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The first important piece of advice that I want to offer is . ..
 
Don't just have ONE single goat. Goats are HERD animals. They NEED a companion. If they do not have a companion/herd, then not only will it be very lonely, but it may drive you nuts with it's constant "maaaaaaaing" for you. Most breeders won't even sell a single goat to someone if they don't already have goats. The customer must either purchase two goats together, or cannot purchase any at all. So be prepared if a breeder refuses the sale to you if you're not willing to keep more than one goat.
 
If you purchase a "strange" goat (from a different herd - not yet introduced to your other goats), and you then introduce it to your other goat/s . . .there MAY be some ramming and head butting. This is to decide on who the dominant herd member will be. Which is to some extent - natural behavior.
 
BUT SOMETIMES a goat can also just plain and simply be a "Bully Goat." Meaning it will "pick" on a certain goat all the time. In this case - the bully goat needs to be corrected by saying in a serious tone "NO!" and giving it a little smack on it's rear end (not hurting it - just to let it know that's bad behavior).
If it continues to bully - based upon YOUR discretion . . . you may have to remove it from the victim goat/s.

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HOUSING & FENCING:

Probably, most goat troubles arise from inadequate fencing and housing.Goats can be great escape artists. Making do with what you have will often work with tiny, two month old kids, but when goats get bigger they can jump or climb over some four foot fences. They can also open gates and doors with their clever noses.

We recommend  - tightly strung 4-6 foot high livestock fencing. Woven wire is better if you can afford it. Make sure the "squares" in the fence (openings) are not very large - since kids can escape through the large enough holes.

We personally use fence called "Goat & Sheep Fence" that we purchased at our local Tractor & Supply store on a 330' roll.

Electric fence can be used, but is not always effective at keeping the goats in. I actually don't recommend it because of the risk of your goats getting out or predators getting in. The only way I can see electric fence working for goats is if you have a 4 (or more) strand fence with a GOOD fencer that zaps right away as soon as it's touched. Fencer's that only shock on pulses are not always quick enough or strong enough for the goat to stay away from it and not get out.

DON'T use barb wire fence if you can possibly avoid it, because goats can get tangled and cut badly, and it also is not very effective at keeping them in. If you have a predator problem with either loose dogs, your own dogs, or coyotes - then get a higher fence, with some of it underground. Make sure it's very secure.

NEVER tie a goat outside its pen unless you will be nearby to watch and protect it from dogs, and other dangers. IF you ARE able to supervise the goat . . .then there's no problems with tying it temporarily. But ONLY with supervision.

If you are planning on breeding goats, you will need to have more than one goat pen -  probably several. We personally recommend having atleast 3 pens - One for Bucks, One for Does, and a Seperation Pen for new goats. And you'll need to be SURE that the pens are seperated by alteast 6 inches inbetween each pen - so that the bucks cannot breed the does THROUGH THE FENCE ! And for the seperation pen - you dont' want the new goats to have any contact with your current herd. The new goat/s may have some type of illness or disease that you don't yet know about, and if they come into contact with your current herd - they could very easily contaminate your entire herd which could even be fatal ! Therefore, as stated above, all the pens should have a seperation between each one.

 

The second reason for good fencing, besides protecting your goats, is that a loose goat can destroy your young fruit trees and/or rose garden in about an hour. Plus some trees, flowers, plants are poisenous to goats. They can also ruin your relations with your neighbors by doing some non-selective browsing. You can build goodwill by allowing your goat to visit your neighbor's blackberry patch, if they request it, provided it is fenced & and there is shelter from sun and rain. Also take time to consider that goats like to reach through fences to eat. Don't put the fence within four feet of any valuable or poisonous shrubbery.

Here's a website with poisonous plants that affect goats - http://www.vth.colostate.edu/poisonous_plants/report/search.cfm

And by the way - just a note - CHERRY TREES ( all kinds) are poisenous to goats ! I mention this tree in particular simply because in our area they're very common. And I almost didn't realize that there was a large cherry tree in my goat pen ! Luckily we figured it out right away and did something about it.

