I think the number one problem in slow growth in kids is worms. I rather feed the kids than the worms. What do you think?
While environment is certainly important; I believe the #1 problem with slow growth in kids is poor
milking ability in dams. We ave 75-80 lb weaning weights in kids at 3 1/2 to 4 months of age and we NEVER
worm the kids. We are meat buyers and do not buy wethers from producers who worm their kids. Not knowingly
anyway and we always ask .Kids usually do not die from worms, however the worm load can get so great that
it will cause a secondary infection which may kill them. Worms have been around in goats for thousands
of years. And for those who will argue "but we have super worms now" that is not truly the case. Worms
all carry genetic "messengers" if you will for certain enzymes. What lay people call "super worms" are
worms that LOOSE the ability to make these enzymes, which the chemical wormers use to cause the worm to
kill itself. That is pretty simplified but I want to make it easy to understand. So these "super worms" have
not gained information in their gene codes ( as in evolution) but lost it ( as in natural selection ) To
give a better example, all dogs come from a wolf, we have used "natural selection" ( in this case really
artificial selection ) to create the bulldog. It has LOST information not gained it. So you could breed
bulldogs forever and never get another wolf, but you could breed wolves and eventually with artificial
selection come up with another bulldog. This is why vets will tell you to change your wormers every few
years. If you have created a worm that does not carry the gene for the enzyme that will kill it, use a
chemical wormer that will work on a different enzyme etc. That is why worms can never build up a resistance
to DE, it is not a chemical wormer. If we get a kid that is sickly we may give it DE, it is safe to use
and an approved wormer for organic meats. What about "worm resistant" goats? Well, that is a little more
complicated in that they are not really worm resistant yet one can say all goats are worm resistant. Got
you confused? Worm resistance is really just a healthy goat. Healthy genetically as well as physically.
Remember when we breed closely related individuals we will decrease genetic information (by creating individuals
who only carry dominant or recessive genes for certain traits for example.) When we cross-breed as
the kinder goat, for example, we are adding genetic information that has been lost over generations of
in-breeding and line breeding. That is what "hybrid vigor" or better term is heterosis is. We can do this
within a breed by breeding lines that are different together, but this is not gaining as much information
as breeding two different breeds together. When we create a breed we "set" a genotype as well as phenotype.
When we crossbreed we reintroduce genes that were lost when setting the genotype for each breed. The goats
who appear to be worm resistant, and I will not argue that as they most probably are, are the newly created
breeds. Anyone else notice that? Kiko's, Kinder goats, our Moneymakers are all carrying added information
through heterosis. We use heterosis to give us greater reproductive traits, faster gains and higher milk
production in many species in the livestock industry. That is because fewer genes are involved. This is
why the three breed terminal cross is so successful, you get hybrid vigor that you never loose. This is
also why we have a performance registry and not a breed registry for Moneymakers, we do not intend to "set" a
breed type, just a breed performance. Here I am stepping out on a limb and going to get in trouble but
it is the truth and PRODUCERS need to think about it. Kiko's and Kinder goats as they establish a BREED
TYPE will continue to LOOSE heterosis as they loose genetic information through line breeding and
in breeding. Boers to a great extent already have. We need breeders who will continue in these breeds to
keep the lines ;pure to type to be able to cross-breed for hybrid vigor. MEAT PRODUCERS on the other hand
are interested in the bottom line, pounds out per pounds in. Just as the lamb, beef, poultry and pork producers
have found, you need good mothers with good maternal lines bred to a meaty terminal paternal line. Producers
in different areas of the country will have better success using some breeds, while other areas of the
country will have success with others. Which ever breed you decide on, you will need performance testing
to be able to really determine which goats are producing best for you. Set two or three traits in your
maternal lines, (we use good milking ability and fertility as our top two traits). Then use a buck with
fast growth ( the buck tests are good for this). If you have a small herd, don't be tempted to keep doelings
as you will then have to change your bucks every year, and again you will begin to LOOSE information .Hope
"This is why many buyers are not being able to get the number of goats they need. Frankly, they are
not paying enough. I can take a quality wether to auction and get %50 more than some are offering if
I bring the same wether to them."
"Of course none of the auctions in the state I am aware of sell goats by the pound."
These statements are both from the Cal goats site on yahoo. Just wanted to make some things clear
Here at Copeland Family Farms we NEVER buy from auctions, although we do go and sit in occasionally to
check prices, having been cattle buyers/sellers for over 25 years, we have found reporting on prices on
goat sales to be pretty exaggerated. Here are a few examples on why we feel this is so:
We need to be careful that we are really seeing the costs. Goats are almost always sold through auction yards by the head, yet
reported by the pound, which can only be a guess as none of these goats are actually weighed.
How can you know what you got per pound if the goats weren't weighed?
How can an auction report so much per pound if they aren't weighed?
