New guy, new goats.

Discussion in 'Pack and Working Goats' started by tmas, Aug 1, 2013.

  1. tmas

    tmas New Member

    15
    Aug 1, 2013
    Thought i'd introduce myself, i'm hoping to be spending a lot of time on here researching and sharing what I learn. I just got my first goats, and they will be pack goats. I live in Northern Utah and am surrounded by mountains. My goats will hopefully be very well acclimated to the mountains long before they get to carry a pack for me.
    I had to start somewhere, and having just bought my first house and money being tight, I didn't end up getting my "dream" pack goats. I bought two Wethers that are 3 months old (so i'm told). They were bottle raised and are very affectionate little critters already. I've been told they are Alpine cross bred goats, I'm going to guess that they are crossed with Nubians due to the floppy-ish ears, but i'm not that familiar with goats yet.
    Let me know what you guys think these goats are, hopefully they will be a good place to start for me and within a year or so I can start looking for well bred "pack" goats.
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  2. Charlie Horse

    Charlie Horse Active Member Supporting Member

    203
    Dec 15, 2012
    Hey there fellow Utahnican. You live in a great area for pack goats for sure.

    Those little guys look like they'll be great. I agree about the age/breeding judging from the pics. And you know, 3 months is about the right time to start taking them on hikes! I've got a 5 month old and a 3 month old and they'll be going with me to the Uintas next week, along with the older goats.

    You know oddly enough there are a few older pack goats on KSL right now, too. You dont see them often but suddenly there are several... But I get the money being tight. The new normal.

    You may like joining http://groups.yahoo.com/group/utahpackgoats/ to keep in touch with other Utahnians that may be interested in group hikes invitations or stuff for sale etc.
     

  3. Nanno

    Nanno New Member

    850
    Aug 30, 2009
    Rye, CO
    Welcome to the Packgoat Forums! Alpine/Nubian crosses are the best! You never know... these kiddos could easily end up being just the "dream" pack goats you wished for. Crazy as it might sound, I'm intentionally breeding Alpine/Nubian crosses for both dairy and working goat purposes. Yes, it's a bit experimental, but my goat, Cuzco, has me sold on the combination. He's big, beautiful, sound, quiet, and a very hard worker. He's a bit cranky and likes his space, but I chalk that up to the fact that he was completely untouched until we bought him and then spent his first five years running wild on a ranch with my horses. I wish I could go back and start him properly like yours are, because I think he could have turned out a lot friendlier. Anyway, you've got some handsome little fellas there, and I hope they work out very well for you!
     
  4. Nanno

    Nanno New Member

    850
    Aug 30, 2009
    Rye, CO
    P.S. Airplane ears are the BEST!
     
  5. tmas

    tmas New Member

    15
    Aug 1, 2013
    Charlie Horse, Thanks for the heads up on the yahoo group, i will check it out! I noticed that there has been a few pack goats on ksl recently, i've been really trying to justify the purchase, but i've been gathering supplies for fencing in my pasture and buying other goat gear, so I will probably wait until next spring to buy a trained goat...if I can find one then.

    Nanno-
    You just gave me a lot of confidence in my new buddies! Glad to hear that they might turn out to be good packers, I have quite a bit of experience training bird dogs and I'm hoping that will transfer over to helping me turn these into great pack goats. I kinda do like the airplane ears myself haha:D
     
  6. Nanno

    Nanno New Member

    850
    Aug 30, 2009
    Rye, CO
    Nubian goats are taller and leggier than Alpines so the combination can give you a goat with perfect packing conformation. Long legs make long treks easier. My Cuzco is more muscular than a Nubian but has longer legs and body than most Alpines, which makes him an excellent companion for a long hike. In his younger days he would accompany me and my horses on all-day hikes up very steep terrain in very high altitude. He rarely needed a break, and horses move a lot faster than your average hiker. Of course, he never packed weight when he was with us on a horseback ride, but any time we packed gear on him for a hike he was good for whatever we loaded him down with and never complained however far we went. Cuzco has higher withers than most Alpines, so saddle fitting and placement is very easy. The saddle stays right where it's supposed to be and doesn't ride up his neck like it can with a rounder-backed goat. I like this feature as much in my goat as I do in my horses!
     
  7. TDG-Farms

    TDG-Farms Dave (TDG Farms) S.E. Washington State

    Jul 12, 2013
    Welcome to the wonderful world of pack goats :) And I think your boys will do just fine. I noticed in the pic they have metal ear tags in. Id take them out. You dont need em in there messing up their ears. Other then that, they look like good solid boys. Oh when were they wethered? If it was very early you might wanna start taking precautions vs Urinary Calculi.
     
