Out of all the animals that you can raise on a farm, the most fun animal to work with are goats. Goats are extremely sociable, have unique personalities, and are easy to raise on a small farm. You need very little capital to start, and require very little maintenance. So without further ado, here are our top 10 tips for raising goats.
Tip #1 – Goats are social creatures
Goats are a very social creature, they belong in a herd, and are used to that environment. When starting out, make sure to purchase more than one goat, to keep them healthy and playful. Make sure to never just keep one goat.
Tip #2 – Stubborn as a goat isn’t just a saying
When you hear the phrase, “stubborn as a goat” you usually think of someone who is hard-headed and has a one-track mind. Well, goats are the same way. To be able to get around this, you have to learn how to think like a goat, if something is blocking their way from getting food or water and they don’t know how to solve it, they need the one with the higher mental power to solve this puzzle for them.
Tip #3 – Make sure you have a strong fence
The grass is greener on the other side isn’t just an old adage for goats, it’s their primary thought. Since goats are foragers, they will go wherever there is more food, and in some cases that can be in fields that you don’t want them to be in. The best way to deal with this is to make sure that you have a good fence to keep them in, and make sure you keep up the maintenance on it, because they will find the flaw or weakness if there is one.
Tip #4 – He’s not fat he’s just got a big rumen
Goats are not supposed to be skinny little things, they’re foragers, so if you see one that is starting to get a pot-belly, leave them alone. They are supposed to have a little bit of pudge to them, since they like to forage for extra food.
Tip #5 – Not a living garbage can
You know when you went to the petting zoo you saw the sign, “don’t feed the animals human food” they put that up for a reason. Just because goats will eat anything, doesn’t mean they should. They’re not like their looney tunes version, eating metal just because it’s there. Make sure that you work with your vet or an animal nutritionist to make sure you’re giving your goats the best diet possible.
Tip #6 – What’s your goal?
This one is pretty self-explanatory, what’s your goal with your goats? Are you raising them for meat? For milk? Or are you planning on raising show goats? Make sure you have this planned out before hand, because not all goats are raised the same way. You don’t want to take nutrition advice from a farmer who is raising show goats when you’re raising them for meat. If you do plan on doing more than one, make sure to Identify them properly and that they are segregated. We do carry farm animal ID tags if you do plan on trying to take on more than one goal.
Tip #7 – Goats are farm animals, not pets
As the title says, they are farm animals. They cannot be domesticated, and you should not treat the goat as the family pet. They have a social pecking order and will stick to it. Treat them like farm animals and you and your goats will get along fine.
Well, I hope that this helps. If you’re looking for some more tips, there is a great texas goat rancher who has some thoughts on it. But this should be good to help you get started.
Lisa Podwirny is the owner of Ketchum Mfg. Connect with her on Google+!