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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Okay, I'm new. Good site. Good information. But, I want to specify my own set of questions. One would be about the extended treks. Like say a month or two in a general area and moving around but having a base camp. Would a good shelter of natural and a tarp lean-to make a good semi-permanent shelter? I mean is a closed in area good for a single goat?
Two, if I was to head back in for a few weeks or months with a goat would one carry food for the goat? And a more simpleton , pure curiosity, question is. . . grainy dog food or quality dog food acceptable to a goat, more importantly healthy?
Andddd, what is a good "safety" bag to carry for a goat, emergency and other things related etc. I carry one for my dog in my pack and imagine a goat would need a few vermin or wound supplies. Just a few questions. Any or all, thanks.
 

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I've never been on an extended trek, but for shelter you can probably do fine with just a tarp and whatever nature provides. Remember that your goat is hardier than you, and if you can stand the weather, he can stand it better. I kept my goat in a horse pasture for years with no shelter at all (except under a horse's belly), with some nights being -20 degrees F. He wore earmuffs to guard against frostbite in those extreme conditions, but he never had trouble keeping weight. We fed good hay once a day and no grain.

I would not feed a goat dog food even though they like it and will gobble it up. It's not made for goats, and while I'm sure having a little from time to time will not hurt them, it should not be part of their regular diet. Depending on the work load, the amount of vegetation in the area, and time of year, you *may* not need to bring food for your goat so long as he is able to wander about and browse freely. If you were basing your camp in my area in summer, for example, I'd say don't bother. But if vegetation is sparse where you are going, you will need to bring hay. You don't want your goat destroying the environment! Nor do you want him to lose weight on insufficient browse.

You can get hay in bales, cubes, or pellets, depending on which is easier for you. But don't feed grain to make up for lack of hay! Depending on the work load and his metabolism, your goat may not need any grain at all. Better to feed no grain and work up to it if/when he looks like he needs it, because you don't want to encourage urinary tract stones or weight problems. I always prefer to feed more hay before I add grain. Make sure he's always got plenty of clean, fresh water available.

For emergency supplies, I'd do a word search on these forums and see what you come up with because I know there have been several threads where people have discussed what they keep in their first aid kits. Good luck!
 

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Nanno is right on with shelter an food. It relly depends on the area you are visiting. Tarps help to weather proof shelters. A 50lbs bag of orchard hay pellets is cheaper than dog food, just as packable and lower in fat and protien. I defintately would not do dog food. For first aid get the book "Field First Aid for Goats" or the companion book "Goat First Aid: The Trail Guide". Unless you plan on memorizing the book a copy on hand is good idea. It will guide you as to the supplies you will need to have on hand. It was written by Alice Beberness and Carolyn Eddy and can be found at Northwest Packgoats & Supplies. Good luck on you adventures.
 

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This is a great topic and I hope you get some additional responses from some of our experienced goat keepers.
I would lean towards getting an Alpine or Alpine Wether Cross breed for your expedition. The Alpine and it's crosses are very hardy adaptable critters. They can handle the heat and the cold and can survive in almost any enviroment. Also get a horned Wether so he can protect himself from small predators and dogs. If you leave your Goat alone for extended periods of time he will become lunch for cougars or wolf packs that find him unattended.

Goats have survived in Africa for hundreds of years and can adapt very quickly to the food sources available - desert, wooded and alpine climate. Goats can go for several days without water if needed but they need fresh water daily.

Get the first aid for goats handbook by Carolyn Eddy. You can order it from Northwest Packgoat Supplies. I would pack in some mineral mix for a long stay over thirty days. Also some activated charcoal tubes for poisonous plants if he gets sick.

In a true survival situation a goat could save your life and can serve as an MRE. A full grown wether could feed two people for a week.

Good luck with your adventure.

"long Live The Pack Goat"

Curtis King Burbank WA.
 

· Dave (TDG Farms) S.E. Washington State
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Already some great replies and most of what Ill say follows along the same lines.

Food: A goat on the farm here gets a good flake of dairy quality alfalfa (20%+ protein) per day. Which in weight is 5-6 lbs. We like first cutting the best as it has a more substantial stem then later cuttings, which in turn means more fiber. Fiber is what slows down a goats digestion process so that they are able to absorb more of the nutrients in what they eat. A working goat can actually lose weight on a mostly leaf and less stem later cutting regardless of protein because it passes through their system to fast. A bright green soft poo is a sign of this.

