The MUST KNOWS of goat ownership...

Discussion in 'Goat Frenzy' started by pennylullabelle, Jan 8, 2010.

  1. pennylullabelle

    pennylullabelle New Member

    I have some reservations for whether kids this Spring from families who have not owned goats before - one family has, but it's been about 20 years!. So, what I want to do is put together a short pamphlet just to get them started on the care of their goats and to have something to refer to on basic questions.

    I would like to confine the information to just a few pages because most people read things in passing. When something is too long they will often overlook it. So, short informative blocks about important topics is how I plan to compile this.

    I also really want to include a list of books and websites to visit. Stacey - Can I add this website to the list? I have a few medical related books to recommend, but a few easier less technical books would be a good idea I think.

    So, here is where I enlist your help! What do you think a newbie should absolutely know? What are some symptoms I should list for them to watch for to call their vet or contact me? How about informative books and websites - Have some favorites?

    Thanks so much guys! I'll post the finished pamphlet when it'd done.
  2. AlaskaBoers

    AlaskaBoers New Member

    May 6, 2008
    Wasilla Alaska
    must have sites

    the goat spot
    onion creek ranch
    fias co farms
    jack mauldin

    Signs of illness- high temp, low temp, diarreah, limping, dull coat, depression, lack of appetite, etc
    basic info on CAE, CL, johnes
    Different breeds?
    breeding FAQ (what age to breed, should I breed, why do you need kids?)
    Worming info
    terms (wether, doe, kid, buck, doeling, first freshener, etc)
    how to trim hooves ( I can provide picture tutorial)
    Proper way to vaccinate , draw blood, drench, and take temp

  3. cdtrum

    cdtrum New Member

    Aug 25, 2008
    Northern Indiana
    I think what your doing by putting the info together is great! I have had my wethers for a year and a half.......I had gone back and forth for probably 2 yrs as to whether get them or not.........I THOUGHT I had researched and read enough before getting them......WRONG! I am just now feeling like I am getting a grasp.....and that is for wethers only, I know nothing about milking or breeding.

    I think I would also want to share with these new owners that this is a BIG commitment.....for the lifetime of the goat, which we all know how long they can live if taken care of well and some boys have changed my life, I love them dearly and I'm very commited to them........but I do not travel like I use to....... they are cared for every morning before anything.....I never realized how much time they would take....of course I am one that takes the care of my animals very serious to the point of going overboard probably :greengrin: !

    just some thoughts.......
  4. StaceyRosado

    StaceyRosado Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Oct 4, 2007
    sure you can use this as a reference link

    As to information - AlaskaBoers has some real good ideas.

    Right now I am not in the thinking mod so I will come up with more information later.
  5. heathersboers

    heathersboers New Member

    Sep 5, 2008
    Wilson N.C.
    Poisonous plants ??? I think you have most of it covered :wink:
  6. pelicanacresMN

    pelicanacresMN New Member

    One of the best books I've come across is "Your Goats A Kid's Guide to Raising and Showing" by Gail Damerow. I recommend it highly to children & adults. It's very easy to understand, has plenty of illustrations & covers all of your basic topics. Usually, a new buyer will come to pick out & see their new goats they will be getting from me & I send them home with this book to study up on until their kid is weaned & then they return the book when they come to pick up.
    It's good to cover the basics when they come to get the goat also. I always show them how to trim hooves & send them home with a bucket of grain if applicable so they can slowly switch over to whatever kind of grain they will feed.
    A pamphlet is a great idea. I think some of the breed clubs actually have premade pamphlets you can give out to your customers. I usually print off this page: for my customers. It has some great basic info about nigerian dwarf goats like breed history, milk production, conformation, temperment, accomodations, breeding, feeding, health care, registries & shows, coloring & a few other topics.
  7. goatiegurl*Oh

    goatiegurl*Oh Senior Member

    Nov 10, 2007
    maybe Fiasco Farms for a site :wink:
  8. toth boer goats

    toth boer goats Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2008
    Corning California
    very good work....those are real good ones indeed.... :wink: :thumbup:
  9. SterlingAcres

    SterlingAcres Member

    Oct 19, 2009
    When you compile the pamphlet, would you mind posting it? I'm sure a lot of people here would use it as well. Maybe you could add general info like average temperatures and basic health, coat care, teeth care, hoof care... maybe even horn care? Differences between caring for a buck, doe, kids and wethers?

