding for well conformed animals that show and milk!

We spend a certain amount of time each day just "Goat Gazing", which is one of the best ways to know what your goats "normal" daily behavior is. That familarity with their normal routine means that health issues are noticed before they become a big problem.

OMF McDermott nuzzling with her dam Stonewall's Mountain Splash

Crispy and Hugo in the kitchen

Our goats are cared for with stringent health and management issues in mind allowing them to reach their full potential and of course we give them lots of love and attention.

Our goats get a fresh supply of well water with a splash of apple cider vinegar each day (piping hot during cold weather months).

We offer our entire herd (free choice and year round) powdered Atlantic kelp, goat specific loose minerals and sodium bicarbonate as a rumen buffer helping them to best utilize their feed.

When we can find it, we offer free choice Zinpro, yeast, cobalt salt and sulfur salt. Our herd also receives a good quality orchard grass hay ensuring that they always have the appropriate amount of long stem roughage in their diet. They have access to several large areas that include woods where they love to go snacking / exploring.

We feed Blue Seal feeds and think that their products are superior to any other brand that we have at our disposal. The bucks grain contains ammonium chloride for urinary tract health. We are trying to find access to an organic feed that does not contain soy. When we find it, we will switch to that feed but until I can find a soy free organic feed, I don't think the extra money that woudl be spent on the organic feed is worth it.

Our does are group fed a mix of Blue Seal EZ Pells, Black Oil Sunflower Seeds, Steamed Flaked Barley and Regular Oats once a day. Our milkers are also fed alfalfa pellets, sunshine pellets and flax seed on the stand while being milked.

During the cold weather months we increase the amount of hay and grain for both bucks and does in order to help them maintain conditioning and stay warm.

Tabitha browing through the wildflowers

Penny Wise in the daffodils

Wethers are always castrated before leaving our farm regardless of age. So far there is no proof that holding off on wethering until an older age prevents urinary calculi. By wethering him before he leaves our farm, we are assured that no animal we deem unworthy of breeding ends up accidently breeding any does.

Our favorite kid rearing method is combination of dam raising / bottlefeeding that works well at socializing kids yet allowing them to be raised in the herd by their dam therefore building a strong immune system at an early age.

Once a month each goat is given a hoof trim and a "physical". We look through his / her personal record to see what vaccinations or supplemental care is needed. This allows us to keep accurate, up to date records on each herdmember. When an animal leaves our herd this medical record accompanies them to their new home.

Several years ago, we found some of our goats tested borderline deficient through blood tests so we started copper bolusing our goats. We have found each goat's copper needs are different and rather than sticking to a set schedule, we develop a personal schedule for each animal based on their conditioning. Some of our animals only require a bolus once or twice a year while others are bolused more often.

We also give selenium/Vitamin E orally at times inbetween scheduled Bo-Se injections and give Vitamin B and Vitamin A&D injections once at the tailend of winter.

We've been testing our herd for CAE, TB and Brucellosis regularly since 1989. Started testing for Johnes disease in 2005 and started testing for CL in 2007. We only bring goats into our herd from farms that follow the same strict management as we do.

OMF Dubonnet nursing Radian

Kids of weaning age that are leaving for their new homes, have been wethered (if they are not being sold as breeding bucks), have usually been treated for coccidia and worms, received their initial Clostridium perferingens type C&D / Tetanus Toxoid vaccinations as well as a supplemental Bo-Se (vitamin E / selenium) injection. They are also disbudded and tattooed between 3 to 7 days of age.

When Old Mountain Farm goats move to their new home they are accompanied by a detailed record of previous medical care and maintenance and a promise from us to be as helpful as possible in the future should the goat's new owners need mentoring. We are fortunate to have made many friends over the years, due to this continuing level of involvement with goats leaving our farm.

All photography by Cheryle Moore-Smith except where noted.
©Cheryle Moore-Smith All rights reserved.

 Last updated 1-22-15