Raising Goats 101: Beginner Tips and Practices
Humans have domesticated goats for thousands of years. But don’t get it twisted. This review is not about history or anything like it. At elliotthomestead.com, while we always strive to provide our readers with the best, dependable and reliable information, we also reconcile facts with recommendations on the best animal products for the money.
If you’re a regular reader of this blog, there are good chances that you have also landed a high-quality lawn and gardening product through our regular updates.
Here’s another opportunity to make money and learn more about goat farming. Have you ever tried raising goats or chicken farmers? Homesteading does not only involve lawn care and D.I.Y. projects for compost manure.
Another skill you should master is goat keeping. We will slap you on the back if you can raise goats.
First, ask these questions:
- Where can I get goats?
- Do I need to buy a goat or not?
- Which goat is best for starters?
Goats, like dogs and puppies, can make your homestead lively. However, their browsing ability when climbing over fences will keep you on your toes, which is why they are so popular for being kept. They can wander far to find greener pastures if they don’t have secure fencing.
It is an old saying that goats are better at practice and mastery than other animals on the homestead, that the grass is always greener to one side.
Goat 101: How to Choose the Right Breed
While goat ownership is fun, it’s not always easy. It is not easy to get started, as experienced farmers will tell you.
First, you must understand that there are more than 210 goat breeds worldwide. You need to narrow your search down to the most desirable and viable.
It is important to raise these animals under the assumption that they will be needed for milk, meat, hides/skins, or any other purpose.
Before we get into the details, let’s take a look at some amazing facts about goats.
- The historical fact is undisputed: Around 10,000 B.C., goats were domesticated.
- The first time humans got animal milk was from goats.
- The female goats are called goat ‘nanny’, ‘doe’, or ‘doe’. While the male goats are called ‘buck’ or ‘Billy’, A kid refers to young animals, while “wether” is for castrated breeds.
- Although nannies can have up to six litters per year, the most common litters range is between 1-4 litters. This is why the goat population continues to grow.
- Both male and female goats can have beards. However, it is not mandatory, particularly for the former. It is important to note that not all goats will have horns.
- Goats live between 8 and 12 years. Some goats can live up to 15 years.
It is vital to keep nannies away from bucks when they lactate, so their milk doesn’t taste ‘goaty.
- Goats, just like dogs, are social animals.
- When answering the question “Where can I buy a goat?” you will need proper housing, regardless of where it is located.
- Goats are among the cleanest animals humans can domesticate.
- Subcutaneous fat is not a major concern in dairy breeds.
- The U.S.A. has a high demand for goat meat. As a result, Australia and New Zealand export 1.5 million pounds to America every year to meet rising demand.
- Asian countries, however, have a greater number of goats than any other continent. China has an estimated 170 million goats.
- Humans used goats to care for their babies many centuries ago.
Which Breed is Best for You?
Before deciding whether to raise goats, the most critical question is which breed you want.
Some people keep goats in their yard for their enjoyment, but others do so in the interests of the animals or their hobby.
- The practice of keeping goats as meat has been a long-standing tradition. Experts say goat meat is more nutritious than other domesticated animals and is healthier because they produce less beef.
- Another reason to raise goats is their milk.
- Another practice that predates all of the above is keeping goats for their hides/skins/horns. It is still very popular today.
When choosing a breed to choose, however, it is essential to consider factors like growth rate, multiple births, and conformation (legs and mouth)
Only 60 of the 210 known breeds are officially recognized. The most famous American breed is the Angora goat. Its origins can be traced back to prehistoric Turkey.
Let’s now take a closer look at the reasons why goat ownership is so popular.
Keep Goats for Meat
The current goat meat price per pound is proof that it is a growing market. The reason goat meat is more expensive than beef is that they grow first. Boar goat is a popular breed, as demonstrated by the large imports of meat to the U.S.A. It is large and muscular with a strong frame.
Boars are native to South Africa and have a high growth rate. They are also highly fertile. They come in various colors, including red, brown, or red, and can have long ears.
Penn State Extension published a post stating that goat meat is an excellent alternative to beef, pork, and chicken. The last ten years have seen an increase in goat keeping in America. It thrives in America for two main reasons:
- A demand for a lower-fat and leaner diet is a reason goat meat buyers are interested.
- It’s a traditional delicacy that is served alongside gourmet food.
Mature bucks can weigh in at least 175 pounds and no less than 125 pounds. While mature nannies are between 80 and 90 pounds, they can weigh as much as 175 pounds. Other breeds that are popular for meeting include:
- Spanish goats are known for their long, twisty horns. They are medium-sized, short-haired and lanky, and come in a variety of colors.