 

So, now you have them fenced properly and have a good latch on the OUTSIDE of the gate. If it never rained, you wouldn't need a house for them. But it does rain or snow in most places and goats hate to get wet, and they also cannot control their body temperature when wet ! They need a dry place to sleep, eat and exercise in. They also should have some shade in the summer time, so consider how the sun moves across the sky above your pasture.

Fresh straw or hay that drops from their feeder on the ground makes good bedding, make sure that the top surface is dry, add fresh bedding as necessary.

Goats can get hoof problems if they are forced to stand around on wet bedding. Cement floors are easy to clean, but expensive and cold when wet. Wooden floors are an invitation to many health problems as they are a breeding ground for disease. Wood floors need to be disinfected frequently, are difficult to keep clean, and tend to rot quickly. However, a raised wooden sleeping platform seems to work well. Another advantage of the straw bedding method is that the composting straw can give off enough heat to destroy harmful bacteria, and the heat helps to keep the goats warm. You can advertise free organic compost and actually get someone else to come and clean your barns, if you willing to part with all that good rotten straw, etc.

We personally use sawdust for the bedding / flooring inside our barn where they goats get shelter.

Inside the goat shed, you will need a hay rack of some kind that can't be climbed on or into. You don't want droppings in the food or kids getting caught and tangled. And it's also best to have the hay rack low to the ground so that the goats don't need to look up to eat - because dust can fall from the hay and cause pink eye.You have to make sure that it's high enough off the ground so that they don't get tangled in it all the time. We personally use hand made (by my husband) wooden hay racks that have spaces close enough together so the goats cannot get their heads/horns stuck in them.            

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My husband did such a GREAT job on my hayracks ! I appreciate him for all he does for me :) It was very cheap to do ... he used scrap peices of wood that was previously used as wooden skids. He made one for my doe pen and one for my buck pen ... now I want him to make me another one for my kidding pen ;)

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FEEDING:

Goats only stay healthy if they are fed properly for their age, sex, and individual condition. Basically, most goats that are not pregnant does or breeding stock, can live quite well on good fine grass hay and some grain each day. In the summer, if they have browse available, they will eat less hay but hay must ALWAYS be available. Fresh, clean water must also always be accessible. The water buckets should be scrubbed out frequently. (Would you want green scum in your water ?)

**DO NOT OVERFEED **  Be VERY careful about the amount your goat/s are eating each day. If overfed, they can get "overeating disease" and it can easily and quickly be fatal. OR they can get bloated badly and that can also be fatal. Goats can get the "overeating disease" at any age on Grain OR on Milk (if bottle fed). So pay close attention to the approx feed ration for Grain AND ALSO to the section on approx feed ration for bottle kids.

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Approx Daily Rations of Grain:

DRY DOES and BUCKS / WETHERS

Small / Mini Breeds : 1/4 to 1/2 cup twice per day (depending on the health/size of the goat and it's current weight.)

Large Breeds : 1 cup twice per day

OR 2 cups ONCE per day

 

Mini Breeds : 1/2 cup twice per day

OR 1 cup ONCE per day

 

PREGNANT DOES

Small / Mini Breeds :

Conception - 2 months = 1/2 cup of grain twice per day

2 monts - 4 months = 1 cup of grain twice per day

4 months - delivery = 1/2 cup of grain twice per day

After kidding = 1 cup of grain twice per day for nursing

 

Large Breeds :

Conception - 2 months = 1 cup of grain twice per day

2 monts - 4 months = 1 1/2 cup of grain twice per day

4 months - delivery = 1 cup of grain twice per day

After kidding = 1 1/2 cup of grain twice per day for nursing

 

NOTE : The entire feed rations are just a basic example. However, it can be different from goat to goat. You may have one goat that stays "pleasantly plump" with very little grain. Then another may need a little "more" grain to maintain a healthy weight. It can vary from goat to goat. Just watch your goat's health, weight and growth and decide for yourself wether or not you should increase or decrease it's feed. Do what works best for each individual goat.

