Females goats are called does. If they are less than a year old they are called doelings. Males are bucks, or bucklings. Young goats are called kids. Does are not smelly, unlike bucks. Bucks have two major scent glands. One being in the area of their horns and the other in the neck. The buck scent increases during rut, which runs from September to January. They will decorate themselves with urine to attract the females during rut.
Even though goats act similarly to dogs, they are still livestock. They make wonderful pet. Goats will learn their names and commands. You must always remember they are livestock!
Goats are browsers and will eat a little of this and that! They will not mow your grass. If you allow them to roam they will eat everything they encounter, even your beautiful roses.
**Information is from Storey's Guide to Raising Dairy Goats
We care a great deal about our goats and their health and safety. Goats are playful, curious and friendly creatures. Goats need daily attention and lots of TLC. Please feel free to contact us should you have any questions or concerns about your new goat. We are happy to share what we have learned. We highly recommend the book Storey’s Guide to Raising Dairy Goats.
These are some things to consider when placing your goat in its new home.
Is the fence secure? Goats like to rub on things. Check the area for nails or metal that could cut them if rubbed on. They will rub on the fence so make sure it is secured to the post. Fences should be at least 4 feet high. Not only to keep goats in but to keep predators out.
Is there adequate shelter from the elements? Goats hate rain. Goats are highly susceptible to pneumonia. Their shelter should be well ventilated but not drafty.
Do you have a veterinarian to care for your goat? Goats can and will get hurt or become ill. It is a good idea to have your goat checked by a vet when you get it, to establish a working relationship with the vet. Goats do require an annual CD/T shot.
Goats must have their hooves trimmed every 4-6 weeks. Without proper hoof maintenance goats’ feet will become crippled and make it painful for the goat to walk. If given rocks or cement to play on it will likely reduce the number of hoof trimmings per year.
Goats need minerals and baking soda in their diet daily. Our goats get free choice minerals and baking soda. Wethers need minerals with ammonium chloride added to prevent urinary calculi (urinary stones). Baking soda helps keep them from developing bloat and keeps the rumen working properly.
Goats need a hay feeder, a food dish, and a water bucket. Hay feeders, feed pans and water buckets should be cleaned and disinfected weekly. Bacteria build up can make a goat sick. Goats can and will stand on their feeders. It’s a good idea to hang water bowls and mineral troughs above butt height. If they can poop in it, they will. We put a cement block under ours so they have something to stand on to reach the water/minerals. I put the feed pans up as soon as they are done eating.
When making feed/grain changes it should be done slowly over time to avoid rumen upset and a sick goat.
Goats are browsers and like variety.
Don’t over feed grain or treats. Goats will act hungry ALL the time, especially if they know you have food or treats.
In the spring time goats will shed their winter under coat. You can help by frequently brushing. We shave all of our goats the end of May (or as soon as the weather warms up) to keep them cool for summer and to help them get rid of their winter coats.
Goats should be wormed several times per year, typically spring and fall. It is recommended to have a fecal run by the vet to see if there is a worm load and what type of worm you are dealing with before administering the wormer. Different wormers work on different worms. Worm treatments should be done according to the directions for the wormer you are using.
Goats can get lice. It is species specific. Lice can become more of a problem during winter months when goats are inside. Goats should be dusted with a delousing product at 10 day intervals 3 times to kill them. Python dust works well but avoid the eyes and head area.
There are a number of plants that are poisonous to goats. It’s a good idea to do some research on the subject and check your property for poisonous plants. A few poisonous plants are rhododendron, wilted wild cherry leaves, oak leaves, rhubarb leaves, milkweed, and mountain laurel. There are many more, those are just a few common to PA. We keep activated Charcoal on hand in case of accidental poisoning.
Goats are very sensitive to mold toxicity. Never feed the goats anything that is moldy. Moldy hay or feed can kill a goat. If your goat walks away from the hay in their feeder there is a reason.
Young goats can scour (diarrhea) easily when upset. Just the move to a new home can cause diarrhea. Diarrhea can kill a small goat quickly and should not be ignored. An overload of coccidia can also cause diarrhea. This is a dangerous condition that requires medication. Watch your kids closely for signs of scouring. Take a fecal sample to your vet if the diarrhea persists.
Items to keep in case of an emergency
Pepto-Bismol- 6 cc to a baby goat for diarrhea (scours)
Probiotic Paste- helps to keep their rumens working properly. Probiotics are needed if antibiotics are used, because antibiotics will destroy the rumen bacteria essential for a goat’s digestive system to work properly.
Thermometer- Goats normal temperature should be 102.5-104. Anything higher or lower indicates a problem. We like to use a quick read baby thermometer with a flexible tip.
Iodine or Blue Kote- Cuts and scrapes need to be sprayed to protect from infection.
Activated Charcoal - used to treat poisoning
Fresh water constantly. During winter months water should be checked more often. A heated water bucket is helpful to keep water thawed, or hot water can be used to thaw ice.
Hay twice a day. Clover, timothy, and orchard grass mix are good choices.
Free choice minerals and baking soda. Bucks/Wethers need ammonium chloride added.
Browse- grass and shrubs
Goats like routine. Feeding should be done about the same time each day. Goats will not eat hay or food once it touches poop or is soiled. They will poop in their water if they can, but they will not drink from it once it is soiled. They will waste a lot of hay, no matter what type of hay feeder you have. We just call it bedding.
With proper care a Nigerian can live for 10-15 years.
We will provide you with the application for registering your goat with AGS, ADGA and/or NDGA. It is your responsibility to pay the fee and send the application to the registry. You do not have to be a member of the registries to register a goat. If you purchase a goat that is already registered it is your responsibility to send in the certificate and Bill of Sale to put the animal into you name.
This information is only a guide based on what we have learned. We are not veterinarians. We are happy to share our opinions and experiences. If you have an emergency please contact your veterinarian.
We appreciate your wanting to purchase one or more of our goats. We hope you get as much enjoyment out of owning goats as we do.
Please do not duplicate without permission from Gibson Farm. This is taken from our care sheet.