Anybody here have goats? - Mothering Forums

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Old 03-14-2005, 01:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have a 1 acre yard that is on a hill and I have been thinking that it would be great to get a pair of goats to keep as pets and possible milker. If I decide to do this I will get a pair of LeManchas. I'm looking for any advice you might have about caring for goats. Such as: what kind of fence, do they need "housing," how expensive is it to feed them, etc etc.
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Old 03-14-2005, 02:23 PM
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I don't have goats any more but I did keep nubians for a long time. We used them for milk for orphan foals.

Of all the livestock I have ever kept, goats were the biggest pain. I could not keep them in. They sprang over, through, and under whatever fence I put up. I ened up getting two Border Collies and just siccing them on the goats full time. Hot wire, electric fence, regular four board post and rail..
..the only thing that kept them in was a 6' tall woven wire stallion fence. Ugh. I was never happier than the day I got rid of my goats.

Goats need to be able to get up off wet ground. They need to be protected from rain and excessive wind. I would not keep them without some sort of shelter. A $100 Home Depot shed would do just fine, with some kind of well drained footing. You could put a fan in there in the summer time, or a heat lamp in the winter.

Feeding goats is not an expensive proposition. They eat just about anything. Mine got whatever we were feeding the horses. The one thing that's difficult for a smallholder to do is find reasonably priced, good hay. Not the junk you feed cows, who have the digestive capacity to deal with crappy hay. Scoop out hay availability in your area. If all you can find is $15 a bale alfalfa, that's a problem.

Also, make sure there's a male you can take them too to get "in the family way", otherwise, you've just got two pets. And have you thought about what you're going to do with the babies? Female goats, you can sell...but the law of averages being what it is, you need to figure out what you're going to do with the males.

I'm skipping around and not really thinking this through. If I can be of any (more) help, just ask.
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Old 03-14-2005, 02:25 PM
 
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I'm moving this to country living because I think you'll get lots of answers there.

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Old 03-14-2005, 02:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the reply Moon. I would not be able to afford a big 6 ft tall fence! I did not think about them wanting to get out or about what to do with babies! ACK! Maybe I'll just get some chickens for now.
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Old 03-14-2005, 11:04 PM
 
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OMgoodness, please think about the noise a billy goat makes i was born and raised a city girl and the first time i heard a billy goat penned up by itself (ergo, pining for female company) i thought it must by dying.
wrong.
I'm so sorry, this is just bringing back memories of dh's family's farm when they had like 30 goats. it was insane. you do need a big fence.
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Old 03-15-2005, 12:07 AM
 
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my sister raises 3 or 4 different types of goats.
she just had babies too. one goat had 4, the other had 2. (the twins are pygmies)
anyway... I can give you her e-mail if you want.
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Old 03-15-2005, 04:37 AM
 
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Farm Sanctuary will adopt out goats (rescued from animal cruelty cases and auctions and slaughterhouses and the like) to approved families. But even if you don't fit the bill of what they are looking for (vegan, etc.) they have useful info about caring for goats (and other species of farmed animals) here: http://www.farmanimalshelters.org/care_goat.htm
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Old 03-15-2005, 09:50 PM
 
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Pretty much all I know about goats is that you need to carefully consider their environmental impact. They really do eat just about anything, being browsers, and can denude the landscape. Grazers like cows and sheep (and, I think, horses?) are less problematic because most of what they'll munch on out to pasture is grass, and they'll clip it where goats will yank things up, strip leaves off of plants, etc.

Of course, other large animals have impacts as well, but some of the big ones such as trampling compacting the soil are less of a concern if you don't crowd too many of them into not enough space. Have you thought about maybe a sheep or two?

I keep running into case studies in my Human Environmental Impacts class where goats sent early agricultural societies into environmental degradation and collapse and were part of the reason for things like the irreversible deforestation of the Levant in the early days of agriculture...

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Old 03-15-2005, 10:08 PM
 
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I dont think you want a pair as billy goats stink. If you are going to want milk billy goat smell will flavor the milk. Now a fixed males is ok as long as he was fixed young so he didnt learn any bad habits. Males goats pee on their heads or drink the urine to make them selves smell good.

