We travel to many shows each year, and therefore we are not considered a "closed herd". This brings up some important questions: what is a closed herd, and what are the advantages and disadvantages of a closed herd?
By its truest definition, a "Closed Herd" means that nonew animals are entering the property and owned animals do not leave and then return to the property in order to prevent the risk of coming in contact with infected animals. Therefore, in theory, no new diseases or parasites are entering the property and infecting the herd.
I don't personally believe in the foolproof safety of this method/claim in ensuring a herd is disease free for several reasons: first off, many bacteria/viruses/mycoplasma are transmitted via parasites, wild animals, or particles in the soil. Secondly, without proper blood testing there is no way to know if the animals included in the "closed" herd are disease free themselves before closing the herd. For transparency purposes, herds that advertise they are closed should be able to provide a full set of blood tests proving the animals in the herd are disease free before the herd was closed, and this document should be made easily available for customers to view. It seems this term has become a loose term in the livestock industry, and I have seen several people who advertise that they are a "closed herd" and yet they attend local shows or purchase animals from other breeders.
MY POINT: although a "closed herd" sounds very nice and reassuring, it's claim must be included with additional pieces of information such as blood testing and animals in a "closed" herd should never leave the property in order to fully comply with the definition.
Our Biosecurity Measures:
We do everything in our power to keep our animals away from bacteria and viruses at all times. Our goats are testedannually for CAE and CL, and as of 2023 we have also included Johne's and Q Fever testing. Screenshots of our blood testing paperwork can be viewed at the bottom of this page.
Additionally, because many visitors come out to our herd throughout the year who own livestock themselves, we ask guests to wash their hands before handling our animals. We also spray chlorhexidine on the inside and outside of our livestock trailer AND any show pens/gates that are goats are housed in at a show. We do not share equipment/milking stands at a show without drenching it in the chlorhexidine soultion before our goats touch it again and we NEVER share our automatic milker. Additionally, we lay down a thick layer of wood shavings or grass hay in show pens so that our goats do not have access to the dirt floor underneath. All of these measures help to prevent bacteria and viruses from coming home with our beautiful goats.
(Note: chlorhexidine is an antimicrobial disinfectant that acts on both gram positive and gram negative bacteria)