When it comes to vaccinating goats the debates are almost as heated as the debates about vaccinating human children… and my view about vaccinating our goats is the same as my view about vaccinating our children.
This has always been something I have struggled with. I do not like the idea of putting chemicals into our goats. It feels unnatural and scary. The decision to vaccinate is not something that I have taken lightly and the amount of research that I have done is sickening. You can find horror stories for both sides of the argument. My final decision however was to vaccinate. Like with my children I do whatever I can to ensure our goats are healthy and that means making hard decisions. Yes, there are risks associated with some vaccines, and yes, there are risks associated with not vaccinating. It came down to one simple thought… If something went wrong because I vaccinated (side effect, etc) it would be truly awful but at least I was trying to do whatever I could to avoid something bad happening. If something went wrong because I didn’t vaccinate it would be so much worse and I could have very easily done something to avoid it. Losing a goat, who we love, to something that could have been very easily avoided would be unbearable.
There are no where near as many vaccinations for goats as there are for children. The main vaccinations that our goats get are the CD-T, and rabies. Both prevent fatal illnesses. The importance of the rabies vaccination goes without saying, but you can read more about the CD-T vaccination here.
When it comes any other medication for our goats we use them as needed. So far we have never had to use antibiotics. We take great measures to make sure our herd is healthy so we can continue to avoid them. We deworm the girls twice a year, once before they are bred to make sure they are in the best condition possible at the time of breeding, then again right after they kid because they are very susceptible to parasites at that time. During the rest of the year we only deworm if it is absolutely necessary.
Finally comes the need for milk withdrawal. We never ever use milk from animals that have just been medicated. We often double the manufacturer’s suggested withdrawal time (meaning we dump the milk after the milking) because it is incredibly important to us that our milk is safe. Like I have said before, we give this milk to our children and use it in all of our products. We feel a great responsibility to make sure our milk is safe and comes from healthy animals.