Raising goats is fun, and an increasing number of people are becoming aware of the same. Not long ago, goats were at the bottom of the list where choices for pets were concerned. Now, the opposite is becoming true as more people are opting to keep goats both as pets and for business. Despite this increased interest in rearing goats, however, many people are still unaware of what it takes to really care for goats properly. Thankfully, many dedicated farmers and goat lovers are taking up the charge of educating the masses, helping them to see that goat care is not as difficult as was once thought.
Quick Facts About Goats
Goats are among the oldest domesticated animals. They are used to provide meat, hair, milk, and skin for consumption by humans. Aside from drinking, the goat’s milk can be used as a key ingredient in byproducts like ice cream, butter, and cheese. In terms of their nature, young goats (known as kids) are curious, playful and can learn over time to trust humans. Adult male goats are known as bucks, and the female goats are known as does. The former has a strong smell and will affect the quality of the milk produced by the latter if they are not separated. Whenever male goats, or bucks, are castrated they are known as wethers.
Goats, generally, are natural browsers and should be raised free-range so they can enjoy rummaging through leaves, bush plants, and grass of all kinds. Just be sure to check that the plants in the area are non-toxic. They should also be raised with other goats as they are herd animals.
An important part of caring for goats is knowing which signs are a picture of good health, and which are not. Bright eyes, a good appetite, and a smooth bright shiny coat are all signs that a goat is in good health. On the other hand, cloudy or teary eyes may mean that an infection is present. Having a dull coat is another indicator that all is not well. This may mean parasites are present. Hunched backs with droopy tails and a loss of appetite are also signs of ill-health in goats
Goats that do not have free range should be fed twice per day. You can opt to prepare your own goat meals by mixing dairy goat pellets, crumpled oats, and sunflower seeds. In addition to being fed daily, goats must be constantly provided with water throughout the course of the day. During the winter, the water should be warm, and during the summer should be cool and fresh. A mixture of Timothy, Alfalfa, and Orchard grass should be used to provide hay throughout the day. Importantly, food and water provided for the goats should be fed to them using sturdy, upraised feeders. This way, the goat is unlikely to be able to soil or contaminate the same.
Finally, goats should not be overfed. It gives them gas. In the event that a goat has gas or otherwise needs help with their digestion, baking soda is the answer. Baking soda is also great for keeping their urine acidity in check. Whenever they are in need of baking soda, goats intuitively know they should eat some, and they know how much to eat.
Unlike pigs, goats are not fans of rain and mud. Therefore, they need to kept in a proper shed where they are protected from the elements like cold winds, snow, and rain. Goats enjoy being in dry, warm places. So, it is important to keep the area they are being housed, clean and dry. This will help to stave off bacteria. Also, having cabinets inside the shelter for the goats sleep in (and off the ground) is also an option.
Non-free range goats should still be allowed some room (albeit limited) to frolic and roam about a bit. This can be just outside the shelter. For example, having a rock pile (not too large) outside the shelter for them to play with could prove to be a lot of fun for them.
There are some early steps that must be taken during the various stages of a goat’s life to keep them healthy and strong. As kids, they ought to be sufficiently immunized by way of Bar-Vac CDT. A booster of the Bar-Vac CDT injection should be administered at year one and every year after that. Goats should also be de-wormed a minimum of four times per year. This can help to ward off and kill external parasites such as fleas, lice, and ticks).
- Basics Of Dairy Goat Care
- Everything You Need To Know About Goat Health Care
- Getting Rid Of Illnesses With Proper Goat Care