Why Goats

Affiliate Disclosure: I am grateful to be of service and bring you information free of charge. In order to do this, please note that when you click links and purchase items, in many (not all) cases I will receive a referral commission. Your support in purchasing through these links is much appreciated.

Why Goats

We bought our farm in Stockdale, Texas in 2008. I retired from training horses. That was a fun ride for 25 years.

We bought all the same livestock we grew up with to have on our farm. We thought that cattle were the answer for our farm and for the ag exemption. We went off what we were taught growing up.

Due to the very dry weather the drought here in Texas we had to sale off the cattle. Our farm just didn’t feel complete without the cattle.

Our good friend Ike recommended that we should get goats in place of the cattle. We tossed the idea around for weeks. I never thought I would own a goat much less a heard. Although we had a goat that stayed with a stallion that I had in training years ago. The goat went everywhere with that horse. (It was fun when we went to horse shows with a goat tagging alone.)  Oh, and my youngest daughter had a three-legged Barbie doe that someone gave us. It ate and ran with our horses. LOL! That was the only experience I had with a goat.

We went over to visit Ike and Barbra to look at their goats. Most of all Ike gave us so much advice about owning goats. The more I was around his goats and worked with the goats the more I liked them. I came to realize that a goat is much easier to handle than a cow. They are smaller than a cow. So, I can handle them by myself. Which is a plus because I will be the one doing the milking and handling them daily. Also, a goat will do all most anything for a treat.
But, we didn’t know where to start, or what breed would be the best for milking. Ike told me in his opinion Nubian and Saanen goats make the best milkers. I did know one thing, I wanted to milk the goats, so we could have fresh milk.

Ike let me borrow two does (female goat) that was in milk. He sent two goats because goats are herd animals. Which that means you need to have at least two goats together to keep them happy. I was so excited about milking the nannies. The two nannies were Nubian goats that Ike loaned me.

Milking a goat is not as easy as you might think. Goats can be fidgety, stubborn, moody critters. The nannies were not trained to milk. I had my work cut out for me. It was much easier to train a goat than a cow. Milking a goat is much different than milking a cow. So much for thinking it would be like milking a cow. Hahaha! After a few days, I could milk them without any trouble.

I knew I needed a better set up for milking after a very brief time. If I was going to milk goats I needed a milking area with a milking stand. Like the old saying “work smarter not harder.”
We bought four Saanen nannies goats from Ike. We are in the goat business now. All four of the nannies were bred to his Nubian buck.

A goat’s gestation period is five months (approximately 150 days). So, we had a few months to get ready before we had kids (baby goats). Goats are known to have twins, single or triplet births are common. Less frequent are litters of quadruplet, quintuplet, and even sextuplet kids. Birthing is known as kidding, generally occurs uneventfully. Just before kidding, the doe will have a sunken area around the tail and hip, as well as heavy breathing. She may have a worried look, become restless and display great affection for her keeper. The mother often eats the placenta, which gives her much-need nutrients, and helps to keep her from hemorrhaging. Also, is reduce the chance of predators finding the baby.

A doe doesn’t just reach a certain age and suddenly begin filling it’s utter with milk. A doe needs to be bred and give birth. Freshening (coming into milk production) occurs at kidding. Milk production varies with the breed, age, quality, and diet of the doe. Dairy goats generally produce between 1,500 and 4,000 lb. of milk per 305-day lactation. After nursing her kids to at least three months old you can continue to milk the doe.

A doe that is treated properly, fed well, milked daily will continue to produce milk for ten months to one year. An excellent quality dairy doe will give at least 6 lbs. of milk per day while she is in milk. A first time Milker may produce less. Occasionally, goats that have not been bred and are continuously milked will continue lactation beyond the typical 305-days. After her milk dries up she will need to be bred again and the process starts all over.

Does of any breed come into estrus (heat) every 21 days for two to 48 hours. A doe in heat typically flags (vigorously wags) her tail often, stays near the buck if one is present, becomes more vocal, and may also show a decrease in appetite and milk production for the duration of the heat.

Bucks (intact males) come into rut in the fall as with the does’ heat cycles. Bucks may show seasonal fertility, but as with the does, are capable of breeding at all times. Rut is characterized by a decrease in appetite and obsessive interest in the does. A buck in rut will display lip curling and will urinate on his forelegs and face. Sebaceous scent glands at the base of the horns add to the male goat’s odor, which is important to make him attractive to the doe. Some does will not mate with a buck which has been descended.

