Some Questions about Goats

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by Wyandottes7, Nov 23, 2013.

  1. Wyandottes7

    Wyandottes7 Overrun With Chickens

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    I'm interested in getting some goats, but know almost nothing about them. I'd probably want two does at first, and they would be mainly for pets and showing at 4-H fairs. A friend of mine has some Nubian goats, so I'd probably get Nubians or another full-size goat breed like Toggenburgs. I'm not really interested in smaller goats like Nigerian Dwarfs or Pygmy goats.

    I've only had experience with chickens, never any larger livestock. So, I have a few questions to ask! :

    • First of all, how much space do goats need (like, how many square feet)?
    • What type of fencing is best for goats? Would electric fencing work, or would wood fencing or wire mesh fencing work better?
    • How tall does fencing need to be to contain the goats?
    • Are goats susceptible to predator attacks (do they need to be locked inside at night?)?
    • How hardy are goats? Do they get a lot of diseases?
    • How much milk does a milking doe produce each day?
    • What do you feed goats? Just hay/pasture, or do they they need grain (if so, what type of grain/feed)?
    • About how much time would it take to care for two goats each day?
    • How much do they eat/drink?
    • Are goats winter hardy?
    • What other care do goats require? (I know they need their hooves trimmed, but is there anything else?)

    Thanks in advance for any answers to any of these questions!
     
  2. sepaditty1

    sepaditty1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have no answers, but I have all the same questions. Can't wait to hear the answers!
     
  3. OrpObsessed

    OrpObsessed Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi I've only been raising Nubians for four years, but I'll tell you what I've learned so far...
    Buy from a reputable breeder, who is PROVEN CAE and CL free! Just because someone on Craigslist says they are healthy doesn't mean they've done testing on their animals. I've had to cull my entire herd once because of CL and move to a different patch of land because of how contagious the disease is! So I cannot stress enough to buy from a reputable breeder. It is worth the money and will save you loads of heartache. If you want show quality Nubians I can give you a list of reputable breeders. Again you may pay more money, but in the long run it will save you money! I can't remember how much square footage for goats, but I will ask my husband. Goats are not expensive to feed, especially for just two. Fully grown you may buy up to two bags of feed per month. Also mine go through a single square bale of hay per month during the winter...during spring and summer they are set to pasture. My two goats drink about a 5 gallon bucket a day at the hottest days of the year. Cooler days they may only drink half. Good fencing is a must. If you only have electrical fencing, they will bust through it. They don't like it but they are notorious for escaping just the wire. If you want to use electrical fencing, you need a smaller square fencing to back it up. It needs to be put up correctly, because if its not stretched tight enough, I've had a goat climb our fencing that wasn't secure. Our fencing Is 4 ft. That should be enough for your average nubian. Goats are, for the most part, very hardy. You want light colored goats if you live in a hot area, because my black goats suffered the most during summer. They do well in cold areas, though some people buy goat coats for their goat babies. I knit sweaters for the kids in the early spring...just because I can lol!
    Goats are very susceptible to worms. Do lots of research on the barber pole worm especially...they are killers! I lost a whole kid crop one year from the barber pole worm. You need to do research on the FAMACHA test..it's where you check their eyelids to see how pink the inner lid is that will tell you if they are anemic and need to be wormed. You want to ask plenty of questions when buying your goats, what does the mothers udder look like? How much did she milk? How much did the sires mom milk? Some Nubians can milk up to two gallons a day..but this is not very common. Researching bloodlines will help you. The most I've had from a milker was a gallon a day...some were a lot less, but I didn't have good stock at the time. In my opinion, nubian goat milk is the sweetest and best to make cheese. We make soap with it too and drink it like you would cows milk. But we pasteurize ours, a lot of people don't. Do lots of research on the subject...knowledge is power! It doesn't take long to take care of two goats. Maybe 10-15 min a day. Except when they need shots, or Meds. Be prepared to become a goat nurse, because stuff happens sometimes, like the enemea. Find yourself a good goat forum...they will be a lifeline and a life saver! Dogs will kill or maim goats so make sure your fencing is in order and you have shelter for them! Did I answer everything? Let me know if you have any more questions!
     
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  4. OrpObsessed

    OrpObsessed Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Storey's had a great guide to Dairy goats. It is an ecelllent book and I've read it more than once! If you decide to go through with buying some, get ready because they will completely steal your heart and you will be helpless to ever get it back again! :D
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2013
  5. Wyandottes7

    Wyandottes7 Overrun With Chickens

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    Thank you for answering my questions! You've been quite helpful. I'm going to do a lot of research before I get goats.
     
  6. Wyandottes7

    Wyandottes7 Overrun With Chickens

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    Thanks for the input!
     
