Goats

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Goats and Predators

 Originally posted on 5/18/13

Nala the goat

Weekly Bible Verse: Psalm 23:1 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

Dogs, Coyotes, and Mountain Lions can cause some of the biggest problems with goats.  If you live in an area that does not have Coyotes and Mountain Lions this is good news for a goat but dogs are everywhere.  All three of theses predators can jump/clime just about any fence.  To protect a goat from predators like these it is necessary to make sure your goat has a safe pen with a completely enclosed top.  If predators are a big concern in your area you should have a concrete border around the base of your goat’s pen that attaches to the cage wall so nothing can squeeze/dig under.  You may also need to construct a pen out of heavy duty material that is stronger than chain link so Mountain Lions can not break in.  Also putting your goat inside a barn at night is a good idea or someplace that is very secure.  If Coyotes and Dogs are the main predator in your area, a few well trained Great Pyrenees dogs can make excellent protectors or the Anatolian Shepherd.  Also a guard llama or donkey can be a help and chase off Coyotes or Dogs.

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 Breeding Goats

 Updated on 3/30/13, Originally posted on 5/12/12

Weekly Bible Verse: Psalm 104:18 The high hills are for the wild goats; The cliffs are a refuge for the rock badgers.

Psalm chapter 104 praises the sovereign Lord for His creation and providence.  For he has created the earth and all that lives in it including goats and the high hills for them to climb on ( Psalm 104:18).  Goats do love to climb and God has given them high hills.

Creature tip:  I have been breeding goats since 2008 and I have learned a lot about goats and I still continue to learn (no one ever knows it all). The ideal age to start breeding your goat is 18 months.  At 18 months the majority of the goat’s growth is complete; however goats are usually full grown at 24 months and sometimes not until 36 months depending on the breed.  Some breeders will breed their goats as early as 8 months, but I would not recommend breeding your goat before 12 months old.  You need to wait until your goat has completed the majority of its growth.  Breeding a female goat too soon could cause their growth to be stunted and the mama can have other serious health problems.  A growing goat needs extra nutrients but if the goat is pregnant at a young age the babies and mama will have a hard time getting enough nutrients and vitamins/minerals.  To prevent early breeding keep your buck securely locked up.  Bucks are able to break through fencing and/or jump over into another pen if a doe is in season so make you’re your buck’s pen is very secure!  Some goats are able to breed as early as 3 months old so be sure to separate buck kids from does at an early age.  The gestation period for most goats is about 5 months.  The Pygmy goat comes into season every month but most other breeds come into season only twice a year.  I recommend breeding your doe no more than once a year.  Breeding your doe twice a year, will be harder on the goat’s body thus shortening her life.  If you have a doe that you are milking, be sure to let her dry up a few months before her next kidding.  Breeding a goat and keeping her in milk all the time is very hard on a goat’s body and will shorten her life.  Raising goats is very rewarding but things do not always go as planed.  Whenever breeding animals you must always be prepared to see death and also be able to pay any vet bills that may arise suddenly.  One last thing, make sure you feed both pregnant and lactating goats a good nutritious diet with sufficient protein and vitamins/minerals.  You can talk to your vet or a reputable breeder about nutrition for your goat and you can also see our goat care guide for more info on goat nutrition.

Two baby does

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 Can Goats Live Alone?

Updated on 2/9/13, Originally posted on 3/24/12/

Weekly Bible Verse: Genesis 1:26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

We, man (meaning all humans), are made in the image of God.  We are not like the animals; God has designed every person and placed us over the animals.  We are to take care of our animals and not be cruel to them (Proverbs 12:10).  But we also must remember that God has given us dominion over all the animals and it is okay for us to eat them if we are hungry.

Goats like to live in herds; after all, they are herd animals.  If you are going to keep goats it is best to keep at least two.  Sometimes a goat will be content to live with other animals such as horses, cows, sheep, or pigs.  If you have other animals with your goat it may “adopt” the other animals as its herd or vice versa, and it is nice when it works out.  I once had a goat and horse that enjoyed each others’ companionship and would even sleep together.  I also have had horses that hate goats and chase them away.  Always use caution when introducing a goat to other animals as sometimes it does not work and your goat could be injured or even killed.  On rare occasions goats and dogs can live together, but you must use caution because dogs are frequently the cause of goat deaths.  If you have goat friendly dogs, and the goat likes the dogs, often the goat will see the dogs as its herd.  Goats that live with dogs will often think they are a dog and sometimes even act a little like a dog.   If you do have a goat living with your dogs, never let the goat eat dog food; it is not healthy for goats!

