Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Basics of Raising Goats

What do you need to start raising goats? Here are the basics of raising goats.

Ample pasture, preferably 1-2 acres per goat is recommended for grazing. Some people like to supplement with a bit of special goat grain available at your local feed store. A good quality hay should be on hand during the winter, and tosupplement feeding during dry summer months.

Fresh water is essential for a healthy goat. A good way to provide water is simply a bucket, refilled each day; or a trough, or even an automatic water station. An automatic water station is great if you are worried about dirty water and constant supply.

Housing is the next essential. Again, this is according to personal preference and budget. A good goat house for raising goats can be as simple as a lean-to shelter or a large barn with feed and hay rooms and stalls.

Mineral and or salt lick blocks are recommended by many goat owners for overall health. Look for the specialty recipes for goats. When placing a mineral or salt block, try to place it in the goat shelter and on a block of wood or something similar so that it will stay dry. You don't want your salt dissolving into the ground!

Do not skimp on fencing! Although being the most expensive aspect of raising goats, you will want it to last as long as possible and still be effective. The recommended fencing is 4' high, red-top woven wire with 12" spacing. When installing, be sure to stretch the bottom wire to run directly in contact with the ground for the most effective barrier.

With the right equipment and care, raising goats can and should be a pleasure for you, your friends and of course, the goats, for many years.

I hope you have learned more about raising goats from this short article. To learn more, I highly recommend the very affordable complete learning course, The Boer Goat Profits Guide.

21 comments:

Patty said...

We're considering getting a goat or two to help control the brush in our 1 1/2 acre yard. A previous owner planted bamboo and now it's out of control! Do goats like bamboo? Is it okay for them to eat? Are goats difficult to raise?

Andrew said...

Hi Patty!
I think bamboo is great :) But yes, goats can eat bamboo. No, goats are not difficult to raise, what can be difficult is keeping the goat where you want it. If you get one goat, keeping it on a leash would probably be your best option. Otherwise you will need woven wire fencing, which can be expensive.

Jason said...

Great info, Andrew. Thanks for taking the time to inform those of us that are looking into raising goats.

My wife and I live on a 3 acre plot, and I'd like to keep a goat or two at one end of the property to keep the grass down (in addition to being good pets).

I have two questions for you:

1) I want to satisfy their social needs. Will they be happy enough if I only have 2 of them? I only have an acre or so I want to keep them in, and it sounds like I'll already need to supplement their diets even during the summer months, so I'd like to have as few as possible while still keeping them happy.

2) How closely cropped will they keep the grass? Also, are they thorough in their grazing? I don't want that plot to look bad, but I also want it to be as maintenance-free as possible.

Thanks again. I look forward to hearing from you.

sleepy_steve said...

I like to use 16-foot cattle panels for containment. I cut them into thirds, length-wise, which gives me 48 feet of fence per panel. I then use a spade and dig a shallow trench about 6 inches deep, placing the panel sections in the trench, then refilling with dirt. I then stretch my wire around the outside of the fences. Presto! No more escape-artists and no more sharing my cabrito with the coyotes. Your goats will almost certainly eat the bamboo!

kjmsrn said...

Want to put a couple of goats on 12.5 acres of land we just purchased. Land has large pasture area which will be fenced with electric fencing as well as an area of overgrowth with plenty of plants/brushes/shrubs for them to feast on. We are planning on building a shelter for them and will purchase an autonomic water dispenser so they will have fresh water. The problem is we don't live there yet although we have relatives accross the street to help look after them. We are there 2-3 days a week. We don't want to use them as milk goats for now. If you don't milk them how long till the milk dries up ?

DeVries NC said...

Hi,
I recently purchased my first home and as a environmental educator am trying to go as green as possible. Being raised on primarily venison, I am looking for other meat alternatives and heard goat was a great option.
I have 3/4 acre and am thinking about getting 1 meat goat. I realize I will have to supplement feeding. Can I keep just one goat? Can I keep it on a leash and move it, the shelter and water around my property?
Living in Michigan, when should I get the goat, and when should I take it for butchering? What are ball park costs of raising this animal for a summer for food?

Thanks so much!
Tracy

gannsgirl1107 said...