- The Tennessee fainting goat is a nervous animal that falls or faints when they are startled. They can also be called myotonic, stiff-leg or wooden goats. These breeds can be black or white with protruding eyes, a short- or long-haired coat, and up to 200 pounds. They are also popular as novelty pets.
- Brush/hill/briar/native goats, usually hardy and a crossbreed of meat and dairy breeds. Because they eat a lot of vegetation and shrubs, these breeds are known as browsers.
- Kiko is another goat that has been bred to be a meat-eater due to its large size. They can withstand harsh conditions and are therefore very resilient. Their horns are spiral-shaped and out-swept. Kiko can grow very quickly and can weigh up to 300 lbs.
- Textmaster, Moneymaker, and Savanna are great options if you’re looking to crossbreed goats.
What You Need to Know About Dairy Goats?
You can also raise goats for their milk. This is easier because Does and Nannies are more docile, so it’s much more enjoyable.
Even better is the fact that you can make lots of cheese. This is because you can make a lot of money from goat milk, as you get up to 90 quarts per month from different dairy breeds.
By choosing the best dairy goat breeds, you can be one of the largest cheese producers by using them. The best milk breeds include Nubian goats and Saanens, LaManchas, Oberhalsis, Alpines, and LaManchas.
What You Should Have To Raise Goats – The Essentials
Before you scroll down, we wanted to answer a question our readers continue to ask about goat ownership. We did our research and came up with the following recommendations, including product recommendations from top goat keepers.
Premier PoultryNet plus, White, Double Spike, 100-inches L x 48-inches H
Good fencing keeps goat movements under control. This is why farmers should invest in the best fencing products on the market. We would recommend Premier PoultryNet Plus from Premier 1 Supplies, a double-spiked fence.
It is the top choice for goat keepers because of:
- It has been proven effective in restricting the movements of goats and sheep, poultry, cows, and other farm animals, so they don’t become destructive or wander too far.
- It protects your flocks and herd against deer and foxes.
- It is pre-assembled, so you can set it up immediately upon delivery.
- Premier PoultryNet Plus can be accessed electronically.
- You can fix posts every 6.8 inches, making them stable and sturdy. Out of 12 horizontal stands available, 11 are electrified.
- It weighs only 23 pounds and is light enough to be easily installed.
- Premier PoultryNet Plus must be used occasionally, but not constantly. A.C. or A.D. solar energizers are recommended.
- This fencing material is an excellent investment because it is both affordable and highly effective.
Manna Pro Goat Treats
You must treat your goat to a nutritional supplement. Manna Pro Goat Treats are the best. This is based on extensive research. The following are the reasons we chose to review it:
- It is available in nuggets, making it easy to feed goats.
- You get value for your money, and your pets will love it.
- Manna Pro treats are irresistible, thanks to an anise mixture that delivers a delicious licorice taste.
- It is perishable, so keep it dry and cool.
- The shipping weight is only 6.1 pounds. Since Manna Pro-animal treats are also very affordable, it’s impossible to miss your next Amazon delivery.
We would be happy to help you with your search for the best Amazon products.
Baking Soda and Minerals
Manna Pro Goat Salt, 8lb
Manna Pro Goat is the best mineral supplement with baking soy for your angora and pygmy. It will last a long time and prove its worth. It is loved by farmers who have invested money in it for the following reasons.
- It is available in loose form to make it easy to eat.
- It contains a combination of vitamins and minerals, making it a highly fortified product ideal for milk goat breeds.
- Manna Pro goat salt increases growth, so your animals are strong and healthy.
- It contains chelated minerals, which facilitate absorption and use by the body.
- This mineral salt is excellent for show goats. It enhances the appearance of their coats.
- It contains aluminum chloride, which along with other microbial ingredients, promotes faster growth in goats.
- It is 8.6 lbs (shipping weight).
Use This Feeder:
Fortifex Mineral Feeder Small Animals, 3-4 Quart, 2 Compartments, Black
When feeding your pet Manna Pro salt, make sure you put it in Fortifex Mineral Feeder for small pets. It is worth it for the following reasons:
- It has an HDPE and EPDM rubber construction.
- You will be able to spend money on a durable product with its top flanging.
- Fortifex Mineral feeder measures approximately 6.2×12.8 and 8.8 inches.
- It’s lightweight and affordable (15.2 ounces shipping weight).
Merck Safeguard Goat Dewormer, 120ml
Every vet will recommend deworming homestead animals every other day. They are susceptible to disease. You may wonder, however, what the best dewormer is to use on goats?
Well, here is elliotthomestead.com; we always strive to bring you the best of products at your fingertips so that you are only a click away from purchasing them on Amazon.
When it comes to choosing the best dewormer, Merck Safeguard from Durvet is our recommendation. You can purchase a pack of 2, or 3, depending on how much you have to spend. Its effectiveness is what many love.