Translating this out in the wild is a bit tricky as there are so many factors. As mentioned, time of year, vegetation available and so on. But keep this in mind, you would be very hard pressed to find anything in the wilds nearly as high of protein as a dairy quality alfalfa. Good thing is, anywhere around 12%-14% is more then enough for a working goat as long as they are getting enough of it. Grasses, leaves, shrubs should be more then enough if in the right quantity. The less a goat has to do the less quality of feed it would need. Meaning, you will not maintain a healthy goat out in a desert environment packing heavy loads for days on end. So you will need to maybe do some research on what kinda food stuffs will be in the area you wanna spend your extended stay (good time to look up and get familiar with toxic / poisonous plants.) If its not going to be enough then you will need to take in a food source for the goat. Now as mentioned above, a large goat should get roughly 5 lbs a day.Making a 50 lbs. bag of alfalfa pellets lasting just 10 days. Store bought pelleted alfalfa is at most 15% protein. But on the flip side, they are not wasting any of it like they do eating outta a feeder on the farm.

Dog Food: yes they will eat it and no, you should never purposely feed it to them. Goats are not meat eaters and there are meat by products in most dog foods. And although I would highly doubt a goat would be at risk for "mad goat disease lol " the feeding of cow by products back to cows, is how mad cow was spread. Just kinda food for thought and no not serious about the mad goat :)

Water: A daily water source is a must on extended stays. Goats can go a few days without water once in a while, but not a good idea to do this repeatedly over an extended stay. The warmer the area, the more water they will need of course.

Shelter: Goats are very hardy animals except when it comes to rain and wind. A mix of these are a major source of pneumonia in goats. We feed with no cover over the feeders year round, the goats may get a bit damp either from light rain or snow but when it gets to heavy, they run for their barns and will stay there until the rain / snow stops or is very light. Wind isnt so much an issue by itself. So a dry goat is a healthy goat is the best way to look at it. So tarps are fine so long as they keep them dry, thats including the ground they will be laying on. If its wet, bedding it down with ever green branches would work not only as a dry place to lay on but a mid night snack as well :) African goats were mentioned but none of the ADGA accepted dairy goat breeds are from Africa and have many hundreds of years as domesticated livestock under their pedigrees and for the most part they have had barns for shelter for just as long. So although not fragile, a happy goat is a.... happy goat :)

Intended use on the extended stay: Now if you are just looking for a companion to take on a nice long walk about to carry a bed roll and supplies, you could do no better then a goat. Regardless of size id try to keep the pack to under 30 lbs and have the goat conditioned before I set off. Id tried to find my animals sweet spot for weight. Meaning walking for several hours before it needed to lay down for a break. Being new to the packing world, myself, these are some of the things Ill be looking forward to doing myself. Im not much of a stop and go kinda hiker. If there is a goal I wanna get to, then I wanna get there in good time. Not counting breath taking views or geographic marvels.

So as asked, more information about where and when you want to do your stay would be very helpful to give more info. And from an experience point of view, you would do better to pay heed to those with it then those like myself who have yet to earn it. But when it comes to goat care / health, I like to think of myself as pretty darn good. And that is from experience :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks everyone for the intelligent replies. I may not have a goat for a few years, getting around with a dog can be cumbersome enough, but in the future a goat will be an important addition to my life. They seem like great friends, much like a dog, but with different characteristics of course. A goat to pack some gear into the backcountry would be nice and sometimes around animals i can just sit and observe for a while. So it would be pretty cool.
 

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Unless you are above tree-line, the goats will thrive on native brush, woody browse and various leaves and evergreen needles. The only concern is to watch out for resource damage. Goats moving about browsing leave little trace that they were there. But, goats camping in one spot for long periods of time can destroy it. As they begin to run out of their favorite foods near camp they will begin to eat small trees, strip bark from bigger ones and generally leave the area looking trashed. Just the type of thing a land manager would jump on as an excuse to restrict future pack goat use in your area. Obviously if you are packed back into the middle of nowhere, two miles from the nearest trail then it isn't as big of an issue as it would be if you were camped in a well used area. Near trails or places where others frequent, we now tie our goats in camp and take them out several times a day to browse in nearby brushy patches. This spreads their feeding around and prevents any negative resource damage.

I know there has been a lot of things written about goats and hypothermia but I have to admit that after 20 years of packing I've never had a goat get that cold. They are perfectly content to stand under a big tree when it is raining and do fine in most types of weather. If you want to put something up for a really wet stretch of weather then a simple tarp is fast and easy to string up. Many folks are dropping the bulky tarp in favor of light weight coats for their goats. They are light and easily store in the bottom of a pannier until they are needed. One exception to the goats hardiness would be a goat from a hot dry area transported up the mountain where it is wet, snowy and cold. That goat doesn't have enough hair for that much of an environmental change and I would definitely recommend a goat coat. A tarp isn't going to help it hold in body heat.
 
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