|GOATS NEED ONLY A FEW BASIC NECESSITIES TO BE HAPPY
|BASIC GOAT INFORMATION
WHAT DO I NEED TO KEEP A GOAT AS A PET?
The first thing you'll need is a book (or several books) about goats and/or a friend who knows about goats.
Other than that, you will need a goat-proof/dog-proof fenced pen that has a goat-proof gate. Then you'll need a shelter of some sort. A
doghouse works okay, although a barn is optimal. Goats don't like to be wet! Most goats appreciate some type of "play equipment"- even
sedate does will jump up on chairs or climb on tree stumps. They enjoy sleeping on elevated platforms, too!
Remember, you can't stake a goat out on a rope or chain; it would be a sitting duck for dogs.
|Your helpful goat will LOVE to help you
with yardwork, especially pruning your
prize rosebushes or small trees!
WHAT DO GOATS EAT?
Goats will nibble on almost anything! In the pasture, ours love honeysuckle, blackberry bushes, small trees,
leaves and some grass. We feed a high protein feed to our mother does and growing kids, and a lower
protein ration to the bucks. All the goats get hay and always have a mineral block, salt block and fresh water
*Wethers need to eat a feed (not horse sweet-feed) that helps reduce their chance of
getting kidney stones. Ask for more information about this.
WHAT MEDICAL CARE DO THEY NEED?
Most goat owners give their goats a CDT (tetanus) shot
once a year, and deworm the goats on a regular basis.
Goats also need their feet trimmed about once a month.
It's not too hard to trim these little goats' feet, and you can
do it with a pair of rose pruners.
Good goat vets ARE hard to find, however. If you can't find
one in your area, there are lots of "goat people" in groups
online and even a "Goat 911" group that can help you.
DO GOATS STINK?
Not to other goats! Mature males DO get a little fragrant sometimes,
although these small goats don't smell as bad as their larger counterparts.
Still, bucks have some interesting grooming habits that make them
less-than-ideal household pets.
|Bucks have their own
version of Chanel No. 5!
CAN WE KEEP JUST ONE GOAT?
Yes, but goats are really herd animals, so it's best to have more than just
one. On the other hand, some goats form strong attachments to horses
or other animals.
WE WANT GOAT MILK
Raising kids and milking the does presents more challenges. First, you have to have a way to breed your
doe. When the kid(s) is born about 5 months later, the doe will give colostrum for the first few days. The
colostrum has important antibodies, so the kid HAS to drink it. You really don't want it, anyway.
After that, you can either sell the bouncy, adorable, fluffy kid(s); bottle feed said kid(s) yourself; or allow the
kid to nurse. We let our kids nurse until they are weaned (2 mos for males, 3 mos for does) and then
gradually start to milk. We don't get as much milk that way, but we want to raise healthy kids. Most people
who milk, milk twice a day, at 8 - 12 hour intervals.
For more information about milking, see the milking page.
|UNLESS YOU REALLY WANT TO BREED GOATS, DON'T LET
ANYONE TALK YOU INTO BUYING A BUCK.
Bucks like Big Tex spend a lot of time and energy chasing the
does. Bucks are noisy, courting their ladies by snorting, pawing,
"talking" and "sneezing." They run around with their tongues
Bucks need a secure pen to keep them away from the does (and to
keep the does away from them!)
Below: Baby bucklings start early. At a little over 2 weeks old,
Seeker is already trying flirt. Bucklings have to be separated from
their mothers and sisters by 7-8 weeks of age.
|Goats are generally healthy animals, but
they can get sick. Sick goats usually
LOVE to get TLC.