~ TIP - I tie EACH of my goats to their own post at feeding time. This way I KNOW exactly what amount EACH goat is consuming. There's no guessing. This may be harder to do if you have a LARGE herd of goats. 

~ TIP - here's a neat calculator for feed / nutrient rations,etc.

http://www.luresext.edu/goats/research/nutr_calc.htm

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Approx Daily Hay Ration :

Goats cannot get the "overeating disease" from eating to much hay. Hay is fine for goats in any amount. You can feed your goats unlimited Hay rations. OR atleast an "armful" of hay per goat.

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We personally feed DUMOR Show Goat Feed to our goats. It's nutritionally balanced SPECIFICALLY for goats. You can also mix some 16% sweet feed (horse feed) with the DUMOR.

If you really want to keep your cost down ... you can feed your goats solely 16% sweet feed. They do well with it. We just prefer using the DUMOR because it's really fully nutritous for the goats. But that's just a decision you'll have to make based on your own personal preference. "To each his own."

Fastrack is a wonderful supplement that can be added to their feed for optimum nutrition, and when fed fastrack - you can cut down on their grain because they will have a more nutritionally balanced diet with the added fastrack. Fastrack is an AMAZING product ! I HIGHLY recommend using it. (if interested in purchasing Fastrack, please contact me for more info.)

If you want to feed treats to your goats, do so in moderation. Different goats prefer different kinds of treats. Some may like carrots for instance, some may not. A variety of treats that some goats may like and can safely eat is - lettuce, carrots, grapes, apples, bananas, etc. ( there are MANY types of food that a goat can and will eat and enjoy, these were just a few that I decided to list for you)

My goats LOVE animal crackers :)

~ Tip - Pine tree branches (the needle kind) are a natural dewormer for goats. Throw in pine branches for them to eat if you have some on your property that's convenient.

~ Tip - Black Oil Sunflower Seeds (BOSS) can be fed to your goats on a daily basis. They are a great source of Selenium (which is vital if youre soil is selenium defficient), can add some weight to thin goats and increase appetite, and also adds a nice natural shine to your goat's coat.  Feed approx a handful to each goat as a treat, or with their feed once or twice per day. I feed 1/4 cup to each of my goats twice per day. Be careful not to overfeed as it can fatten them up and make them obese.

 

Male goats (Bucks and Wethers) should be fed carefully, as they can develop urinary tract diseases (stones) from being fed some of the commercial goat feeds which are heavy with molasses and certain minerals. My bucks get Hay ONLY unless they're in rut and/or breeding does.

~ Tip - To help PREVENT your bucks from developing stones, it's good to add Apple Cidar Vinegar (you can buy it at your grocery store or Walmart, etc.) to their water bucket daily. Amount to add : add a "gulp" (doesn't have to be EXACT measurement) OR approx 1/4 cup to 5 gallons of water. Add the ACV (Apple Cidar Vinegar) to the water each time you refill the bucket.

Bucks that are breeding many does, need to be fed hay AND grain, as they are burning up a lot of fuel with all that snorting, running, pawing, and singing. They could have a little feed that has alfalfa pellets in it. Bucks should also have available grass hay and fresh water; change their bucket frequently as they get their water very dirty with their beards. Read tip above about adding ACV (Apple Cidar Vinegar) to their water bucket.

Pregnant does become milking does, and then they need about double the feed to produce all that milk, either for you or the kids. Also they will drink a lot of water, so watch their water bucket carefully. It is nice to be able to separate the pregnant doe from your other goats for about the last month of her gestation. (Goats are pregnamt for about 145 days.) When her kids are very young, it is also safer for them if they are not in with the rest of the herd until they are about two weeks old.

Over-conditioned (fat) animals have difficulty getting pregnant and difficulty in delivering kids. Pregnant does should not be overfed, but they should eat a high protein ration in addition to the COB. Read the labels on commercial feed sacks. You're looking for about 16% protein for a pregnant doe. Alfalfa hay is high in protein, as is the bark from many trees and shrubs. You can even gather tree branches as a "treat" for your goats. But be careful as to what type of branches you cut, as some are very poisonous (ex. cherry).

