potential new goat owner

Discussion in 'Goats' started by kgchis, May 15, 2006.

  1. kgchis

    kgchis Well-Known Member

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    Mississippi
    I plan to get 4-6 Pygmy Goats to use to train my herding dogs.

    How much space would the goats need? We have 70 acres so I know I have enough space, I would just like to keep the enclosure small.

    Also, I plan to build a little shed for them to use for shelter and shade. Is there anything else I really need?

    What kind of fence works best?
     
  2. Freeholder

    Freeholder Well-Known Member

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    I've never had pygmy goats, so someone can correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think they are any different than the full-sized goats in this respect. Goats don't herd. They follow. My goats will follow me anywhere (no can of grain needed), even across a raging stream. But they don't herd.

    If you want something for training herding dogs, you need either some runner ducks, or some sheep, possibly both. But I don't think goats are going to work for you.

    Kathleen
     

  3. Caprice Acres

    Caprice Acres AKA "mygoat" Staff Member Supporter

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    Ok, well I have a small shed, but the goats would need quite a bit of room for as many as you are planning on... I believe it's 10 sq feet per pygmy goat. Also, make the pasture as big as possible. In fact, make two or more. The more grazing they have the less actuall food you will have to give them and the cheaper they will be to own.
    I don't know if all pygmy goats are like this, but my herd queen woud definetly attack any dog attempting to herd her, so look for goats that don't have horns, lol.

    In fact, I kinda reccomend sheep, as they are a little stupider and more 'herdsy" than goats. Goats aren't afraid of breaking into two or three little groops, and confusing a herding dog that is just learning to herd... And aren't most competitions done with ducks and sheep as well? It seems to me that if you used sheep the dogs would be more sure of themselves if you use sheep from the start...
    Cource, I'm biased... I can't see any other use for a pygmy goat than as a pet! Hehe.
     
  4. TexCountryWoman

    TexCountryWoman Gig'em

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    Lexington Texas area
    I agree that sheep would be better, whether it be wool sheep or hair sheep (Barbados). Goats are prtty smart and sheep are a lot dumber and tend to clump together. Goats would break into groups if need be and would not be as useful to train a herd dog.

    But aside from that, so answer to question: Goats need browse more than grass, shelter from sun, wind and rain, they HATE rain! From extreme cold in the winter and extreme heat in the summer....deep shade should be fine, not just a tin shed which could heat up, of course i'm in texas.

    They need good clean water. A GOAT mineral mix, not one for sheep, VERY impertant difference, has to do with the amount of copper. If you can't find goat minerals, use horse. And it must be in the LOOSE form, not a block.

    Feed them alfalfa pellets and no grain. If they are not pregnant or nursing, they need no grain and it can actually be harmful in large amounts. A goat chow may be ok, I am not familiar and do not use it. No molasses sweet feed at all, can harm rumens and bloat them.

    Worm the goats on a periodic basis as needed.

    Okay, i'm getting complicated here aren't I? if you are gonna have goats, do take care of them.

    We goat people want uou to get sheep!
     
  5. lacesout

    lacesout Well-Known Member

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    Deja Vu. That is how I got my goats ... so beware. I don't let my dogs near my goats now because it might stress them! ;)

    I got a trio of goats to work my Australian Shepherds. BTW, there are goat breeders who use dogs with large meat herds that are 'dog broke' but I found that goats were not good starter livestock. They do all kinds of things, and they don't stick together as well as I'd like for a started dog. I found that the goats were better behaved than the dogs and sure didn't need to be chased to go into their pen at night. The dogs only freaked them out and made them more disinclined to move. A friend of mine trains her dogs on goats and some of them hide when they see the dog coming. Not your typical flock behavior.

    In any event, I would strongly suggest sheep. Not suffolk because my vet raises them and claims they are monsters. Indian runner ducks are good, too.

    We now have nine goats. All have names, and I enjoy them as much as the dogs. They do require a high level of care IMO - proper mineral supplemention, balanced feeding plan and worming schedule. They can also stress out pretty easy which is why I would only use an experienced dog who'll give them alot of room if I were moving them with a dog.

    Good luck and no matter what you select make sure you look into their nutritional needs so they stay healthy.
     
  6. kgchis

    kgchis Well-Known Member

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    Mississippi
    herding sheep, goats, and cattle

    I know some trials let you choose between sheep, goats, and cattle now.

    I am not interested in taking my dog to trials. I just want a couple working dogs to help with the 35+ head of cattle.

    Ducks don't last long around our farm. Either they are eaten by foxes or the eggs are eaten by snakes. We used to keep a pair of ducks on the pond, but we quit trying 15 years ago because they disappeared.

    Since I don't want them kicked by a cow while learning. I felt like sheep or goats would be best. I picked goats because I can get some easily (sheep are rare in NE Mississippi), and I won't have to sheer them. Hoof trimming and diet I can handle.


    There isn't any trainer near me with dog broke stock I can practice on. The only dog trainer within 3 hours of me only trains collies. I have an Australian Cattle Dog and an Australian Shepherd.


    Goats are my only real option.

    Also I found this little bit on a site about training German Shepherds

    " GOATS

    Debbie Burnette, who has Cardigan Welsh Corgis, highly recommends goats for starting dogs. When I questioned this because their groups break apart very easily. She responded that yes they break apart, but they don’t take off. So, the dog can easily put them back together again. A good alternative when there are no appropriate sheep available. Also, although sheep are known for grouping much better than goats, so many sheep we see today, actually group worse than goats. In some areas, it seems like there are not heavy wooly sheep available to work. No one wants to sheer. Therefore, only light haired sheep which are bad for starting GSDs on are available. However, haired goats can be heavy and therefore are a much better choice for GSDs than haired sheep. If all you have is light sheep in your area, seek out goats.

    Cow dog folks often start dogs on goats and then progress to cattle. They find this produces a much better on dog then starting on sheep. Goats behave much more like cattle than they do sheep and aren’t as intimidating for a starting dog as are cattle. After they have a handle on the dog and it has gained in confidence, then they move on to cows."

    The hole article is at http://members.cox.net/gsdherd/stock.htm
     
  7. lacesout

    lacesout Well-Known Member

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    It'll take work. Keep in mind that Australian Shepherds are not generally gatherers like BCs are. I have 12 of them and find they tend to work too close and want to head. They are great on cattle though. Get the Virgil Holland book - don't recall the title.

    What lines is your ASD from. I like Hangin'Tree/Peters Ranch myself. Good luck with your training.