People may get overwhelmed when they take their goats home – but if you have your goat pen ready, the rest it really is quite easy.
Your goat pen should include 4 things:
- Protection – to mountain lions and coyotes, your goat looks like a 4-legged snack, so keep them in a pen at night and/or have good motion lights.
- Water – There should always be water available and it should be clean
- Hay – have a bale of that hay matches their current feed. We mostly feed our goats a grass hay and alfalfa
- Baking Soda – A Goat’s stomach is a little brewery always fermenting. That is how they get protein from plants. Sometimes their stomach gets imbalanced and they need to supplement with Baking Soda. You should always have baking soda available for them to eat when needed.
Now that you have the basics the rest is just maintenance!
Feed forage, alfalfa, or grass hay. Grain is a snack, not a main feed. They need roughage for their rumen to stay healthy.
Always keep clean water – no algae in the water trough or water bucket
Keep minerals out and free for them to eat. We prefer minerals that are exclusively for goats. ( It is not for sheep) or else some supplements will be missing.
We also keep baking soda next to their minerals. Baking soda is what goats eat to regulate the digestion in the first section of their 4 part stomach, called the rumen. It is basically a fermenter which is why you hear them gurgling and burping so much.
What does a sick goat look like?
- Bloat – A goat who has an imbalanced digestive system will have their stomach fill with pressure, this is called bloat. A combination of forcefeeding them a baking soda solution with water and rubbing their left side can help. Many goats will self care before it gets this far as long as you leave our a bowl of baking soda t=for them to eat as needed.
- Scours – happens when they have a digestive sickness. Watch their poo:
- Healthy – pebble-like and not clumped together.
- Keep on Watch – If they have pebbles that are clumped together they may have an upset stomach from eating something they shouldn’t or by eating too much grain – On our farm this happens if they sneak too much chicken feed.
Needs treatment – runny, no pebbles at all. This means you have a sick goat and you should treat them with Corid.
Supplements and shots:
- Copper bolus – every 6 months
- BO-SE – selenium supplement
- CDT – annual shot
- Worming – every 6 months
Pest prevention (Big and small)
First keep stalls clean by keeping fresh bedding. Sprinkle lime powered on top of wet spots to neutralize goat pee. Also can spread diatomaceous earth to keep down mites.
Ticks, fleas, mites – varies based on type of pest. You can rub diatomaceous earth in their coat to kill bugs. Use chemicals, dips, and sprays as a last resort.
Watch their hooves – hooves should be trimmed every two or three months.