- It acts as an effective killer/remover for stomach/intestinal and intestinal worms.
- Merck Safeguard eliminates over ten types of worms from cattle.
- Merck Safeguard is a goat-friendly product that eliminates adult worms from the stomach. Studies have shown this to be true in studies with Teladorsagia circumcinta, haemonchus contortus, and Teladorsagia.
- This product is very affordable, although you will need to spend a little bit.
- It is 5.3 ounces in weight (shipping).
Their hooves can get out of shape quickly due to the way goats graze, also known by browsers.
Experts recommend that they be trimmed every 6-8 weeks. Here’s the big question: Which hoof trimmer is best? After searching Amazon extensively, we have come up with the following recommendation:
Zenport Z116 Hoof & Floral Trimming shear, Twin-blade 7.5 Inches
The Zenport trimming knife is not only an excellent choice for farmers who want their flowers to stay in shape but it can also be used as a multi-purpose tool for homesteading. Because of these reasons, it doubles up as an excellent hoof trimmer for goats.
- Thanks to the P.V.C. handles, it is simple on the hands.
- It has twin blades that are sharp and without coating.
- Zenport trimming blades are guaranteed to ensure clean filing.
- This item is also affordable and won’t cost you a lot.
- Its weight of only 7 ounces isn’t too heavy on the user’s effort.
- It measures 8×2.5 1 inches (product dimensions).
Keeping Your Herd Healthy: Kidding
Kentucky State University Extension Animal Science Specialist Dr. Ken Andries’s opinions on goat keeping, especially ensuring they are healthy, are unsurpassed.
He believes that the first step to raising healthy breeds is creating a breeding program with the assistance of a veterinarian after purchasing the animals.
These are his key points for kid processing, which concerns raising goats from birth.
- Children must access 2 ounces of colonstrums within the first 6 hours after birth and another 4-6 ounces within 24 hours. Colostrums are high in antibodies, which helps protect their bodies from disease attack during the early stages of development and growth. Colostrums can be obtained from nearby goat farms, but it must come directly from the mother.
- It is essential to provide adequate nutrition for Does before they give birth. This is the only way to ensure that they get enough colostrums for their children after giving birth.
- You will also be able to add healthy, happy, and bouncing children to your breed by providing good food.
- You can also choose to pygmy goats if you want to breed them for meat. They are a West African native and can be used for petting and meat due to their fleshy bodies.
- The Pygmy goat size chart shows that they are between 60-80 pounds for bucks and 50-75 for does.
- Dr. Ken Andries recommends giving children a shot with Se at birth if they live in Se-deficient areas. This will keep them from developing a white muscle disease. He suggests that children be soaked in 7 percent iodine upon their birth.
- It is crucial to ensure that the children are healthy as they grow up into Bucks and Nannies. Dr. Ken recommends that children be vaccinated against tetanus once a year and enterotoxaemia at four weeks. When your child is eight weeks old, give them a booster.
- Your breed will be in good health and standing if it is dewormed two weeks before they are due to weaning.
- To protect goats from Coccidiosis (diarrhea), always include coccidiostat in goat food. However, it is a good idea to check with your veterinarian about the correct dosage.
- Dr. Ken Andries recommends trimming the hooves of your goat breed every 6-8 weeks to prevent food scald/rot. You should also dip your feet in a 10 percent solution of copper sulfate and zinc sulfate.
Healthy Goats: Signs
It’s often simple to determine if your goats have any health issues. Healthy goats eat cud, chew well, are social, have bright eyes, strong feet, and eat well.
This is possible with proper nutrition, good living conditions, the observance and compliance of schedules and vaccinations, professional kidding, and proper living conditions.
Goat farmers should also keep track of all breeding activities. They can significantly impact when goats are ready to be milked or when they are ready for slaughter. Remember to read the labels carefully and consult your veterinarian frequently to keep your breed safe.
You will be able to answer the question “What do goats need?” at the end.
How do you milk goats properly?
You should be familiar with milking dairy cows and handling nannies. This is a simple process with only a few steps. Anyone who wants to milk goats correctly can learn how to do it. These are some simple tips:
- It is recommended that goats are milked 12 hours apart. This translates into once or twice daily.
- Clean milking equipment is essential. Make sure you keep the area in which you work tidy.
- It is crucial to chill the milk immediately after you have finished.
It is worth noting that goat milk is homogenized. This makes it more difficult to make cheese from cream. Goat milk is also very smooth due to small fat globules, which make it naturally homogenized.
Housing for Goats
As with any domestic animal, goats require shelter to sleep at night. Here’s the problem. But here is the catch. Here are the essentials of goat barn construction:
- It is possible to shelter them in a three-sided structure.
