HELP--first time goat owner needs advice!

Discussion in 'Goat Frenzy' started by kokosnood, Apr 21, 2009.

  1. kokosnood

    kokosnood Guest

    Mar 31, 2009

    I've been browsing this site for months, trying to gain knowledge on goats with the plan of getting some in the future. Yesterday, my neighbor offered me his two pet/weed control goats. One is an un-wethered pygmy. The other is a wethered nubian x, I think. They are about 1 year old and very tame. The catch is, I have to take them today.

    We live on 20 acres, and there is plenty of good feed for them. My place is fully fenced.

    Here are the problems:
    I don't have any way (yet) of keeping the goats out of my garden and away from the house. I need something quick and not too expensive to put around the house/garden. Please advise ???

    I've heard the bucks are temperamental and smelly. How to wether the pygmy? Do I need to? Maybe later I'd like to sire him if I get a pygmy doe. How can I tell if he is high enough quality to make a good sire?

    What should I look for as far as health issues? I don't have any other farm animals for them to infect; but I do have dogs. Can a sick goat make a dog sick? How can I tell if the goat is sick?

    I just want you to know, that I take good care of my animals. I take the responsibility seriously. However, I am on a very limited budget right now, so advice on saving money would be good. Of coarse they will have shelter and water at all times; and I will buy them a salt lick. So other than the fencing around the house/garden, what else do I need? Please be gentle, I am totally new to this.
  2. sparks879

    sparks879 New Member

    Welcome to the group!
    the quickest and most affordable fencing option is going to be electric. Unless you can get your hands on some fenceing someone is getting rid of cheap on craigslist or something.
    I dont think a sick goat can make a dog sick. I sick goat will act listless they wont eat, they will look dull. A lot of times thier ears will droop and the hair on their face will puff up. Bucks can get quite stinky and agressive during the rut season. If he is a year old its too late to whether him yourself. you will need a vet to do it. If you plan on getting more does you could potentially breed to him you can keep him a buck. But i would think about how long its going to be and if you really want to have an intact buck around.
    One big thing i always tell new goat owners is put a first aid kit together. things like needles and syringes vet wrap and gauze pads. Some sort of betadine scrub, and an antibiotic ointment are importent.
    I gotta run to work i know other replies wil be coming quickly

  3. toth boer goats

    toth boer goats Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2008
    Corning California
    welcome... kokosnood :wave:
    How big is your garden? Maybe putting hog panel around it....

    Yes ..bucks can be very smelly especially in rut...and at 1 year old you will have to have a vet remove his testies if you want him wethered...Now if you want to keep him a buck and he is calmed natured... I see no problem with way to tell if he is a good buck is...put a picture up here at TGS and let us check it out and give our opinions...front ...rear...side shot.... :wink:

    Goats need CD&T tetnus toxoid vacination , wormed....Ivomac, valbezen( something for tapes) free choice loose salt and minerals for cattle( this is better than the blocks) and baking soda........and will need may use permectrin or seven dust....

    Most diseases/bugs from goats cannot be given to dogs ...however you will have to watch your goats closely around your dogs ....if your dogs are not use to them.... they may chase the goats or mame them or even worse..... :worried:

    how to tell if a goat is sick ...first watch them when they are not...get use to them when they are not ill....then when something is will know quickly.......goats love to eat ...and as soon as you see... they are not acting right...and not eating or laying in one spot... not looking thrifty is a good indication....mouthing there food without eating it...getting to thin....The 1st thing you want to do ....when they are ill....... is take there temp....

    goats should have roughage hay such as alfalfa or oat hat or rye ect......throw them a little bit of hay out... once in a while.....also give them a little
  4. Thanatos

    Thanatos New Member

    Mar 16, 2009
    Lake Ariel, Pa
    Quick cheap TEMPORARY fencing chicken wire. It kept my nubian doe aout of the garden for months, till the season ended, we just used a few extra supports. I dont think they can get dogs sick. I cant say as to the wethering part as I have no boys. on 20 acres the smell shouldn't be horrible unless you pen him near the house :shrug: . If I am wrong guys tell me cause that will help for my new boys house location.

    Oh and welcom in :wave:
  5. kokosnood

    kokosnood Guest

    Mar 31, 2009
    Do I also need to fence around my well? There are no tasty plants there, but I am afraid they could rub the pipes or pressure system and damage it.
  6. toth boer goats

    toth boer goats Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2008
    Corning California
    yes ....guard anything that is breakable ...they love to rub and if they have horns.... they can do damage..... :wink:
  7. rebelshope

    rebelshope New Member

    Sep 20, 2008
    I don't have any way (yet) of keeping the goats out of my garden and away from the house. I need something quick and not too expensive to put around the house/garden. Please advise ???

    You said that you had shelter, what is that shelter? A barn? A lead to? I am just wondering because if is a barn, can you close them in? If yes, then you can take them today and make a run for them off of the barn. Fencing can be so many things. Some have success with electric- which is fairly cheap. Good link of electric fencing and goats

    Another option would be some goat panel, better and more expensive, or cattle panels. Cattle panels have larger holes that goats can get horns stuck in.|14368|36154?listingPage=true&Special=false|14368|35694?listingPage=true&Special=false

    I have some in field fencing, they are ruining it, but it worked for a time.

    I've heard the bucks are temperamental and smelly. How to wether the pygmy? Do I need to? Maybe later I'd like to sire him if I get a pygmy doe. How can I tell if he is high enough quality to make a good sire?

