Goats: How much time?

Discussion in 'Goats' started by shoofly, Aug 6, 2006.

  1. shoofly

    shoofly Active Member

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    About how much time would you say you spend caring for 4-6 goats would take each day? About how much time do you spend on average taking care of your goats?

    We are planning to get 4 to 6 goats either this spring or at the latest the next spring (when our human kids will be a little older and likely a little less labor intensive themselves :)). We don't plan to milk or breed them, at least in the beginning - they will be pets/ brush-eaters.

    We are just trying to get a sense of roughly how much time we should expect to dedicate to our goats each day, so that we can best plan when to get them.

    Thanks!!!!
     
  2. AnnaS

    AnnaS Well-Known Member

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    If they're just pets, less than five minutes a day to check and fill their water, pitch them some hay, and check to see that none are sick or missing. If you get people-friendly goats, you'll end up spending a lot more time since they are so affectionate and amusing to watch!

    Every six weeks/two months they will need hoof trims. I guess an hour for 4-6 goats. You'll get faster with practice.

    Right now I have 7 milking does, 8 doelings, a wether and 4 bucklings. It takes me about 1 hour twice a day to do all the goat chores, starting with heating up the doelings' milk (they're all bottle raised), then milking, feeding, watering, pasteurizing the milk, and then doing all the dishes! Likely take 2 people a half hour if one milked and the other did everything else.
     

  3. Sondra Peterson

    Sondra Peterson Well-Known Member

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  4. mpillow

    mpillow Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I have 7 goats(3 milked 2x daily)...a bottle calf...2 pigs..and 25 chickens and no power or water in the barn(s). Its about 35min morning and 20min at night (my son/daughter help at night watering). I do constantly check/pet/treat them because I just enjoy all of them :shrug: :help:

    Well not the pigs...they stink...but they do like to talk to me :rolleyes: so I talk back....

    Hoof trimming and stocking hay are a couple hours every 3 months or so...
     
  5. moonspinner

    moonspinner Well-Known Member

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    I spend two hours a day on chores for my herd of 14. But I also take more water out on hot days (don't have water on site), spend time cutting down browse for their evening treat and the time spent hanging out and socializing with them. Plus, of course, the hoof trimmings/wormings/shots when needed. Milking too. And then there's kidding season where it's almost a full time job! For fewer goats like you plan, should be far less time. Cleanup is the big time consumer.
     
  6. Dee

    Dee Well-Known Member

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    I agree. I takes me 10 minutes to feed the goats and make sure they have water, I do this twice a day. But the other days it takes longer....cleaning thier shed, worming, trimming hoofs...but, I don't do all of that in one day.

    I like to leave a manure pileup during the winter, adding new shavings and hay to keep it dry. BUT, in the spring, it is a BIG job cleaning it. After that, I clean once a week, not so hard then.

    If they are only going to be pets and for brush cleaning, you may want to get only two. Less work and believe it or not, you may think there is alot of brush there but it doesn't last forever, especially if new growth doesn't get a chance to start.

    I would go with does of a breed you like so that if you do decide to breed, you are ready (Boers are nice and tough)
     
  7. Milk n' Honey

    Milk n' Honey Well-Known Member

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    Ah....we have small children also.....ages 6 yrs, 4 yrs and 7 months. That does make it harder to spend time with the animals but we do manage somehow. Goats are relatively easy to care for until you have problems. Some of our herd came down with hoof rot or maybe scald. We are spending a couple of hours every other day and about 1/2 hour on the in between days because we are doctoring them. We have some 2 week old triplets on the ground also. Kids always require a bit more time because we need to make sure they are getting enough to eat, taking care of navals, giving shots, playing with them (we want them to love us, right?), etc. This evening, we had to Kopertox 4 goats, give 2 shots to one of them, re-iodine 3 navals, clean and treat with iodine 4 infected ear tag locations and that took a while. We have about 20 goats though. If you just have a few, you won't have to do much but you still need to get in the habit of daily observing and weekly examining of your goats at least. That will prevent major catastrophes from happening b/c you'll catch most things early on and things won't be allowed to get bad. Don't do what we did and get too many goats before you are ready to accomodate them. We have now realized that we need to dig a drainage ditch through one of our lots b/c the goats are getting hoof rot from the constant wet, swampy bottom grounds that they are walking through to get from one side to the other. Our "horse" barn needs some adjustments to better accomodate goats. The spring-time clean-up is a real hassle. I'd do what someone else suggested and get a couple. Then you can see where you want to go from there. They are a lot of fun. The key is knowing what you are doing b/c prevention is always the best way to raise goats but if you don't know what to prevent, that makes it tough. Also, even though a couple of goats "usually" takes just mintues to care for each day, you need to be prepared for the unknown circumstances of a sick goat, in which case, you can add a lot of time to that. Good luck to you!!
     
