Stupid Goat Questions

Discussion in 'Goats' started by WolfSoul, Sep 11, 2004.

  1. WolfSoul

    WolfSoul Well-Known Member

    Sep 9, 2004
    Ok, I'm reading a book on Dairy Goats and as they say, a little knowledge is dangerous. I have these stupid, newbie questions I was hoping someone would patiently answer (without laughing too hard at me, LOL)

    1. I have a Nubian doe ready to kid in October. I was reading about debudding the kids. It sounded very painful to the animal because they described using hot irons. Is this a terrible thing to do to the baby? (I told you they were stupid questions.) The books says they "scream" and that it might turn your stomach the first few times. I'm totally into being humane in how I treat all of my animals, so this is a tough call for me because it talks about all the reasons why they should be debudded as opposed to keeping the horns on.

    2. I have a goat with horns and a herd without. The book says the one with horns can damage the hornless ones and says to keep them separate or dehorn the horned goat with rubber bands. It says there will be lots of blood and pain for the horned goat. Yikes! Again, this bothers me. Do you really have to keep horned goats away from dehorned? Will the horned goat pose a threat to my pregnant Nubian which is dehorned?

    3. My goats make a mess with their hay and I read where they won't eat it once it's dropped to the ground. Can anyone suggest a proper manger so that they can't waste so much hay?

    4. How long can you milk a goat after she's had a kid? How do you keep the milk flowing, by breeding her? (I never had kids, so I'm really dumb on this one.)

    5. How often can you breed a goat and be humane to the goat and how can you tell they're in heat. I had a friend look at one of mine and she said immediately Cleo was in heat and I had no clue.

    6. Why are my goats smarter than me? They can undo any gatelatch I use. haha

    7. Which goats make the best milk for cheese?

    8. How often do you worm goats in TX? Every month as I've been told?

    9. Do coyotes and bobcats kill goats quite often in TX? I'm from up North and we don't have either critter to worry about in Maryland.

    10. What is the best guard animal to protect my goats? I've heard Llamas, Longhorns, dogs, wolfdogs, etc.

    11. Am I a total geek because I name all my goats and treat them like family (hahaha.)

    12. Can you become addicted to goats?
  2. Hank - Narita

    Hank - Narita Well-Known Member

    Aug 12, 2002
    We have a neighbor who disbuds goats for $5 each. She gives a tetanus shot and burns the horns in a specially made box. It is a hard deed to do and they sure do scream. We have started feeding pellets which cuts down on the waste. We usually keep milking the does from kidding to fall. Then we rebreed and let them dry up 2 months before kidding. We breed once a year. We have our own buck so the girls look for them when they are in heat. The usually make more noise and just act different when they are in heat. We have smart goats too but we have a boat type latch on the chain on the gate; they can't open that. Our buck seems to protect our property just by being here. We are also fenced really well with 4 pt. barbed wire on the bottom and top of field fence. Guess a LGD would be the best and more fun. Goats are truly addicting. Luckily feed is expensive so we only have 3 does and 1 buck. Join a goat club or get friendly with neighbors who have goats. You will learn a lot just by watching.

  3. Galloping Goats

    Galloping Goats Active Member

    Jun 25, 2004
    The Pacific Northwest
    I think everyone on here treats there goats like family. It can't be helped. Goats are notorious hay wasters. A hay manger with angled slats helps but if you have any mean does that might butt a doe while her head is in the manger, a bad idea. Alfalfa pellets while lactating will save you a little on the waste. I feed orchard grass hay. Grain only on the milkstand. Disbudding does hurt while it's happening but they soon forget. As soon as it's done they act fine. If you think they might be having some pain, give them some baby tylenol. It is less pain than getting your head stuck in a fence or whatnot. I have a hard time telling when my goats are in heat also. They tend to be more vocal(I have Nubains so they are always vocal) and they twitch their tail a lot. You can make cheese out of any goat milk but Nubains have the highest butterfat content. We have cougars and coyotes here in the Pacific Northwest and we keep a donkey. I doubt she could handle a cougar but I know she can handle a coyote. She hates dogs. She won't even let our yard dog in the pasture. She always brays once whenever there is someone outside so she is better than a dog that keeps on barking at every little critter. We just made a hole in the fence so that the goats can go out in the big pastue but the donkey can't get into the small goat yard where the housing is. In fact, if I call the goats and they ignore me, she chases them back up to their yard. You will get addicted to goats, no if about it. Maybe we should start a pole asking how many got into goats because their kids wanted to do 4-H with them. :D
  4. Maureen