In addition to natural, traditional mating, artificial insemination has gained popularity among goat breeders, as it allows easy access to a wide variety of bloodlines.

Don’t try to do it all at first. Raising show goats, breeding stock, milk goats, and slaughtering meat goats are four different goals for raising goats. Pick your main focus because you’ll need to manage your herd differently depending on it.

Here is a list of books that could help you with more goat information.

        

 

  

 

 

Don’t miss a thing!
Sign up to get updates delivered right to your inbox.
Blessings,
Margarita & Stace

Bottle Feeding Baby Goats

Bottle Feeding Baby Goats

Affiliate Disclosure: I am grateful to be of service and bring you information free of charge. In order to do this, please note that when you click links and purchase items, in many (not all) cases I will receive a referral commission. Your support in purchasing through these links is much appreciated.

When at all possible it’s better for the kids to be left nursing from their mom. Sometimes, however, this isn’t an option. There are times its just not possible. A doe may have more kids than she can feed. A kid may be born too small or weak to be able to nurse. And on rare occasion, a doe may reject one or more kids. So, if you find yourself with a bottle baby, what do you do? I usually try to work with a doe and newborn for at least 24hrs before giving up and bottle feeding the kid(s) completely. With a newborn, it’s best if you can allow the kid to nurse some colostrum from its mom for the first 24-48 hours. If this isn’t an option, then a powdered form of colostrum.  Obviously, it would be best to have some of this on hand before the kids arrive.

Provide colostrum for very young goats. Colostrum is the milk a mother produces when a goat is first born. In the event your young goat was rejected or abandoned by its mother, you will have to provide colostrum yourself. It is difficult for a goat to survive without a steady intake of colostrum.

You need to give a baby goat colostrum within its first 24 hours of life. If you have a goat on your farm that recently gave birth, milk that goat and bottle feed your goat the mother’s milk.
If you know you’re raising goats, freeze milk from goats who have recently given birth or keep colostrum substitute on hand. It’s vital to get colostrum to a goat as soon as possible.

What to Feed
Goat milk is best, and I prefer raw milk because it has all of the antibodies intact.
There are two other options, either a commercial powdered goat milk replacer or make your own using a cow’s milk-based recipe that you mix up yourself (recipe below).
Beyond that, you’ll hear people argue all day long about what to feed. We’ve used milk replacer, and we’ve used whole milk from the store, and we had equally good results with both. Without mom’s antibodies in fresh goat milk, the kids will be more likely to have problems with worms and coccidia, which is why some people use medicated milk replacer, which helps prevent coccidiosis.
I recommend that all people new to bottle feeding use the powdered milk replacer. I personally find that it’s easier to use, there are less steps (and  less chance of making a mistake), plus it’s quite a bit cheaper in the long run. There are many brands to choose from online but be sure you purchase one labeled for “goats” if at all possible. Some companies make a multi-species milk replacer for horses, cattle, goats, & sheep, but these are all different species with quite a variety of needs nutritionally. If a goat specific milk replacer isn’t available in your area then you may want to try the goat milk replacer recipe below.
1-gallon whole milk (homogenized)
1 can evaporated milk
1 cup buttermilk
Take the gallon of milk, and pour out about 1/3 and set it aside
Pour in 1 can of evaporated milk and 1 cup of buttermilk into the gallon then pour to the remaining milk that you set aside until you reach the top. Mix gently each time before making up a bottle.
I’m not sure who originally created this bottle-feeding recipe, but it has been used by many goat breeders for way longer than I have been around. The kids seem to grow well on it, though I still prefer to use the powdered formula due to cost.

What Type of Bottle to Use

It really isn’t a big deal what type of bottle or nipple is used as long as the kid is able to nurse from it. Many breeders swear by using the Pritchard Teat nipple, while others prefer the thicker lamb nipples. Both of these can be used on a 16oz or 20oz soda or water bottle. Over the years I’ve found that regular baby bottles work just as well and the kids seem to be more willing to take these nipples than the larger varieties. I typically buy the cheap ones.

How Much to Feed

This is a basic guideline to follow.