Worse yet, I have seen auctions reporting with a 20-40 pound spread, if you got $100 for an 80 lb goat
you got $1.25, if you got 100 for a 100lb goat you got a $1/lb (these are hypothetical) so which weight
are they reporting? That is a $0.25 spread. This IS a big deal, people report like cattle sales when in
fact our sales are NOT like cattle at all, but should be. As an example, cattle sell heifers and steers
in different penlots, feeders vs. slaughter cows etc. It would be nice if the AMGA would look into setting
a standard for auction yards throughout American so we can know when we are talking the same language.
Rather, penlots should be grouped as feeders(25-40lbs)/wethers and doelings separate; bottle kids/bucklings
and doelings separate; growers(45-70lbs) and slaughter goats/(75-125lbs) wethers and doelings separate.
Doelings should be sold separately as they are usually 30-40% of a penlot, so the price of the penlot is
reported as "kids" when
a large % is breeding stock and so the price increases by, up to 50% (again hypothetical, assuming 50% of the kid crop is doelings
and 10-20% retained as replacements)
Also, we are in contact with most buyers, do not know any who didn't
fill there orders, though most could sell more. What you are actually seeing perhaps is more individuals showing up at auctions
to purchase an individual animal, which helps if you sell 1-5 goats, but will not help at all if you sell 100 wethers. If a quality
wether sells as a show wether, it will of course bring 50% more; I've known them to sell at 200% more, but should you bring all
your quality wethers to an auction, don't expect to get that. If you sell by the head, you have around 50 individuals that are
out looking for that good deal on one or two goats for the family, they will often drive the price up on an individual animal
and prefer to buy by the head. You are also paying 10% commission, ~$3/goat yardage and feed, ~$10-$50/hdfuel or freight. You
have to figure those costs in, which most don't.
Selling by the pound is the only accurate way to determine what your
goats are bringing, otherwise you are just guessing. We only buy by the pound, and next year will only be buying slaughter goats
from our partnership in quality ranches. We have doubled our own herd of Moneymaker does and our figures show with our partnership
increases we will be able to fill our projected orders for 2006. This will also insure we are only getting all naturally raised
Our projections show we may need to purchase cull does from quality producers, so contact us if you are
looking to sell healthy, non-breeding stock does.
As more and more people take their health and eating habits into their own thoughts and plans, can we
expect to see more and more of this? Government out of control; or mega businesses trying to put family
farms out of business?
States Target Raw-Milk Farmers
Michigan is the latest to bust a provider of unprocessed milk-and its heavy-handed tactics may put three
small farms out of business
by David E. Gumpert
For several months over this past summer and fall, Michigan authorities tracked Richard Hebron, 41, and
his weekly truck hauls the 140 miles or so from Vandalia to Ann Arbor. To gather evidence, an undercover
agent infiltrated an organization that was making private purchases from Hebron.
On the morning of Oct. 13, the authorities closed the loop on their complex sting operation. Just outside
of Ann Arbor, a state police officer pulled over Hebron's truck during its weekly run, served Hebron with
a search warrant, and with several other agents began removing goods from the truck.
Back home in Vandalia, a state trooper accompanied by four plain-clothes agents knocked on the door of
Hebron's home, presented Hebron's wife, Annette, with a search warrant, and fanned through their small
three-room house, removing their computer, business records, and product samples. Later that afternoon,
in Ann Arbor, four additional agents, also armed with a search warrant, rummaged through a warehouse that
was Hebron's destination when he was pulled over, seizing more business records.
The trigger in this huge investigation? No, it wasn't drugs, stolen goods, or terrorism. It was, of all
things, raw milk and its various byproducts, including cream, buttermilk, yogurt, butter, and kefir.
The Michigan Agriculture Dept., which oversaw the investigation together with the Michigan State Police,
sees the situation as a simple matter of enforcing the law. Unfortunately, when it comes to raw milk,
the law is no simple matter.
"We've had an investigation for several months now," says Katherine Fedder, director of the
Michigan Agriculture Dept.'s food & dairy division. The investigation, she says, began with a report
from a local public-health department last spring about children who had become sick who " had consumed
unpasteurized milk." She noted, though, that the children's illness was never traced back to raw milk
or any other specific food. In any event, a department inspector joined the co-op to purchase milk and
expand the investigation.
"Our concern is that there's a violation of the Michigan law to distribute misbranded products and
unpasteurized dairy products out of an MDA-licensed food establishment," Fedder says, adding that
the investigation of the computers, records, and milk products confiscated will likely take "a few
more weeks before we have a clarification." Then, Hebron and/or the co-op could be charged with "a
whole variety of things" under a Michigan food law and a dairy law.
Hebron is a farmer with about 110 acres, where he raises beef, cattle, and chickens. He also manages the
four-year-old Family Farms Co-op with two other farm families, through which all three farmers sell their
products at the Ann Arbor outlet, as well as two outlets in Detroit and seven in Chicago.