- You can use dirt, such as straw, wood shavings, or hay on the floor to keep them dry and clean as a bedding option.
- You can secure a small area for sick or breeding goats within a pen.
- It is essential to have enough space for a goat. The pen should be large enough to allow all your breeds to move around and not too tall to let in the cold. The pen must be secure and safe.
- The goat house is 1.8×1.8×2.5 meters, which is enough space for ten animals. Building a house for an adult is easy because they need a space of 0.75×4.5×4.8 meters.
Fencing For Goats
Let’s face it. Goats can be very adventurous, and they often indicate that the grass on the other side is greener. This makes it difficult for them to manage in a grazing field. Once you have decided where to get goats, it is essential to remember that they are browsers, which means they love tall grass, brush, and bushes. It is essential to keep their feeding areas secure.
How do you go about it? Fencing is often more difficult than building a house. It is impossible to predict if they will climb up a pole to jump across the fence and into someone’s home. Because of their reputation for being escape artists, you should consider the following when building a fence:
- It is crucial to strengthen electrical fencing with wire.
- Support corners poles should be tall and difficult to reach to keep the fence at least 4 to 5 feet high.
- Use sturdy materials for goat fencing. Also, make sure to check that they are not easily broken. It is possible to spot potential escape routes that require repair.
- Choose strong latches for entrance doors. They are difficult to open. The unlatching of a door by a goat can make them more famous.
Benefits of Rearing Goats
You may not have ever raised goats, but you might be inspired to do so. Have a look.
- Goat keeping is a great hobby, no matter if you’re a farmer or homesteader.
- Soap manufacturing is complicated for sensitive skin, as milk from goats can be a strong ingredient.
- Farmers keep goats to clear bushes and shrubs. These animals are excellent bush hogs because they are good at looking for weeds.
- Goats can be used for both home and commercial consumption.
- Another reason to raise these animals is fiber. You can use mohair from Pygora or Angora breeds, cashmere, or both, to make yarns and knit raw materials.
- Because it is high in fiber, dung from goats can be used to make biomass fuel. This is an excellent addition to compost manure and is excellent for home gardening.
- They often produce more milk than is needed for their use. You can either sell the excess milk or make goat yogurt, cheese, or other value-added products from it.
- Their hides and skin are used to make drumheads, shoes, and gloves, as well as rugs.
- Due to the high cost of dairy cows, raising goats is the best and most economical way to produce milk and meat. Everything is in place with professional magazines and books for goat rearing.
Most Common Questions about Goat Rearing
There are many ups and downs to goat ownership. To help you avoid trouble, elliotthomestead.com helps you find answers for common questions farmers ask, such as:
Q: Can I Keep Goats As Pets?
A: If you’re mad about goats, there are some breeds that you can keep, such as the pygmy. We wouldn’t recommend it. This is because these animals can be unpredictable and could headbutt a child.
It is not a good idea to try and imagine that a goat with horns is the breed in question.
Q: Do I need to supplement their feed?
A: Goats are naturally food-seeking animals and will eat their food. However, they can benefit from nutritional supplements like grain or mineral salts. This is particularly important when getting Does. It will ensure that they have healthy children and plenty of milk after their breeding.
You can purchase supplies online from Amazon or at a nearby animal feed store.
Q: How can I tell if my goats don’t eat well?
A: You can tell if the animals aren’t eating well by looking at the sickness symptoms discussed earlier in this article. You can simply run your hands across their sides using both of your hands. If their ribs protrude, you need to ensure they are properly fed.
It is important to remember that goats are ruminants, and a protruding stomach can indicate good health.
Q: Which mineral is best for goats?
A: It’s okay to feed your goat minerals every once in a while. It is essential to give them minerals as part of their health check. Minerals must be not clunky and contain copper.
Salty products are also advised. Remember always to read the labels and seek advice from your vet.
Q: Does a nutritional deficiency affect goats?
A: It is a big YES! A sick goat could indicate a nutritional deficiency. This could be due to a deficiency in copper or selenium. In such cases, you should use a good mineral feed.
Copper deficiency is a rough coat without shine. Parasites like ticks or worms can also cause it.
Q: Does it make goats like scratching their horns?
A: We often ask this question, and we have always replied that goats love being petted. There is no universal way to scratch its horns if you can purchase a goat and know how to care for it.
But horned animals love to be scratched. You can learn to care for your horn by thinking like a goat, according to most experts.
We desire that you invest in the right product and have reliable information backing up your decision. We have read your message and would love to hear from you.
Do you want to get goats, and are you a homesteading enthusiast? Is your friend interested in raising milk breeds for his herd? Are meat goats appealing to you?
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