Adopting Nigerian Dwarf Goats
I am wondering about some basic procedures on adopting some Nigerian Dwarf goats. I currently have three goats ( 2 female 1 male-all Nigerian dwarf). Tomorrow I plan on adopting three more from an unfit home. That being said I am concerned about bringing disease into a seemingly healthy herd. What are some important signs I should look out for when visiting the goats tomorrow? I have a quarantine area ready for them but I am unsure when I could merge them together. Are there behavioral things I should look out for as well when merging my herd? The new goats will be all three females ranging from a few months old to two years. Thank you for your help.
Weld County Colorado
As the time of your activity has passed before I was assigned the question, I will focus more on preventing the spread of any possible disease or parasite issue into your existing herd. On looking for issues, look for signs of disease which would include head down, hunched appearance, manure around the tail head, runny eyes or nose, and respiratory issues.
Anytime you bring animals into your herd from this type of situation you need to have them inspected by a veterinarian to identify any possible disease you may bring home. Your biosecurity should start before you go to view or pick up the animals with making sure you do not wear the same clothing, including shoes, that you do around your animals, and be sure to clean your cloths, shoes, and wash your hand well before you go near your own animals.
A good program needs to include vaccinations that you are using in your current herd, I would also consult with a veterinarian about vaccinations for sore mouth and other diseases to give your herd before introducing the two groups to each other.
I would also recommend a test for Johnnie’s disease, Q-Fever, and CAE. Other disease of concern can be identified by our veterinarian. These disease take a long time to show up and can be spread by animals that exhibit no symptoms of the disease.
A good program would quarantine period should be a minimum of 14 days, but would recommend 28 for rescue animals. Some disease have longer incubation periods so you need to make sure you give them enough time.
I also recommend giving a combination deworming where you treat the animals properly with products from more than one class of dewormers and conduct fecal egg counts before you introduce the animals to your herd. Get the animals clear of internal parasites before you introduce them to your pastures and other areas to keep from spreading parasites to your existing herd. I recommend you consult with your vet about treatment for coccidia as well as this often is seen in week and stressed animals.
If you male is intact he will breed any female when she comes in estrus, so if you don’t want them bred, you need to keep him separate from the others. As I don’t know their condition, I don’t know if they would be cycling, bred, or open, your veterinarian may be able to do an ultrasound on them to determine if they are pregnant as well so you know their status.
Any time you introduce new animals to a group there will be some fighting between them. Make sure there is enough room for them to get away from each other and not get injured.