~ Tip - The round galvanized steel pans sold for changing your car's oil make great goat feeding dishes for feeding grain. BUT MAKE SURE YOU SANITZE PAN BEFORE USING WITH GOATS ! They are easily cleaned and indestructible. Like the water buckets, make sure you wash and disinfect the feeding dishes often to help control parasites.

 

KIDS *

Kids will be getting most of their nourishment from their mothers. However, if the kid/s are orphaned by their mother, or for some other reason they cannot nurse from their mother, they can be bottlefed.  

Kids will receive all of their nutrition from their mother (by nursing) . You can introduce small amounts (a tiny handful) of grain to the kid once it's a couple weeks old (although it might not be interested that young). You also may notice the kid nibbling on hay at an early age. This is good, this encourages them to learn what to eat.

If a kid is orphaned for one reason or another - Kids should ATLEAST receive colostrum (to boost their immune system) for the first 24hrs - but preferrably for the first 3-5 days. If mom will not let the kid/s eat from her ... then milk her and feed the colostrum in a bottle to the kid/s. If that is impossible to do ... you can purchase "Goat Colostrum" from various stores. I get mine from www.jefferslivestock.com  

Click the link directly below to download/print the pdf form that includes all the details you should need concerning bottle feeding. . .

Bottle Feeding pdf Form (download and/or print)

Spring Creek Supplies

Hoegger Goat Supply

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YARD TRIMMINGS / PLANTS :

Feed your goats yard trimmings, fruit tree trimmings, rose prunings, etc. They will eat Poison Oak, and they thrive on blackberries. DO NOT feed goats any of the shiny leafed species, such as Azalea, Rhododendron, Laurel, Camellia, Daphne or Andromeda!! These are all poisonous to goats!! Tansy ragwort can hurt your goats, but they usually won't eat it unless nothing else is available. Be careful with any herbicide sprays in pastures, because the goats will wind up eating the spray residue. Better yet, don't use any herbicides.

Click HERE to look-up poisonous plants

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HEALTH MANAGEMENT:

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. That old saying holds very true when it comes to goat care. Safety in your pens, barns and pastures will prevent injuries and frantic trips to the Vet. Clear up the clutter, trash, broken stuff, rotten boards and such from the area where your goats live. Correct feeding will certainly be the most important step towards good goat health. However, there are a few diseases that goats are susceptible to that can be prevented by inoculations. The following schedule is an example - not all breeders / goat owners follow a schedule such as this one. Also, please realize that different areas may have different management problems. I strongly recommend that you locate a veterinarian that is sympathetic and knowledgeable about goats. Get to know this Vet before you need his or her services. Follow your vet's recommendations on inoculations, etc. first and foremost. This schedule is an example . . .

INOCULATIONS

Any uninoculated Buck/Wether or Dry Doe :

Give CD&T  Right Away (if older than 4 weeks of age)

Again 21 - 28 days later

Then Once Annually

 

Pregnant Does & Kids :

Pregnant does: 1 month pre-parturition:

Clostridium Perfringens, type C D&T

Kids born to inoculated mothers:

At 6-8 weeks old: CD&T shot

Again 21 - 28 days later

              Then Once Annually

Kids born to uninoculated mothers:

4 weeks old: CD&T shot

                   Again 21-28 days later

                                     Then once annually.

 

Most vets will show you how to give a shot to a goat. Most medications are not tested for goats, but dosages are given for either lambs or sheep. Most of the medications listed previously are available from feed stores. The CD&T vaccine bottle that we have on hand suggests a dosage of 2ml for lambs (and goats). CD&T vaccine is available through veterinarians,  but you can administer the medicine yourself if you know how. Medicines should all be handled and stored with care. CD&T vaccine needs to be refigerated. Also don't forget to shake the bottle of CD&T good before retracting any medicine into a needle. 