Sometimes, on rare occasions, a goat can live happily alone without other animals but it will need people to substitute for its herd.  If the goat is afraid of people it will need another goat or animal for its herd and will not be content to live alone.  For the goat that likes people and is taken to a new home without other goats there will be an adjustment time for the goat to accept the new people as its herd.  If the goat is used to living with other goats, you can expect your new goat to be upset for a few days or even a few weeks.  If the goat does not get a little better day by day then it will need a goat buddy.  The goat may call out all the time or, on rare occasions, become depressed and even stop eating.  Every animal is different but some goats can be content to live alone; however if the goat seems too unhappy you will need to get another goat ASAP.

It is up to you whether you will own one, two, or more goats.  You can try owning just one goat to see if it works but I always recommend you adopt two or more.

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 Bottle Feeding Kids

Updated on 11/30/13, Originally posted on 2/4/12

Weekly Bible Verse: Genesis 1:24 Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth the living creature according to its kind: cattle and creeping thing and beast of the earth, each according to its kind;” and it was so.

God is the Creator of all animals!

Bottle feeding a goat can be one of the most fun things to do but also it’s a lot of work.  When bottle feeding, it is always best to use the milk from the kid’s mother.  Milk replacers just don’t have the nutrition in them like mom’s milk but they can be used if the kid’s mom has died.  When bottle feeding newborn kids, it is of the utmost importance that the kid(s) get the colostrum milk from mom within the first hour after birth.  The colostrum has antibodies and will strengthen the baby goat’s immune system.  The kid’s body will be most responsive to the colostrum in the first 24 hours.  An important note on milk for kids is to NEVER give them cow’s milk.  Cow’s milk is very hard on a kid’s stomach and can even kill them!  If you don’t have the kid’s mom to milk you may consider surcharging for a breeder that has fresh raw goat’s milk before buying a milk replacer.

What is beneficial about bottle feeding a kid?  Bottle feeding a kid will bond them closer to humans.  If the doe of the kid(s) is fearful of humans they will teach the kid(s) by example to avoid humans.  Even if the kid’s mom is friendly toward, kids are still naturally fearful of humans to some extent.   Bottle fed kids make excellent pets because they become very friendly with humans (they see people as part of their herd).  Here is an example of a feeding chart for how often to bottle feed a kid.

Birth to 2 week = 4-5 times a day

2 weeks to 5 weeks = 3 times a day

5 weeks to 7 weeks = 2 times a day

7 weeks to 9 weeks = 1 time a day

You can wean a kid as soon as 6 weeks or as late as 12 weeks.  We like to wean our kids at around 7-8 weeks.  Kids will start to nibble on hay around 2 weeks old and will start eating it around 3 weeks old, that is if they see another goat eating hay (otherwise it can take longer before they start eating hay).  Remember to add more hay as the kids get older and less milk.  Also use cation not to give a kid too much milk as most kids will not stop themselves, they will guzzle it down until you stop them.

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Feeding Goats Alfalfa

Updated on 10/6/13, Originally posted on 12/17/11

Weekly Bible Verse: 1 Corinthians 15:39 All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of animals, another of fish, and another of birds.

This means man did NOT evolve from animals.  You will find some interesting info on the topics of creation vs. evolution at these websites Institute for Creation Research & Answers in Genesis

Alfalfa & Goats:

Question: Can goats be fed a straight diet of Alfalfa and dose it mater?

Answer: Goats that are fed straight alfalfa, when they don’t need the extra protein and calcium, can have health problems.  Most goats should NOT be fed straight Alfalfa as a diet.

Alfalfa Hay p2

Info on Orchard Hay:

Orchard hay is higher in protein then other hays such as Bermuda, Timothy, and 3 way.  Orchard hay has less protein than alfalfa.  So you might say orchard hay is the next step down from alfalfa.  Hays like Bermuda and Timothy just are not nutritious enough to feed by themselves to goats.  Alfalfa can be too much protein and calcium to feed to a goat so orchard hay is a good choice for most goats.

