On a recent day at the farm Cauffman invited a group of prospective farmers to see how the goats were sheared as well as to collect data on the animals’ health and quality of the mohair.
Cauffman says he keeps the goats between 11 and 13 years, or until the goats are no longer producing viable mohair.
The 190 acres are split into 19 rotationally grazed paddocks — each 1 to 3 acres in size — that are planted with legumes and other diverse forages.
Cauffman practices tall grass management as the goats prefer to browse the paddocks to no less than 6 inches tall.
Grain is only provided for the last six weeks of pregnancy and the entire time the goats are lactating. Kidding mostly happens in May.
Shoemaker, who describes herself as a holistic veterinarian, says goats, like many small ruminants, are prone to getting worms. During the shearing, Shoemaker and others put each goat through a Famacha test to identify ones that needed dewormer.
They used a Famacha scorecard — originally developed in South Africa — that was introduced in the U.S. by the American Consortium for Small Ruminant Parasite Control to match the color of the eye mucous membranes with a laminated color chart showing five color categories corresponding to different levels of anemia.
Barber pole worms, a problem with goats, have small teeth that can lacerate an animal’s stomach and feed on the blood, resulting in anemia.