    Just some ideas. I think it's awesome and was considering something like this for my relatives as a "dummies" guide to leave posted to my barn's walls.
  10. pennylullabelle

    pennylullabelle New Member

    So far this is great stuff! I am going to get started tonight. Any pictures you are willing to contribute would be much appreciated. Pictures that show problems, color varieties, abnormalities both good and bad like waddles, polled, etc. I would love to see what you have because anywhere I can provide a visual aid would be good.

    I will MOST definitely post it here and I will make a format that I can email to anyone who wants it so they can change it if they would like. I would ask that something go in the back page stating original was written by me and any alterations made are done so at breeder's discretion though. I will design it like a book so it ban be printed, the pages folded in half and stapled, and made into a small booklet that way. I will post a rough draft as soon as I am done...please check back here often if you are interested in contributing because the knowledge of many minds is better then just one!
  11. capriola-nd

    capriola-nd New Member

    Jul 6, 2008
    Northwest Oregon
    Recommend getting a GOOD goat vet (or at least a goat mentor). For our basic care sheets, I listed the warning signs of ill goats along with healthy vital signs. For the part about worming, I recommend getting a fecal done and treating accordingly. This is where the vet comes in handy! So many different parasites and to be sure it is the right one (not even "seasoned" goat owners always know what it is) a fecal is a must. You could write a book on parasites/deworming alone! (JK :p )

    Cannot remember if someone already said this but state something about good shelter/fencing and that goats must have hay and/or pasture/roughage at all times.

    Bedtime now, my brain turned off. :ZZZ:
  12. turtlebutte goats

    turtlebutte goats New Member

    Nov 22, 2008
    I remember when I started out a year ago, I wished I had something that showed me what certain things looked like, such as PICTURES of the following:
    How to take a temperature.
    How to determine the pooch test.
    How to hold a goat properly for shots, checking eyes, etc.
    How much grain to feed per pounds of goat.
    Samples of proper housing.
    Hay that is acceptable to feed.

    In my opinion, many people are visual oriented, and something they can look at in the barn next to the goat pen is such a benefit.

  13. AlaskaBoers

    AlaskaBoers New Member

    May 6, 2008
    Wasilla Alaska
    I could do some diagrams for drawings? for the above post?
  14. pennylullabelle

    pennylullabelle New Member

    Alaska - That would be so cool! And a vector (silhouette) would be way easier to print then a full color picture you know? I'll PM you with some ideas and give you credits where deserved.
  15. AlaskaBoers

    AlaskaBoers New Member

    May 6, 2008
    Wasilla Alaska
    sounds like fun! :wink: :greengrin:
  16. SterlingAcres

    SterlingAcres Member

    Oct 19, 2009
    This is going to be great! You guys are awesome for throwing this together. :grouphug:
  17. pennylullabelle

    pennylullabelle New Member

    I have a starting draft. Need to add a few of the suggestions and research a few things. I'll have some questions by tomorrow to clarify and I'll post what I have! Thanks everyone! :grouphug:
  18. pennylullabelle

    pennylullabelle New Member

    I know I owe a rough draft! :wallbang: It was so warm the last two days I had to take advantage and get some chores done before it snows again! :cart:

    Tomorrow or the next day, promise!
  19. pennylullabelle

    pennylullabelle New Member

    Okay, here is what I have so far. Each section will have an appropriate picture of diagram. I have mentioned specific notes on Nigerian Dwarfs, but this could easily be changed to suit another breed. I decided not to include any information on breeding because if I am selling a goat to be bred, and he/she is not going to someone experienced, I will make it a point to help this person every step of the way. Plus, it's be a book by the time I was done!

    I am going to be reading all the pamphlets offered by NDGA, AGS and ADGA and looking for additional information to include. I'll post the links and book recommendations later as well, still putting those together.

    If you see any misprinted information, have something to add, or something I should change let me know and thanks again for all the help!

