I'm reading a book right now about goat hobby farming, and I'd like to get a couple of goats. Maybe a milk goat so I can try making cheese and supply some milk for the family. And maybe a scrub goat or two to help keep the weeds and brush eaten down in the pasture. But I'm getting discouraged by all the many requirements and illnesses described in the book. The author makes is sound like they're fragile, get sick easily, and there's not much margin for error. I was around goats as a child (a neighbor lady had some) and I'm pretty capable with all kinds of pets, children, and my chickens, but how hard is it really to keep goats alive and healthy?
We've got a huge pasture, a barn, and I'm home all day to take care of whatever the farm and animals need, but I'm not a veterinarian, and we can't afford massive vet bills either. I always thought goats were pretty independent and tough, but now I'm not so sure.
I think they are easy. Don't get discouraged, the book is just covering a lot of "what if's". As long as they have fresh food, clean water, shelter, minerals and you worm them when needed you will be fine. Everything else is an added bonus or prevention that you can take as far as you want. Since you have experience with animals you already have the common sense of things like...don't over feed, don't make abrupt changes in diet, keep their pens clean etc...All life is fragile, but you can't be afraid of the unknown and bad things do happen...with everything! I LOVE my goats and I can't imagine not having them!
i felt the same way when i did all the reading stuff. honestly though, in my opinion, they are pretty easy compared to say raising chicks to chickens. i have really crummy luck with animals but my goats are the easiest. the important thing is to be educated about what can go wrong and know what to do if there is a problem. i'm only my first year into this so i haven't seen any of some of what others have seen yet. most things that come up can be handled by you. i am doing things with these goats that i never thought i'd be able to do. if you can find a breeder that will show you the ropes i think that is the best. i still email mine with questions. even drug a goat out there to see if i was trimming the hooves right. don't fear the goats, find a good breeder, keep your books handy, and have fun.
Mom of 4... if the book scares you, then go to the library and read how to raise a dog/puppy. Those books also talk of every possible disease a dog can get, and to just read the book, one would think they were hard to keep but we know they aren't. Try to talk to people that have goats, visit a few places that have goats and you'll get an idea what it's "really" like to have some goats.
I got a couple pet goats 4 years ago. I thought they were the easiest pet ever up until two weeks ago when one got very ill (died last night actually). As long as a health issue doesn't come up, they are easy. I have decided I will not get another one only due to the fact that there is not a vet anywhere in my area that is really goat smart (there are very few goats in this area). I, myself, would check that out first before making the decision. If there is a vet in your area, go for it, they are a wonderful animal - very loving and entertaining.
Thanks everyone! I'm a big reader and since I'm pretty new to farming I like to study up before I jump in. The book I had on chickens didn't scare me, and I successfully raised 25 peeps this Spring. I was just amazed at the list of possible diseases goats can get, and how critical it is to give XYZ at the right time, and how you have to have bleeding stopping powder on hand at all times, and how you need a bucket full of supplies in the barn for every procedure. I can trim hooves and give shots (our dog and cats so far), but most of our animals have been pretty auto-pilot as long as they had food and water and shelter.
There are lots of goats around this area, and I know the people who had our farm before us had a vet who came out to treat their horses. Maybe I'll stop by the neighbor's house and ask him some questions about his goats. I'm not looking for a pedigree or show goat, just a family pet/milk/lawn mower.
Start with good healthy goats. Keep a closed herd and you should have very little problems. I would suggest staying away from stock barns when buying goats for faimly use. Checking with several breeders in your area is a good idea.
We made a lot of mistakes at first by not doing this. However with proper culling I now think we have some strong healthy goats.
from my experience, goats are like any animal........"an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure"......provide good basic care, as mentioned previously, and you should do fine.
Start with a healthy animal......and check if the breeder tests for CAE and CL, etc.....
If you buy from a herd that shows......you can usually pick up a nice milker in the late spring when they decide which milkers are not going to be competitive in the show ring. You will probably not pay much more (if any) than you would by buying a milker from a herd that doesn't show.
And since goats do not do well alone, you could pick up a baby buck that has been banded for a very reasonable price.
Good Luck!!!!!.....and have fun!!!!
"When you are having dinner with someone and they are nice to you, but rude to the waiter, then this is not a nice person.".....Dave Barry
Ask the question...How did you start and what advice do you now give? That is the best question.
Health, just like with pups, a flea infested, hook worm anemic pup with parvo can be saved, but to what end. Most start with vet bills from purchasing someone elses headaches.