Kids less than 1 week old will need to eat 4 times a day. Typically newborn kids need to be fed every 2-4 hours the first 3 days and then you can gradually start spacing out the feedings.
It’s very important to weigh bottle fed kids weekly to assure that they are gaining weight, especially for the first couple of weeks. When in doubt about how much to feed always give less and leave the kid wanting more. You don’t want your bottle baby to have a belly that looks like it swallowed a basketball.

How Often to Feed

Baby goats will always act hungry when they see you because you are acting as their mom. It’s very important to not give them too much milk at one feeding because over feeding causes diarrhea which can quickly lead to dehydration. As the acting “parent” of a baby goat, it is your responsibility to stop feeding them before they get full. A bottle-fed baby that stops sucking from the bottle and isn’t interested anymore has been fed too much and the amount should be reduced by 1-2 ounces at the next feeding. A general rule of thumb is if a kid lets go of the nipple offer the bottle one more time. The second time they let go of the nipple do not continue to offer the bottle.

If diarrhea occurs you can use Pedialyte instead of water to mix up the next bottle. If loose stool continues this is typically caused by either over feeding or mixing the formula up too strong. Try diluting the bottles with more water (or Pedialyte) for the next 48 hours. As always, call your veterinarian if you are concerned.

FREQUENCY OF BOTTLE FEEDING BABY GOAT

1. 1 week of age feed every 2-4 hours as needed
2. 1-2 weeks of age feed every 2-4 hours as needed
3. 2-3 weeks of age feed every 5 hours (can go 6 hours without feeding during the night). Hay or grass should be available at all times from here on.
4. 4-5 weeks of age feed 4 times a day (breakfast, lunch, dinner and bedtime). Start offering grain twice a day from here on along with hay or grass.
5. 5-6 weeks of age feed 3 times a day (breakfast, lunch and dinner). Continue feed and hay.
6. 7-9 weeks of age feed 2 times a day. Continue feed and hay.
7. 10 weeks of age until weaned. Feed 1 bottle a day, gradually cutting back the amount of milk given each day.

Should only take 1 week to be completely weaned. Note: Kids will still want a bottle, but they don’t need a bottle. Should be eating plenty of grass and hay by now. Continure offering grain each day.
Feed 1 bottle a day, gradually cutting back the amount of milk given each day. Should only take 1 week to be completely weaned. Note: Kids will still want a bottle, but they don’t need a bottle.
Should be eating plenty of grass and hay by now. Continue offering grain each day.
We recommend feeding a 16% protein goat feed with Decox (Decoquinate) in it. This can be found at most feed stores and may be listed as a Medicated Goat Feed or may have DQ at the end of the name. The Decoquinate helps to prevent coccidia in young kids. Once they reach 4 months old they can be switched to a non-medicated feed.
When changing grain or milk type/brand, change gradually over 5 days adding more of the new type & less of the old type at each feeding but keeping the total volume the same.

Things to Remember

Do NOT give too much milk at one feeding.
Diarrhea (aka scours) is a symptom of a problem and should not be ignored. Typically, it is caused by over feeding though it may also be caused by switching type or consistency (not enough water) in milk replacer.
Prevent dehydration by using Pedialyte instead of water in the next bottle and resolve diarrhea by reducing the # of ounces you are giving at each feeding.
Deworm kids at 4-5 weeks old and to treat for coccidia around 6-8 weeks old (coccidia needs a repeat treatment 14 days after initial treatment).

***Disclaimer: I am not a veterinarian. The information on this page is based on information gathered from long time goat breeders, veterinarians and our past experiences. This is not intended to replace professional veterinary and/or medical advice. We disclaim all liability in connection with the use of these products and/or information.

Have A Nice Day!
May God Bless You!
Margarita

New Feeder

We have been looking into creep feeders from different company’s for over a year. Stace looked into them all and spent his evenings reading different reviews on them.  The cost and how they are made was important to us.

We decided to go with Northeast Gate Company to buy our creep feeders from. They are so helpful and answered all my questions.  If you would like to see more of Northeast Gate Company has to offer check out their Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/Northeast-Gate-Company-155463131131934/

The feeder holds 200 pounds of feed.  We have babies and they are able to eat out of the feeder also. Its low enough for them. 🙂

We got to pick what color we wanted our feeders painted. I think they have like 10 colors to choice from.

I would highly recommend this company for any of your farm equipment needs.

We are very pleased with our equipment.

 

Don’t miss a thing! Sign up to get updates delivered right to your inbox.
Blessings, Margarita