New Goat Owner Questions

Discussion in 'Beginners Goat Raising' started by Maridyth, Feb 24, 2016.

  1. Maridyth

    Maridyth New Member

    Feb 24, 2016
    Hi, I am reading and learning about taking care of goats (being specific, Nubians), but have a few questions. They will be pet/diary goats.

    1. What should a healthy goat eat? Can they eat pellets? What type of hay can they have?

    2. I really don't want my male goats to breed with the does, unless I plan it. Are there other ways of castrating other than banding (which I don't mind to do)?

    3. What kind of bedding is okay with goats? I've heard straw is okay, and if they eat it, it won't hurt them? Is that true?

    That's all that I can think of right now. Like I said, I'm still reading on taking care of goats. So, I will also appreciate any advice/tips you could give me! Thanks :)
  2. KristiStone

    KristiStone Member

    Apr 29, 2015
    Hi Maridyth, I'm sure you'll get plenty of answers from much more experienced goat owners than I am, but I'll take a stab at your questions.

    I have two Nigerian Dwarf dairy goats and from what I have read, alfalfa hay, water and loose minerals is fine for them. For about 6 months, I gave them sweet feed (purina goat chow), but quit because I was concerned about them gaining too much weight, especially my pregnant doe.

    Can't help you with the castrating question, but are you wanting to breed your buck to your does ever? If so, you won't want to castrate, I don't think. You can put them in separate pens and if you are so inclined, get a companion wether for any that will be alone in their pen.

    You can use straw for bedding, it won't hurt them. They might eat it, and I don't think it will hurt them, but it's not nutritious. If you have free choice alfalfa, they will probably go for that over the straw.

    Good luck!

  3. nancy d

    nancy d Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    near Seattle
    Glad to have you with us Maridyth, welcome!
    Straw for bedding is great. Yes they will nibble on it when it's fresh so no worries there.
    They can have pellets or some kind of goat feed. Any good hay (NO mold) is fine for them, we feed alfalfa but others feed grass hay.
    Don't forget your LOOSE minerals. The more copper in it the better, grain will not have enough.
    We have always just banded. You can purchase a burdizzo which crushes the cords in the scrotom but it is more expensive than the banding method.
  4. Rise_and_Shine_Ranch

    Rise_and_Shine_Ranch Rise and Shine Ranch

    May 16, 2015
    Western Washington
    Welcome to The Goat Spot! I'm definetly not a goat expert, but I can say what works for me.

    1) I feed my dry does, wethers, bucks, young stock all orchardgrass. With milkers and pregnant does I add alfalfa pellets to their diet. I give 16% protein grain to my milkers. Like what Nancy said, don't forget the loose minerals! And nutritious kelp for my herd.

    2) I just asked a question similar to this actually. The burdizzo is great, if you know what you're doing. It is more difficult at first to use than a simple bander.

    3) Straw is fine. That's what I use. They will nibble a bit on it when it is fresh (I don't know why when they have perfectly good grass hay in their feeders!) but it won't hurt them.

    I am fairly new to goats, but one thing I wished I had gotten in order at the beginning is my goals for my herd. It would have saved me a lot of money.

    Good luck with your goats!
  5. I'm also new to goats. Mine have done OK with straw bedding. I fed my dry bred ND does 1 scant cup of Nutrena 17% once daily, with a sprinkle of BOSS in addition to free choice alfalfa. Now that they've both kidded, I give them each a generous quart of grain twice daily, with a half cup of BOSS mixed in. I felt like their coat was maybe getting a little rough, so I added in calf Manna. I bought some beet pellets today to make sure they stay a good weight. One of my does had quads, and the other is feeding one buckling and being milked twice a day. I also offer free choice Manna Pro minerals and baking soda. I want everyone happy and healthy and producing milk for me. Hopefully I don't screw it up. Good luck with your goats.