  7. appps

    appps Overrun With Chickens

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    Yeah I will second the get good fences. I've only experienced them from the neighbours side of the fence but we have two neighbours with goats and neither seems to be able to keep the things contained. They are always escaping on to the busy road or our garden.
     
  8. Wyandottes7

    Wyandottes7 Overrun With Chickens

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    I have a few more questions:

    • How do you deworm goats (what do you use, dosage, best wormer, etc)
    • Is trimming the hooves hard? How do you do it?
    • Will coyotes attack goats, or climb over/dig under a fence to get to them?
    • Do goats usually kid without much difficulty?
    • Do they need to eat grain/other goat feed during most of the year, or can they live mostly on hay/grass.
    • How much do you feed? How do you know if you are feeding enough?
     
  9. Fancychooklady

    Fancychooklady Overrun With Chickens

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    Orp, s advice is very sound. And there are some very valuable forums on goats. We have been herding angora goats for 10 years and I have found Pat Colebys
    Books to be my " bible ". Angoras are very time consuming but we also have 4 boer goats. Worming is not hard, we use a drench gun and safeguard/ panacur.
    Their is a bit of an art to trimming hooves, but plenty of diagrams and pics available to help you along. It is very useful to handle your goats from a young age, it makes a world of difference when it comes time to treat them or medicate them. Mine come for a scratch and a rub because they have no fear of me.
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  10. OrpObsessed

    OrpObsessed Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I love these questions! :weee lol!

    When I first started with goats I was using Safeguard as a de wormer and also Valbezen which is a wormer for sheep, that can be used effectively in goats as well. In my experience, and many others, Safeguard is pretty much useless. You need to alternate wormers, and use something that covers the barber pole worm as well as liver fluke. Right now I use Ivomec plus (effective against barber pole) and I still use the Valbazen. Also if I have an enemic goat, I treat with the wormer and give Red Cell which has iron and has been a life saver many times! Also Vit-B helps to get the red blood cell count back up. I am really ignorant on dosage, I let my very smart husband do the dosage so you may want to look that part up. I DO know that with goats, it's not the same as horses or dogs or cats. They have more stomachs so the dosage will be higher. I discovered I was giving too little a dose, which is also bad because you can make the worms resistant to what you give over time. But it's also bad to overdose! Trimming hooves is very easy for me and my husband. Many people hire someone to do it, but, to me, it's like clipping fingernails. You trim the excess off to wear its even with the padding of their hoofs, but sometimes there is extra growth on the padding that needs to be trimmed keeping the pad even and the hoofs flush with the padded area. I think there are diagrams in the Storeys book on how to do it. You will need a milking stand to help keep them still. Coyotes are a problem if you don't have proper fencing. I never had an issue with them digging or jumping over, but I also had two German Shepherds and a LGD (Livestock Guardian Dog) which was a trained Great Pyrenees.
    I absolutely love kidding season! Many does will do just fine on there own, but I've often had to go in and help. I had one doe that surely would have died and lost both babies if I had not helped. She was trying to deliver a buckling that was strangely twisted up in her womb and he was absolutely huge. To this day I know it was a God thing that I was able to pull his giant head out! He was freakishly large. Anyway, it's important to know the different situations that could happen while delivering. Have a kidding kit on hand (gloves, lube, a nose bulb syringe, iodine, towels) things like that... anyway, it's an amazing thing...well worth all the extra prepping! And the moms appreciate you being there! Especially if they were bottle raised or very friendly.

    I always feed grain year round. While they are preggo, I feed one of my green scoops (not exactly sure of the poundage) I will have to weigh it for you...anyway they get one of those a day, plus minerals, plus hay during the winter. I don't have to buy hay during the spring and summer because they have plenty of grass. When they deliver, I increase their grain double and add alfalfa pellets. They get fed twice a day. They get the same green scoop in the morning but its half grain, half alfalfa pellets. Then I milk them, then 12 hours later, they get the same green scoop of half grain half alfalfa pellets. It's important to be very careful while increasing their feed because goats can get bloat and die if they eat too much. So increase a little at a time and make sure you know what they were eating and how much when you go to buy them... that way you dont over or under do it with their next feeding once you get them home.Also they will need to have their CDT shots.

    Oh and have you decided if you want them to have horns or not? We disbud our babies. Some people think this is awful, but I've had them get their heads stuck in fences and one girl used to head butt my 2 year old! I've never ever had that happen with any of my other goats, this was a freak thing and I sold her quickly...but you should keep that in the back of your mind when letting your kids around them...if you have any. Goats have a pecking order too. There is always a herd queen, and they are constantly putting each other in their places. I think she just saw my son as competition since he was her size!
     
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