    So, you have a new goat! Let’s go over some helpful information to guide you in keeping your net pet as healthy and happy as possible. This information will help you get your goat home and get started. There is a list of helpful websites as well as recommended books at the end of this pamphlet if you would like to learn more. And you may always contact me with any questions or concerns and I will do my best to help!
    Companionship: Goats are social herd creatures and should be kept in groups of 2 or more. If you only have one goat consider getting him/her a friend. Goats can successfully be housed with horses, llamas, donkeys and sheep. But pay close attention to dietary needs of each animal and beware of larger animals hurting your small goat. It is, after all, only the size of a large dog.
    Housing: Goats need a shelter of some sort. This can be a dog house or “dog-loo,” a shed, coop, playhouse, or a stall in a barn. Goats need shelter from the rain and/or snow.
    Feeding: Goats should have access to hay at all times. It’s a good idea to find a functional hay feeder that holds the hay up off the ground. Goats are notorious for wasting hay and making it into a bed! So, a nice hay feeder is a must. A nice grass mix or alfalfa work well for goats – make sure to never feed molded hay. You may choose which ever you like best. Goats can get fat fast so feed only what they consume in a day and keep them active and stimulated.
    Grain: If you have a male goat (either a whether or a buck) your goat may have grain, but he should be limited to about half a cup a day. Commercially prepared grains such as Dumor Goat Feed, or Manna Pro are all good choices. Some horse feeds as well as a mixture you prepare yourself also make excellent choices. Male goats can be prone to urinary stones when fed high mounts of calcium. Try to aim for a 2:1 ratio of calcium to phosphorus in your goat’s diet. Some feed have an additive called Ammonium Chloride, which aids in the digestion of phosphorus and limits the amount of stones male goats can get when kept on a grain feed. However, male goats may get stones if not fed grain at all as some hay is high in calcium and low in phosphorus. Just watch your goat closely and be aware of this common issue. Stones, as with humans, are often uncomfortable but not life threatening.
    If you have a doe she too can be kept on grain. Grain is beneficial if you are breeding and have pregnant or lactating does. But this topic is covered much more in depth in the books recommended at the end of this pamphlet. Does can be kept on ½ cup up to 2 cups per day. Black Oil Sunflower Seeds (often called BOSS) are a good addition to any grain regime as they are good for the coats and skin as well as high in selenium – a major requirement of all goats! If you choose to ass BOSS a good ratio is anywhere from 8 to 1 grain to BOSS or as high as 6 to 1.
    Vitamins and Minerals: Like all classes of livestock goats should be provided with a free choice mineral supplement. Goats do not usually utilize the block style minerals and do better on a loose or crumble mineral. Check your local feed store for available brands. This breeder likes SweetLix or Manna Pro. Provide the mineral crumble in a clean container that cannot be dumped by a mischievous goat such as one mounted to a wall.
    Baking Soda: It’s a good idea to mount one more feeder that your goats cannot knock over and put some baking soda in it. Baking soda aids in digestion and helps with upset stomachs of goats and should be available free choice just like the mineral crumbles we discussed above.
    Vaccinations: The choice to vaccinate is purely yours. You goat has been vaccinated before going home with you, and you may choose to continue this practice. The most common vaccinations for goats are CD& Tetanus and Pneumonia. You can find a vet or a local breeder to help you administer. I will always help administer vaccines so feel free to ask!
    Worming: Goats, like all living creatures, can become infested with parasites. Goats should not be wormed on a regular schedule but rather wormed whenever they show signs of an infestation. Horse wormer paste given at 3 times the dose works just fine (so, a 70 lb goat would get enough wormed for 210 lb horse). Your goat has been wormed with Ivermectin at this dose. Always research a new wormer before giving it to your goat to make sure you have the right dosage and that the active ingredient is not harmful to goats.
    Coccidia: Cocci is another common occurrence in goats. It is an intestinal parasite that is not controlled with typical wormers. You’ll need a special treatment for cocci. Again, your goats should not be treated for cocci unless they have an infestation. Simple fecal tests can be run to be sure. A common cocci drug is Deccox. Your goat has been treated with Di-Methox as a preventative measure as young kids are vulnerable to this parasite. Rumensin is another useful treatment option but should not be accessible to dogs or horses as it can be deadly.
    Hoof Trimming: You goat’s hooves should be trimmed about every one to two months. This is very easy to do yourself with a pair of sharp hoof-trimming sheers. A breeder or vet can show you how or you can research this topic in some of the recommended books and on some of the websites. I am always happy to trim hooves and teach you how so feel free to ask! The side walls of the hooves should be trimmed to the sole level, the toe should be trimmed back, and the heel of the sole should be trimmed.