 

PARASITES

Goats should be tested for parasites at least once a year. Heavy parasite infestation can cause a goat to be thin, pot bellied, and lifeless with a scruffy, thin coat. It can even cause death in extreme cases. Take a fecal sample to a veterinarian for a diagnosis.

Coccidiosis is caused by a type of parasite (a protozoan) that requires a prescription drug for prevention/treatment. Again, the fecal sample will tell you what parasites, if any, your goats may have in harmful amounts. IF your goats are suffering from Cocci ... Treat them with Sulmet (can be bought at Tractor Supply). But please be SURE that it IS Cocci before treating. Don't guess it. It can also be dangerous to medicate a goat for something that you "think" it has, if it ISN'T what the goat actually has. Also - please DON'T medicate young goat kids unless absolutely NECESSARY. Pouring all kinds of medicine into goat babies can be really hard on their system and even be fatal. You need to be VERY careful with diagnosing/treating kids.

SULMET DOSAGE :

1cc / 5lbs for day 1
1cc / 10lbs on days 2-5

Rotate animals to different pastures if possible after treating for whatever parasites are discovered, to avoid getting reinfected.

 

Read the label on all medicines! Don't overdose!! The appropriate dosage (if not given for goats) would be the dosage given for lambs.  Weigh your goat if necessary to find the proper dosage.

 

DEWORMING :

**  Do regular fecal exams to check for worms and/or have your goats on a good regular deworming program. **

The type of worming medication you use should be alternated each time you treat your goats for effective prevention. You can worm your goat/s every 6 to 8 weeks with commercial wormers (such as Ivermectin Horse Paste Wormer). Or atleast every 3 months as prevention.

IF you prefer the holistic approach ... just be sure to do your research and KNOW the ingredients. Try to stay away from Black Walnut and Wormwood specifically. Although BW and WW may not be toxic in a single dose ... after given continually it's thought that these ingredients CAN become toxic over time. So to be on the safeside ... just avoid those two ingredients all together.

 

Choosing a Veterinarian

Many vets will admit to having little experience to NO experience with or knowledge of goats. Call around until you find one that is either knowledgeable or willing to learn. If none are available in your area, or if you're really uncomfortable with their level of knowledge with goats ... ask around about a local goat farmer ... most goat farmers treat their own goats and do most of their own basic veterinary care with their goats anyways. Get to know a veterinarian who can help you with your goats BEFORE an emergency arises. Keep records on your goats : when you gave shots, trimmed hooves, wormed, powdered, etc. Get a calendar just for your goats and record what you do, and when you breed.

Emergency Situations

A goat that is down and won't get up or eat IS VERY SICK! Call the vet!! Normal temperature for a goat is 102 - 104 degrees. You take it rectally. You should know respirations per minute, and the goats pulse. Is the goat panting, or breathing very slowly or labored?? You should listen for rumen sounds with a stethescope (you can purchase a stethoscope at www.jefferslivestock.com . There should be loud gurgles and rumblings every minute or so. A quiet rumen is a sick rumen, and a sick rumen could mean a very sick goat. Other serious symptoms could be extreme diarrhea, frothing at the mouth, with either greenish or clear saliva, and repeated smacking of the lips.

Normal Goat Health  :

      Temperature = 102.5 - 104 - This varies depending on the temperature of the goat's surroundings.

      Pulse rate = 70 - 80 beats per minute

      Respiration =15 to 30 per minute

      Rumen movements = 1 - 1.5 per minute

      Puberty = 7 weeks - 8 months (separate bucks from does at 2 month)

      Estrus/Heat Cycle = 17 to 23 days

      Gestation = 143 to 155 days

      Life span:

  • Does = 11-12 years average age, but... usually the death in does is kidding related. Does that are "retired" from breeding around age 10 live longer
  • Wethers = 11-16 years average age
  • Bucks = 8-10 average age - bucks usually live shorter lives than does and wethers due to the stresses of going into rut each year.