    My buck is a sweet, fairly easy to handle, even when in rut. He maybe the exception, I don't know. If you are not experienced with handling livestock, you may want to start of with to wethers until you are used to them. Goat are strong, and any intact male is going to be more aggressive then wethers or does.
    He stinks to high heaven when in rut. I mean, skunks might smell better. Your vet can wether an older pygmy.

    As far as breeding it depends on what your goal is. Does he have papers? if not all the off spring will not be able to be registered. Other here can tell you conformation and what now if you post picture.
  8. sweetgoats

    sweetgoats Moderator

    Oct 18, 2007
    Peyton CO.
    First of all, :wave: Welcome to the goat spot. So glad you are here with us.

    As the others have said, YES the bucks can get pretty smelly. I have one that is the biggest baby, but if I did not intend to use his for buck services every year, I would not keep him a buck. he might be a real sweet heart today but they can turn on a dime. If you have a vet, I would have him castrated.

    We have a big garden and I have to tell you that the chicken wire we have on to top, does not even begin to to keep them out. I would say electric fence for a quick fix, but you have to expect them to get into everything. They are goats.

    Congratulations on your new boys. You will have so much fun with them.
  9. kelebek

    kelebek New Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    South Texas
    Welcome from North Idaho!!!! :wave:

    I don't have any advice on the fencing, but if you do not plan on using the buck for breeding, I would definately wether him, either surgically (can do a "field" casteration by a vet) or you can use a cattle bander.

    They will SMELL aweful, but I have never had a mean buck - scared yes and flighty - but not mean.
  10. cdtrum

    cdtrum New Member

    Aug 25, 2008
    Northern Indiana
    I have two wethers (pygmy mix) and they were 4 -5 months old when I brought them home.....I took them to my vet and he neutered them just like you would a dog and they did great, my vet is a farm vet and it really was not that bad cost wise!
    We have cattle panels for our fencing with T-post and it works fine.....I have to be honest, I have not found having goats to be inexpensive.....I have spent more money than I ever expected on these guys since getting them back in August, but I love them so much and they are wonderful pets, they have become my hobby.
    Yes, as Liz mentions below about horns....cattle panels work for us, but my guys have no horns!
  11. FunnyRiverFarm

    FunnyRiverFarm New Member

    Sep 13, 2008
    Hudson, MI
    :wave: Welcome!

    The first thing to consider before you take the goats is why you want goats in the first place. If you just want pets, then it doesn't get much better than having someone just give them away to you (as long as they're healthy). If you want goats for some other purpose--milking, breeding, showing, etc. then it would probably be best to hold off until you really find what you're looking from proven lines.

    If you decide to take these goats as pets to see how you like being a goat owner, I would definitely get the buck wethered. Bucks can be quite unpleasant at times. I would not keep him a buck unless his services were needed in the NEAR future.

    If you are serious about possibly breeding him, you can post pics here, like some others have said, and we can help you evaluate him.

    IMO, If you get some does you want breed down the road, look for a good buck then. I am a strong advocate of not "just breeding to any old buck". Personally, I would not make a decision on a buck until after I had my does. I always want the babies to turn out better than the parents, so I try to use bucks that best compliment my individual does.

    For a quick fix to keep them out of the garden, you can use chicken wire or deer netting. You'll eventually want something better (electric fence or cattle/goat panels) because it won't take the goats long to learn they can push the fence down by standing on it.

    Goats can't make dogs sick that I know of. Goats and dogs often don't get along though, so you'll want to keep a close eye on them until they get used to each other. I know my dogs have been butted by my goats before so if the new goats have horns, be extra careful.

    Generally, goats prefer "loose minerals" rather than a block. With the blocks it's hard for them to get they usually end up "soiling" it and then won't touch it. Keeping baking soda out is a good idea too.

    Other than that, I always keep good quality grass hay or grass/legume mix hay availble...grain usually is not neccessary for wethers and can actually be harmful so it's best to limit that.

    There's a few things that are good to have handy like: A thermometer, a broad spectrum antibiotic (penicillan is good), probiotic paste or powder, nutridrench, syringe/needles, dewormer, milk of magnesia, a drenching syringe, and some kind of antiseptic spray or salve.

    Whew...I hope that's not too overwhelming, LOL...the last thing I would want to do is discourage you--but there's just so much's never ending! Please do not hesitate to ask any question, there are a lot of great people here that want to help you! And we're always nice about it! :) :)
  12. kokosnood

    kokosnood Guest

    Mar 31, 2009
    I've been out working on the fence. Gonna start with hog wire, since I have some. Maybe add a hotwire later.

    Right now I just want pets/weed control. Of coarse, I may expand from here :)
  13. liz

    liz Well-Known Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    Shelocta PA
    Do these boys have horns?

    If so please be careful with the type of fencing you use...if you are using anything that has "blocks" in it, make sure they cannot get their heads thru it...Cattle panels and hog panels have squares in them big enough to have them get stuck. My pygmy buck got stuck in a cattle panel because he could not bring his head back through it....happened while I was at work and when I got home I found him stuck in the fence in the hot sun and very lethargic...I had to cut him out with bolt cutters and dump buckets of water on him to bring his temp down.

    Also, there are numerous ornamental plants used in landscaping tht are very toxic to goats, Rhodedendron, Laurel, Azaela, Lily of the Valley Hemlock., Cherry..if you have any of these it would be wise to either get rid of them or fence them in.

    And at a year old, you can still have the buck banded.,..if you have a farmer close by that uses the bands on his calves, he may be abe to do the buck for a small fee....and if so then you just need to make sure they drop off with no problems.

    BTW, Welcome!