Orchard Hay

Feeding Alfalfa to Adult Wethers & Bucks:

Alfalfa can cause some big problems in Bucks and especially wethers.  Alfalfa can cause urinary tract infections in males and also they can develop calcium stones.  These things can lead to death in some cases so it is better to be on the safe side and not feed a diet of straight alfalfa to males.  Feed orchard hay and also a small amount of grain in the winter.

Alfalfa & Adult Does:

Alfalfa can cause problems in girls too, if they are fed too much alfalfa, but they are at less of a risk compared to a Buck or Wether.   When a doe’s body can not use up the extra protein and calcium they can develop calcium stones and it can cause internal problems with their female organs.  If you have a pregnant or lactating doe then you can feed 100% Alfalfa and in between breeding feed the doe about 50% Alfalfa and 50% Orchard.  If you just have a doe for a pet you might consider feeding them a straight diet of Orchard hay and add in a little bit of grain or 20% Alfalfa.

Alfalfa & Lactating Goats:

Alfalfa is a rich hay and helps lactating goats to produce enough milk for the kids.  Alfalfa also helps mom to keep her weight up so she does not become too thin.  If a dairy or mamma goat is not fed alfalfa they will produce about half the amount of milk.  Lactating goats need Alfalfa with its extra protein and calcium for milk production.

Alfalfa & Growing Kids:

Growing kids need the extra protein and calcium too.  The kids need Alfalfa for the first 4-6 months because this is their major growing time.  After that it is good to start adding in Orchard hay.  When the goat is 6-10 months you can change over to a diet of straight Orchard hay but do it gradually so the change in feed is not sudden causing upset stomachs.  For Wethers you may consider feeding them only 50% Alfalfa from 2 months on until they are 6-10 months old.

Alfalfa Cuttings:

Alfalfa is harvested and then it re-grows, harvested, and re-grows.  The 1st cutting is the highest in protein and calcium.  Only goats that need a lot of protein and calcium, such as goats in milk, should be fed the 1st and 2nd cutting of Alfalfa.  Most goats should be fed a 3rd or later cutting unless.

Feeding Grain to Goats:

We feed grain to our pregnant, lactating does, bucks in the winter, and growing kids.  Grain helps maintain a goat’s body weight and will help a lactating doe make more milk.  Grain should always be kept in a goat proof container.  We use a container that has a screw on lid so the goat can not pop open the lid if they should get into the feed barn.  Remember not to overfeed on grain as it can cause some of the same health problems that Alfalfa does.  Also too much grain can cause diarrhea.

Grain in a goat proof container

Hoof Growth and Diet:

The more Alfalfa and grain you feed, the faster your goat’s hooves grow.  All that protein and calcium causes this.  So remember to trim your goat’s hooves more frequently when they are fed a diet of high protein and calcium.

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How to Leash Train a Goat

Updated on 8/24/13, Originally posted on 10/22/11

Weekly Bible Verse: Romans 1:20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse”

Did you know that with the proper training your goat can walk on a leash just like dog?

Before leash training can begin, you need to make sure your goat is friendly and not scared of humans.  A goat that is fearful of people will not want to walk with them but will try to run the other way!

To start training, place a collar or better yet a dog harness on your goat and attach the leash (a harness will not choke the goat). Have your goat’s favorite treat in your pocket (I use a small amount of goat grain or bits of carrots).  It is best to start training in an enclosed pen that the goat has thoroughly explored.  Begin to walk and give a gentle tug on the leash.  As you do so, show the treat to your goat.  When the goat moves forward give him a treat.  Whenever the goat should resist the tug on the leash offer a treat again and only give it when the goat moves forward or stops resisting.  At first your goat may only take a few steps at a time, but with each try make your goat walk farther for the treat.

Soon your goat will be walking with you.  Next try leash training in a larger enclosed area, like a fenced in backyard.  Your goat may try to eat weeds or other plants that he walks by, but don’t let him!  Every time he tries give a gentle tug on the leash and offer a treat.  It is important for the goat to learn that there is absolutely NO grazing/weed eating when on a leash.  If your goat becomes too distracted from items in the new yard go back to the basic training and encourage your goat to move forward a few steps at a time.  If you need to go back to the other pen with less distractions, you can do that too.

