All About Goat Care

All About Goat Care

People get involved in goat care for many different reasons. Often goats are raised to give milk or meat, mohair or cashmere, to clear land, or to become pets. There are around seven million goats in the world, most of them in developing countries where they are used for milk production.

Goats are very hardy animals, so when it comes to goat care, they do not need much in the way of housing. For winter there should be a shelter with dry bedding. Goats hate to get wet so a shelter from rain and snow is very important. A three-sided shelter works well year-round as long as it protects your goats from the rain. Always house at least two goats together as goats are pack animals and can get very lonely and unhappy if they are the only animal.

Goats must be fenced in and even then they will try to escape every once in a while. So, you need to get good sturdy fencing with heavy-duty wire. An electric fence can work very well as long as you don’t have dogs or other animals small enough to sneak under the fence and get in the pen or pasture.

As far as food goes, goat care means feeding quality hay and grain every day. They also need to receive certain minerals and to have fresh, clean water at all times. Make sure the hay doesn’t sit on the ground where it can get dirty and moldy. A wooden hay stand for feeding should be built outside off the ground. Along the fence line can be the perfect place because when you put it in too small a space, dominant goats can keep the less dominant or younger ones from getting to the feeder.

Goats should be introduced gradually to new pasture or freshly cut green hay so that they do not bloat and become ill. While you may hear that goats will eat anything, in reality this is far from true. Goats are, in fact, very picky about the hay that they will eat. Some goat owners feed alfalfa and timothy with good results.

Goats need to get regular vaccines, so if you are just starting out with goats you will need to find a good large animal veterinarian. They also need to be wormed regularly and to have their hoofs trimmed. Although goats are not frequently ill, it is good to do a little research on goat diseases so you know what symptoms to look for and when you should call a vet.

If you decide to breed your goat, both the female and the male must be in season at the same time. This is usually in the fall, between August and December. During this time, a female goat will go into heat every 18-21 days. After being bred, the gestation period is around 150 days, so the young one will be born in the spring.

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