Questions from a newbie

Discussion in 'Goats' started by tarheeldawn, Jun 28, 2005.

  1. tarheeldawn

    tarheeldawn New Member

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    Jun 27, 2005
    I posted a question yesterday but I think my post got dropped so I'll try again. I have had horses all my life but am new to goat-keeping. A friend of mine gave me 2 young Nubians, one wether and his half-sister. I have had them for 3 weeks now and they are 6 months and 4 months respectively. The wether got off to a rough start in life as he was born curved to the right and was unable to hold his body straight. He also stuck his right hind leg out and walked with it like a peg leg. After some "goat physical therapy" (my friend and I are both PTs), he is moving much better and can even turn completely to the left to scratch his left ear with his left hind foot. His still has a habit of circling to the right when he gets excited (like at feeding time). He also appears to have a visual field deficit (I think he can see out of the left sides of his eyes but not the right). In any case he at least has a distance vision problem as you can tell when he loses you or his sister (baas and circles) and then when he can see you again. He seems very happy and, because he was handled so much, is just a love, very social and tame. His sister did not get handled at my friends farm nearly as much and she is on the skittish side. I can hand feed her and pet her but the minute she thinks I'm going to catch or restrain her in any way, she runs off. Catching her to bring her home was interesting to say the least. I'm also concerned about being able to provide her with adequate care as she doesn't let me pick up her feet. I haven't even tried worming her yet as I'm not sure how I'd get it in her if I can't restrain her in some way. All of this leads to the following questions. To further explain, this is my current set-up. The goats are in a 20' round pen made with the Billy Goat Gruff panels which we placed inside the paddock with the horses (about 3 acres). The horses pay no attention to them whatsoever. The horses paddock is fenced with post and rail (3 rails). Would it make any sense to fence the post and rail with wire and keep the goats and horses together? We originally got the goat fencing thinking we could move it around the farm. Right! That fencing is so heavy it takes about 5 people to move it (unless you broke it all apart which is problematic given the goat-catching problem). Should I take a chance and just try teaching them to herd (which might be hard given my wethers visual problems). I think I can lead him but should I assume she'll follow? I bought a couple of books on goat-keeping and am frustrated because they are so general or the advice I've read doesn't work (one book advised leading a goat by the ear - not a good idea as my doe leaped into the air screaming like she'd been skinned alive). My friend tried de-budding the wether with no success and never even tried the doe. Should I even bother now at their ages? They are not show quality, just pets. Thanks for any and all responses. I love this site!
     
  2. Vicki McGaugh TX Nubians

    Vicki McGaugh TX Nubians Well-Known Member

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    North of Houston TX
    Welcome to the board and to goats. It's up to you if you keep your goats and horses together. They could all be fine together or the horses could kill the goats. They could be fine and then the doe comes into heat and then they have problems, you simply never know.

    When your horses need their hooves trimmed, do you allow them to decide if it gets done or do you simply do it :) ?? Same goes for the goats. Goats are smarter than most livestock, and she is going to be running you all over if you keep up this idea that she knows best, and you don't want to upset her! Trim her feet! Worm her! Get a milkstand and get her accustomed to going up on it and standing for her feet to be trimmed, for her worming, to eat grain, to be milked if you need or want to. At the least she should be taught to lead, to stand clipped to a fence.

    My Nubians at 4 years old top 200 pounds, I couldn't even imagime having to deal with them if I had not taught them manners when they were younger! Vicki
     

  3. Jen H

    Jen H Well-Known Member

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    Washington
    My experience:

    Goats need to be together. So if you get one of them moving in the right direction the other one will follow. That's how I move my herd from the barn into their pasture in the morning - get the dominant goat on a lead and the rest follow right along.

    Get a collar on the doe. Dog collars work just fine - I prefer the break-away ones so the animal won't strangle themself if they freak out or get caught. Then, when she's nibbling on a goodie and you're scritching her - slip your fingers under that collar and clip it to a leash. Teach her to walk on lead the same way you teach a dog to do it. Put some goodies in an old bowl and shake it in front of her. She moves forward nicely - she gets a treat. She puts up a fuss - you drag her along so she learns that you are in control, as soon as she starts walking again she gets a treat. All of my goats wear collars and know how to walk on leads. It makes it much easier when you have to restrain them for any reason. It also gives you something to grab when the buggers are NOT cooperating and you do have to catch them.

