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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello! I have a chance to purchase 50 gorgeous, skittish percentage meat kids due to a friends ailing health. I have my own herd of mixed breed packers and pets. This will be my first meat herd.

So I have a few questions.. not sure if this is the right place to post them.
I have 50 mixed breed meat goats without a real working dog. What is the best way to get them to market or have them taken care of here? They are pretty skittish.

To do a better management job next season, do you all socialize with your meat goats? Do you just make them food friendly or do you actually spend a lot of time in the pen when the kids are born?

I usually breed in the Fall, is it common to breed year round? It's pretty hot here in No. CA.

Thanks for the responses, you can privately email me if you prefer, I would appreciate all advice.
 

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It's hard to say. Have they been tested for CL CAE & Johnes?
My small herd gets hands on pretty much on a daily basis. Even the meat kids.
What do you mean by working dog? Protection or herding?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
By working dog, I mean a herding dog, how does everyone get their animals into the trailer? I can get them here but once I get them ready for butcher I am not sure how to get them inside. They are like hot popcorn at the moment, I couldn't handle them if I did catch them.

All the parents have been tested but the kids have zero socialization with humans. My friends usual way is to get the dogs to herd them into her stock trailers and bring them to auction. I'm trying to find alternatives :/
 

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Wow I'm not sure how I'd deal with that many lol But I'd probably try to socialize when they are young so they are used to you, and then it's not so much of a pain when you do get ready to load them. They'll be afraid of the trailer/change, but at least if you could get them into a catch pen like ogfabby said, and have the alleyway leading to the trailer. You could probably even make something out of pallets/OSB and 2x4's to use as a alleyway with an open/close type shoot on each end like they use at some stockyards and on some stock trailers<if that makes sense>.
 

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Working live stock can be done whether they're wild as deer or tame as a puppy. I like em somewhere in the middle. Not like a dog but not completely wild either. A good working pen helps immensely.
 

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I've heard of people just throwing some food in the trailer and they all come running and jump in. Close the door and that's it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thank you all for the insight, I will look into designing a catch corral and a smaller squeeze hallway for vaccinations etc. I will need to actually see what other goat owners have to visualize how the trailer fits in i.e. floor plan.

I do have one border collie/ Australian shepherd mix but she is a 'head' dog and the goats aren't intimidated by her. So she gets beat quite often so I stopped using her. She is now my pet instead of a worker.

My husband thought we could just throw in some grain and get the goats inside our trailer. The top goats got all the grain while the others stood behind the trailer begging to get in for the 'seconds'. The hierarchy is great for our existing herd, I doubt it would work for the newcomers.

again.. thank you for all the advice
 

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I take half a bucket out to my does every few days , but go out there everyday, the are pretty tame, because I pet them if Im tired and need to rest, if they dont like it they get out of my barn ( literaly they run out or my dog takes them away) i tames the down pretty quick
On the trailering issue, I lock them in a pen we have rigged for kids, and walk them down a shute, and put feed inside, the waltze right in.
I have a anatolian shepherd X great pyr. She is the boss no dispute you dont like it you re knocked out of her way and out of her pasture.she protects the babies the most. She will carry them if she has too, she also doubles as a herding dog, not by my doing, one day I went out and she had them rounded up and ready to come in for the night. If there is any danger even a hawk she brings them in, and again no one gets away from herglare, of one of the does tries to turn around, she drags them in , I tried t stop this behavier, but she doesnt hurt them just startles them enough to go with the rest of the herd, I as well have 50 head
 

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Hello! I have a chance to purchase 50 gorgeous, skittish percentage meat kids due to a friends ailing health. I have my own herd of mixed breed packers and pets. This will be my first meat herd.

So I have a few questions.. not sure if this is the right place to post them.
I have 50 mixed breed meat goats without a real working dog. What is the best way to get them to market or have them taken care of here? They are pretty skittish.

To do a better management job next season, do you all socialize with your meat goats? Do you just make them food friendly or do you actually spend a lot of time in the pen when the kids are born?

I usually breed in the Fall, is it common to breed year round? It's pretty hot here in No. CA.

