Forget Goat Tanning Beds, Consider St. John’s Wort

While many people take St. John’s Wort as an herbal treatment for depression, the plant induces painful sunburns in goats when eaten. Sound crazy? Wondering if you heard that correctly? Yes, St. John Wort is a photodynamic plant. After eating, certain UV-light-absorbing compounds in the plant circulate in the blood of the goat. In white, Continue Reading

When Fate Flexes Her Alkaloids, Goats Die and Witches Fly

In the last podcast, we discussed cyanogenic plants – plants that create cyanide. Some trees are consistent risks, other plants like Sudan grass depend upon environmental conditions. While goats have fewer toxic risks than other ruminants, many threats remain. Alkaloid plants represent another category for concern to the goat producer. Luckily, most of these plants Continue Reading

What Johnsongrass, Frankenstein, and Nazis Have in Common.

At the dawn of the 18th Century, in a small Berlin laboratory, a dye maker used a contaminated ingredient and stumbled upon a discovery that would change the world. Heinrich Diesbach shared his lab with a brilliant but obsessed scientist named Johann Conrad Dippel, who resorted to grave robbing to pursue his dream of bringing Continue Reading

No, You Can’t Feed Goats Anything!

I remember being a small child and my father took me to the Los Angeles Zoo. Having been raised in the suburbs, livestock represented cute accessories to my finished, miniature Lincoln-Log cabins that I would construct. Small plastic sheep and goats would be set within the small green fence that I would make around the Continue Reading

Micronutrients, Part 2

So far, we have covered reproduction and lactation.  Now we move on to growing and weaning stages. A common practice in many Midwestern states involves sending stocker cattle to wheat pasture for winter grazing.  Lush, green cereal crops notoriously are low in magnesium (Mg), leading to grass tetany.  Adult cattle are susceptible to grass tetany Continue Reading

Micronutrients, Part 1

Nutrition remains a complex and fluid subject for most producers.  Keeping livestock at peak production means providing the best nutrition possible.  For ease of discussion, we will address nutrient requirements of each production phase. Clean water remains vital to keeping livestock healthy.  Many contaminates can leach into surface water, or well water can contain unsafe Continue Reading