Horse girl turned goat girl
Anybody have any pointers for a horse girl aiming to buy a goat? I'm not getting into milk production or anything, I'm mostly seeing who would want to rent a goat to come over and eat some weeds. It'd be a good little side job for me. But I only know how to take care of a horse... Totally blind in the goat department. I've been reading over the threads here about feeding and such, but I want to know a little more about behavior and what to expect. Do you have to play the 'I'm the leader' game like with a horse? Do they think that way?
Goats only think about 2 things... eating and escaping. Both of which they are exceptionally good at.
You can put a halter on a goat but unless HE wants to go wherever you are going, you're going to end up dragging it or attempting to convince him that he really wants to come with you (and convincing = treats/grain).
Goats don't "learn" anything, other than better ways to escape. They'll eat pretty much anything, weeds, grass, hay, alfalfa, straw, chicken feed, cow feed, their house.......
They're cute and make great pets as they're extremely friendly and curious but they're basically fuzzy lawnmowers and fence destroyers.
Feeding, hoof trims, vaccinations? I heard they need hoof trims. Fairly certain some sort of hay roughage would be good to provide, right? Does it have to be good horse hay or can it be cow grade?
If you have grass/weeds in plentiful supply, you don't want to feed them. Especially dwarf goats, they get FAT easily.
Hoof trims aren't needed often for mine, I have a lot of gravel they spend time on (they follow the kids up and down out half-mile driveway when they are riding bikes/scooters and so forth). The farrier trims them if they need it when he's out.
Vet vaccinates mine when he's out for the horses.
If you give them hay, it cannot be moldy. Old, weedy, icky hay seems to be their favorite but it cannot be moldy/dusty/spoiled hay.
Good to know about the mold. I would've pictured them like cows and wouldn't have had a second thought about throwing it to them.
The saying is if the fence can't hold water it won't hold a goat, not a hundred percent true but at times may be true, my standard size goat can jump any fence that isn't a minimum four feet (standard goat fence is only 3 1/2 feet tall), they can climb a fence, push under and more. We have a fence made out of old pallets for high stress areas. You might want to invest in portable electric mesh fence that way you can put the goats any where, or rent them out if they learn to respect electric that is.
I use a utility knife for trimming hooves (I do this every two months for two goats and at least once for our "odd" goat), having activated charcoal around is helpful goats some times eat something that makes them sick and start throwing up it is a life saver, same with having a tube of ivermecton around if bottle worms are a problem (they develop fluid it the neck and face). None of my goats are vaccinated though.
All our goats are tried in harness and pull a cart, or scooter (different kinds of harness), so they have a job in the summer giving rides and moving hay and stuff to the burn pile or garden.
You have to teach them you are not another goat and they can't play like you are one, I have a 150 pound wether who thinks people are goats and will stand on his hind legs and come down on your head or shoulders if you don't act more tough and bluff him, or hit him first. It hurts something awfully with that much weight comes behind 12 inch horns.
I'm looking into electric fences now. Had no idea mesh ones were an option.
Most goats do not think only of just food and escaping. They are inquisitive, some are fairly smart, and depending on how they have been handled or treated... very sweet and affectionate. I have yet to ever have one of my goats escape. Ever. I have larger Dairy breeds of goats as well as some small Nigerians.
While I really like this site for horse information, there are much better goat sites and forums out there where you will learn everything you would need to know and If you would like, you can pm me and I would be happy to send you links to some excellent and informative goat pages.
There are halters made for sheep and goats, but those are usually for meat breeds of goats. A good dog collar with a safety buckle is the best thing to keep on a goat when needed, and they can be trained to walk on a lead very well. They are very food motivated and because of this are actually very to teach. They have good memories too. Like most horses... if given an opportunity they will chew on trees, barn sides, or eat any grain they can get to. Haven't really met many likestock critters who wouldn't.
They are not however "lawnmowers" Goats are browsers, not grazers like sheep are. The will eat brush and weeds before most grasses, and often prefer hay that has a variety of things in it.
You can pick up most things needed inexspensively at a good farm supply store including dewormer and proper hoof trimmers. Keeping something rough, like a few cinder blocks or piece of roungh concrete for them to jump on can help keep the hooves worn down better than grass.
My goats are well behaved and have never acted disrespectfully towards me, any human visitors, or any of my other farm animals. Goats that have been disbudded as kids tend to get along better with one another and other farm critters better than one who has grown a good set of horns.
Goats do not like to live alone, they are herd animals and really like to live with other goats, but can be happy with some other type of companion animal.
With some though to breed/type and a little time to learn about them and their needs, you should be able to find a nice goat and be happy with them.
Our older goat only thinks we're equals because he wasn't raised with other goats, only people for 4 years of his life, they let him jump and butt and chase them, he figured that was okay. You got to make sure they no that isn't okay, chase them off when they act out even in play, show they good behaviors they'll learn quick.
Horns have nothing to do with how well behaved the animal is our other two are very respectful of people, they were raised in a herd of goats though. All of ours have horns because they were all intend as meat or culls, all three have good conformation but our doe has a badly shaped udder, the older is a wether and the little wether is "off" not right in the head, bad feet and slow in just about everything. Better not to have horns on a pet any how, because of being culls their breeders just never.
We have had goats for years and I have to say that they are the easiest livestock to keep care of. If you are worried that they will slip under the fence and escape I have to tell you that this has never happened to us before. Goats are kinda like dogs, they dont want to leave the property. When we first buy our goats we keep them in a pen for a week or two (depends on how shy/wild they are) For the wild ones sometimes longer. And them we let them in the paddock with the horses. And we have NEVER had one escape. They will also make great friends to your horses, my dad's horse prefers annie the goat over some of the horses lol.There are a few cons though, They will eat and strip the bark off your cedar trees, and if you have a male you HAVE to get them castrated because they will hurt you and hit your animals. Other than that we have 9 goats at the time (we breed and milk them) and never had any problems other than the cons above.
Happy goat owning!!!:D:D:D
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