~ Neutered male goats (referred to as wethers) make the best pets. Bucks (INTACT male goats) can be strong, stinky and possibly aggressive (depending on how they're raised, handled, etc.). Sometimes they make lousy pets, alot of people get tired of them, and may mistreat them. SO if a person wants a male goat only as a pet .... it's best to have him wethered (fixed). Bucks should be preserved for breeding homes only.

Goat Diseases

Goat & Sheep Diseases A-Z

4H Guide to Goat Management Skills (pdf)

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GROOMING:

Good grooming includes brushing frequently with a nice stiff dog brush. Grooming is not necessarily a MUST - just an option to keep your goats looking in tip top shape. A bath during warm weather helps to control fleas and lice. In the fall and spring it is a good idea to powder your animals with a livestock dust that has either Sevin or Malathion as the active ingredient. Start sprinkling behind the ears, and then along the backbone to the tail. Work it in with your brush and let gravity do the rest. Animals with a heavy infestation of lice will become unhealthy and anemic, their coats will look awful, and their resistance to disease will be lowered.

Be sure to sweep off your goats sleeping platform daily, if they have one, and either scoop up, or cover any piles of droppings inside the barn with a little of the clean hay that falls out of the feeder. Otherwise, they will be forced to lay down on their droppings, and this will mess up their fleece.

Goats hooves grow and can become bent, cracked, or infected unless they are trimmed properly. The tool that you use is up to you. Small pruning shears has been highly recommended. Here's what I use to trim my goat's hooves ... it's an EXCELLENT trimmer ! http://www.jefferslivestock.com/ssc/product.asp?CID=2&mscssid=16CTC373EWDC8M56VGPKUJ4K6HNJ7RN3

A small hand plane will help keep hooves flat and level. Neglected hooves can eventually cripple an animal if not trimmed. Trim hooves every two or three months. If you have a goat with problem hooves, trim them more often. Frequent trimming can minimize the chance of bad hooves getting worse. If you've never trimmed a goat's hooves - have someone experienced show you how to do it, or ATLEAST view detailed illustrations of trimming goats hooves. It IS possible to trim to deep and hurt the goat / cause bleeding, etc. 

~ If your goat has any hoof rot (little pits), there are treatments you can get at the feed store to fight it.

~ Tip :  Occasionally dip your goat's hooves in liquid Clorox to kill germs.

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BREEDING & KIDDING:
 


The doe's secret code of honor is as old as goats themselves and is the species best kept secret. No doe shall ever kid before its time. (Its time being determined by the following factors):

1- No kid shall be born until total chaos has been reached by all involved. Your owner's house must be a wreck, their family hungry and desperate for clean clothes, and their social life nonexistent.

2- "Midwives" must reach the babbling fool status before you kid out. Bloodshot eyes, tangled hair and the inability to form a sentence mean the time is getting close.

3- For every bell, beeper, camera or whistle they attach to you, kidding must be delayed by at least one day for each item. If they use an audio monitor, one good yell per hour will keep things interesting.

4- If you hear the words, "She's nowhere near ready. She'll be fine while we're away for the weekend," Wait until they load the car, then begin pushing!

5- Owner stress must be at an all time high! If you are in the care of someone else, ten to fifteen phone calls a day is a sign you're getting close.

6- When you hear the words "I can't take it anymore!" wait at least three more days.

7 -You must keep this waiting game interesting. False alarms are mandatory! Little teasers such as looking at your stomach, pushing your food around in the bucket and then walking away from it, and nesting, are always good for a rise. Be creative and find new things to do to keep the adrenaline pumping in those who wait.

8- The honor of all goats is now in your hands. Use this time to avenge all of your barn mates. Think about your friend who had to wear that silly costume in front of those people. Hang onto that baby for another day. OH, they made him do tricks too! Three more days seems fair. Late feedings, the dreaded diet, bad haircuts, those awful wormings can also be avenged at this time.