    Whether, buck or doe: You may have read a reference to a whether, buck or doe. A whether is a male goat who has been neutered. This can be don’t topically like a hog or horse, under anesthesia like a dog, or by banding. If you have gotten a whether from me he has been banded. A buck is therefore an unaltered male goat. Bucks are not recommended as pets because they can be pushy and demanding when in rut (the male version of going into season), which happens, each Fall. He may be exceptionally hard on your fences and facilities if you also have does in season. A buck is a unique creature who may take some getting use to. He has a strong musky order from glands located above his shoulders that attract his mates. He will grunt and mount your other goats, even whethers. He may even mount you, a behavior that should never be tolerated! He will also pee on the backs of his front legs and his beard while aiming for his mouth and nose. It is not recommended that bucks be kept as pets. This breeder owns at least one buck and enjoys him immensely! But she recognizes his scent is unpleasant and he took extra training to learn his manners. And finally a doe is a female. Females can be kept with other females and whethers. Whethers can be kept with other whethers and bucks. Bucks cannot always be kept with other bucks and should only be kept with females to breed, then removed.
    Diet and Disease: Okay, at this point we have gone over a love of information in a short amount of space. I would like to note that goats are hardy and do well on a good diet of minerals, grain, and hay. They need little care if they are healthy and their living space kept clean. If you ever suspect any issues or notice a symptom such as a runny nose, sneezing, star-gazing, loss of appetite, discharge from any orifice, hair loss on a part or all of the body, a brittle or oily coat, or anything at all that you might think is out of the ordinary use your best judgment and contact your vet or by all means contact me! I will help in any way I can! Your success with your new friend and his/her well-being are very important to me.
    You will hear of three common diseases in goats as you read books, speak with breeders or other owners, and research websites. These diseases are CL, CAE, and Johne’s. Rest assured that your goats are from a negative heard for all three of these diseases. This in no way guarantees that your goat is negative for all three diseases, it only means this breeder has made every attempt to maintain a healthy herd free of these common diseases. But your goats can come into contact with them through dirty facilities, used needles, milk from positive animals, and contact with positive animals in some cases (such as a positive CL animal with an open abscess). It is a good idea to familiarize yourself with these diseases and their symptoms and be aware of the positive/negative status of any goats your goat comes into contact with.
    Now that we have covered the basics of health in your goat, let’s talk about your interaction with you goat!
    Pet or Livestock: Your goat is undoubtedly very loving and affectionate. He or she will quickly learn how to please and entertain you to earn treats and he or she will soon call out to you for attention. Sounds like a pet huh? Well, sure, he or she is. But he or she is also livestock and it’s important to remember a few key things. First of all, your goat has been disbudded which means he or she doesn’t have horns. Your goat has no real way of protecting itself from a horned goat, a large animals such as a donkey or horse, or any kind of predator – even your own pet dog. So, secure fencing and careful supervision of the interaction of your own dog(s) with your goat are absolute musts. It’s important to remember these things to help keep you “livestock-pet” goat safe from harm.
    Second, remember that in most yards it isn’t a good idea to leave your goat alone to eat whatever he or she pleases. Chances are he or she will not mow your grass. Instead your goat will trim your trees and bushes down to nothing! Be sure you don’t mind your goat eating a plant before you give him or her access to it. Also be aware that there are many potentially harmful shrubs and trees so know what you have on your property and use this knowledge to protect your goat from consuming it.
    Okay, now the fun stuff…
    Walking on a Leash: Yes, you read it right. Your goat will learn to walk on a leash. Like a dog, teach your goat to follow you with a treat and soon eliminate the treat. You goat will be familiar with the leash in no time!
    Tricks: Oh yes, they can learn to do tricks. Goats can be taught to open and close things, go up and down or under obstacles, and all sorts of neat stuff. Get creative and have fun!
