Housing: Good ventilation but not drafty. Calf hutches work well. Make sure bedding is deep to keep goats dry (they think they will melt if they get wet). They enjoy climbing items like spools, logs and pallets. All goats need to be housed with a buddy in order to be happy and healthy. Good fencing is needed to keep goats in and predators out. Never tie a goat out!! They tangle easily and have no defense if a predator comes along.
Feed: Noble Goat medicated (at Tractor Supply) is what our kids are used to. It contains a coccidiosis med and is also balanced for calcium:phosphorus and contains ammonium chloride for bucks/wethers to decrease the chance of urinary calculi (ammonium chloride from Hoegger Supply can also be sprinkled on feed to prevent this problem). Make feed changes very gradually (over a period of a week or two) so the rumen can adjust. Goats also enjoy a few alfalfa pellets and black oil sunflower seeds. We also add shredded beet pulp if they look like they need it. A nice soft 2nd cutting grass hay is what goats really like. Goats have a hard time eating tough, stemmy hay. Never feed moldy or dusty hay. Goats can easily get sick on bad hay. When looking to buy hay, look for horse quality hay. You can feed a grass/alfalfa/clover mix but we just add alfalfa pellets so we can adjust for their body condition. Goats are notorious for wasting hay and once it hits the ground, they consider it bedding and will not eat it. We have a hay feeder with slanted slats so goats have to tip their head to get in and eat. This has significantly cut down on hay waste since they can’t grab a bite, pull their heads back, and drop half of it.
Get familiar with a “poisonous plants for goats” list… there are many online.
Treats: Goats will make you think they are starving to death at all times! Keep treats to a minimum. They especially like animal crackers (plain, of course), fritos, and sliced bananas (peeling and all). Again, don’t overdo it because the balance in the rumen can get off kilter and you’ll have a bad situation.
Water: Clean, fresh water at all times. If there’s something floating in it, they likely won’t drink it. Goats also really enjoy warm water especially in winter.
Minerals/Supplements: Goats need minerals that are high in copper and offered free choice. Don’t give them feed or minerals that are for sheep and goats – it will not have enough copper as sheep cannot have high copper. We use Goat Minerals by Manna Pro (Tractor Supply). Goats must have a loose mineral – their tongues are not rough enough to be able to get minerals off of a block. 1-2 times per month, we give our goats a dime-sized amount of Replamin Plus Gel vitamins/minerals (available from Jeffers Livestock). It helps them maintain a great coat, good reproductive system, healthy babies, and they also shed out nicely in the spring since we’ve been using it. Also offer baking soda free choice to balance their rumen. They also benefit from loose salt which encourages drinking (important for bucks to keep urinary calculi/stones from developing). We also top-dress feed with kelp and diamond V yeast (Hoegger Supply).
Vaccinations: Your kids will have received a CDT vaccination as well as a booster. This will need to be repeated one more time at about 3 months of age. Repeat yearly after that. CDT vaccine is available at Tractor Supply or Fleet Farm. I also give a pasturella/pneumonia vaccine by Colorado Serum to the animals that we retain. It’s available from Jeffers if you are interested.
Hoof Care: Hooves need to be trimmed every 2-3 months depending on how quickly they grow. There are many videos and tutorials on-line for how to do it. I can show you when you pick up your animal. You will need a hoof trimmer and I also like a plane to finish the hoof smoothly. Tools can be purchased at Tractor Supply, Fleet Farm, and Hoegger Supply. A milking/trimming stand or a helper to hold the animal makes this job much, much easier!!
Deworming: We deworm our animals 3-4 times per year using either Ivermectin injectible (1 cc per 25 pounds) or Quest Horse paste (1 cc per 100 pounds). These dewormers are given ORALLY even if they say injected – they work much better that way. Do not use pour-on dewormers. Goats have sensitive skin and can be easily burned! Look up the FAMANCHA scale online to help you determine when to deworm. A dull coat will also help you know. Your vet can also run a fecal to tell you exactly what worms your goats have and how to treat – this is probably the best method because you’re not wasting money on dewormers that may/may not work for the type of worms your goats are carrying. Be sure to read about dewormer safety for pregnant does. We try to avoid deworming pregnant does.
Coccidiosis Prevention: Your kids will have already been started on coccidiosis prevention treatments. Treat for 5 days. Repeat every 3 weeks until well grown (usually 5-6 months old). We use Di-Methox 40% injectable given ORALLY available from Hoegger Supply (Dosage is: 1cc per 5 lbs on day 1, 1cc per 10 lbs days 2-5).
Good things to have on hand:
· Thermometer (normal goat temp is 101.5-103.5, can vary slightly depending on outside temperature, know your goats and know what’s normal for them so you know when their temp is outside of normal)
· Needles and syringes
· C & D Antitoxin
· Vegetable oil or bloat release, baking soda
· Blue coat and iodine for injuries
· Vet wrap
· Your veterinarian's phone number
Fiasco Farm (great information regarding care, health, treatments, etc.)
Myotonic Goat Registry
American Dairy Goat Association
Most of all, enjoy your goats! With a little care, they are so much fun!