When your goat can walk perfectly on the leash, remember that there are dangers when going on a walk outside of your yard.  Dogs, cars, and motorcycles will frighten a goat easily and may cause the goat to completely freak out.  If this happen to him he can slip out of a collar and run into the road and be killed.  A harness is safer and more secure.  Also, loose dogs can come out from no where and attack your goat.  I do NOT recommend taking your goat out of your yard for a walk but it can be done with more training.  Get your goat use to loud noises by using a coffee can, and fill it with items that will make loud noises when shaken.  If your goat should become fearful offer a treat and talk to the goat calmly.  When the goat has accepted the coffee can try walking your goat near a running lawn mower.  Try every noise you can think of, and see how your goat responds. Offer a treat if the goat becomes afraid to get his focus back on you and not the noise.

Remember to take training steps slowly and don’t move to the next step until the one before is mastered by your goat.  Also make sure you don’t overwork your goat.  Short daily training sessions that are 10-20 minutes long, will work better than an hour session done only once a week.  Just like God made every person different he also gave each animal its own little personality.  Some goats have a longer attention span than others and can work a little longer and some are done after 10 minutes.  God is so amazing and detailed in his creation that even two animals that look completely alike in appearance are different from each other in so many ways.

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Buying a goat as a pet

Updated on  7/6/13 , Originally posted on 9/10/11

Weekly Bible Verse: Ezekiel 34:17 ‘And as for you, O My flock, thus says the Lord GOD: “Behold, I shall judge between sheep and sheep, between rams and goats.

Goats can make wonderful pets!  If you are considering a goat as a pet, here are some tips.  The best goat is a tame goat.  Buy a goat that was bottle fed by humans.  A bottle fed goat sees people as part of its herd and usually shows no fear of them.  Both male (buck) and female (doe) goats make great pets but if you get a male (buck) make sure it is fixed or he will stink!  A castrated buck is called a wether.

 

Another thing to consider before buying a goat is horns.  The only defense a goat has is its horns.  But the horns can be dangerous to small children because the horns are at the same level as a child’s face.  I prefer de-horned goats but if you have large dogs that live near you, you might want a goat with horns so if a dog broke into the goat’a pen it would at least have something to defend it’s self with.  Goats are de-horned as babies.

One last thing, never put a de-horned goat with a horned goat because the de-horned goat can be injured or even killed by the horned goat.

Want more information on goats?  Take a look at our goat care guide.

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7 Responses to Goats

  1. Devin says:

    I just bought a baby Boer buck, he is meant to be about 5 months old. I got him home and within a few days he was having seizures. He doesn’t eat or drink much at all. I have been giving him penicilin for the past four days but he doesn’t seem to be getting any better with the seizures, eating, drinking, etc. I don’t know what to do and I can’t afford the vet.
    Please help if you can.

    Thank you for your time,
    Devin

  2. admin says:

    Hi Devin,
    This sounds very bad, and I am so sorry this is happening. I don’t know what to tell you because only a vet can help you. Did the goat get into anything, like poison? Did he eat weeds that were poisoned? Has he been injured in anyway? Have you contacted the people that you bought him from to see if any of their goats are having the same symptoms? Be sure to keep your buck quarantined from other animals. Sadly if you can’t get him to eat or drink he won’t last long. Maybe the kindest thing you can do is put him down :( You could try contacting your local animal shelter to see if they can help or call several veterinarians to see if anyone can take him in. I’ve had to put down 2 goats in the past and it was very difficult. The goats were in very bad shape and it was the kindest thing I could do for them :(

  3. Erica says:

    I am about to get a new goat (female) should I get it as a baby or adult???

  4. admin says:

    Hello Erica,
    I would get a baby/young goat but if you have other goats you may want to get a goat that is about the same size as yours. Sometimes bigger goats bully the little ones.

  5. Paul says:

    As an Atheist goat farmer I was at first suspicious of your website, but it is very enjoyable to read and the info is spot on. I found your section on alfalfa particularly informative. Praise unto thee!

  6. Andi Becerra says:

    Hello I am disabiled in a wheel chair 80% of the time a walker the rest of the time, I stay home 95% of the time and my neigbor brings his goats over to our side to run around but he is not a loving animal person type they use for milk even thier dogs, they dont pet hug anything like that. my husband takes a chair for me to feed the goats but they are very skidish and not friendly so I ask him to please allow me to get 2 lil mini goats so I could love them and they in return could help me. do you think it would be a good thing for both the babies and myself?

  7. admin says:

    Hello Andi,
    Bottle fed goats make great pets. As long as someone is able to help you care for them I think you would enjoy having 2 goats. Goats that were bottle fed as babies very much enjoy the company of people.

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