Prepping for Your First Goats
There are so many different goat raising resources out there. Collected here is what I have found most useful. Raising goats is a learning process - continued research and dedicated learning is key to keeping happy, healthy goats. Hopefully this page here serves as a good place to get you started.
Northwest Oregon Goat Conference
Northwest Oregon Dairy Goat Association hosts an Annual Goat Education Conference in February. A wide variety of classes for goat owners of all kinds! Whether you are a beginner, a 4-H'er, or an advanced goat owner, there is something for everyone!
What to have before bringing home your goats:
There are many different options for goat housing; including barns, 3-sided sheds, pallet structures, and more.
Nigerian Dwarfs need a fence that they cannot get through, despite being such small creatures. At Hanson's Hideaway Farm, we use no-climb horse fencing for our babies and field fencing for our adults
Having a hay supplement is very important for ensuring your goats will always have something to eat. We feed locally grown grass hay. While bucks are in rut, we will feed alfalfa and low sugar orchard grass hay. Our milkers get a low sugar orchard grass hay.
Goats love to browse before grazing. Goats love eating weeds, blackberry bushes, and leaves. Maintaining a pasture with a height greater than 4” to 6” decreases the risk of goats consuming parasites with their grass.
There are many different opinions on what to feed goats, so please research and experiment to find what works best for you. Goats need a diet of 2:1 calcium to phosphorus ratio. Alfalfa is an excellent source of calcium and you could supplement with alfalfa pellets or chaffhaye as a treat. Only our lactating does are fed a grain mix while on the milk stand. Wethers DO NOT need grain. Instead, you can feed your wether alfalfa pellets or chaffhaye with a handful of black oil sunflower seeds.
Our goats have access to fresh water daily. In our pink water buckets, we add ACV (apple cider vinegar) as a secondary choice to fresh water because of all the amazing benefits ACV provides. Most of our goats prefer to drink the ACV water before the plain water!!
Free Choice Loose Minerals
Goats need constant access to loose minerals to eat at their leisure in order to maintain proper health. Pressed blocks are advised against as they can deteriorate teeth. We use Sweetlix Meat Maker and Payback Goat minerals.
Goat Medical Supplies to have on hand
These are the kinds of things you’ll want to have before you need them.
*** It’s up to you to decide how much you are comfortable doing on your own. Not all veterinarians have experience with goats, and experience with other species does not usually translate well into caring for goats. Nevertheless, a good goat vet is a great thing to have and find before you need him or her.***
Quick Read Rectal Thermometer
Whenever you notice a goat looking "off", a thermometer is the first tool to have on hand! This is essential for diagnosing what could be wrong with a sick goat. 101.5 - 103.5 is an ideal range for goats.
Hooves can be trimmed every 4 to 8 weeks depending on how fast the individial goat's hooves grow.
How to trim hooves:
Blu Kote Band Aid Spray or Alushield
Basically a liquid band aid for livestock.
Great for settling the rumen of a stressed or sick goat.
Milk of Magnesia, Vegetable or Mineral Oil, Baking Soda
These are for treating bloat in goats. I recommend getting all three as some are better for some forms of bloat than others.
Used for treating a goat that has eaten something poisonous. Definitely something to have on hand before you need it!
Used to administer any sort of liquid (like dewormers or bloat treatment). Seriously important as there is no other way to force feed something to an unwilling goat.
Our goats are wormed once a week with a DoTerra essential oil blend of: oregano, wild orange, lemongrass and cloves. We worm with Fir Meadows DwormA and GI Soother the day before, on and day after a full moon.
The full moon worming is due to 'circalunar' reproductive cycles, especially common in nematodes/helminths including parasitic species. Just like marine worms tend to form reproductive swarms as the moon approaches the fullest, terrestrial ones tend to as well. So that's the best time to wipe out adults and eggs while they're in the lower bowels to breed, so they can easily be eliminated without causing the host problems.
Apple Cider Vinegar and Ammonium Chloride
Used for preventing (the ACV) and treating (the ammonium chloride) urinary stones in male goats.
Banamine or Baby Aspirin
A pain killer, fever and swelling reducer.
A boost of B vitamins for sick goats which stimulates and helps maintain rumen function.
More about this: http://www.tennesseemeatgoats.com/articles2/BVitamins06.html
Disposable Needles and Syringes
For administering injectables.