One of those farm families, an Amish couple with eight children, owns the 70 milking cows that produce
the cooperative's raw milk (milk that isn't pasteurized or homogenized). The Amish farmer doesn't have
a phone or other modern conveniences and couldn't be reached. Hebron says the farmer has requested Hebron
to speak both on the co-op's and the farmer's behalf and not to publicize his identity. This farmer is
essentially out of business for the time being, and has had to throw out all his milk produced since Oct.
The entire co-op is crippled, since the farmers are without their computer, fax, or business records.
And already three Chicago retail outlets, unsettled by news of the Michigan officials' actions, have told
Hebron not to bother returning with additional products. "This is what we do for a living," says
Hebron. "We don't get unemployment checks."
The experience has left the Hebrons shaken. "They treated us pretty much like we were drug dealers," he
says. Moreover, it's not clear if any of the co-op members will be charged with a crime and when the co-op
may be able to resume its normal business.
Worse than Russia?
The Family Farms Co-op thought it had dealt with the Michigan prohibition against retailing raw milk, which
is similar to prohibitions in many other states, four years ago, when it set up the co-op. Under the
arrangement, the co-op leases cows from the dairy farm and then sells shares in the herd to co-op members,
each of whom pays $20 a year for their share. The co-op members purchase milk for $6.50 a gallon, which
goes back to the dairy farmer in the form of a boarding fee for the cows. "It has to be this way,
because it's illegal to sell raw milk retail" in Michigan, says Hebron. Michigan law allows for
people who own and board dairy cows to consume their milk, though.
After I listened to Hebron tell his story about the state police and agriculture inspectors refusing to
let him make a call home after confiscating thousands of dollars worth of fresh farm products from his
truck, and then serving a search warrant on his wife and rummaging through the farm family's home, I asked
him, "Could you believe this was happening in the United States?"
"No," he said. "I have a customer in Chicago who says he's from Russia. He thinks this
is worse than what happens in Russia."
This harsh Michigan action bears an eerie resemblance to the case of Organic Pastures Dairy, a producer
of raw milk, which California agriculture officials shut down for more than two weeks (see BusinessWeek.com,
9/28/06, "Getting a Raw Deal?"). California authorities went after Organic Pastures when four
children became sick from E.coli bacteria, but an exhaustive investigation turned up no evidence of E.coli
at the dairy. In comparison, even though 200 people were sickened by E.coli from California spinach,
none of the California spinach farms were shut down.
What's behind these crackdowns by major states against producers of raw milk? I suspect it's a combination
of two forces at work.
First, there's the simple matter of growing demand from consumers seeking food with as little processing
as possible, who want to buy it from local farm producers (see BusinessWeek.com, 10/16/06, "The Organic
Myth"). Organic Pastures has seen its revenues climb 35% to 40% annually since it switched to selling
raw milk in 2000. Similarly, the Family Farms Co-op has grown from nothing to nearly 1,000 members over
the last four years.
Out of Proportion
Second, as raw milk and organic milk (milk which is pasteurized, but obtained from cows fed organic feed,
with no hormones) become more popular, large dairies are becoming concerned and exerting pressure on
agriculture officials to crack down on the raw-milk producers. Just take a look at the Web site milkismilk.com
to get a sense of the conventional dairies' concern.
Regardless of what anyone may think about raw milk, the heavy-handed enforcement action by Michigan authorities
just feels inappropriate-way out of proportion to any possible violation of the law. It smacks of a speed-trap
approach to law enforcement, except here the penalty isn't just a fine, it's the livelihood of three family
Gumpert is author of Burn Your Business Plan! What Investors Really Want from Entrepreneurs and How to
Really Start Your Own Business. His Web site is www.davidgumpert.com
This is what I got from *, the muscle meat referred to I am sure is trim, it does not give the % fat, which is interesting. Is it 20%, 50%, what? We ask our ranchers for no greater than 15% fat, and trim any excess fat ourselves.
20% fruit and veggies imo is too high, way too high, and no mention of organic.
No mention of heart, which is the most expensive part you can buy, next to the spleen. I pay $2/lb for my organic hearts and spleens.
10% finely ground bone and marrow, I would be curious as to where they get this, if they grind it themselves.* Gullet and trachea is for the cartilage, which we get in our rib ends.
DANGER DANGER DANGER for e coli contaminants. Gullets and trachea are NOT USDA human grade meats and therefore this can NOT be done in a FDA kitchen (according to our FDA inspector).
* We contacted grind experts from around the world trying to find a grinder that can grind raw bone, ALL told us it couldn't be done. Not long bones, neck bones etc. They splinter, which is much too dangerous to feed. Steamed bone can be. This has been our biggest issue, as we wanted to keep it raw, so steamed was out. We came up with a technique that does a double grind, then strain. It takes us twice as long to produce our product, but I feel safer about feeding it to YOUR dogs.