  8. AllWolf

    AllWolf We love all our animals

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    For me on my goats which I have close to 14 take me about 2 to 3 hours. I get up in the morn check on everyone, feed them, give fresh clean water, bottle feed 2 babies and make sure they have the meds in bottle. Plus I in the evening I milk a doe which takes close to 30mins because doing it by hand, before I milk my doe I make sure her teats is clean, have everything I need to milk her with and treat her after I get done milking but in all I have other chores I have to do. I have chickens, gamebirds and other fowl.. If I really had to fingure out my times of the morn and evening I couldn't really tell you since got some much to do.. When the weather is very hot like it is now I go out more to check on everyone to make sure have plenty of cold water to drink and in the winter I'm the same way. I do other things for my goats but that take to much time to type it out. So this is only half of mine.

    Good Luck on your goats. :)
     
  9. moonspinner

    moonspinner Well-Known Member

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    That's a great point about starting small. I began with two for a couple years to get to know the goat ropes and then slowly worked my way up. You can always get more, but very smart to begin with just two or three.
     
  10. Faithful Heart

    Faithful Heart Well-Known Member

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    Most of the time my morning and evening chores only take about 30 minutes each time. That's to feed, water, collect chicken eggs - the basics. But I have 2 dog feed/water stations, 2 cat feed/water stations, 2 chicken feed/water stations, 1 quail pen, and 2 goat feed/water stations. I don't have to give fresh water every day, but usually every other day. Atleast once a week I clean all water dishes of algae build up.

    Most days are easy and routine..... but then I have days like this morning. :rolleyes:

    After working 8 hours (10pm-7am), I knew I was in for some major chores. Today was "water bucket cleaning day". But I also had some fence to repair from the fun my young buck had. :flame: He'd tore it up last night, and it was noticed when I was taking off for work.... but it was late & too dark to repair at that time. I won't go into the long specifics, but my morning chores took 2 hours today..... and the fence didn't even get fully repaired until my husband was up and we could work on it together (had to be stretched). These are the things to consider when having livestock: is someone at the house to take care of "unforseen" problems? Or can some one GO home from work to fix these things? Escapes are the biggest "unforseen" trouble. When a dog gets out no one really fusses immediatly...... but guaranteed, if you're goat/horse/cow/sheep get out.... a neighbor WILL be calling you at work. They will FIND where you work if they don't already know, and they will INSIST you come home RIGHT NOW and get the animal out of their yard or garden.... or off their CAR. :nono: What they usually say it - "if you don't stop them from eating my prized rose bushes, I'll be eating goat tonight". :eek:

    My first attempt at larger livestock was 3 little sheep. They were forever escaping, and it caused me to leave work about once a week. I had no one at home to correct the problem at that time. It was the reason I got rid of the sheep back then (10 years ago).
     
  11. dezeeuwgoats

    dezeeuwgoats Well-Known Member

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    Brush-eaters won't take much time, just a few minutes am and pm. You'll want to figure in time for hoof trimming - as mentioned above, and checking fences, cleaning water troughs/buckets from time to time. On average, just a few minutes, with half hour here and there for odd jobs like hoof trimming, fence repair.

    Our chores take about an hour am/pm but there are two adults, two very helpful children, and one younger one who helps a little. We have four horses, a steer, two bucket calves (drink milk from bucket), three pigs, twenty-some odd goats in six pens, 50 chickens or so, five barn cats, and a dog. That's nothing 'extra' like fence repair, escapees, pen cleaning,e tc. We clean a water trough or two per day.

    niki
     
  12. shoofly

    shoofly Active Member

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    Thanks so much!!!!! This is really, really helpful and has given us lots of good things to think about.

    Thanks again!!!!
     
  13. Rowdy

    Rowdy Well-Known Member

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    Well, it also depends on how you feed them...

    If they are just there for the brush, you could get away with just a few minutes a day, watering, checking on them. There is a price to that though, which I'll explain later.

    Most times, for acutal chores, my goats take about ten minutes a day. Just a matter of watering them, perhaps putting out some new minerals, and watching them a few minutes to be sure everything is bueno. Right now though, I got behind on my fence building, and my goats managed to eat all the brush... so I'm having to cut branches and trees everyday to be sure they have enough to eat.

    The downside to spending little time with your animals during the daily chores is that it makes the not so frequent chores like hoof trimming, doctoring, etc, much harder and longer, since the animals are not used to you handling them. That is why I try to spend a little time everyday with them, or at least around them. Makes them easier to handle, but not to the point of making spoiled pets out of them.