Thanks for the responses, you can privately email me if you prefer, I would appreciate all advice.
We have about the same amount of does and no working dog either (I think the dogs tend to be more of a hindrance than a help unless you've been trained on how to effectively handle the dogs), and ours run the gamut from super-friendly pocket goats to the ones that scream "RUN AWAY!!!" if you look at them sideways.

I would encourage you to build a smaller catch pen area if you don't already have one, and just get in the habit of feeding your girls there each day (or just feed them in your barn/shelter if it's big enough). It's quite easy to just be able to shut the gate and then catch the ones you need if they're in the habit of coming up to eat there each evening- a shepherd's hook helps quite a bit too. Since you already know these girls are skittish it probably wouldnt hurt to build it sturdier than what you think you'll need too. ;)

We don't feed very much grain at all when the does are dry and early on in their pregnancies- mainly just enough to keep them in the habit of coming up the barn at night. I know some of ours have gotten quite a bit friendlier over the years, but others are going to be wild no matter what we do. (I also don't think it hurts that they get hand fed all of the extra spoils out of the garden- a little bit of watermelon seems to go a long way) We've also got in the habit of doing everything out in the pen, instead of trying to drag the goats to a stanchion or table- it's less stressful on them (but not on your back). Someday, when we win the lottery, I'll have my designer barn with built in working chute...

Ours breed year round- and I'm guessing that our Kansas temps get every bit as hot as yours. We've been shooting for a group of December kids for the Easter market, and then a group of May/June kids for the Christmas market. We had a doe kid today that last kidded on 12/21/12, but we generally try to space them out a little bit further than that (the buck managed to get in with the nursery group for one day, but that was apparently all he needed...)
 

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Great advice from everyone. :)

At times, instead of using my border collie. I use a lounge whip, snapping it and make noises, to get them to the corral. or you can have 2 or more people to guide them to go where you want as well. Making noises.
Stay behind them, doesn't have to be super close.
Once you get one moving, they all usually follow. If any get off track, snap the whip and yell something, to get them on track again. Never hit them hard with the whip. I do once in a while, tap lightly, to get a goat moving forward. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Very valuable information from everyone, thank you! I'm definitely listening and processing all of this information with my husband. It's exciting!! When things go as planned it's exciting, I've been on the failure end of the goat world and lots of tears shed. I hope not to go back to that.
 

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I have 50 mixed breed meat goats without a real working dog. What is the best way to get them to market or have them taken care of here? They are pretty skittish.

To do a better management job next season, do you all socialize with your meat goats? Do you just make them food friendly or do you actually spend a lot of time in the pen when the kids are born?

I usually breed in the Fall, is it common to breed year round? It's pretty hot here in No. CA.
I have a herd of roughly 100 head of meat goats. I never, ever use dogs to work them, nor will I. All dogs do is upset them, stress them out, and increase the chances of them getting hurt or sick. Since almost everything I do with the goats is done alone, I have things set up so I can do it alone. All loading is done out of the blue shed. It doubles as a kidding shed, so there are 3 10' X 12' pens underneath it. I move whomever I'm loading into the 2 west pens and shut the gate. There is a loading gate on the east side of this shed. I open that gate, back the trailer up, shut the gate against the trailer and secure it. I have a piece of cattle panel cut to fit under the back of the trailer to keep the kids from going under it, and another piece cut to fit under the trailer door on the outside of the door. Both of those pieces are put into place and secured. Open the gate and let the goats I'm selling into the pen where the trailer is backed up. I have another gate about halfway down the pen that I load out of that swings north and south. Run the goats into the lower part of the loading pen, swing gate behind them, push into trailer, change from gate to trailer gate, finish loading and shut trailer gate. Ready to go. Goats are calm, no one is stressed out any more than absolutely necessary, life is good.