    Packing: Goats make wonderful pullers and packers. You can teach your goat to pull a lightweight wagon or sled as well as carry packs for hiking and trail rides.
    Other Interacting Stuff: Goats enjoy being petted and should be brushed regularly. It’s also a good idea to shave your goat’s fur each Spring. Goats enjoy challenges and high places, so consider building or buying children’s play sets for your goats and giving them high places on which to play “king of the hill.” Our goats have been taught not to jump on us as we have small children around. We have also taught them not to crowd the gate at feeding time, not to steal each other’s grain, and that a firm “ah ah” means they need to stop the behavior that prompted the scolding. Your goat is equally as intelligent and can be taught to obey basic commands and learn your routine.
    Signs of an Unhealthy Goat: Your goat may experience deficiencies, anemia, bloat, hoof rot, and many other issues. While there are far too many to cover here, we will go over a few important steps to detecting illness in your goat. It’s a good idea to have a reliable goat vet whom you can call if you have questions. You may also refer to the links and recommended books provided at the end of this booklet for more information on determining causes and cures for ailments in your goat. In this section I will offer some common symptoms that should prompt you to call a vet or your breeder for further investigation.
    A goat’s temperature should be between 101 and 103 F. If you suspect your goat is ill the first step is to take his or her temperature. It is a good ideal to take the temperatures of all your other goats to compare, just to be safe. Diarrhea is another common sign of a problem. Sometimes goats, like humans or all animals, get loose stool as a result of a parasite or virus and their body attempting to expel it. In some cases this is a good thing. But it can lead to dehydration or be a sign of a worse problem. So, diarrhea should be watched closely and the goat should be kept hydrated. Also look for other symptoms to determine the cause. Weak or wobbly limbs are a sign of a deficiency typically in selenium. This should be treated with a selenium shot or gel, but again watch for other symptoms. Anemia is often seen as a weak or lethargic goat as well as very thin blood when drawn – almost like kool-aid or Gatorade. Anemia may be a sign of a parasite overload so watch for other signs such as larvae in the stool (no all larvae is visible to the human eye) or diarrhea. Anemia can also be a sign of a cobalt or B vitamin deficiency. A dull, brittle or oily coat is a concern that suggest a mineral deficiency; often copper. A loss of appetite or depression can be results of many common diseases and ailments and should be noted as a side effect when speaking with your vet or other experienced goat person – such as your breeder.
    How Tos: Always hold a goat firmly for both his/her safety as well as yours. This breeder prefers to hold a goat firmly between her knees at the ribs on the goat. This way I have access to whichever end is facing forward (depending on the procedure I am attempting) and the goat cannot squirm away and hurt itself with any sharp objects I may be holding.
    Temperatures are best taken rectally. Use a lubricant such as petroleum jelly. A quick read thermometer is best as the goat will not likely just stand and wait until you’re done. I have a 9 second read thermometer. Submerge the thermometer according to the manufacturers’ recommendations (usually about 1 inch) and do not let go. Be careful to follow the path of the rectum (straight towards the belly) and not jab down or up-ward, which might cause damage.
    Blood is best drawn from the jugular. With the goat firmly between your knees you can hold the head upward, shave the neck, locate the vein and draw from here. This should be done with one person holding the goat and another drawing blood. It is this breeder’s recommendation that you learn to do this from an experienced person before attempting it yourself. Blood can be drawn to check for anemia, CAE, CL, Johne’s, vitamin or mineral deficiencies, and much more.
    Another common way to check for anemia as a result of a parasite overload is called an eye-lid check. Refer to the link portion of this pamphlet for more information on how to perform an eyelid check.
  20. Nullita

    Nullita New Member

    Sep 20, 2013
    I would LOVE to know your teaching methods about the goats: "Our goats have been taught not to jump on us as we have small children around. We have also taught them not to crowd the gate at feeding time, not to steal each other’s grain, and that a firm “ah ah” means they need to stop the behavior that prompted the scolding."