Monday, August 23, 2010

Coccidia, toxic plants, and did I mention Coccidia?

It has been a battle with coccidiosis around here for what seems like forever! It started out with a few of our bucklings, and spread throughout the whole herd of bucklings. We decided to treat them and move them into the field with our other bucks, and wouldn't you know coccidia decided to show its ugly face again. We have been drenching them individually if they have the symptoms....runny runny runny diarrhea. We did fecals on those that had stool firm enough to run the sample, and it was overwhelming how many of those coccidia oocysts were seen in some of the samples. Shane called every feed store from here to Timbucktoo to see if they carried the rumensin blocks made by Sweetlix. NO ONE had any! He finally talked with a woman at a nearby feed store and she said she could order them, but they would have to be made and shipped to the warehouse, then deliver to her store when the representative came by. At this point, we were ready for anything...Two LOOOOOOOOOOONNNNNNGGGGG weeks later, they arrived.

Shane had put them out in an old tub with no cover, but of course the goats had to jump on top of the blocks.....So they are now stuffed into one of our homeade mineral feeders with a rubber flap on top for protection from the hooves. I hope it works at preventing us from having this issue again. Shane has about come to the conclusion, that the coccidia may have come from our pond. Wherever it came from, we DO NOT want to see it again!!
On another note, we have our does in a new pasture with an "unsecure" fence on the backside that joins the National Forrest. They began slipping through the fence and nibbling on all of that wonderful browse. We then began to notice a few does with the scours. First though was OH NO, coccidiosis! Then we came to realize that the does were eating a plant that has been told to us is toxic to goats. We now have a strand of hot wire on that side to keep them exclusively in the pasture. No more roaming around the forrest! Since then, no scours! A local goat farmer pointed out the plant to Shane and told him that it would make the goats sick; and called it purple mint. Their parents must have forgotten to mention to them about not eating this plant, because I would catch them out and most always this plant was being attacked. Here are some pictures of the "purple mint"

***UPDATE*** (2012) a reader has informed me that this plant is called beauty berry.  Click here for more information on beauty berry.

Here is a picture of another plant growing around here that is supposedly toxic to goats. It grows some sort of fruit looking thing on it. They are everywhere on one side of our property. I was told that these trees were used to produce some kind of chemical, but I have honestly went blank on what it was! The goats aren't interested one bit in this plant though.

***UPDATE (2012) *** The photos below are of a "tung oil tree" Click here for an interesting article on the history of tung oil.

This is Sweetie Pie (Mallory named her) She is one of the most curious goats we have. She will come up and check us out so closely, but if we try to reach our hand out to pet her she runs. Mallory is the only one who can pet her, so Mallory thinks this goat belongs to her.

I tried again to get another shot of the new guy on the block. I think his name is going to be Gold Digger. He was too interested in the goats on the other side of the gate to pose for any pictures. We will be ready for the bucks to be put in with the does in the middle of September for hopefully a later kidding than last year. But as you can see by his coloring he and all of the fellas are ready to go right now.


  1. Hi there! I am local to your area and am a hobby farm goat breeder. I thought I might be able to help you out with identifying those plants you mentioned.
    The top one is called beauty berry and my goats eat it like nobody's business. I have never seen it affect my goats with scours and they cleared a whole cow field of it. They do eat it in moderation, though, and eat lots of other stuff along with the beauty berry.
    Secondly, that other plant is called a tung nut. It is an invasive species that was planted in huge farms for the tung nut oil. My goats don't eat it, except for my buck who is part kiko. I have seen him nibbling the baby leaves off of the young plants but he didn't seem affected either.

  2. Thank you for that information ThiefQueen. My mother in law said that she could remember this whole area was a real production spot for the tung oil. Now there is only just traces of that industry all along the forests around here. Thanks for stopping by.



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