Baby Goat Growth Questions

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by Jrose, Jan 22, 2015.

  1. Jrose

    Jrose Chillin' With My Peeps

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    New to goats- after years of wanting, I unexpectedly took the plunge and now have a pair of week-old LaMancha brothers. They're going to be pack goats (someday), and in the mean time they'll be going hiking, exploring, traveling, and anything else I can get away with to condition them to travel and trust for a long and eventful life of companionship with me.

    It's so deceiving right now, they're so playful, bouncy, sturdy, and lively, it's hard to think they're only a week old! For now our routine is feeding 3-5 times a day (as time allows). Immediately after feeding they have a long wee, move their bowels, get lots of rubs and pets, and they follow me for an explorative lap around the 1 acre property, they play with the dog, check out the chickens, stomp experimentally on random surfaces, nibble some leaves and grasses, andafter 20 minutes I take them back to their pen where they pretty much just hunker down in their 'goat house' until I come back a few hours later.

    I'm curious though about the growth of kids. I've asked a few breeders and no one seems to know for sure, since most goats are meat, milk, or breeding stock and live in pensand pastures their whole lives.

    When can I start working with them on leads? When can I bring them on walks down the dirt lane (short at first, of course)? What age is appropriate for their first outing into the "wilderness"? I'd like them accustomed to traveling in their crate(s) in the car; what age is a good age to start habitual drives down to the river for exploring and wild-forage time?

    (I am aware of the dangers of bringing goats anywhere there may be loose dogs, no need to remind me!)[​IMG][​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2015
  2. H Diamond

    H Diamond Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The answer to all of your questions, imo, is any time. Granted some of the stuff they aren't going to be real excited about for awhile. I would start with lead training, that way when you move into the "great outdoors" you can use the leads until they and you get used to things.
    Just for the record, I've never lead trained a goat. I've taught goats how to be shown, but that's just with a hand on the collar. At this age, they are following you around like you are their momma, so clipping a lead on and getting them used to that should be easy enough. Just be mindful they don't get it around their necks, and NEVER leave them unattended on a lead.
     
  3. Jrose

    Jrose Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for the response :) In retrospect a better wording would have been "when would it be appropriate" to do these things, rather than when "can" I.
    I worry mostly about taxing their little bodies, exposing them to potentially dangerous bacterias or plantlife while they're developing. I just don't want to push them!
    I dared to give them an hour's romp today, let them meet the neighbor's horses through the fence (went over wonderfully), they played tag with the dog for awhile, checked out the hay stacks, and really just burnt themselves out. They've been sleeping fitfully this afternoon.

    That raises another question: Any reason to choose leather vs. nylon collars/leads? (I prefer leather, it's more durable, but both are chemically treated, so no winning there). Or a specific style of collar? Collar vs. halter vs. harness? I wouldn't leave the goats collared; just gear 'em up when we're going out. And I certainly wouldn't dream of leaving them tied up, no worries! I'm not sure that's even possible to do to a goat, they'd just explode out of boredom :p
     
  4. Stacykins

    Stacykins Overrun With Chickens

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    I personally lead train everyone here. I've used nylon, but that is because I get them cheaply. I do not leave collars on unless a goat is actively being supervised. They're such active animals, it is easy for a collar to catch on something. I have had a goat strangled when the collar that was supposed to break away did not. Another goat with horns got caught up on the collar. I learned my lesson the heard way by losing her. I also do not keep horned goats because of it.

    I start them early. Often I just put on the collar, clip on the lead, but don't try and actually lead them anywhere. I let them go where they want (like theyr'e leading me) and they get no pressure. Once they learn they're not going to die (common response to beginning lead training, some goats just flop on the ground and don't move, even with zero pressure) they quickly learn to go where I go. They also get plenty of treats during the process. But your little ones are likely too young to really care about any treats, yet. A clicker can become your best friend when it comes to training. I find they're so easy to train because they are usually quite food driven. It will make cart training much easier.

    When they're a little bigger, it might be a good idea to wether them. Since they'll be cart goats and pets, it will make life easier. Intact bucks are...odiferous. And driven by only one thing, their hormones. Mine are very sweet, but during rut when they're smelling their worst, I pet them with a long handled scrubby brush.
     
  5. H Diamond

    H Diamond Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Lol!
     
  6. Jrose

    Jrose Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm sorry to hear about your goat loss :( That would certainly be a hard lesson learned. I've had other people in my life learn that lesson for me with dogs strangling on chainlink. I don't leave a collar on my own dog as long as we're home, they can be bad news for an active animal, I'm well aware!

    The boys are disbudded for the safety's (and my fence's) sake. I have little nieces and nephews that are eye-level with sharp pointy horns. Not a good mix. They will be banded in a few weeks here, I have no plan for stinky bucks! I got a good giggle about the scrubby brush! Haha!

    Glad to know someone else has attempted lead training goats! I know I'm not totally insane now [​IMG]That's interesting that some goats freak out on the lead. I like the suggestion of not putting pressure on the lead, just letting them get used to its presence. They're not head shy or weary with me, so I anticipate acclimation to collars and leads going decently...
    I took them on their first walk this morning, down the dirt lane. About 1/2 mile, I'm impressed they didn't tucker out! I can't foresee how training them to walk in a straight line is supposed to work. Right now I'm just trying not to step all over them when we walk! The only time they match pace with me and stop swerving/jumping/circling/dancing/walking in reverse/playing leap-frog is when they're side-by-side walking between my feet! Which at the rate they're growing, won't be possible for very long :p They do heel kind of okay when sandwiched between me and the dog, I might start with that tactic...
     

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