Pet goats

Animal, Goat, Young Animal, Farm

Whilst frequently characterised as working or farm animals, a small holding of goats can be extremely rewarding for the operator and is relatively simple so long as some basic rules are followed. A small holding of goats can be an exceptional source of milk and meat for the owner and by raising goats yourself you can be confident they were raised in a wholesome manner. Goats can also keep your land practically weed free.
Goats are social herd animals and you should aim to allow at least two goats to live together. The best breeds to keep will vary dependent on if your primary reason for maintaining them is milk, meat or fiber, or if you would like them primarily as pets.
Goat Facts
Male goats are called bucks and the females does. Goats normally live 10 to 12 years, although there have been instances of goats living up to 15 years. There are over 300 distinct breeds of goat and they are most closely associated with sheep, with which they can cross breed, although this isn’t recommended. The main products connected with goats include milk, cheese, meat, mohair, and cashmere.
Goat Products
Goat milk is gaining popularity and a huge dairy doe can produce 3,000 to 5,000 pounds of milk each year (On a daily basis two to three quarts). In most areas the milk will need to be pasteurized if you would like to sell it commercially, although you can drink untreated milk from your own goats. You should be aware there is some research suggesting health risks with consuming un-pasteurized goats milk. Much like the milk there is increasing demand for goat meat and there are claimed to be health benefits when compared to other red meats and chicken. If you intend to sell the meat you will have to comply with the rules a small commercial processor has to follow. The rules are less strict if the meat is intended for your own consumption. Goats also have been prized for three kinds of fibre, mohair, cashmere and cashgora.
Goat Housing
A dry draft free construction is suggested which will protect them from the elements and provides sufficient protection from rodents and other predators. Rodents could introduce disease in addition to eating and fouling food and water supplies. Concerning dimensions there ought to be sufficient room to allow the goats to stand upright on their hind legs with necks outstretched. If penned separately each goat should have about 4 sq. m. of floor space. If the goats are housed in a group in exactly the same place a minimum of two sq. m. per goat has to be supplied, even more than this minimum is recommended if conflict is to be avoided. Horned and disbudded or hornless goats should be penned separately.
Goat Food
Though they have a reputation for eating almost anything, they won’t flourish unless provided with the perfect balances in their diet. Whilst they will eat weeds and other vegetation such as pasture, they will need access to good quality hay. Legume hays contain more minerals, vitamins and nutrients, although as with other hays the quality can vary based on the harvesting, preparation and storage.
Goat Health
There are a range of illnesses that can affect a goat both in a chronic and curable form. Some of these illnesses can be passed to humans and other animals while some illnesses are specific to goats. Two illnesses that may bring sudden death to a goat are coccidiosis and pneumonia. Of most concern to breeders and producers are worms and parasites. A goat that’s ridden with parasites and worms and left untreated will probably suffer a rapid decline in health, production and often result in death.

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