Thursday, February 19, 2015

Inquiring Minds....Goat-a Know

On with the questions and answers...

Lilly asked:  "We are considering getting goats. What do they need in the way of shelter/protection from predators? Any particular breeds you would recommend? We just want them for pets although the topic of goat's milk comes up quite often. Any info that you think would be helpful would be greatly appreciated."

We keep two breeds of goats here on the farm.
Fainting goats...


and Nigerian Dwarf goats...


You might think that dwarf goats would be small, but actually they are the same size as the fainting goats.  
Their legs are just a little bit shorter.  
Nigerian Dwarf goats make good dairy goats, if you are so inclined.
When we started, we bought two pregnant Nigerian Dwarfs.


We could have milked our goats while they were lactating after giving birth,
however, having to commit to twice daily milking was something we were not ready to undertake at the time.

And since we have not bred these gals again,
we have not had the opportunity to try milking.

Nigerian goats make great pets.
Like any goat, though, socialization from a very early age is imperative.
The more kids are handled, the more tolerant and less shy they become.


Our other herd, the fainting goats, make wonderful pets.
They are gentle and very easy to manage.
Their condition, myotonia, causes their muscles to stiffen whenever they are scared, or emotional...
thus making them extremely easy to catch.


Our goats live in two separate enclosures.
The Nigerians' enclosure is one of "no climb" wire on a wooden frame.

The fainters are in a four-board wooden fence-enclosed-pasture.



We have had no problems with predators and our adult goats.
When we were breeding, we kept our kids in a wire mesh enclosed yard
that was predator proof.



We do have coyotes in our area, so extra precaution must be taken with baby goats.


We have found that dog houses work great as shelter for the goats.



Very often two goats (usually mother and grown child) will inhabit one house.
They don't seem to mind being cramped.
In fact, crowding helps keep them warm in the winter.
We give them adequate hay to help insulate them in their houses during the wintertime.



Liberal amounts of hay, warm (unfrozen) water, and pelleted feed are all that the goats
need for nutrition.


If they have a large enough pasture area, they will graze.
However, goats are very picky about not grazing near their manure ("goat berries").
They especially love nibbling on brush...
so a pasture that includes some wooded area is heaven to goats.


If you are considering having a couple of goats as farm pets and do not want to breed,
I would suggest females.
Male goats have a tendency toward getting calculi (kidney stones) that can cause
blockages.
Quite often, the end result of these blockages can be Euthanasia.


As for grooming and maintenance,
your goats will need to have their hooves trimmed on a regular basis.
This is not difficult...
it just usually requires more than one person and lots of Ritz crackers!


Goats are a gentle, friendly addition to any farm.
They are especially good pets to be around children,
as they have teeth only on the bottom in the front (not on the top)
and as such cannot "nip" little fingers as they feed them treats.

As for breeds, there are many different goat breeds and many different sizes of goat.
If you are thinking of adding goats to your farm,
I suggest reading about each breed and their size and activity level so as to pick the appropriate breed for your needs.
It is of utmost importance, however, that you have more than just one goat.
Goats are social animals and need companionship.
(Like all animals!)





8 comments:

daisy g said...

They sound like a great addition to the farm. Love the doghouses!

Missy George said...

Nice goat post.very informative and straightforward. I'll miss seeing the babies but it's best I guess.xxoo

Country Gal said...

Lovely photos and great info ! I love the Nigerian Dwarf goats . Thanks for sharing , have a good day !

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for the information! This gives us some ideas to get us started.
-Lilly

NanaDiana said...

Oh- I loved this post My friend raises pygmy goats and I just love them. We live just on the edge of town and can't keep them or I would have a couple. I just adore them.the sweetest things ever.
Your "herd" is just beautiful. xo Diana

An American in Tokyo said...

Your advice and photos are wonderful! Makes me want to buy a couple of goats, too. Maybe someday! ;)

Gretchen said...

I have a question about your fainting goats. My kids really want to get some fainting goats, we have two ponies. One is a mini at 10 hands and the other a larger pony at 14 hands. Do you think it would be ok to keep goats and horses together in the same paddock? I am afraid with the fainting goats that they might get trampled? Thanks for your input.

Beverly Frankeny said...

Gretchen...I have never mixed my goats and horses.....but only because we have enough pasture area that we have not had to do so. I often see goats out with horses in fields around here. The only drawback to fainting goats is they are slow....and if threatened stiffen up and get slower. I think sometimes the attraction to fainting goats for kids is because they want to make them "faint"....which, honestly, stresses the goats. The whole fainting phenomenon is a curiosity....but not terribly pleasant for the animal. My only concern would be initially the goats would be very wary of the horses and more prone to "fainting"....at which time they could be injured by the horses. I would be more inclined to mix a faster goat in with horses if you need to do that....and not one that stiffens up and cannot get away. All that being said....it is only my opinion....and not from any personal experience. Best of luck!! Goats are lots of fun.

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