Pack goats?

Discussion in 'Pack Goat Training' started by JK_Farms, Apr 22, 2017.

  1. JK_Farms

    JK_Farms Well-Known Member

    Nov 11, 2016
    Tennessee
    I have two 3 month old Nubian doelings that I'm thinking about training to be pack goats to go hiking with me and my family. I know they aren't old enough right now but when they hit around a year or so. they aren't going to carry heavy stuff just some water bottles, snacks, etc.. one was a bottle baby and the other was dam raised but both are super sweet! So how do I train them to be packers? what all do I need?
     
  2. fivemoremiles

    fivemoremiles Well-Known Member

    Jan 19, 2010
    western montana
    Compared to horses goats are a snap to train. all you need is a sawbuck saddle I would get a saddle pad that is attached to the saddle.
    and a pair of soft panniers.
    now all you need to do is go on short hikes with the goats. I would buy a Sound Defense dog defense horn they work great at stopping dog attacks.
    at about a year old weigh your goat divide its weight by 5 and that is how much your goat can carry. so weigh your saddle and then never over load your goat. the hikes can become longer. and the fun really begins.
     
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  3. grindylo

    grindylo New Member

    332
    May 15, 2014
    North Georgia
    I'm in Georgia and would love to take my goats hiking but don't have any idea where we would go. Do you have trails already in mind where goats might be allowed?
     
  4. JK_Farms

    JK_Farms Well-Known Member

    Nov 11, 2016
    Tennessee
    Any hike that allows dogs. I live in Tn and I just hike around here with my family
     
  5. Damfino

    Damfino Well-Known Member

    Dec 29, 2013
    Right behind you
    Hmm... I'd say 20% of his body weight is way too much for a yearling to carry. With growing bodies and soft growth plates, it's important not to overload the little guys. Most yearlings are around 120 lbs. give or take. Divide by five and you're putting 20 lbs. on that little dude. That's far too much in my opinion. For yearlings I don't load more than 10% of his body weight tops. At two years old, 15% is plenty, and at three years old you can up it to 20% if he's in good shape. Also, a yearling shouldn't be carrying a full-sized sawbuck saddle because it's too long for his back. My wethers aren't physically big enough to carry a sawbuck saddle until they're two. Does are even smaller and lighter-boned, so I don't think a regular packsaddle would fit most does until they are around three years old.

    Dog packs can work well for smaller goats carrying small loads. Just be careful never to overload these since they have no rigid tree and can hurt the goat's spine. They're also a bit of a pain because they tend to slide to one side or the other so you're constantly readjusting.

    As far as training goes, there's not much to it. Take your girls out walking with you on a regular basis to keep them friendly, following, and in shape. Are you planning to breed these girls at some point? If so, having babies is going to limit their packing potential. You don't want to run down their condition. This is why most people prefer to keep wethers as packgoats. Best of luck to you!
     
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  6. JK_Farms

    JK_Farms Well-Known Member

    Nov 11, 2016
    Tennessee
    Yes they will be breeders too. They won't carry much just a few water bottles and some snacks. We don't walk long hikes either just maybe 5-8 miles. So they can't carry that tiny bit of weight at a year?
     
  7. Damfino

    Damfino Well-Known Member

    Dec 29, 2013
    Right behind you
    Well, "a few water bottles" can be heavy depending on how big they are and how many you have. If the total weight of the loaded pack is 10% or less of your yearling goat's body weight then they should be fine as long as the pack is well designed and properly balanced. A well-designed pack leaves room over the spine and places the load weight on the muscles over the ribs. Make sure your goats are in shape to hike 5-8 miles without a pack first. Eight miles is a pretty long hike, especially in hot weather.

    Once your does are pregnant, you'll want to avoid packing them for the last half of their pregnancy. Taking them for walks is good for keeping them in shape, but you'll need to make the walks a lot shorter as the does get heavier, and you shouldn't make them carry any extra weight. Toward the end of pregnancy we never walk our does more than about a mile. You'll also want to avoid packing them during heavy lactation. Make sure they are milked before you take them out, and make sure they aren't having trouble keeping weight already. Exercise is very healthy for pregnant and lactating goats, but too much can really bring down their condition and cut into milk production.
     
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  8. The Goat Whisperer

    The Goat Whisperer The Goat Whisperer

    7
    Jul 31, 2011
    Wyoming
    For questions about packgoats call 1-877-packgoat (877 722 5462)