Basic Goat Health and Husbandry

Much information has been written about goat health & husbandry, so instead of re-writing all that information here I will direct you to some of the better sources to find information. You may also visit our farm website which gives more information.

Healthy Goat Informationhummer

  • Rectal temperature: 101.5 – 103.5 (can vary due to weather)
  • Pulse rate: 70 – 80 beats per minute
  • Respiration: 15 to 30 per minute
  • Rumen movements: 1 – 1.5 per minute
  • Estrus Cycle: 17 to 23 days
  • Gestation: 145 to 155 days (about 5 months)
  • Average Lifespan: 8-12 years

Health & Husbandry Goat Links

Feeding

marzipan upclose eatingGoats are NOT grazers, but instead are browsers and eat similar to deer. They prefer tall weeds, briers, shrubs, bushes, low hanging tree branches, green leaves, and any other off-the-ground greenery. Goats are not intended to be grazers like horses and sheep, however when nothing else is available they will eat grass. Typically grass is much lower in nutrition and if the grass is shorter than 2 inches tall it’s recommended to keep hay available as an additional food source. Keep in mind goats who graze close to the ground will be more susceptible to parasites.

Free choice hay, grass, or brush should always be available because goats are not built to live off grain alone. Some people enjoy having indoor/outdoor pet goats like a pet dog. While this isn’t a problem, it’s important to realize goats eat for a large portion of the day. They should have numerous opportunities to browse or eat hay throughout the day.

We feed a 16% protein goat feed to our growing goats, pregnant goats, and lactating goats. Adult bucks, wethers and dry does typically do fine with a 14% protein goat feed. If you have a small number of goats you may find it easier to just feed one type of goat feed. In this case a 16% goat feed will give your kids the best growth. Be sure to follow the feeding recommendations on the bag. Overfeeding grain can be a serious problem. When in doubt ask your livestock vet or an experienced goat breeder how much to feed.

Clean, fresh water should always be available. Goats also need trace goat minerals (not sheep & goat minerals) in either a loose or block form.

eyechartsmDeworming

Part 1 – Types of Dewormers
Part 2 – Dewormer Dosages

Some more helpful links:
All about goat parasites
Dewormers – Chemical as well as Natural & Herbal
Photos of parasite eggs for easy identification

Hoof trimming

Goat’s hooves continually grow, and the more grain they are fed, the faster their hooves will grow. Regular hoof trimming should be done every 8-12 weeks. You can use a sharp hoof knife if you know what you are doing, but most people prefer to use special shears to trim the hooves. If you’ve never done this before it’s best to have someone experienced show you how. To keep from having to trim as often, you can pile large rocks or chunks of concrete near the barn so the goats can climb & play while keeping their hooves wore down.

Photos and descriptions of how to trim hooves

Vaccinations

Ask your veterinarian which vaccines are recommended for your area. Annual vaccines will help keep your goat healthy. Many vets recommend CD&T (over- eating disease & tetanus) each year. At the minimum we recommend a booster of Tetanus each spring.

Goat Diseases & Conditions

Different Symptoms & Treatments
Medications & Herbal remedies