    Spend lots of time with her on a lead. Goats have a definite hierarchy and you need to make sure she knows that you are dominant. Walk her around, tie her to a hook, handle her feet and udder - talk to her nicely all the while and make sure treats just appear sometimes out of your pockets. She may never like having her feet handled, but she does need to let you work.

    To get medicines into them, get them on a milking stand or tie them to a strategic eye hook in the barn wall (I have them all over the place). Press them up against the wall. Get your knee right behind their shoulder and hold them in place while you lift their head up and get your fingers in their mouth behind their teeth. Press their mouth open just enough to get the syringe in, and press the plunger. Make sure they're swallowing and not choking. You can do this by brute force when they're young. Once they're full grown and over 200 lbs - that goat needs to know the routine and trust you enough to let you doctor them. Otherwise you're looking at rounding up 3 strong men to hold the goat down while you work on it. The whole routine sounds brutal when it's written out, but it really goes in one quick movement. It takes longer to get the goat tied up than it does to give the wormer or whatever.

    Most of all, have fun with the buggers! They're smart and stubborn, but goats also have some of the sweetest personalities you'll ever run across.
     
  4. tarheeldawn

    tarheeldawn New Member

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    Thanks for your suggestions! I did have a collar on her and she did pull back, it broke, and it was quite a challenge to catch her. The reason I got concerned was then she was more timid for 2 days or so after that incident and wouldn't even eat out of my hand. I guess I just have to get over her getting upset, huh? She is a drama queen! It's amazing how everyone's experience with goats is so different and unique. I have always had my horses at farms with goats and they basically fended for themsleves with no apparent problem. I had no idea they could be so sensitive. She is a cutie, though, and to get her to be more agreeable will be a fun challenge. Thanks again!
     
  5. Starsmom

    Starsmom Well-Known Member

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    my goats and horses all get along great. The horses are always curious about what the goats are up to. They are even very careful when the little ones are out and about. The watch their step and won't run unless they know exactly where the babies are. Occasionally one horse may have a tiff with a goat, but usually the horse wins and the goat leaves them alone. I have had my herd queen think she could head butt my stud when he wouldn't move out of her desired path. She quickly changed her mind when he pinned his ears back. She decided it was easier for her to move. They all adapt and it is funny to watch them. I have seen my horeses racing the goats in from the pasture, in general they get along very well.

    As far as the feet, my doe hates having her feet done, but every time you do it, it gets easier and eventually she will accept it without a problem. Then again, I have some that will stand no matter where they are and cooperate completely. I also found that I got something they liked and began putting it in syringes and feeding it to them. Now it doesn't matter what is in the syringe, they open their mouths willingly and usually come back for more. I was told the Ivermectin was nasty and they would spit it out. Mine love it and fight over it when I give it to them.

    It just takes trial and error, what works for some may not work for all.
     
  6. lgslgs

    lgslgs Well-Known Member

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    Southeast Ohio
    Our goats have no eyesight problems, but when they were young each of them had their chance to get seperated from the herd and run around "blindly" calling for help.

    At a young age, they weren't able to track on the sound of someone calling them and didn't realize if they just looked around for a minute they could probably figure out a more sensible way to find the herd. Our calf was far better at those skills at 4 - 6 weeks than the baby goats were at 3 - 4 months.

    We were at a friend's farm last week, and one of the kids was 30 feet from Mom, seperated by some tallish grass, and he was running back and forth like a bahh-ing idiot as Mom continued to eat, unalarmed. Yours may very well have vision problems, but keep in mind that they do have an odd way of perceiving the world at that age.

    As for herding, we trained our first two to be interested in "green cup" (an empty sour cream container filled with corn) by sitting in their pen for a week or two reading a book and rattling the cup - giving them a treat when they ventured close. Then we took them for a walk on long leashes to go feed, with green cup in the pocket just in case. On day two of the walks, we didn't need the leashes anymore, and within 2 or three more days we could include the dogs on the walk. Herding is very easy if you do it after a bit of prework where they associate you as the leader who will take them to good munchies. It also didn't hurt that during their first few weeks, my husband was fine tuning all potential escape routes from their night pasture and they saw him fussing around near grass and weeds. We think they interpreted that as him "showing them the munchies", and that solidified his role as herd leader.

    Unfortunately, I never fully achieved the same status as herd leader. When we go for walks, I often wander off and shoot photos of flowers. Between wandering off from the herd, and laying down on the ground looking at something tasty and not eating it, I have firmly apparently solidified my position as "the stupid one". Fortunately, the goats do consider me THEIR stupid one so they do herd with me, even if they sometimes give me "that look".

    Lynda