Goats are known for their lively behavior, they belong in a herd of which they depend on for their own safety. Thus, taking some precautions to make sure you get healthy goats is very important.
You can raise goats for their meat or milk. Meat from goats is low in fat, and their milk is just as nutritious as cow’s milk. You also have the option to be a goat breeder. Whichever you choose, there will definitely be fun in the process.
- Know the Basics
A female goat is called Doe, while the babies (females) are known as Doelings. For male goats, the term is Bucks, while the male babies are called Bucklings. The males that have been neutered are known as Wether.
You need to know about the famous breeds of meat (spanish, Boer and Kiko) and milky goat (Nubain, Saanen, Alphine Oberhasli, and La Mancha).
Raising Boer goats is certainly more profitable because it’s hardy breed and also masses enjoy its meat, as it is tasty and healthy.
Fancy breeds include Cashmere and Angora; while fun pet breeds include Fainting and Pygmy.
Make sure you keep the milky goat and the meat goats separately – you may mingle them while playing and roaming, but the separation would help you in paying the right type of attention.
- Build a Shelter
A shelter for goats doesn’t need to be too extensive, but they need to be out of the rain (they need a roof) and the squashing sun, and its best if they have three walls to protect them against strong winds.
You need to have good fencing before you get a goat or two. This is because goats can climb, jump, crawl and run over or under anything they want to. If they stay in their pasture, it is because they want to be there.
When given the choice, most goats prefer to rest off the ground on sturdy resting platforms or deep bedding piles. An easy to clean resting platform is ideal because it keeps the goat off the soiled bedding which can limit parasite populations.
Straw makes good bedding for goats, and they love to sleep on wood.
Aside from the housing for your goat, you also need to consider a separate corner where food materials and other necessary things needed to raise goats can be stored.
- Know Their Feeding Habit
Goats like’s to eat a variety of things which includes; Grass, bark, oats, grain, poison ivy, kudzu, occasional bits of paper, their own milk, dog feeds, and hay.
With all of this variety, hay must be the most expensive and of the best quality, because outside the growing season, hay will be the main ingredient of your goats’ diet.
Hey should be available free-choice year round, as a source of roughage and fiber but whatever you do, do not let the hay touch the ground, or it becomes tasteless and bitter, almost worse than life itself.
Goats need fresh water, so make sure that they have access to a quality water source.
- Understand Their Way of Life
If you want to learn how to care and understand your farm animals, start with hoof care. Trim their hooves in other to avoid certain conditions like foot rot and foot abscess
Learn how to think like a goat to figure out how to keep them happy in their fencing and able to access water, food and shelter easily, for instance, if something is blocking their way from getting food or water and they don’t know how to solve it, they need the one with the higher mental power to solve this puzzle for them.
The goats, like any other kind of farm animal, will want room to explore and roam around. While you will certainly want to have a fence on your land in order to keep them secure and on the farm itself, there should be enough space so that they do not feel cooped up, as boredom will not be good for their growth.
- Breeding in Goat
The onset of fertility in does appears early in life, sometimes as soon as two months of age. Normally, goat fertility begins between four to six months old.
The range occurs because goats breed seasonally in the fall. To ensure an optimal outcome, does should not be allowed to breed until they are at least seven months old.
Separate the nanny and kids from the herd for a period of six weeks after they are born. This is because they are vulnerable, and don’t always survive running around in wild pastures when they are young.
Separating newborns and nannies means that you will have to feed and water them. They should have access to fresh water, hay, feed, a mineral block, and whatever grows on your property that has been proven popular with your herd.
The only way to get milk from a goat is to get a female doe pregnant so she can have babies first. Each time a goat has babies, milk production also known as freshening gets activated. Then at 8 weeks you can sell the babies and enjoy milk for almost an entire year.
At first the mother produce a lot of milk, but the amount of milk reduces gradually as the year runs out. A doe can still be milked while she is pregnant, but you’ll have to let her dry up 2 months before she is due so she can build up some nutritional reserves for her offspring.
- Good Communication System
A good communication system among goat herders who work with goat’s every day is very important as they are more likely to help you treat common health problems and give you advice when you have a sick goat.
Even though goats are very hardy animals, and require low maintenance, as a rule, it is also very important to always seek the service of a veterinarian as you will need the animals to be issued clean bills of health if you are selling the meat and milk of the animals. Besides, having a vet on your farm’s payroll is mandatory in most states.