ME…Yes, me! I’ve been denied approval by the Animal Welfare Approved Agency!
I told a few fellow breeders about this…they laughed hysterically. The thought of me being denied approval was comical to them. I have to admit though, I expected it because we saw different on one issue…only one.
They are a good program and for the most part I agree with everything in their goat standards except the castration part. They believe it should be done within 2 weeks of birth. I’m sorry that is just totally insane. So we went back and forth when the auditor was here. After some questioning, it seems they are going by what some “goat expert” in England says. England?! You’ve got to be kidding me!
First off, I don’t believe in “experts” of any kind when it comes to raising animals. I believe in experience but not experts. As soon as you claim your an “expert” the type of animal you raise will quickly show you are dumber than a box of rocks. This goes for Vets too. A good Vet is one that continues to learn and never claims to “know it all”. One of the reasons why I love my vet. He listens to me and wants to know what I think or what I’ve learned too.
Ok, so back to the whole England thing. You really can’t go by what someone in a completely different location says. Why? For example, worming your animals. What works here in the northern part of Pa doesn’t work in the south. What parasites are common here are not common elsewhere. What chemical wormers work here probably don’t in Oregon. So to say what works in England will work in the ENTIRE United States of America is well, in my mind anyway, is an uneducated guess at best.
Now to the castration part…Man this is just about one of the worst jobs on a goat farm. It ranks right up there with tattooing and disbudding in my mind. It totally sucks but needs to be done. We band our boys. I don’t like the burdizzo which essentially crushes the testicles. I’ve seen it not work all the time either. This part the agency actually agrees with me. Where we differ…the timing…we band at two months of age. They believe it should be done by two weeks.
For my area, my geographical location, my feed, my animals genetics, my water (yes even water plays a part), I will not EVER band my boys before 2 months of age. If I do, I am risking them coming down with Urinary Calculi. Have you ever seen a goat with UC? Just imagine watching an animal suffer with the pain of not being able to urinate because their urethra is blocked with tiny little stones so their bladder continues to fill until it bursts. I’ve been a witness to this at the very first goat show I went to. It tore me apart. I cried for this animal and can still hear it’s screams in my mind.
I do everything I can to prevent this from happening. I make sure their water is available 24 hours a day. I make sure that it is clean and fresh. We do not “top off” water buckets here. We wash water buckets once a week and they are dumped, rinsed out, and re-filled twice a day. We make sure our feed is good nutrition for them and watch the calcium:phosphorus ratio. They are not penned up but have pasture for exercise and play. We top their feed with ammonium chloride as a prevention method. We band no earlier than two months to give their little urinary tracs time to develop and their testicles to drop.
This is what works here…in my area and my farm’s conditions. What works here might not necessarily work in Oregon let alone over the Atlantic Ocean in England. I’m sure in Maine their feeding program is different than mine. Why? Well because their growing season is shorter. I bet they strive for a completely different grain recipe since they are most likely only getting one cutting of hay vs. three cuttings that I will get this year.
So anyway, that is why I was denied. Oh well! I was given a wonderful compliment just a few short weeks ago by a boer goat breeder in my area. He has complimented me in the past when he saw me washing my girls feed dishes at the fair and changing their water buckets mid day (it was hot and I wanted to give them cold fresh water). He said, “When I die, I want to come back as a dairy goat on the Sciotti farm and live in the lap of luxury and be spoiled rotten until I die”. He didn’t know it but he made my day.
I think that compliment was one of the nicest things anyone ever said to me and it actually means more to me than an approval from AWA. Now go forward and be kind to your animals!