    Maureen Member

    Jun 10, 2004
    I must be reading the same book...
    I also really wonder if I will be able to handle debudding kids. Hopefully I will find someone local to do this for us. With many goats in the area maybe I'll get lucky.
    For hay waste I found regardless of the manger, goats waste alot! We added a few 'free range' bunnies to the goat the rabbits happily munch all the wasted costly alfalfa. They are large breed rabbits (flemish giants) and although the goats will push them around.....nobody has gotten hurt and everyone is fat and happy!
    As for protection, we have a buck and he seems willing and able to protect the area. Of course a yard full of Scottish Terriers has pretty much scattered the wildlife out of earshot well before the goats came even though the dogs are kept far from the goat area.
  5. Sarah J

    Sarah J Well-Known Member

    Jun 28, 2003
    Southeast Iowa
    I questioned disbudding, too, for a while. But I have a goat who has horns and she just bullies everyone around her. I will be using the elastrator bands on those horns early this week to take them off and knock her down a peg or two in her ego. I watched the horns grow on the wether that came with her last fall when I got both of them. They are sharp and pointy and can be very dangerous, even when the goat is simply brushing away an annoying insect - if you were also in the way it could mean an eye out... So I determined not to let me kids have horns, for safety reasons, since I have children and am paranoid about myself, too.

    When we had kids this spring (first time) I got out the disbudding iron, steeled myself for a horrid experience. Dh held the baby securely, pressing her head down onto a table where she couldn't squirm. She shrieked form being held as much as from the iron. But I held the iron to her head for a full 15 count and released. She shook her head as we let up on her for a moment and started shrieking again when we put her back down for the other horn. Let up on her after the other horn and gave her the bottle we'd prepared (mine are bottle fed, rather than dam nursed).

    In two sucks of the bottle she was fine, dandy and acted as though *nothing at all* had happened. She was more MAD at being restrained than she was in pain. I think that the heat hurts for a few seconds until the nerves are destroyed - then it's just a matter of "get me out of here and let me go!"

    I was able to do the second baby with a lot more confidence, knowing that this is a momentary annoyance and pain for them...makes me think of piercing a human baby girl's ears - she doesn't know what's going on and it suddenly hurts. But then the pain fades and all is fine.

    And given the benefits of the peace of mind that I have knowing my kids won't have sharp, pointy horns that can do damage, break off or get caught in a fence, I'm glad I did it.

    Deep breath. It really does get easier after the first time when you realize that they only notice it for a brief moment and a bottle makes it all better again! :)

  6. GoatTalkr9

    GoatTalkr9 Well-Known Member

    Aug 1, 2002
    I have 2 different lots of goats. The does and kids are in a lot by the barn,and the wethers and buck are in a lot on the hillside. No does/kids are allowed to have horns. We saw one kid gutted at a neighbor's place 2 years ago by a horned mom. Now..for a grown goat with horns,you don't HAVE to dehorn if you don't wish to. We weren't comfortable with the risks of dehorning our grown goats..and heard about headgear for the horns. We made the headgear out of pvc pipe and lots of ducttape..and haven't had ANY troubles since.About once a month we check to make sure everything is on securely,and add more tape as needed. The goats don't mind..and don't use theirs horns as weapons..they can't,rofl! :haha: My husband measured the pvc pipe to the length of the horns,even the curved the tips. He made slits that the tips slide into,then you tape them in place with ducttape. In an hour's time,he had made the goats safe from each other They had been hooking each other at the throat or leg and attempting to ram them into fences/walls,etc. Now their egos have been knocked down some,and they behave.
  7. Vicki McGaugh TX Nubians