9- If you have fulfilled all of the above and are still not sure when to have the kids, listen to the weather forecast on the radio that has been so generously provided by those who wait. Severe storm warning is what you're waiting for. In the heart of the storm jump into action! The power could go out and you could have the last laugh. You have a good chance of those who wait missing the whole thing while searching for a flashlight that works!

10- Make the most of your interrupted nights. Beg for food each time someone comes into the barn to check you. Your barn mates will love you as the extra goodies fall their way too.

Remember, this code of honor was designed to remind man of how truly special goats are. Do your best to reward those who wait with a beautiful doeling to carry on the Doe Code of Honor for the next generation of those who wait.

Author Unknown

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If you're considering breeding your goat/s, then PLEASE watch this video clip FIRST !
*Warning ~ the video clip you're about to watch is graphic. It's a video clip of an actual LIVE goat birth. May not be appropriate for young audiences. Proceed with discretion... 

I want to give a BIG thanks to Stacey who allowed me to use this video for educational purposes. The goat you seen in the video is Stacey's goat, and Stacey is the lady assisting. Stacey raises and breeds pygmy mixes and nigerian dwarf mixes and is located in NJ. Her website is www.endofthelinefarm.com
Thanks SOOOOOO much Stacey !!!!

                                 

 

NOW if you're comfortable with the birthing process and the idea of "helping" the doe with delivery, etc. and also if you have plans for the care of the kid/s to be born, here is more info on breeding. If you feel uncomfortable about the whole kidding ordeal ... then don't breed. Wether (castrate) any Buckling/s, and keep your does dry.

 

All about Goat Reproductivity :

Pygmy Bucks or Bucklings sexually mature at 3-4 months old. They start urinating on their own face, chest and front legs and drink their own urine. This is called "Rutting." It is for the male to attract females and many species to this, even Deer. (This is why most people want wethers, castrated males, as pets.) Some bucklings can breed and sire kids at very early ages. They are very prolific, so they need to be kept separate from younger does and even their dam (mom.) after they are weaned around 8-12 weeks old.

Does Should NOT be bred before they are 12 months old

Even though, Pygmy goat doelings can start their estrous cycle (Heat) at about 4-6 months old they MUST have time to mature so their skeletal structure in the pelvis area can grow to an adult size.

If younger does are bred too soon, they can have problems kidding (having babies) because they have the small compact bodies, the pelvis area is too small and the kids sometimes grow too large in the womb and do not fit through the birth canal. In which case they get stuck and CAN NOT physically come out and as a result both mother and kids can die.

Another problem with having a young doeling around a buck or buckling is his smell of the young buck can cause her to cycle (every 21 days) and she will usually scream day & night for about 2-3 days like a female cat, due to her wanting to be bred.

Bucks Need Secure Area: It is very important that bucks or bucklings be kept physically separated in a sound, solid fence that they can not jump or knock down. Bucks can hit something with their head at about 200 lbs of force. I have seen them knock down a fence to get to females.

All my bucks are kept in a acre lot away from all females. There's a 3 foot seperation between my doe pen and my buck pen. You can run several hotwires running across the bottom fence line to keep them safely away from any trouble they may want to get into...

If you want to breed Pygmy Goats You Could:

Find an older doe around 2 years old that has already had kids and purchase a young buckling. Just remember…..baby pygmy goat bucklings can and will breed their mother if they are left in the same pen after they are older then 12 weeks. They should be weaned and removed by this time. So if the doe has little bucklings-be prepared.

Or you can get 2 pygmy goat doelings and raise them as pets. When they are 12 mos-2 yrs old find a Buck and breed them or find someone that will let you purchase stud service and you will not have to deal with the problems that can go along with having a buck around the farm.

Goats will generally have a heat cycle that lasts one or two days every 18 to 21 days. For mini breeds - this can be a year round deal. For dairy breeds, etc. the heat cycle usually only occurs from late-August until mid-March. The heat cycle is characterized by uneasiness, riding other animals, shaking the tail, bleating, a swelled and sometime pink or redish vaginal area, etc. After breeding, the gestation period (time from pregnancy until birth) is approximately 150 days.

