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Goat Care and Feeding

Grooming

Submitted by Teri on Sun, 10/15/2006 - 8:56am.

GROOMING

Hoof trimming is necessary when you see growth start to curl under and form a flap over the sole of the hoof. Goat hooves can grow uncomfortably long in a short amount of time. A goat can become crippled if their hooves are left unattended for too long.

Goat hooves vary in how often they need to be trimmed. Fast growing hooves may need trimming every three weeks. Slow growing hooves may not need trimming for 2 months. If you trim your goat’s hooves on a monthly basis, your goat will get used to the routine and they will learn to stand still.

Shearing of the Angora goat is routinely done in the spring after the worst of the cold weather. They are routinely shorn once a year to harvest the mohair fiber. If treatment of external parasites is needed, this is the time to treat.

Dairy goat udders, abdomens, thighs, and tails are routinely clipped prior to kidding. Clipping these areas prevent hair and other contaminants out of the milk. In warm weather you can clip all of their hair. If treatment of external parasites is needed, this is the time to treat.

Feeding

Submitted by Teri on Fri, 10/06/2006 - 10:48am.

Goats need a balanced diet to remain active and stay healthy. The nutrient requirements essential for growth, production, and reproduction are energy, protein, vitamins, minerals, and water.

The major source of energy for a ruminant is provided by pasture, browse, hay, and grain. An adequate amount of energy must be provided or it will result in decreased production, reproductive failure, increased mortality, and the goat will be more susceptible to diseases and parasites.

Hay is a pasture plant that has been cut, dried, and bundled into bales. It should be stored under cover and off the ground. Goats do not like hay with coarse stems and should never be fed moldy hay. A good all purpose hay is Grass Alfalfa. A goat should eat 3 percent of its body weight in hay each day. Since goats will not eat more hay than they need, you can offer it available at all times. You will need to remove the leftover hay daily since goats will eat the tender parts and leave the rest.

Fencing

Submitted by goatseeker on Fri, 10/06/2006 - 10:44am.

Fencing is the most important and biggest challenge in maintaining goats. Most goat problems arise from inadequate fencing. Goats are curious and can do tremendous damage in a short period of time. They will jump over, crawl under, squeeze through, stand on, and lean against, all types of fence. Some goats are even clever enough to open latches on gates and doors.

A goat fence can be made of chainlink fence, livestock panels, field fencing (woven wire), or electric wire that is a minimum of four feet high. Stock fencing with 6 inch squares is preferable to the 12 inch type, since kids can climb through the 12 inch holes. Barb wire is not recommended for goats because they can get tangled and cut badly.

Do not place the fence within three feet of anything you do not want to be eaten. Goats like to stretch their necks and eat whatever grows on the other side. Be sure to keep anything that the goats might climb or jump on away from the fence or they will learn to use that object to get to the other side.

Housing

Submitted by Teri on Fri, 10/06/2006 - 9:59am.

Goat housing does not have to be fancy but should consist of a sturdy, dry, draft-free structure that can provide protection from the sun, wind, rain, and snow. An indoor home that has an open door to the pen or pasture is perfect.

Handling

Submitted by Teri on Fri, 10/06/2006 - 9:46am.

Goats are naturally friendly and like plenty of attention. They love to have their necks scratched, shoulders rubbed, and sides petted.

For easier handling, a plastic choke-chain can be used as a collar to assist you in leading your goat. To avoid strangulation, the collar should be weak enough to allow the goat to break the chain if necessary. We use plastic chains available at most hardware stores.

Goat kids like to play by pushing with their heads. Do not allow them to push against you because when they grow up, pushing turns into butting. Teach your goats while they are young not to push or jump on you.

A goat protects itself by butting with its head. They butt heads with each other when they play or to determine which is stronger. Goats with horns can be dangerous to you and other goats and are known to get caught in fences and feeders.

Getting Started

Submitted by Teri on Fri, 10/06/2006 - 9:42am.

Welcome to the wonderful world of goat ownership!

Goats are bred, raised, and maintained for many purposes including milk and milk products, meat, skins for leather, mohair, cashmere, brush control, packing, and companionship. Goats can be productive and rewarding if they are provided with a safe healthy environment and proper care.

The best goat for you depends on your motivation for keeping goats.

Dairy, fiber, meat, and miniature goats are different types of goats that come in many breeds, colors, shapes, and sizes.

  • Dairy: Nubian, Alpine, Saanen, Toggenburg, LaMancha, and Oberhasli.
  • Fiber: Angora and Cashmere.
  • Meat: Boer, Kiko, Myotonic, and Spanish.
  • Miniature: Nigerian Dwarf and African Pygmy.

A Goat is a herd animal and will not be happy without a companion. I would suggest getting a pair of goats, does or wethers, so they can keep each other company.

Goat Care and Feeding

Submitted by Teri on Fri, 10/06/2006 - 8:33am. |

Welcome to the Goatseeker.com goat care guide!

This guide covers a variety of topics related to goat ownership: Getting started, care, feeding, housing, and other topics.

We'll be updating this book and adding chapters from time to time. Please come back soon!

If you are viewing this on the front page, and can't see a list of chapters below, click here to see the book's chapter list.

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