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Pets and Projects has collected a number of commonly asked questions. If there is a question you haven't seen, let us know!
Yes! Alfalfa with a lot of leaf is a good source of protein and the fiber in feeding hay helps them process excess phosphorus to prevent urinary calculi. They also like grass hays. Some say they don’t want a hay belly at the show, and my answer to that is the benefits of hay and fiber in their diet to help them grow and blossom is greater than worrying about a hay belly that can be taken off by removing hay 2 weeks prior to the show. After the show is over, give your goat or lamb a small amount of hay to nibble. See article: Hay Needs for Goats & Sheep
ADG is Average Daily Gain. This number is important in letting you know if you are feeding enough to make weight at your show. See the weight management articles in the Feed section for more tips.
There are tape measures for goats, sheep, swine & horses. By following the measurement instructions, you can take two measures that will be fairly accurate. You might be a couple of pounds off, but you’ll be close enough to know if you need to adjust the feed amounts.
Having access to a scale is best, but the tape will keep you on track! See article:
If you let your goat or lamb out to graze, always give them some hay to eat before they are turned out. This causes them to have a fuller stomach and they will not over eat the rich grass. Also, adding a teaspoon of baking soda to their grain will also settle any excess gasses.
Bloat is excess gas in the stomach/rumen of goats and sheep. It affects the digestive system. It can be caused by too much grain or alfalfa hay. Bloat should not be ignored & needs treatment. Call your advisor.
Short answer: Goats & Sheep, don’t let them nibble on your parent’s plants and Pigs should not be allowed to wander in the yard unattended because they will root and tear up the yard in a minute! There is a large list of plants that are poisonous to animals. It’s best to ask what plants are in your yard & look it up on the internet. The few minutes it takes to research the plants is worth the effort!
Medicated Feed Alert: Do not feed medicated feed to species not listed on the bag! If you have left over feed after the show, DO NOT let your other animals eat it!
4 stomachs. The Rumen, Reticulum, Omasum, & Abomasum.
Scours is diarrhea. Scours can be caused by feed changes or imbalances, worms or illness. Sheep can get scours quickly from eating copper mineral in a brown salt block or the wrong feed. Perform the Daily Health Assessment Chart for other symptoms and signs.
Mange is a microscopic pest that causes severe itching and skin irritation. As a general comment, for any species with skin, mange causes hair loss, severe itch and the animal will appear to look old, crusty and bald. Their natural hair color is lost. Mange, also called “Scabies” is a category of persistent skin diseases caused by parasitic mites living and breeding on or under the skin causing immense discomfort for the animal. All types of mange are very uncomfortable for your animal and should be treated as soon as possible to avoid serious harm. Most are contagious to humans, so treatment is needed immediately.
Symptoms: Mange generally starts on the head behind the ears. The animal starts with shaking their head and rubbing on things. Quickly they will be itching to the point of bleeding. The itch and pain is great.
See article: Mange Management & Symptoms
|INTERNAL: Worms, intestinal roundworms, stomach roundworms, liver flukes, lungworms & Coccidia. Internal worms can be controlled by worming medicine and good pen hygiene.
EXTERNAL: Ticks, fleas, lice, mange & ringworm. Ring Worm is a fungus.
Both internal and external parasites must be treated immediately. They will not go away on their own.
Your pig may be suffering from dry skin or mange!
Dry Skin Symptoms: The pig will be itching all over. See article: Itchy Skin Lotion
Mange Symptoms: Mange is a tiny bug that burrows under the skin. This causes the pigs to itch to the point of bleeding if not treated! Mange generally starts on the head behind the ears. The animal starts with shaking their head and rubbing on things. Quickly they will be itching to the point of bleeding. The itch and pain is great. Most are contagious to humans, so treatment is needed immediately.
See article: Mange Management & Symptoms
At the show, all market animals should be market ready. They should not be too thin or too fat. For tips on feeding the correct amounts for the correct weight gain, Read: Feed – Basics of Goat & Sheep Weight Management
It is okay to politely ask the judge to repeat the question or ask for clarification. It’s always a good idea to watch other classes before your class to see how the judge runs the class and what questions he may be asking.
If your goat’s back or top line dips, try bringing the back legs more under him. If the hind legs are too stretched out, the top line will dip.
See the Showmanship Article series “Training Goats for Show” Part 1, 2 & 3 for more details: