Advice about Goats

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9 years 7 months ago #38565 by clemclan
Advice about Goats was created by clemclan
Hi everyone, I'm thinking about getting a couple of goats on our lifestyle block. I've done some research but would like some advice from any experienced goat owners on here. I'm not wanting them to milk or to breed. Firstly, is it best for the goat to get two of them, so they have another goat for company? I imagine two females together is fine, but what about two male? Best breed? Any advice appreciated, thank you in advance!

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9 years 7 months ago #496703 by LongRidge
Replied by LongRidge on topic Advice about Goats
What sort of weeds do you want to control? How wet is the ground ie where are you?

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9 years 7 months ago #496705 by eelcat
Replied by eelcat on topic Advice about Goats
You will need decent fences. Ours are contained by good batten ed 7 wire fences. One would be lonely. Two does would be my suggestion. Saanen in our experience have poor feet if it is damp but we manage ours with 3 weekly pedicures. Goats seem to do better on rougher pasture but then they clean it up and it turns into good pasture. You will need some hay to feed as a supplementary feed. At this time of the year we give ours lots of weeds that e take out of various gardens. In the summer we top our poplars as supplementary food.

1 Border collie, 1 Huntaway, 2 Lhasa Apsos, Suffolk and arapawa ewe crosses, an Arapawa ram,an East Friesian ewe , 5 cats, 42 ducks , 1 rooster and 30 hens, 5 geese, 12 goats, 2 donkeys, 2 house cows, one heifer calf, one bull calf, 3 rabbits and lots and lots and lots of fruit trees...

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9 years 7 months ago #496724 by meadowlands
Replied by meadowlands on topic Advice about Goats
Over the years I've had does that have been very vocal when they have been in season.
If that is a problem you might be better off with wethers?

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9 years 7 months ago #496732 by kate
Replied by kate on topic Advice about Goats
Good fences are essential as eelcat said, although the more goats you have, the less likely they are to wander...

Definitely get at least two-they need the company.

If you're not going to breed or milk then get weathers, they're quiet, friendly and won't drive you mad looking for a buck :)

As to breed, my preference is for angoras but they can be high maintenance compared to other breeds. Look for animals with good feet.

We give our goats ad lib hay all year round. We also have specific goat mineral mix.

In my view, the more goats the better! They're great animals to have around and they're natural comedians who make life fun.

Cheers
Kate

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9 years 7 months ago #496733 by Mustangnin
Replied by Mustangnin on topic Advice about Goats
They are wonderful pets- and definitely two as they form very strong bonds, especially if you get them younger at the same time. I got 2 at 2 different occasions - and each pair are such close friends. They have merged into a little herd.
Electric fences controls them easily- mine only got a few zaps very early on and they never test the fences anymore- unless by accident.
They need shelter in the form of a little house as they do not really like rain.
Hay as a supplement they love also and some prunings off safe plants/ grass/ weeds etc...
I personally love mine (of course) as they are Arapawa / Arapawa cross. Fauna (the doe which looks like full Arapawa) I find has better feet than the others. Our land can be wet and they do need regular attention to their feet- but they have their pebbled corral where they are able to stay very dry underfoot.
Another thing is some need shearing and some moult naturally. All mine moult naturally which is easier for me. Their coats are so dense and they are kept toasty in winter.
They love their himalayan salt lick and I have a loose wonder lick which at times they lick from also.
My 2 weathers were castrated early and one has problems with urinary calculi. The vet suggested that they should have been done later to allow the urinary tract time to develop. It is an ongoing condition which I manage with giving extra calcium everyday- but at one stage when I was bad when first diagnosed it was terribly painful for the wee man and thought he may have needed to have been put to sleep. Two years later he is great. Hence I got 2 does next.
Most info I have doubled up on from others. Look forward to pics if you get some.

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9 years 7 months ago #496742 by Baroque
Replied by Baroque on topic Advice about Goats
Goats are lovely animals to keep, and like the rest who have posted I suggest you have a good look at your fences, and make sure they have shelter.

A pair of wethers will be a bit less trouble than a pair of does who can be quite noisy when they are in season and there is a buck in the neighbourhood!

My preference is to go for something like Boers or the Arapawa goats as these are a rare breed with limited numbers and it would be good to see more of them out there, in fact I'm thinking of getting some myself as I already have the Arapawa sheep!

Breeding & training quality Spanish horses - THE horse of Kings! Also breeding Arapawa & Pitt Island sheep.

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9 years 7 months ago #496749 by LongRidge
Replied by LongRidge on topic Advice about Goats
We have had sheep, cattle, donkeys, a horse, cats, dogs, and ..... goats. They are an absolute pain in the ass, and if I could have my way they would all be curry by now. They are lots of work, not much pleasure, and too supple to be able to safely wrestle with to do their feet. They catch every sheep bug much worse than sheep do, so having sheep and goats is more stupid than stupid. They also catch other bugs that sheep don't. This would not be so bad except very few vets know a darned thing about goats, but invoice as if they were experts.
Any real friend will tell you to stay away from goats. Only your worst enemy would suggest that they are fun to care for. They are work, work, work, they hate you for trying to fix their feet, and they bash you with their horns ..... and some bite.

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9 years 7 months ago #496750 by kate
Replied by kate on topic Advice about Goats
Longridge, I disagree. We started with one goat and now have 79 :D We absolutely adore them and can't imagine life without them. If you manage them properly they require little management, you just have to know what to look out for and nip any potential problems in the bud. They are affectionate, smart, very funny and simple life-enchancing creatures.

Attached files [IMG]http://app.lifestyleblock.co.nz/images/converted_files/502115=14822-2014-09-25 08.01.24.jpg[/img]

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9 years 7 months ago #496754 by pisa
Replied by pisa on topic Advice about Goats
Well, i have to come in support of the goats too.
Regarding the work load it all depends how well prepared you are and how friendly the goats are.
I've got two tall Alpine girls and they were reasonably shy when we got them, but showed cupboard love ( multi nuts in moderation). As I wanted to milk them safely I built a stand with a head lock. And they like getting in there as it means treats. So i milk them in there, administer shots, trim their hooves and even had the vet trim their horns in there. They are still happy to go there, no trauma.
And they are true characters, cuddle monsters to the point that it can be risky to go in. One of them literally wants m,e to hold her hooves when she's in labour. Last time I had to pull her first kid out, it was too big, and she let me do it without budging or moving away. She knew I was helping her.
Definitely have to make sure you have got good fencing, most goats are very inquisitive and anything will look more interesting on the other side of the fence.
Healthcare, yes, they can go down faster than sheep, so I wouldn't recommend them for a paddock you only see once a week. I can see mine from my lounge window and if anything happens I can have them in the car to the vets in 30 mins. But, on the same token, if they have a good large paddock to graze, not sharing with sheep, access to a variety of other grazing stuff regularly, they will keep themselves in good health by avoiding 'contaminated' spots. Well, at least mine do.
With good planning I can recommend goats, and one last tip:
different sizes require different fencing needs. I've now got two more goats, a lot smaller than my others and they just squeeze through the wires of the fence! But, as they tend to hang around the paddock and squeeze back in for the night, and we don't have roads with traffic nearby i don't worry about it too much for the moment.

hope this helped a bit.

1 hubby, 2 kids, 1 cat, 1 dog, 2 swallows and I've lost count how many offsprings with even more grandkids, 5 bunny girls, 5 bunny boys, 12 chickens (rooster, pullets, chicks and more about to hatch hopefully) and 4 goats with two of them expecting any day! (24.10.14)
But who's counting [;)]...

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9 years 7 months ago #496759 by LongRidge
Replied by LongRidge on topic Advice about Goats
When we started here, I put up sheep, cattle and donkey fences out of 8 wires and battens/droppers. We got goats so I've had to go over all my good fences with netting to keep the goats in. The problem with horns and netting is that the goats sometimes get caught and cannot get out backwards. If not found soon enough they strangle themselves, or they push forward and move the netting uprights to make a big hole. I've had goats go through or under deer netting. Now that we have culled those ones the rest are behaving themselves better. How good are you at killing goats and turning them into meat? How tolerant are the neighbours to stock wandering into their property and eating their plants. With one of our neighbours we had to replace $200 worth of their specimen tree plantings. With another neighbour, they got $250 from our insurance company for damage done to their garden from someone's goats .... either ours or 4 other local goat owners.

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9 years 7 months ago #496761 by Baroque
Replied by Baroque on topic Advice about Goats

Kate;502115 wrote: Longridge, I disagree. We started with one goat and now have 79 :D We absolutely adore them and can't imagine life without them. If you manage them properly they require little management, you just have to know what to look out for and nip any potential problems in the bud. They are affectionate, smart, very funny and simple life-enchancing creatures.

I agree with Kate, and strongly disagree with Longridge.

Goats make fantastic pets as well as being really good animals to have on a farm. When we had the angoras we were up to a couple of hundred goats before we decided to quit breeding [I was breeding my own offspring at that stage]. Having got back into goats this year its lovely to have them back on the property again and they are a breeze to work with.

I've set up proper stock handling yards for the sheep and still have my Hecton handler from when we had the Angoras so doing anything with either species is very easy, but even working with the calf club pets my son raised when he was at school was never an issue, the goats all led nicely and could be tied up for feet trims etc, so a couple of pet goats is really not an issue for someone on a lifestyle block. If they can find a pair of ex calf club goats looking after them should be a lot easier as they will be well used to humans and should handle like a dream.

Goats are fine on a small block if you keep an eye on your stock and nip any issues in the bud before they become big issues.

One of the wee kids we helped deliver a few weeks ago has become very friendly and follows me about like a shadow and craves pats and scritches. I think he'll be a keeper and will probably end up keeping our buck company as he comes when you call him so will be very useful!

Breeding & training quality Spanish horses - THE horse of Kings! Also breeding Arapawa & Pitt Island sheep.

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9 years 7 months ago #496763 by eelcat
Replied by eelcat on topic Advice about Goats
Like pisa we hsve a milking stand with a head bale. This is in a tiny set of yards made of gates. Our goats (all 9 of them) come when they are called and even the buck lines up to go on the stand to get his feet done or whatever. Food is a great leveller. One doe just stood on the stand for about 45 minutes recently while her udder was stitched up. No drama. As long as I kept giving her treats she was as good as gold

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1 Border collie, 1 Huntaway, 2 Lhasa Apsos, Suffolk and arapawa ewe crosses, an Arapawa ram,an East Friesian ewe , 5 cats, 42 ducks , 1 rooster and 30 hens, 5 geese, 12 goats, 2 donkeys, 2 house cows, one heifer calf, one bull calf, 3 rabbits and lots and lots and lots of fruit trees...

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9 years 7 months ago #496770 by Aria
Replied by Aria on topic Advice about Goats

eelcat;502128 wrote: Like pisa we hsve a milking stand with a head bale. This is in a tiny set of yards made of gates. Our goats (all 9 of them) come when they are called and even the buck lines up to go on the stand to get his feet done or whatever. Food is a great leveller. One doe just stood on the stand for about 45 minutes recently while her udder was stitched up. No drama. As long as I kept giving her treats she was as good as gold


Do you have to do the Rawhiti feet, eelcat? We never did our adults, but we had those rocks for them to climb in their pen and a gravel driveway that they walked on every day.

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9 years 7 months ago #496773 by Andrea1
Replied by Andrea1 on topic Advice about Goats
We rarely have to trim Rawhiti feet, maybe once a year. But this past year has been so damp we have had foot problems (overgrown horn, a wee bit of scald, no foot rot, thankfully). I think the horn on the Rawhiti foot is a lot thinner than on our Toggs, and it possibly wears down faster? Nothing scientific, just observations. Some Toggs need their're feet doing every month, some every 2 months, but the longest I can get away with leaving their feet is 3 months. I don't know about other goat breeds, not enough experience with them.

Get the fencing right the first time (I should live by my own words!)! I would start with wither kids so you bond with them, or some slightly older 'know-what-they're-doing' does who you can learn from.

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