So, You Want a Goat Now, Do You?

Goat Triplets

Goat Triplets

Let me help you get ready. There is alot to consider, I can tell you about a few things. First you need a pen. It needs to be goat proof. Goats are climbers, jumpers and escape artists. If there is a way out, they will find it. I have an area that I have had goats in; that is goat proof. It is in the back corner of my backyard. Two sides are 7 ft tall block walls. The other two sides are 1 inch by 2 inch galvanized wire that is 6 ft tall. I got a roll cheap one year. They could not climb it. This pen is 10 ft wide by 20 ft long. The chickens have lived there and have shared it with a couple of goats that I took care of for a few months for a friend. I bought an extra large dog Igloo that they could easily fit into to sleep, or to get out of the rain. This area is shaded by a very tall tree.

First I would find a herdperson that does blood draws on their animals to test for CLA, CAE, and Johnnes disease. I would also hope that this person would mentor me in goat keeping. There are vaccinations to be given, and problems may arise that, with a little teaching, you can handle yourself, rather than calling a vet.
It may not make a difference to you, but eventually you will have kid goats to sell. You will want to show your records that your animals are healthy and disease free.

I would get two registered nigerian kids. Registered because I will need to sell babies later and registered is easier to sell. Two, because they need company, and you are not going to be with them all the time. The sex of the two would depend on how much milk I think that I would need. A nigerian doe would give 1-2 qrts per day. I would get a brother and sister, or two sisters (if I wanted alot of work). Just remember that you have to breed the doe and wean her babies (8 weeks), before you can have all of her milk. Nigerians are famous for having triplets! I do not need 6 babies to take care of. You doe will dry up again in 6-9 months and you will need to breed her again in order for her to re-freshen.

So now, lets say that I have a boy and a girl. I need to make sure that the boy has been wethered (ahem) and that they are both disbudded (yes, girls get horns too). Removal of the horns, keeps everyone safe.

Feeding can be easy-a bag full alfalfa pellets, or alfalfa hay. They need minerals, get the ones for goats, not cattle. They love to eat the weeds that you pull from your garden, or any garden, rose bush or fruit tree trimmings. They also enjoy dried leaves, they do not care much for green grass. Until you start milking your doe, you do not need to worry too much about all the different things that she wants to eat. Once she is in milk, things like cabbages and onions will flavor the milk.

Trimming hooves should be done every 2-3 months depending on your animal. It would be helpful to have a milk stand and put your doeling on it to trim hooves, curry comb, clip her hair, and inspect her. They can be washed, but they do not like it at all. As a matter of fact, they do not like the rain, the hose, or standing in wet areas. But a routine will get her used to the stand. Although with nigerians a stand is not necessary. I have just tied them to the post on the porch twice a day, so that we both get used to a schedule and she gets used to being handled.

If you live in the desert, your goat will need what is called a bolus of copper, and one of selenium every 6 months.
Your doeling will be ready to be bred at about a year old. Most kid goats are born in Jan through March in the desert. Any later than that, and the poor mother will suffer with the warm weather. If this does not agree with your schedule; just remember that nigerians can come into heat anytime of year. It takes about 5 months for gestation.
Most herdsmen want to see proof that your doe is disease free, so you will need to have a blood sample drawn and sent into a lab. They will send you the results in a matter of a couple of weeks. You can present this to the owner of the registered buck that you have chosen to be the father of her children.

This is about all that I know right now, I am still learning. I will share with you as I learn.


About sharinglifesabundance

I am a backyard food producer. I grow 800 square feet of organic vegetables in the desert year round.
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