    Vicki McGaugh TX Nubians Well-Known Member

    May 6, 2002
    North of Houston TX
    Disbudding: Nobody likes to do this chore, for me it is right up there with hoof trimming and cleaning out all the shavings in the spring after the winter! When I have extra cash hanging around I even pay someone else to do all 3 of these things :) We are lucky that in our area a retired LaMancha showgal does herd management, pay her gas then about 5$ a head and she disbuds, trims feet, and even will fit (shave) you goats for showing.

    You really need the first time to learn how to disbud from someone who does it. Taking them to the vet to be done will most of the time be as bad as you doing it yourself unless your vet does alot of them, my vet sends folks to me. I or Kenny, the gal who does disbudding around here, do your doe kids while we watch you do your buck kids, bring your disbudder, so you can learn on it, and also we retrofit the top of the disbudders with a 3/4 inch copper water fitting, most tips on disbudders do not have a large enough inside diameter to do a good job of disbudding without scurs.

    Dehorning: If you find old posts of mine on Countryside you will here me tell you I think that unless under vet anesthetic, that taking off full grown animals horns is cruel. Well now that I have done it, seen it done with the wonderful site on the internet, and talked to those who have done it herdwide, with no blood, no gorry stories to tell, I do know that I was passing on information that wasn't true. Using the elasatator bands correctly works really well. IF you goats use their horns against each other, than no you do not want a horned goat in with disbudded ones.

    Hay: I have also moved away from the tons of hay I used to feed yearly. I feed alfalfa pellets, they also have grass hay pellets in most places. The best hay feeder I have is made out of a utility panel (a cattle panel that has little 4x4 squares. The goats can only get their mussle into the holes, so no pulling out mouth fulls of hay onto the ground to lay on. It is mounted to a trainagle peices that mounts onto the wall, narrow at the bottom and a little wider than a normal flake of hay at the top, I fill it from my side of the barn, the goats eat from it on theirs, the hay naturally goes to the bottom since it is in this funnel setup.

    Milking: Is all supply and demand. Once a doe kids, she will produce milk as long as you take the milk out of her udder daily, every 12 hours and she produces even more milk. Let one baby nurse one side and noone relieve the milk from the other and that side will dry up. You could milk her for the rest of her life if you milked her every 12 hours after that first kidding. I take kids away at birth and raise them myself, they drink considerably more milk than they need to grow out well, if left to nurse. I milk the doe for 10 months, at which time she is about 100 days bred, so I dry her up.

    Cheese: You can make cheese, soap, lotion, and raw for drinking, out of any milk, from any mammal, and from any goat you want to milk. I have milked all breeds but Obies, there isn't a nickles difference in all the milk. Yes Saanens milk is distingishable because it contains little fat, this can be felt on the tongue and seen in the glass. But there are trade offs in all breeds. Nubians and other really meat animals of course have higher butterfat, but they also have lower milk volumes, all the swiss breeds milk circles around most Nubians. One thing being in Tx I can tell you is that LaMancha's and the crosses of LaMancha's with the other breeds milk more every day of the year, day in and day out, than any other breed. Being a USA bred animal they take better to our hot heat and humidity.

    Breeding: There isn't anything inhumane or humane about breeding livestock. Why goats work out in any situation and make a really good homestead goat is that they easily live in any situation. From down the road from me to the guy who tethers his goats out in the right away all day, rain or shine, to the gal in the next town where each goat has her own seperate stall, a ceiling fan, a automatic waterer, rubbermats with shavings that are replaced daily, and fresh fruit every morning, and granola bars on the milkstand if they behave. I breed once a year and kid out all my goats in March. Back years ago I bred my brood does (does who where kept only to produce saleable or showable kids) and they had 3 sets of kids in 2 years. All are heatlhy and happy. Goats thrive on consistancy, no matter what the managment is.