IMO goats are very hard to keep in but they are cheep and easy keepers.
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Old 03-16-2005, 01:56 PM
 
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When I lived at home, we had a very positive experience with goats. Admittedly the billy goats can be somewhat repulsive with their behavior :LOL but goats are typically so friendly and loving. We used (and my folks are still using) electric fence. It's easy to move around too, so that once the goats trim the grass down in one area, you can move it. Apparently it doesn't work for everyone but it worked for us.
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Old 03-16-2005, 07:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks everyone. I would NOT get a billy goat under any circumstances. I would get a neutered male and a female. I am hesitant about an electric fence because I have a two year old son. I was thinking of enclosing the yard eventually with standard sized chain link fencing. My yard is one acre on a pretty steep hill and the yard is in terrible shape (overrun with weeds and brush). So the goats would have a blast eating all that stuff I'm sure! AND thats really the point. Like I said its a very steep yard so its a pain to mow and while I realize that animals are not lawnmowers I think they would enjoy doing so and would be a help to me.

Like all other things in life this would require money that I just don't have. :LOL So its just an idea right now.

Thanks again!!

EDIT TO SAY......... What if I tethered the goats until I could afford a fence? Another poster mentioned on another thread that their goat was tethered.
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Old 03-16-2005, 08:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ravin
Pretty much all I know about goats is that you need to carefully consider their environmental impact. They really do eat just about anything, being browsers, and can denude the landscape. Grazers like cows and sheep (and, I think, horses?) are less problematic because most of what they'll munch on out to pasture is grass, and they'll clip it where goats will yank things up, strip leaves off of plants, etc.

.

So you are saying that goats yank the grass up roots and all instead of just eating it? Hmmm. Thats good to know! So maybe sheep would be better?
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Old 03-16-2005, 11:50 PM
 
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We keep four goats and lovelovelove them! Mine are nubian/alpine mutts with a nubian/alpine/boer wether (neutered male). They are very good at keeping the grass/weeds down. We've never had trouble keeping ours in a fenced area, but we do let them out of their field on a daily basis to roam. Perhaps that helps the wanderlust. I originally wanted to milk, and maybe will someday, but don't for now. Our neighbor gives us a round bale of hay every now and then, and they also love to eat our garden scraps. Goats are great! Having a fence in place really helps, as ours HATE being tethered and bleat their heads off when tied.

Good luck!
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Old 03-17-2005, 12:22 AM
 
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Tying a goat out in our expeirince works well. Just be sure to drive the stake in far into the ground. :LOL

Our goats had 70 plus acres and we still had a heck of a time keeping them in.

Then we had the goat who got out and then ate Lupin, talk about one sick goat. They had a huge pasture that was full of everything from grass to brush and she gets out to eat Lupin . Not too smart
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Old 05-22-2005, 05:40 PM
 
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LaManchas are my personal favorite goat, sweet and docile. For the size of your area, and the concern about getting out easier, maybe look into mini-manchas, kinders (if you want milk) or nigerians. no matter you need at least 2 or 3 since goats need company.

http://www.sheepandgoat.com/ look here for information on sheep and goats and go from there. chickens are a whole other can of worms to open :LOL you just can't stop and some :LOL

just remember as with any animal, if you are unable to cull (remove it from your grouping by selling, giving it away or eating it.) you shouldn't have it reproducing.

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Old 05-23-2005, 12:23 AM
 
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Just wanted to put out my sister's goat website:
www.Bloedelgoats.com

She has a lot of babies for sale, some are bottle fed (mother rejected, was part of a triplet set) some are not... most are handeled by humans and are very friendly.
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Old 05-23-2005, 10:20 AM
 
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My fiance had goats all growing up and loved it! He misses them greatly and when we get our new house with 3 acres of land we plan to get one. At any rate...about tethering the goats I would be hesitant. My fiance's family had their's tethered and they all went out for the day (school work etc) only to come home and find that he had inadvertantly hung himself!Talk about a traumatic event for the kids. Just something to consider, I know it is probably a rare event but still
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Old 05-24-2005, 11:43 PM
 
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We keep and milk reg. Nigerian Dwarf goats - we have two does, and Dharma just had a little doeling who will be staying here too. We stick with these girls b/c there's quite a market for the reg. ND's with the 4-H kids - we don't want to get into selling kids for meat. A little extra trouble, but worth it. We sold one doe who wouldn't stay put - there are individual goats who are just like that - IMO the ones who are bottle fed/imprinted are more likely to behave that way. We have step in posts with 6 foot wire and our girls stay put just fine. They are out in thier pasture 24/7 - they have a three sided shed we made out of an old workbench (ND's are short and a freecycled giant doghouse they love.
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Old 06-12-2005, 02:55 PM
 
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We have 2 goats - not sure what kind. At our old place where they had 1-2 acres to roam, they wouldn't touch the grass. They ate everything else the could reach. We moved and had to put them in a smaller yard. Within a week they ate everything green from the ground up to 6 feet. When shopping for the goats, most people told us they had to mow their goat yards. So if that's what you want them for, then yes sheep would be better.
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