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Alchemy Acres
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Tip of the Month





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Its hard to believe that winter is knocking at the door. And the "experts" are predicting one of the coldest winters in 50 years. This has several implications for your animals. In particular, your elderly animals need a little extra tender-loving-care to help them remain at least as comfortable as you can make them.

The first thing to do is to make certain that your goats are all in proper body condition. You don't want them to be racks of bones - dairy character notwithstanding. Make sure that they have a bit of extra meat on their bones (note - I'm not advocating that they be obese). This is a good time to feed them a bit extra, as you are getting them bred at about the same time, and this encourges the "flushing" of eggs, and you get more kids. And if a doe is carrying a little extra body condition, it will provide some insulation against the falling temperatures. Feed some extra hay. This not only provides calories and a bit of condition, it also fuels those rumen "power plants". The older your animal is, the earlier you should start to provide the extra rations.

Its important to make sure that senior animals have proper dental care. Some older does may not have any teeth (or fewer teeth). If this is the case, give the old girls the tender, leafiest, hay. Give them time alone at the manger so that they don't have to push and shove with the younger gals. Regular dental care can be helpful for those animals who still possess all their choppers. If needs be, have the teeth floated to make it easier for them to chew and digest food. Soft foods can also be helpful for the senior animal. If needs be, moisten (and hence soften) the chow.

Make sure that all your animals are on an effective deworming program. I like to give Zimecterin just prior to breeding so that they go into the gestation period free of parasites. This also means that it will be easier to put a little meat on the old bones. After all - you want to feed the goat and not a whole host of parasites.

All of this is just common sense, but I guarantee that your senior animal will really thank you for a little extra care prior to the stresses of a cold winter. While you're snuggled up to the fireplace enjoying your hot cocoa (or hot toddy), you can take comfort in knowing that your animals are safe and warm also.

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Welcome PageDescription of Dairy HerdWhat's New at the Site?Crafts and Nifty StuffAlchemy's MenagerieTip of the MonthPrevious Tips of the MonthOther Resources of Interest