If you DO end up with a pregnant goat . . .make sure that you're feeding her properly. If she's fed TO much - she can have problems with her pregnancy / delivery.

~ Tip - A couple weeks before your doe's due date - start adding molasses to her water. It will give her strength for the kidding. Also during the kidding and AFTER - make sure to provide molasses water to the doe.

~ Tip - worm the pregnant doe with "Holistic Pregnant Doe Formula" or a commercial wormer that's safe for pregnant does during her pregnancy. Otherwise her kid/s could be loaded with worms if you don't worm the mom. Just make SURE it's a safe formula for pregnant does -  that's safe for the fetus. If you can't find any wormer that you're confident is safe for pregnant goats and their fetus ... hold off worming until after the kidding.

 

Early breeding can stunt the growth of both the fetus and the pregnant doe. Goats generally have two offspring; the sex ratio tends to be 115 males to 100 females. But Goats CAN have up to 4 kids in one pregnancy !

Pregnancy Problems :

Pregancy Toxemia

Pregnancy Toxemia (ketosis) is a potentially fatal condition that can affect pregnant does in their last five weeks of pregnancy, or shortly after freshening. Ketosis, if detected early, can be treated successfully, but mortality is high if not detected early.

Pregnancy toxemia (ketosis) is not a virus or bacteria, but rather is a nutritional deficiency. Ketosis usually affects does within five weeks before their kidding date. Symptoms include dullness or depression, and not eating well. Symptoms will progress to general weakness, not walking, or walking oddly. These symptoms can rapidly progress, and cause the doe to sit down, and be unable to rise. Does reaching this stage may have reached an irreversible stage of the condition.

Ketosis can be treated successfully if detected early. Urine tests, such as Keto-check, are generally accurate. However, it is best to suspect ketosis anytime a pregnant doe behaves oddly, or is sitting down more than usual. Treatment usually consists of giving the doe propylene glycol, which is non-toxic. It is therefore acceptable to give the doe propylene glycol if symptoms indicate the condition, but the doe is unable to be tested.

Prevention is the best way to avoid the condition. This includes top dressing the feed of does in late pregnancy with sugar or molasses. Molasses can also be added to the goats' water.

Selenium-Deficient Areas

Some areas of the country are "selenium-deficient." Infact - it's HIGHLY likely that your area IS infact selenium deficient. Most areas are. Selenium is a mineral found in the earth. Goats, especially pregnant does and kids, in selenium-deficient areas of the country may require a bo-se injection by their veterinarian to prevent the occurrence of white muscle disease. There's also a selenium paste you can purchase for your goats which works well to. You can purchase it at www.jefferslivestock.com

OR you can go the natural way and simply add BOSS (black oil sunflower seeds) to your goat's daily feed. Like the kind you buy at a feed store, or Walmart, Lowes, etc. to feed to birds. More details can be found about this above under "Feeding."

I personally do not give BOSE injections OR selenium paste. I feed the BOSS. It's really good for them in more ways than one.

 

click here to download daily gestation file (pdf))

Click HERE for Online Pygmy Gestation Calendar

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LOVE YOUR GOAT:

Last, but not least, show your goat lots of love. Goats really like people and they also like to play. Along with dogs, they are believed to be the earliest domesticated animals. They will follow like puppies and cuddle like kittens. DON'T play "butt" games with them or they will learn bad habits.

Goats enjoy something to climb and balance on. Build them something to climb on from whatever old but sturdy lumber you have available. Even small boulders will work as something to play on. Goats are fun to watch, and even the adults will cavort and scamper. Sitting outside in a sunny spot with a goat friend can be relaxing and restorative.

Remember, your goats depend completely on you for proper housing, protective fencing, a complete diet, and for protection from disease. Take good care of your goats, and they will have a long and happy life with you.

PLEASE NOTE : I am NOT a veterinarian, and do not claim to be in any way.

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And thou shalt have goats milk enough for thy food, for the food of thy household,
and for the maintenance for thy maidens. 
KJV ~ Proverbs 27:27

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