HANDLING AND BASIC HUSBANDRY
Ibex and Turs are easy to raise once certain ground rules about these animals are understood and respected. Though physically hearty, all will respond negatively to traumatic experiences. When grabbed, an Ibex will naturally attempt to twist its body to get away. This can cause damage to the neck muscles, nerves, and vertebra. Many handlers have made the mistake of attempting to muscle these animals into trailers or sales venues, only to find that the experience leads to the untimely death of the animal.
Step 1- Hold one of the animal’s horns
Step 2 – Straddle the animal, facing its horns – this will safely reduce the animal’s ability to twist and cause himself harm
Step 3- Gently hold the lower portion of the animal’s jaw, guiding it gently without using much pressure
This is the handling technique used when another person is trimming, feeding, medicating, or examining the animal.
Transport and handling of large males and nervous females
Two or more people are needed for most handling. For loading animals for transport, one handler lifts and holds a back leg. This keeps the animal from bolting, but it can still walk. Two other handlers will guide the animal by holding it from the horns, guiding its movement.
Transport of Babies
Just pick them up! If transporting them, secure them in a kennel large enough for them to stand. The confined space will serve to keep them safe and calm during travel. Be certain that they have proper bedding so they will remain clean throughout their journey.
Housing: Adult Ibex and Turs need to have a minimum of eight-foot-high fencing around their habitat. There needs to be a portion of the habitat that is covered and used for capturing the animals. They should be provided shelter from the weather with adequate space for larger herds to be able to separate into their family groups. Habitats should provide plenty of space for the animals to run and play with features in place for climbing. Kids and adults alike will enjoy utilizing their climbing skills. Offering climbing material also provides natural assistance with hoof care. Damp and muddy areas will create foot problems so it is important to keep and eye on their feet during rainy seasons and manage them as soon as they arise. (photos of the rocks formations and the barn here)
Grooming: Ibex raised for breeding purposes rarely have an environment that mimics their native lands well enough to provide adequate natural hoof trimming. Climbing features in the habitat will assist with hoof care and avoid foot injuries.
Dietary Needs/Health Challenges: Fresh food and water are essential. Good quality hay is imperative and must be supplemented during breeding and kidding season with quality goat feed. This ensures healthy babies and fast growth. Breeders can offer preventative options through food and water supplements, for one of the biggest threats to the health of an Ibex, the coccidian, a parasite that can destroy entire herds. In the Caucus Mountains, Ibex do not suffer from coccidia infestations due to the altitude and temperatures. Bringing the animals into the warmer climates of North America makes them susceptible to the parasite. Approximately 90% of deaths in young Ibex is due to this threat. The good news is that the problem is preventable!
Symptoms of a Coccidia infestation: these parasites cause feces that are normally pelleted to change into a pasty clumping form. This, in turn, causes the animal’s anal and tail area to appear unclean. Piles of feces clumped together in the habitat is a good indicator of coccidia. At that point, it is imperative to treat the condition.
Two tips for preventing this illness
Mix a preventative medication into food/water to combat Coccidia.
(We are successful by using Albon, Di-Methox or Sulfamethazine for the kid and Corid for the adults.)
Rotate the animal’s habitats to prevent spot infestations.
Dewormers – know your deworming products! Not all dewormers work on all types of parasites. We recommend having a veterinarian test a sample of fecal matter to determine the types of parasites, if any, that are present and need to be eliminated. Parasites can become immune to dewormers so it is important to use dewormers sparingly, to alternate between products and follow the directions of a local professional.
“Knowledge prevents accidents.”
– David Meeks