Basic Goat Care: 

Disclaimer:  We are not Veterinarians.  These are only suggestions that work for us, please do you own research and do what is best for your own herd.  If you have an emergency please contact a vet for care asap.

1. Shelter

Shelter is a very basic necessity for goats. Goats need a good draft free and dry shelter from weather.  Goats do not like to get wet so they need a place where they can stay dry.  The shelter should be draft free in the winter.  It should provide good shade from the sun as well. 

2. Fencing

Goats are smart.  They can and will test your fences.  They climb. They jump.  And they like to rub against fences.  Your fencing needs to be quality and sturdy.  We personally recommend 2 x4 no climb horse fence.  we personally like 48" tall fencing.  We do know several farms that utilize electric fences.  So just do your research and see what works best for your farm.  Just remember Nigerian Dwarfs are small goats, so they can easily squeeze through small areas. 

3. Fresh Clean Water

Goats need a constant 24/7 supply of fresh clean water.  

4.  Goat specific loose mineral

Goats need a goat specific loose mineral. We do not recommend blocks as goat tongues are not rough and that makes getting proper minerals from a block difficult.  A loose mineral allows them to eat the mineral easier to make sure they are getting the proper amount.  We provide loose minerals free choice in a small mineral holder that you can get at a local farm supply.

5. Hay

Hay should make of 90% of your goats diet.  They should have access to hay 24/7 365 days a year.  Even if you provide pasture/browse they are not like cattle whom graze all day.. Goats browse so they need a supply of hay at all times to fill in the gaps and provide enough long stem roughage that they need to ruminate.  Hay should be of very good quality ( more like Horse quality hay) , low dust, and never ever feed moldy hay ( this could kill a goat).   Goats are actually picky eaters they will NOT eat hay that gets wet or dirty, so its best to feed hay up off the ground in a hay manger or hay feeder of some sort.  Goats are notorious hay wasters so be ready to use all the hay they waste as bedding!! 

6. Grain or Supplements

Grain is often a touchy subject with goats, and every single farm has a different opinion.   Our farm prefers to feed grain.  That being said we limit grain and monitor grain intake based on age, gender, lactation, and need.    We always recommend a goat specific grain!!  Goat specific grains are formulated to meet the nutritional needs of goats and contain the proper amounts of needed

vitamins and minerals.  

7.  Hoof care/Trims

Goats require routine hoof trims and care to maintain hoof health. 

8. Vaccinations

We vaccinate our herd annually for CD&T (Clostridium perfringens types C & D (overeating disease) and Clostridium tetani (tetanus.).  We personally feel this is an easy step in basic prevention of some very nasty and painful conditions that usually end in death.  Again some herds do not vaccinate ( that is your choice). 

9.  Internal and External parasites

Goats have worms ( internal parasites).  PERIOD.  One of your biggest challenges with goats will be controlling internal parasite loads.  We do not worm our goats on a routine nor do we recommend that.  We believe in fecal testing ( poop sample ) to check for internal parasite loads before worming.  We utilize pasture rotation, not overstocking, and keeping pasture height tall so that goats are not eating right on the ground ( this is how they re-infect themselves with parasite eggs).   We only use chemical de-wormers after a fecal has proved to be a high worm load.   Some farms use natural de-wormers, we suggest you do your own research for your specific area/climate and problem parasites in your region. External parasites ( Lice and mites) can usually be controlled fairly easy with a couple of chemical medication such as Cylence or Python Dust ( our 2 top picks for goats).  Routine cleaning of barns, pens, and stalls is a must for keeping down internal and external parasites.   

Again these are just the basics.  Each farm is different.  These are just recommendations and some of what works for us.  Please do you own research and please contact your local farm veterinarian if you have questions or goat emergencies. 

Basic Supplies to Keep on Hand:   ( Again only recommendations, do your own research, etc.  These are things that we think are good to have on hand "just in case".  For goat emergencies or anything you are not comfortable with please contact your local farm veterinarian. ) 

Rectal Thermometer  : if you have a sick goat you need to know their body temperature.  Normal range is 101.5 to 103.5

B Complex Injectable:  this is my go too if I have a sick goat, goat off feed, goat stressed you name it.  Thiamine and other B vitamins are vital to goat rumens.  We use these Click here 

Hoof Trimmers:  must have for routine hoof care

Needles & Syringes:  very good for dosing medicines, giving shots and vaccinations

Banamine or Asprin :  Banamine is prescription only but these are great for fever reducers and pain relief  ( please contact a vet for dosage) 

Activated Charcoal :  we keep this on hand just incase a goat decides to eat something toxic

Probiotics: always great to have on hand for times of stress, sickness, etc

Wormer: Its always good to have your choice of wormer on hand

Ammonium Chloride:  this is important for bucks and wethers , to prevent urinary calculi, some grains and minerals have this added already so just make sure to read labels

Gloves: We like having nitrile or latex gloves on hand, never know when you have a yucky situation ;)

 

Cylence or Python Dust:  great for prevention or treating external parasites

Drencher Syringe : this thing is amazing for dosing liquids and or liquid wormers  .. Click here