Getting our first goats

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by melissaglisson, Feb 10, 2016.

  1. melissaglisson

    melissaglisson Out Of The Brooder

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    I have a question for those of you who have goats or experience with them. What are some of the basics we should know before bringing home newly weaned babies? Should we vaccinate, deworm, and what is the best feed? The person we are buying them from said to get cheap sweet feed from our local feed store. Is that ok or should we get something else? Also, what kind of hay do they need?

    Lastly, does anyone have experience with a single goat bonding with another animal such as a rabbit or dog? I would like to only get one goat to bond with our Flemish giant rabbit and dog. I have heard a goat must have another goat around.

    Again, we are new to goats and trying to figure out what we need before we jump right in.

    Thanks!
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2016
  2. CochinLover1

    CochinLover1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am pretty new to the goats myself, but I have had enough experience to say that you always need to have hay present for the goat. This is VERY important. also, sweet feed is great. I recommend only supplementing the goat's diet with feed. I only give my goats sweet feed in the winter. My goats in the other seasons live of of hay and any brush in the woods. Any hay will work. I try to get the worst hay possible. The ones in the back and full of weeds and other plants, my goats enjoy the variety more. Don't get your high-end horse hay for your goat.

    As for bonding, a single goat might get lonely, but if you keep him/her company, they will bond with that person. My Boer goat "Coffee" was a newly weaned when we got him. I spent a lot of time with him and he is now a full grown, un-neutered, still has his horns, buck and he is the sweetest thing. He is very sociable and prefers my attention over his other goat friends'. If you don't have a lot of time to spare, I would recommend getting another goat. Even if it's a pygmie or a friendly wether.
     
  3. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Sits With Chickens Premium Member

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    Some very good points, want to add make any diet changes slowly, and don't feed too much grain. I recommend a tetanus enterotoxemia vaccine, and you really should have two goats, or your goat will be really unhappy and lonely.
     
  4. waddles99

    waddles99 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I can't stress the importance of only feeding sweet feed in the winter. It is very fattening and empty calories. Only feed on really cold days when it is necessary for them to have a high body temperature. ALSO, make sure to feed some kind of mineral. Loose or on the block. Doesn't really matter. Whichever they like better. If you don't feed minerals they get mineral deficiency.
     
  5. cassie

    cassie Overrun With Chickens

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    As other people have pointed out, having one goat is a very bad idea. You need at least two. Goats suffer more from loneliness than any other class of livestock. As for vaccinations, get a vial of CD/T from the feed store or livestock supply. That is for tetanus and clostridium perfingens (enterotoxemia). You give a total of two shots spaced about four weeks apart and then an annual booster. You can feed either grass hay or alfalfa, but hay for goats needs to be of very good quality. Meaning fine stemmed, leafy, and free from dust, mold, and mildew. As for grain, you would feed some to young growing stock, but other than that, unless they are thin, pregnant, or milking they don't need it.
     
  6. Chickerdoodle13

    Chickerdoodle13 The truth is out there...

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    The others have had good advice so far. I also strongly agree that goats need a friend or two to be happy. That friend should be the same species, though I have seen a young goat and lamb existing happily together. A single goat will cry...and cry..,and cry...well, hopefully you get the point!

    I would be careful about feeding sweet feed, especially to male goats. It does seem to be a contributing factor to urinary blockage. The more I learn about goats, the more apt I am to recommend getting females rather than neutered males (wethers). I had two wethers for almost ten years with no problems, but they definitely have a predisposition for urinary blockages and that can be both a costly and deadly issue.

    As the others said, CD/T vaccine is a definite. You can have a vet vaccinate them for rabies, but there is no rabies vaccine licensed for goats. They will usually use a dog rabies vaccine, which seems to work just as well. I recommend it for most areas of the US where rabies is an issue.

    Be sure to dehorn early for best results. Once the horn bud starts growing, it is very difficult to cleanly remove all the horn tissue to prevent growth of scurs. I recommend castration early on as well. Intact males are incredibly stinky and they like to pee on themselves, so it is usually best to neuter. Just be ready to expect large males with castration, especially in larger breeds. Our Nubian wethers were gigantic.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2016
  7. waddles99

    waddles99 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Personal preference actually. Don't feel any need to dehorn goats, unless you have a specific reason(little kids that will be around them, need to dehorn in order to show, etc). You can get hurt on goat horns, but there are pros and cons of each way. I believe goats with horns are happier because they can use their horns to play with each other. Also, in my opinion they look better. More natural. Dehorning is painful and can be expensive. Again, there are pros and cons of either way, but you don't need to dehorn.
     
  8. Chickerdoodle13

    Chickerdoodle13 The truth is out there...

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    I agree that i would probably leave my subsequent goats natural because our first were dehorned too late and had to have scurs removed later as they started to grow into the head.

    If you do dehorn, have a vet or knowledgable person do it and dont use cheap supplies. Lots of people try to do it themselves and buy cheap irons which dont get hot enough to burn the tissue quick and they tend to cause burns down to the skull and brain.

    There are also polled goats that work quite nicely. Just dont breed two polled goats together or you'll end up with intersex offspring.
     
  9. therarebreed

    therarebreed Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We didn't dehorn our goats, I realized after our male had been dehorned, how much they use them. Even just to get to an itch. We never had an issue with them and their horns.

    My goats didn't like the sweet feed, so we had to give them the purina goat chow, but they also had plenty of access to brush, hay, and we gave our milk goats alfalfa when they were in milk.

    I recommend getting another goat as a friend. We had four goats together, they hated my dog because he always tried to herd them, but they got along very well with our chickens and each other.

    Also, have a mineral block/salt lick handy for them, and we left a bowl of free choice baking soda nearby in case they needed it. The baking soda helps with digestion and keeping bloat from being an issue.
     
  10. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Sits With Chickens Premium Member

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    I too keep baking soda free choice available, I would recommend a good loose goat mineral, with the blocks goats can wear off their teeth, make sure the mineral contains copper. I recommend a good grass hay, second or third cutting, goats don't eat stems. Alfalfa is too rich for most goats straight, good in a mixed hay. Goats enjoy tree trimmings, they eat the leaves and twigs and strip the bark, willow is a favorite.
     

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