Yes, I spend as much time in the pens as I can year round. I do a walk through at least once a day to check for illness, problems, etc., and I stop and scratch ears, chins, and between horns of anyone who wants to be petted. A good number of my kids will come up to me to be petted. I do this because if they know me it is easier to handle them, kid them out, and they do not become as stressed when I have to do something with them. It's just good management practice in my opinion. Added advantage, it's also a lot of fun and helps me wind down when my day has been less than stellar. ;)

It's pretty hot here, too, in the summer. I kid several times a year because there is a limit to how long I can go with no sleep during kidding, and because I only have 6 kidding pens so I have to limit how many does are bred at once. LOL Last summer I kidded out one bunch (26 head) the end of May, a 2nd bunch (20 head) the end of June (won't do that again, though), a 3rd bunch (20 head) the middle of January, and I have another bunch (23 head) set to kid in October. I haven't decided when I'm going to bred my yearlings yet. I hope this helps.
 

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A daily visit to the goats with a feed bucket works wonders over time. Even if you simply dump it into the trough and walk away, it'll gentle them to the point of being able to work/load them. They will probably never get to the point that they aren't skittish unless you pull the babies away from them at birth and bottle feed a generation of them to break the wild cycle but feeding them some grain will get them hooked on the bucket.

Once they get addicted to grain, move the trough into the catch pen or lot and dump the grain in. Let them come in and then close the gate.

Note: There will always be one defiant goat that you can't catch. The best thing to do is not lose any sleep over it. These type goats are best gentled in the freezer IMHO.
 

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Where abouts in Northern Ca are you. We are Cottonwood and there are a lot of large Boer farms that are near the Sacramento River area. Getting goats into a trailer would be hard without a loading shute and small pen to round them into. 50 goats - wow that is a lot. Are you starting your own herd as well? If so, I would advise you to start very very small like no more than 5 -6 Does and one buck. If not, you may have numerous problems your first year that you can't keep up with. 5 Does can have triplets each you know.
 

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I have 80 does right now, (will be cutting down lol) I just quoted this the other day, 'feed is the best cowboy'. The more time you spend with them the better. Now Im guessing you are talking about keeping the does, starting your own herd and selling the kids?? This works well for the kids, I have a creep feeder house, the kids can all go into it, not the does. A few days before I plan to sell I keep going out and checking that house, when I see the ones i want to sell I have a gate I can shut to keep them in, I go in and push the ones I want to sell into a pen next to it. This idea can kinda be done with the does as well. Have one pen, put some grain in it, get the does you want to sell, and push to the a pen next to it. Almost all my does were not person friendly when I got them, I spend time with them, I call them and give them a hand out when they come. The only time I use dogs is when decide they do not want to be locked up at night or if they escape into a place they are not allowed. As for breeding all year long, I do. For me its nice to have kids on hand to sell and have kinda a income all year long. If you decide you dont want kids all year long I would suggest to plan it so you dont have kids to sell after may 5th to october, January seems to be the best prices. If your going to have a herd that big I would and do sell all the fence jumpers and the ones that are wacked out hard to catch. One goat can teach a herd bad things real fast. By the sounds of it, they are all kinda wack jobs lol, but give them a few months of you spending time with them. I think the more time you spend with them the better IMO. Best of luck to you :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thank you all for sharing your experiences! I do appreciate it.. you all are an inspiration as well. There have been many nights where I've said, "this just isn't going to work". I'm going to invest in a nice creep feeder so thanks for that. The loaders are pretty expensive but maybe I could hire someone to make one for me.

packhillboers, I do have a herd of goats that I have been working on since 2002. They are all super friendly due to the amount of time I spend on them as kids. I sell for meat and utility (packing, companions, carts, etc.) This will be my first herd of whacked out goats pure meat goats and I can for sure see me culling about half the first year. I'm west of Red Bluff.
 

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Oh wow! Excited that you are just in our neighborhood. We are out of Cottonwood area. We are just not meat breeders for production but do hope to at least get 3 in the freezer each year for our own consumption. Yes, we have our 5 pet loved Does and buck and we may sell a few Does once in a while. So you are mostly having these go to meat production? There is a big need for that in California now from what I have read. So many people ask us if we have any meat goats for sale... no.. those are only for our freezer I tell them.

There was at one time a huge quality meat goat producer out of Grenada towards Yreka. They had quite a set up. I am not sure that they are still in business. They even had meat processed at their ranch. Well, we will be excited to know how your new project goes with these goats. :)
 
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