Complete Newbie - Chickens and pygmy goats...

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by angelkmartin, Mar 18, 2015.

  1. angelkmartin

    angelkmartin New Egg

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    Mar 18, 2015
    Ok, let me start by saying, I am learning as I go. It started with a few chickens roaming the yard, to building a coup, to adding chics and then.. A beautiful 3 day old, pygmy billie landed in my lap. I had no idea what I was getting into, but I fell in love immediately. All I was given was a nipple, and a milk recipe with whole milk/evaporated and buttermilk, which he is thriving on. He is now 5 weeks old and the questions are beginning to pile.. I have read, researched and seem more confused than ever.. #1 Should I be weening him from the bottle? The only interest he has in anything other than a bottle is my rose bushes. I have offered sweet feed, alpha, and the yard... Now I have read do not feed alpha or sweet feed. I am sooo confused. #2 Water, to give or not to give.. Obviously, I leave fresh water for him everywhere, but again he has no interest. # 3 Hooves, when do i need to begin trimming? I am desperately trying to find him a friend, but so far no luck.

    I realize, this is probably redundant and I swear, I have been reading. Seems like everything is conflicting.
     
  2. FarmFanatic

    FarmFanatic New Egg

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    Mar 14, 2015
    well, i dont have any goats yet buthave been researching a lot. i would start him on water now in the bottle, still use milk, then at 6 weeks wean him completly. he doesent need to be weaned till 8 weeks tho. start hand feeding him that alfalfa as well. as for trimming you should do it every 4 weeks. hope this was helpful
     
  3. angelkmartin

    angelkmartin New Egg

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    Mar 18, 2015
    I was worried it was too early to start trimming.
     
  4. Stacykins

    Stacykins Overrun With Chickens

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    Congrats on the little boy! I am glad you are planning on finding him a friend! Goats are herd animals, so it is important for their long term well being. When you can't be there for him all the time, another goat buddy can.

    He will need to keep being bottle fed until he is at least eight weeks old, twelve is best. But you can slowly reduce the amount of milk he is getting to encourage him to eat other foods. Actually, slowly getting less milk is what eventually teaches bottle babies (who don't have another goat to learn from) to drink water. Just keep giving him a clean, constant source of water and he'll figure it out.

    Also, keep hay available for him at all times. Not hay pellets, actual hay. He needs that for healthy rumen function. Hay is the bulk of a goat's diet. He might not each much at this point, maybe just a nibble and even spit it out. But he eventually learn it is tasty. Again, he doesn't have another goat to learn from. Dam raised kids learn to nibble of grain and hay, and drink water very quickly. Maybe just leave him a little handful of grain in a dish for him to sniff and nibble. He may also realize it is tasty. What are you offering him for his mineral needs? If nothing, it is time to get a loose goat mineral. Not a mineral block, and nothing that says it is for sheep. Leave a little in a dish for him to nibble and lick up as he needs.

    DO NOT PUT WATER IN THE BOTTLE. End of story. It can cause kids to get hemoglobinuria. Unless you actually know what you are talking about, please refrain from giving advise. In this case, it turned out to be dangerous advise. Plus, if you fill their belly up with water, they will have no drive to actually learn how to drink. As long as the kid has access to clean, fresh water, he will learn how to drink.
    Nope, not too early. He might actually need a light trim already. You will need to start training him to get used to his hooves being handled on a regular basis. There are a lot of great youtube videos on how to do it, that you can watch.
     
  5. angelkmartin

    angelkmartin New Egg

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    Mar 18, 2015
    Thank you so much for the info. The amount of conflicting info and local "experts" is overwhelming. I must admit that I am crazy about the little guy and apparently making all the mistakes a new mom would. I bought him a billy block and he seems to like ok. But I will take advice and get loose. I am terrified of his hooves. I have been tryin to acclimate him with me handling his feet. He has been munching on things around the yard. Especially my roses. I made sure to pull up and burn all azalea bushes. I've never had anything other than cats and dogs, so this is all a new experience. I would have never believed the bond and love that I am feeling for my new friend. I should have done this years ago. .
     
  6. angelkmartin

    angelkmartin New Egg

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    Mar 18, 2015
    [​IMG]
     
  7. Chickerdoodle13

    Chickerdoodle13 The truth is out there...

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    Another thing I would start thinking about is having him castrated. Billy goats are just downright disgusting! They can also be dangerous (Even the little guys can pack a punch). Castration is easily done by a vet, and usually very reasonably priced as well.

    I believe he is too old to disbud at this point (Stacykins?) but it would be good to remember not to let him butt you, even in play. I wish we had done this with our goats, who were easily 120 pounds! They were fine with my brother and I, but could be dangerous with guests. My brother was young at the time, and thought it was fun to play with his goat like that. Ours were much larger than yours will be, but they can still pack a punch!

    Male goats have a tendency to get urinary blockages on certain diets, so it is important to put him on a diet that takes this into account. Sweet feed diets are not always the best (high sugar and not really that balanced). There are some excellent pelleted diets out there for goats, but you have to be careful that your little guy doesn't get too rotound on them! Some goats don't even need pellets or only need a small amount (A lot of pellets are for lactating dairy goats, which is like putting a lazy person who sits on the couch all day on a body builder diet!)
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2015
  8. angelkmartin

    angelkmartin New Egg

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    Mar 18, 2015
    I have been very strict about no play butting or encouraging in any way. I don't think I could ever allow one to be debudded. I know they say it's better but I don't want to take away something that he could possibly need for defense. Not to mention the amount of pain that must surely be involved. I feel God put them there for a reason. I don't have any children and live far off the beaten path. I understand he can hurt me, he is still an animal after all, no matter how much I spoil him. Thank you for the suggestion tho.
    I am so overwhelmed with the food. Some say grains yes others say no. The only thing I know for sure is no water in bottle and no corn.
     
  9. Chickerdoodle13

    Chickerdoodle13 The truth is out there...

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    When we disbudded cows it was with lidocaine and as long as that was administered well, there was no pain for the calf. I imagine disbudding goats is similar, though I know there are multiple ways of doing it. As long as the horn bud has not erupted, the skin right around where the horn will grow can be cauterized. This is why they have to be young (I think I read 4-10 days). Totally a personal decision though. I probably would not disbud if I had goats in the future. I kind of like the way the horns look and I never want to have to deal with scurs again. Hopefully, if I own goats again, and i need to disbud, I will be able to just do it myself (Having now done it a few times in vet school)
     
  10. angelkmartin

    angelkmartin New Egg

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    Mar 18, 2015
    Let's talk bloat now. I noticed a few nights ago that his belly was really big and tight. I rubbed his belly and got him up and moving around. After a few big poots it went down and he seems fine but for future reference what should I do? Causes? Prevention?
     

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