I recently got 2 baby goats that are bottle fed. They are doing well except they have been limping. Do I need to do something to their hooves? Do they need shots? When? Please help!

reed said...

i am house sitting a place and asked the owners if i could get a goat to milk. he replied by saying there is some old proverb that says "if you don't have any problems, get a goat"

so i took that as a no, but i still would really like to be able to milk one and make cheese

Derek said...

I'm looking into 2 or 3 goats for our 3 acre partially wooded yard. I would like to use them for milk, cheese, and maybe meat. Would an invisible fence system work for these animals? I don't want my whole yard to be fenced in, but it would be nice to not have to mow. Any info is helpful.

Thanks

Thomas said...

I live in new zealand- am thinking abot getting two goats from a farmer who mentioned that the orginal farm that the goats came from had caprine spongiform encephalitis on it (mad goat disease). how do we get testing for CSE? the farmer claims it is not harmful to humans. he still drinks the milk from the goats. do you know of any good resources on this topic?

thankyou

jumpingjackrabbit said...

Hi there we want to start with goats for meat and are trying to buy a place to raise them when looking what type of land is best? we live in alberta canada. there are just not many trees left where we live. would an old dairy farm suit it is all grazing pastures. would they do okay on that? The dairy barn is huge and can be nicely converted to suit the goats. we know fencing is important etc..we are just struggle with getting a farm at this point . it is 80 acres.

missy said...

Hi I’m in FFA and I need a little help. I’m going to show a goat in the fair and its only going to be a couple of months old...but I don’t really have any acres that are not covered with forest but is it ok that i leave my goat in the pin at night and leashed at day??????

missy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
GAEA said...

What is the best way to get the goats to go from one grazing area to another,. We have russian olives that take over our intentional community in New mexico and would love the goats to do this naturally or with our assistance. What is recommended.>?

Andrew said...

Jason, good questions. Goats are by nature flock animals and therefore feel more comfortable in a group. I would definitely have at least two of them together. The more the merrier for the goat. The only problem I have seen is where there is one goat in the group that is over-dominating and causing the one or two weaker ones to withdraw from the group socially. It's usually best to put those over-dominant ones in a separate location.

When it comes to keeping the grass cropped, they should do a fine job. It all depends on the number of goats in the plot. They will not eat down to the roots but will certainly keep it trim. It's best to rotate the field they are kept in. If they don't have enough to graze on they will begin grazing too close to the ground, thereby increasing their exposure to parasites. The longer the grass/pasture they have, the healthier they will be. If you have a lot of brush in the plot, they will go after that first. They usually prefer greens at eye level and then settle for the ground-level stuff afterward.

Misty said...

We just got a herd of 17 goats from the livestock auction and are hoping to turn around and resell to better homes. Should we give them shots? If so, where do I start?

Jean said...

We have 5 acres of forested land, mostly large pine and fir trees with lots of smaller trees and brush. We're on a fairly steep slope. I want to get goats, but am afraid they will eat or kill my large trees. There is lots of smaller vegetation, so do I need to worry about goats killing off my forest?

goatgirl said...

are raising goat hard, because im getting one soon. also,what do the eat, mostly?

Michelle said...

Hi. I have a question about herding goats. I live on Orcas Island on a very small farm and this year the guys decided to start raising goats. They take excellent care of the goats and take them out to pasture or forage in the nearby state park every day all day. We're having some trouble herding them though, and sometimes we get into sticky situations with neighbors or difficult terrain. Do you have any advice on herding? I'm especially curious because although we have two right now, soon we will be have at least two more...

wanderedaway said...

It seems to me that a lot of people are getting goats and then seeking answers to very basic questions. C'mon people, learn to drive and THEN go buy a car. Don't take on the responsibility of caring for animals until you know what the hell you're doing! There are already tens of thousands of poorly cared for goats out there because of this mentality. Read books, visit goat farms, talk to other goat owners and once you've learned enough to care for them properly and ALREADY have their facilities ready, THEN go buy a few goats.

jerry john said...

It goes like this: first Paypal's collection department calls you to bother you. If you tell them not to call any more and to only contact through mail, they must comply.It's better to have it this way so you can keep the evidence. click here