If you think about it you do want someones pedigreed show stock, it certainly is better than the alternative, and untested, wild goat, nursing kids that you think you will tame and milk A doe with poor conformation, her hooves are a headache to trim, and her udder swings between her hocks. We all started there. How many folks start like this because the goat is $50. 30 times getting those heads out of the fence from horns, trying to drag her kicking and screaming to the milkstand to milk her. Or you are lucky enough to find a decent doe in milk and then add some horid brush goat with CL to the pen and ruin her. Worse is the advice to purchase a wether as a companion that you will never sell because it's your first goat.
I second the advice of finding a mentor who can help you find good goats, go through the pedigree which always includes the person themselves. There are simply farms that you don't want to buy from, they prey on new folks. Armed with a simple email you can quickly weed out thoughs you don't want to buy from. IF a forwarded whole herd test for CAE isn't produced...do you really think with how much testing costs it wouldn't be the first thing you would see if they really tested? Or how about a list of folks who have purchased from them and are still speaking to them Can you come and milk the goat yourself? Will they teach you to trim feet? How about is she bred and blood tested so you know she is bred so you don't have to deal with a buck until next year? Is her udder soft and pliable and milks down to nothing, or is it full of lumps and scar tissue? If registered is it with ADGA or AGS or another registry that gives you goats you can't resell? The CKC of dairy goats.
Go at this full informed, they are livestock, you could turn this little milk for the house into a business as you go along, something that makes you some real money...or you could stay small and high quality getting a top dollar for your excess kids and milkers, or perhaps a soap company is in your future. It's too expensive not to expect your livestock to pay their way and pay your labor along with supplying your house with meat and milk.
Oh to have had the internet and good forums like here and dairygoatinfo.com when I started out! Vicki
Breed for resistance and hardiness.
Most probs can be treated via the local farm supply store.
We never use a vet.
If an animal is so bad that the array of supplies of meds and everything at the farm store dont help, we cull.
They are basically tough.
Needs very, like meat goats seem to have less care needs than milkers and angoras are more delicate, but good animal husbandry will prevent most probs.
IMO, over pampering goats causes more probs than anything else, other than pure neglect or abuse.
"We spend money we don't have on things we don't need to create impressions that won't last on people we don't care about."
We've got a good barbed wire fence, but will need a couple more strands since it was set up for horses. But we'll probably fence in a smaller area for the goats, near the barn. At one time there was an electric fence but I have no idea if it still works. We just moved here a year ago and are slowly fixing up a long-neglected farm.
Does anyone have a collar and chain/rope on their goats, to move them from area to area and stake them out? Maybe that's not even safe or possible, but I thought I'd ask. (please be gentle with me, I'm still learning and no actual goats are being harmed!)
Barbed wire will not keep them in. Might cut them up when they are squeezing through. Field fence stretched REALLY tight will or cattle panels.
Unless you are there to watch them, I would not tie them out. They can strangle themselves. They cannot run away from a predator.
I would get healthy goats and not pay much attention to the book. Good food, good hay and good minerals to me are the most important.
They are friendly, cute and each have their own personality.
They are addictive and so far Minelson has resisted in getting more. But I have hope that soon she will have a dozen or more, lol.
I started with 3 goats and then I had 20, now with kids I have 40. I sold 2 the other day and one had 2 babies yesterday so now I am back to 40, lol. I am selling 2 tomorrow and we'll see if one girl has twins in a next couple of days.
Arguing with an idiot is like running in a circle, you get nowhere fast
You will want something else for fencing.. Goats can really hurt themselves on barbed wire.. The electric fencing would be a much better option.. Or some really tough wire fence..
Staking goats out is a bad idea.. They can tangle and choke themselves, are a toy on a rope for a stray dog, or a meal for a wild animal.. There are some people that have done is successfully, but its just too much of a risk..
I also agree with finding a mentor.. I'm working part time at a goat farm and I've learned so much.. Goats aren't hard to keep, but things CAN happen just like any other animal.. But with good care and smart thinking, they're not any harder then most other animals..
Get goats that have been handled and are people friendly.. Especially with a milker.. Not fun to chase down your milker and then drag her to the milk stand..
Good luck! Let us know how it goes.. Goats can be very funny and loving animals.. And they're always smiling!
I think, therefore, I am.. I think.. ?
May God hold you in his arms..
Common sense is not so common..