BASIC NEEDS OF GOATS
Goats are entertaining, adventurous, and curious animals. They have personality and spunk. Goats are popular for both milk and meat. Their milk often has a higher fat content than cows so they are popular for soaps and cheeses. They are also used for weed control and loved as pets.
1. Understand Some Goat Facts
There are some things about goats you should know.
Goats need companionship. They have a very strong herd instinct. You should plan on having at least two goats. If you only have a single goat, it will be more depressed and not as happy.
Goats are becoming increasingly popular as a farm animal or a backyard pet. They are being raised for laughter and entertainment, meat, milk, their fur, and as bush goats. Nanny goats are generally mellow, but billy goats can be very ornery.
Know goat terminology. A male uncastrated goat is a billy or a buck. A female goat is a nanny or a doe. A castrated goat is called a wether. Baby goats are called kids. Goats in a rut is a period where billy goats get very hormonal and ready to breed. They get super smelly during this time.
You will also want to seriously consider if you want billy goats as well as does. Billy goats are a lot stinkier, ornery, and horny. They can be a lot more difficult to control than nanny goats or wethers.
2. Set Up Fencing For Your Goats
Goats have a reputation for getting out. They are smart and will look for and remember the weakness in a fence. Goats are very persistent. They will constantly look for a way to escape. That means that even a single lapse in latching the gate or a broken post will mean an adventure for your goat!
Goats love to feel things with their lips and tongues. They can open latches simply by feeling a latch with their mouths.
You will need to have a goat-proof fence to keep your goats contained. Good fencing needs to be strong, durable, and high. Goats will lean, push, climb, and jump over fences. They will try to stick their heads through holes and gaps. It’s important to have small enough gaps that goats won’t get stuck trying to push through.
Regardless of the type of fencing, you decide on, you will need to maintain it. Fences will wear and shift, especially with persistent goats. Keeping your fences maintained and quickly repairing any gaps is
essential to keeping goats fenced in.
Gaps in the fencing need to be small enough to keep goats from pushing their heads through. This will create a major predator problem because your goat won’t be able to run away or defend themselves. They can also get injured while stuck.
Lastly, goat fencing should also be designed to protect goats from predators.
Goat fencing should be durable, strong, and resist climbing
It needs to be maintained and repaired consistently
It should keep predators out
It should not have gaps that allow goats to get stuck.
There are several types of fencing options that keep fences in:
Electrical Fencing and T-Posts: Electrical fencing is one of the cheapest and most effective ways to keep goats contained. T-posts are easy to install. Simply run 5-6 electrical wires along the posts. Put the first strand 6 inches high, the second at 1 foot. The third, fourth and fifth strand should be run at 2 feet, 3 feet, and 4 feet high.
Electrical fencing does require more maintenance in the summer. Weeds, grass, and bushes need to be kept trimmed. Plants that touch or lean against the fence will ground it out and make it unreliable.
Because goats continually test the fence, they quickly find out that the fence is not shocking anymore and will escape through it.
Low cost and easy to put up
Weeds and bushes must be kept trimmed
Bucks may still get through
3. Prepare Goat Housing
Goats need some sort of housing. Usually, 3 sides and a roof are enough to keep your goats warm and safe from the elements. Cold, wet climates may need four-sided huts with a door for goats to enter.
Adult goats will generally grow a winter hair that keeps them warm in colder climates, But, there are some breeds that don’t do as well in the cold.
Alpine Toggenburg, Saanen, and Oberhaslis do very well in colder climates
Nubian and Lamancha are tropical goats and need better shelter in cold climates
The most vital part of the housing is that the goats have a place that is drat free and dry. Goats will get sick and ailments from damp, moist, or moldy areas. They usually don’t have as many respiratory issues as sheep, but still, need clean dry air. Mold and mildew will cause issues in a goat and it can cause death within 24 hours.
Goat houses don’t need to be expensive or complicated. You can usually use a modified existing structure. If you haven’t raised goats before, then consider putting up a temporary shelter until you’ve grown your herd and are sure that you want to keep goats around.
Does who are kidding (having babies) will need to have warm shelter. Kids need a warm, dry shelter because they are especially susceptible to the weather. This is especially important. Their shelter needs to have good ventilation and to be draft-free.
Without good shelter, the mortality rate on your kids will be higher.
4. Provide Bedding
Goats need dry bedding to nest down into. Since goats will waste a portion of their hay by tossing, walking through it or throwing it around, simply throw the wasted hay into their bedding.
5. Goats Need Food With Specific Nutrients
Despite their reputation, goats really cannot stomach metal, trash, and other human products. Goats need good hay. They need greens, leaves, and other natural foods. DO YOUR RESEARCH !!
.6.Goats Need Specific Minerals
Goats also need certain minerals and vitamins to stay healthy. They need copper and specific goat feed is supplemented with copper. Sheep feed is not. Mineral supplements can be offered in loose form or a mineral block, which allows goats to lick the minerals.
7. Provide Clean, Fresh Water
Goats need fresh, clean water. Provide a fresh supply of water daily. During dusty or windy times, your goats many need their water changed multiple times a day. Dirty water can make goats ill.
8. Deworm Goats
Goats have worms. It is unavoidable. But, keeping the worms under control is vital to keeping your goats healthy.
9. Trim And Brush Your Goats
Goats’ hooves grow constantly. This helped them in the wild when they had to climb and forage over vast distances. However, domesticated goats need to have their hooves trimmed Untrimmed hooves can cause limping problems in your goats. It also makes them uncomfortable. It will eventually cripple them.
You will need a good pair of hoof trimmers. Stand at your goats rear. Lift up their hoof. Cut away the dead, dark part of the hoof. The pink layers with blood in them are the newer growth. If you accidentally cut too much and your goat’s hoof bleeds, don’t worry. It doesn’t cause them pain and will stop bleeding quickly. Just apply pressure to the area.
10. Satisfy Their Need to To Climb
Goats love to climb. They will climb on fences, rocks and even cars. Provide a playground for your goats to climb and explore. It can be as simple as providing a way for the goats to climb onto their hut vía a climbing roof.
Tires, rocks, or other platforms are a good way to provide climbing for your goats. Goats are much happier if they can climb.
A happy goat means they are less likely to try and escape.