  8. tmas

    tmas New Member

    15
    Aug 1, 2013
    Dave...I was wondering about the metal ear tags, I'm guessing they were scrapies tags? My only concern with taking them out would be crossing state lines with the animals, I live 2 miles from the Idaho border and will be taking my goats up there a lot.
    As far as when they were castrated, they gave been banded with cheerios and I'm guessing those have been on for 3-4 based on the amount of shriveling that's taken place, ill probably cut the rest of the sacks off below the cheerio tomorrow. What is the concern with castrating too young? What should I watch for?
     
  9. imported_ashley

    imported_ashley New Member

    118
    Jun 8, 2011
    There are lots of posts on here about banding...how/when/what to look for....just take a look around....basically what I have concluded is that the longer you wait, the better. You won't necessaryly have a problem if you do it when they are young, but your chances of a problem are greater...waiting until they are closer to a year does not guarantee anything either...it just lessens the likelihood. You could have your little guys live until old age and not have an issue; it's done now, so just invest some time/research into diets to help lessen the chance of a stone. Welcome!!!
     
  10. Nanno

    Nanno New Member

    850
    Aug 30, 2009
    Rye, CO
    I definitely recommend removing the ear tags and replacing them with tattoos. Just have the non-tagged ear tattooed on each goat so you don't have to worry about tattooing around the hole or the scar tissue. I've rarely seen a tagged goat who didn't rip it out at some point and end up with a damaged or missing ear. Tags are ok for slaughter animals since they don't live very long, but don't expect them to last 10-15 years on your hiking buddy.

    My goat was castrated at 2 months and is now 11 years old and going strong. I'm not going to recommend early castration, but it's certainly not a death sentence either. After reading tons of individual stories and experiences with both early and late castrations, I've become convinced that, like so many other things, an awful lot of it really boils down to genetics and just plain ol' luck. You can do everything "right" and still end up with stones or do everything "wrong" and never have a problem. Just don't do what I did, which was to spend a year wringing your hands and expecting any moment for your goat to keel over dead because you did it all "wrong." Yep, that was me when I first found out about urinary stones and early castration. Don't do that. It's a complete waste of time ;)
     
  11. TDG-Farms

    TDG-Farms Dave (TDG Farms) S.E. Washington State

    Jul 12, 2013
    Yes they are scrappies related but unless you plan on stopping at check stations and telling em, hey look at my goats, you will never be check. Not to mention no one pays 100 bucks for a vet check every time they leave their state to go have fun. they are your goats now so the shipping from state to state isnt an issue. So ya, remove em
     
  12. tmas

    tmas New Member

    15
    Aug 1, 2013
    Well I took my little guys out for their first hiking trip with me yesterday. I must say that at 3-4 months old I was pleasantly surprised with how well they did! We hiked about 2 miles down a gentle ridge to glass for elk. In the dark they were a little concerned and confused I think about what was going on. They did a bit of crying and wandering in the dark, but once it got light they did just fine. Once we got down the ridge a ways we set up the spotting scopes and butt cushions and started glassing for elk. They are still learning "personal space" manners, as they kept wanting to share my binoculars and spotting scope, I continually had to correct them but they started doing a little better through the morning. On the way back up they complained and lagged behind a little on the hills going up, but hey this is their first bit of real exercise so that didn't surprise me! Once we got back to the truck I took about 15 minutes to teach them how to load up into the truck bed by themselves. I could not believe how quickly they got the hang of jumping up onto the bed, on command! I'm still hauling them in an XL dog kennel until I get a better set up in the truck bed, and they load straight into the kennel. It amazes me how much personality goats have, i've worked a lot with sheep and pigs, and I think these goats have about as much personality as my dog!
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  13. Catahoula

    Catahoula New Member

    Did you not tie them at night but let them wander around at camp when you slept? I don't know if I'll have the chance to go camping with my two but hiking with them definitely was fun.
     
  14. tmas

    tmas New Member

    15
    Aug 1, 2013
    We didn't camp...we just got to the trailhead around 5:15 so it was still dark for the first half hour that we hiked. I have been starting to tie them out a little bit at home, Martin does pretty well tied out but Abe freaks out and beats himself up fighting it.
     
  15. Catahoula

    Catahoula New Member

    I see. For some reasons I thought you went backpacking with them. :)
    They are fun to hike with.
     
  16. TOU

    TOU Member

    293
    Aug 18, 2013
    Top-Of-Utah
    Congrats on the goats...exciting time to be sure!