With a 4-H project “gone mad” Kedrick Miller has devoted the last two decades to building his meat goat operation. Located in Thorntown, Ind., Miller along with his wife, Melissa and four kids focus their attention on raising high-quality Boer goats for youth livestock exhibitors.
What started at as a 4-H project about 20 years ago has grown into one of the largest show wether operations in the country with nearly 1,200 breeding does. This includes their own farm and about five satellite herds that kid out does for them. Kidding occurs from October through July to hit the market for shows in each region across the U.S.
“I was showing cattle in 4-H, and my neighbor wanted me to show a dairy goat,” Miller recalls. “After one year, I decided milking goats wasn’t my passion and bought my first meat goat.”
Miller started raising Boer goats when they were first introduced to the country. He said they have been fortunate to have raised and sold young people winners at most every major show, except in Texas, and he hopes to change that with the expansion of his herd. He recently bought out Gallagher Show Goats in Texas, opening access to the customer base in the Southwest.
While raising winning show goats is his end-goal, he knows that keeping his does and kids healthy is his first priority. An unhealthy doe likely won’t breed, and that means fewer kids available to sell. He stared using the BioZyme® products six or seven years ago and became a big believer in them. He said his conception rates increased about 20% with the DuraFerm® Goat Concept•Aid®. All of his does are fed this prior to breeding through kidding, and he said he also sees an increase in kid vigor since starting his does on the supplement.
In addition to the free-choice mineral supplements, Miller is also an advocate of the Vita Charge® Paste (transitioned to Vita Charge® Gel July 2019) to help his goats during stressful situations. He administers the gel anytime an animal balks and goes off feed or when it is weaning time, and he knows his kids are going to endure some stressors.
“Any time we have goats that need to get rolling on feed or anytime we have gut issues, stress issues and at weaning, we use the Vita Charge Paste,” Miller said.
BioZyme products contain Amaferm®, a natural prebiotic designed to maximize nutritional value of feed. Amaferm increases intake, digestibility and absorption so animals get the most nutrients out of their feed.
When Miller started in the Boer goat business, there weren’t many breeders to give him advice. But just like getting started on a good supplement like VitaFerm, he advises young goat exhibitors to find a reputable breeder that they can trust and learn from.
“Start with a good product; lock in with a breeder that is reputable, you feel comfortable with and trust,” Miller said. “At the end of the day this is about making kids better and helping them achieve their life-long goals. We’ve had customers become part of our family.”