The following basic goat care tips can help you to raise healthier and happier animals, especially if you are new to caring for these animals. Common sense is important when goat farming, and in fact raising goats is a lot simpler than you might think.
Firstly, it is important to understand that goats and sheep are not the same, especially when it comes to feeding them. Goats should not be fed sheep feed, just as you shouldn’t feed goat feed to sheep. Always look at the label carefully if you give your goats any feed that has been infused with nutrients or minerals.
The metabolism of wethers and bucks mean that they should never eat grain products, and you should ask your vet if you feel that their diet needs to be supplemented. Your vet may suggest grain pellet feed, which is also often recommended for does. Another recommended option is dry oatmeal, although this should be used only moderately.
Although you shouldn’t overdo it with the food treats, as it can be harmful to the animals’ health, goats do enjoy treats sometimes, just like dogs do. These include bread, raisins, grapes, soda crackers or animal crackers, and aromatic tree branches that have fallen off.
Because fresh grass or hay contains plenty of natural nutrients and minerals, it is excellent for preventing disease and should be a staple of your goats’ diet. You can include alfalfa if necessary. Make sure your goats have access to a bucket of fresh and clean water at all times and keep the water free from ice during the winter months.
Your goats should also have constant access to a mineral block or loose minerals. A salt feeding block or a feeding dish containing salt should also be available.
A well-balanced grain product is essential if you are raising and feeding does. Does can remain healthy and you can ensure any offspring are healthy by making sure their diet includes plenty of minerals and nutrients. You should monitor the condition of your does, to determine how little or how much grain they should be eating. If you have does with young kids, it is important to ensure healthy kids by giving them more protein.
Problems with the legs or hooves of your goats, such as hoof rot, can be avoided by having the hooves trimmed about every 4 to 6 weeks. You should give your goats copper and base supplements as needed, and make sure they have a tetanus shot each year.
A simple way of making sure your goats are in good health is to watch them when you feed them; there may be something wrong if they don’t come running to eat. You can also check their coat for signs of any problems; they may be suffering from a lack of nutrients or parasites in the intestine if their coat is thin, dull or coarse. Your goat may not be getting enough nutrients if you notice the legs bowing inwards or backward.
Raising goats can be fun, but it should not be too much of a challenge and the goat care tips described here can help to ensure that your goats are healthy and happy. Proper care and feeding, and knowing the warning signs to look for are essential for anyone planning to raise these animals.