    Worming: Mangement is a total package. Lots of reasons for the high worm burdens you will here folks in the south talk about all the time. It's the number one question asked all the time. We get little freeze, which means parasites overwinter in our pastures. We get lots of rain, so as a pasture floods, the worm eggs and worm larve simply float up (they can't crawl) to the top of the grass, the goat eat them the next time they graze. Reinfestation. Most folks don't understand just how poor the soil is. We have a huge problem with copper defficiency and selenium problems down here. If you do not address these with adequate loose minerals fed daily in covered containers that don't get wet, you will have other problems caused by these defficiencies. A goat who is stressed, moved to a new home, having kids, bothered by dogs, picked on by other goats or children, or nutritionally stressed will get ill faster, and will have huge worm and cocci burdens.

    Worming monthly, worming with the wrong drug, worming with too little product, is the fastest way to worm resistance. If you aren't going to fecal sample your goats poop, either yourself of with a vet who uses a chambered slide, than mirror what you do in your herd after someone who has animals that you admire.

    Guardians: Your goal here isn't to have the meanest dog, llama or donkey on the block. Your goal is to make the critters that will eat or harass your stock, think twice about coming to your place for a quick meal, and go down the road. Our coyotes, bobcats, and local roaming dogs, choose the folks down the road for their quick dinners, because I keep dogs. I have also had donkeys that worked wonderfully. I have alwaysed used Rhodesian ridgebacks and crosses of them, because I do not want a stock dog in the way I raise my goats. I want a farm dog. A dog who stays with me during chores, goes out with the goats when needed, cleans up icky butts on kids, licks off kids when I have too many coming to fast during kidding season, tells me when the grandson is doing something he isn't supposed to, greet visitors, sort of telling me who belongs and who doesn't. Patrols the porch and the barn. Using these dogs, even though I am just 10 acres of hundreds of acres of national forest, I have never had any of my lovestock killed from predators. Yes my dogs have had a few fights with them over the years, but them being here keeps predators away, both 4 and 2 legged. I disbatch most predators I see with my 22.

    Livestock as pets: If you can afford to have goats, horses, cows, pigs, chickens pets, thats fine. As long as you understand the amount of money these things cost for that gallon of milk or dozen eggs. But there are decisions that come with breeding pets that you will have to deal with eventually. Those that don't deal with it are out of the goat business or off the homestead very quickly.

    You will have 50% male livestock out of your pets over the lifetime of the animal. With so many folks they simply can't eat or butcher their own pets they raise. They also will not sell the males to anyone who they even think may eat them. In a case like this you should not breed the animals then, because if not now than later, all male livestock eventually find their way to someones dinner table. As with everything you do on the farm, you have to have a plan.

  8. Rouen

    Rouen Well-Known Member

    Aug 18, 2004
    North East
    this wont help with your questions but.. "I'm from up North and we don't have either critter to worry about in Maryland." I too am from up north(MA) and we have eastern coyotes which are bassically the same exact thing as the western coyotes except they hunt more like wolves and hunt bigger game, and we've also got bob cats, and I know both bobcats and coyotes range southward I talk to many people that live along the east coast and they've heard and seen bobcats and coyotes.
  9. Meg Z

    Meg Z winding down

    Jun 8, 2004
    Everyone's covered everything pretty well. I had to add my two bits on the disbudding, though. Most of my life, I have been adamant about not disbudding. Poor baby, it hurts.

    Well, I've learned that it hurts them worse to be hung up in a fence for hours because the horns got stuck. Depending on the weather, it could be a death sentence. (Bear that in mind down there in Texas). I've not seen one damaged by anothers horns, but I recently got beat up by someone elses horned nubian, and those horns with nearly 200 pounds of goat behind them hurt! I got slammed into the fence several times, and pinned, and had to be rescued, and I grew up with goats. All mine will go through a few minutes of pain as babies, to prevent a possible slow death later on. I don't have to get beat up more than once. Those hard heads can hurt enough without the horns on there!

    Good luck,
    Meg :)