Raising Goats For Dummies

No buts: discover the addictive joy of raising goats

Goats are amazing, multi-talented creatures that have been domesticated for over 10,000 years. As well as being a source of food, clothes, and milk, they're wonderful companions: cute, intelligent, and playful-and often as friendly and attentive as dogs. Les mer
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No buts: discover the addictive joy of raising goats

Goats are amazing, multi-talented creatures that have been domesticated for over 10,000 years. As well as being a source of food, clothes, and milk, they're wonderful companions: cute, intelligent, and playful-and often as friendly and attentive as dogs. In addition, they make endearing noises and-according to ancient Ethiopian legend-discovered coffee. So what's holding you back? The new edition of Raising Goats For Dummies rebuts all your excuses, and shows you why having one-or, actually, a few-of these companionable ruminants (cud-chewing animals) in your life will bring you great joy, and, if you choose, unbeatable homemade milk and cheese-and possibly a cozy new sweater.

A happy goat aficionado since 1998, Cheryl K. Smith takes you from the grassroots of raising your goat-choosing and buying the breed you want, building and maintaining goat-friendly housing-to more elevated terrain, including how to build your own milk stand, participate in online goat shows (it's a thing!), and even monetize your goat. You'll also learn the fundamentals of proper care to make sure your goats are fed, kept healthy, and bred in ways that ensure they have the happiest life you can provide.

Study the history and breeds of goat, like the Nigerian Dwarf or Pygmy

Live sustainably from and even profit from your goat

Identify and alleviate common ailments

Have fun raising the kids!

Whether you're researching buying a goat or learning on the hoof about the ones you have, this book has everything you need to see why getting your goat will bring years and years of joy.



Introduction 1

About This Book 1

Foolish Assumptions 2

Beyond the Book 2

Icons Used in the Book 2

Where to Go from Here 3

Part 1: Getting Started with Goats 5

Chapter 1: Discovering the Joys of Raising Goats 7

Finding Goat Basics 8

Identifying the Benefits of Owning Goats 9

Becoming more self-sufficient 9

Using goats for companions or helpers 13

Raising goats as a 4-H project 14

Determining Whether Goats Are for You 15

Devoting time and effort 15

Deciding which goats are right for your situation 16

Finding out about local ordinances 17

Knowing your neighbors 18

Chapter 2: Glimpsing Vital Goat Statistics 19

Doe, a Goat, a Female Goat 19

Taking a Look at Goat Anatomy 20

Parts of the body 20

The digestive system 22

Hooves 23

Teeth 24

Beards 25

Wattles 25

Horns 26

Eyes 26

Signs of a Healthy Goat 27

Noticing posture 27

Identifying the meaning of goat cries 27

Determining normal temperature 28

Using ruminations as a health indicator 30

Taking a goat's pulse 30

Counting respirations 31

Recognizing life expectancy 31

Using a Goat Scorecard to Evaluate a Goat 31

Chapter 3: Knowing Your Capra Aegagrus Hircus (Goat, That Is) 33

Looking into Dairy Goats 34

Standard dairy goat breeds 34

Miniature breeds 38

Discovering Meat Goats 42

Boer goats 43

Myotonic goats 44

Kiko goats 45

Spanish goats 45

Texmaster goats 46

Moneymaker meat goats 46

Savanna goats 47

Investigating Fiber Goats 47

Angora 47

Cashmere 48

Miniature fiber goats 49

Chapter 4: Getting Your Property Ready for a Goat 51

Figuring Out How Many Goats You Can Support 51

Making Sure Fencing is Adequate 52

Running through types of fencing 53

Planning for gates 54

Protecting Your Plants 55

Considering which trees to protect 55

Making trees goat-proof 55

Protecting Your Herd 57

Putting hazards out of reach 57

Avoiding tethering 58

Providing a safe place to bunk down 59

Considering local predators 59

Using guardian animals for security 61

Removing poisonous plants 63

Building a Milk Stand 65

Cutting the lumber into parts and marking the pieces 67

Attaching the legs to the base 68

Attaching the side pieces to the base 68

Finishing the platform 68

Preparing the stanchion 68

Assembling the stanchion 69

Creating neck pieces 69

Adding the neck pieces to the stanchion 70

Adding the feeder attachment 70

Attaching the stanchion to the base 71

Making final adjustments 71

Part 2: Bringing Your Goats Home 73

Chapter 5: Home Sweet Homestead: Sheltering Your Goats 75

Outlining Shelter Types 75

Using an existing building 77

Putting up a shelter 77

Providing a Safe, Cozy Place for Goats to Bunk 78

Building a sleeping shelf in an existing barn 79

Using and maintaining bedding 82

Creating an Outdoor Shelter 84

Protecting your goats from the elements 84

Selecting flooring 85

Keeping Your Goats and Their Living Space Clean 86

Controlling flies and other bugs 86

Feed storage and ratproofing 88

Chapter 6: Dinner Time: What and How to Feed Your Goats 91

Goats Don't Eat Tin Cans: What and How to Feed 92

Understanding the two types of feed 92

Feeding hay and alfalfa 93

Using Chaffhaye instead of hay and alfalfa 93

Feeding grain 94

Following a feeding schedule 95

Choosing organic - or not 96

Minerals are a must 96

Supplemental feeds 97

Using Body-Condition Scoring to Fine-Tune Feeding 99

Feeding for Special Cases 100

Pregnancy 101

Milking does 101

Kids 101

Getting the Basic Supplies 102

Bowls 102

Buckets 102

Water supply 103

Mineral feeder 104

Hay feeder 105

Storing feed 106

Building a Simple Hay Feeder 106

Building a Mineral Block Holder 108

Providing Supplemental Feeding Options 110

Growing a goat garden 110

Feeding with garden plant waste 112

Storing garden produce 112

Creating a Hedgerow 113

Choosing a location 113

Determining what to plant 113

Keeping it surviving and thriving 114

Supplementing with Fodder 114

Chapter 7: Getting Your Goats: Choosing, Buying, and Bringing Goats Home 117

Choosing the Right Goats for Your Needs 118

Goats need company 118

Function matters 118

Size matters 119

Horns can hurt 119

Registered or unregistered 119

Looks count: The basics of conformation 120

Finding Sources for Goats 121

Visiting local feed stores 122

Reading the agriculture paper or thrifties 122

Checking out Craigslist 122

Surfing breeders' websites 122

Joining registries and goat clubs 123

Going where goat people congregate 123

Making Sure You Get a Healthy Goat 124

Asking questions 124

Examining the goats 125

Observing the home herd 126

Protecting Yourself with a Contract 126

Bringing Your Goats Home 128

Transporting your goats 128

Quarantining new goats 129

Watching for signs of stress 129

Chapter 8: Working with Your Goats 131

Identifying Normal Goat Behavior 131

Establishing a "pecking" order 132

Biting, butting, and mounting 133

Conducting Basic Training with Your Goats 135

Collars are not just decorations 135

Handling goats regularly 136

Walking goats on a lead 137

Teaching basic manners 138

Moving Up to Advanced Goat Training 139

Teaching tricks with a clicker 139

Using an obstacle course 140

Housebreaking 140

Preparing goats for packing 141

Training goats to pull a cart 143

Supervising Your Herd 145

Meeting their social needs 145

Evaluating the time you have to be home 146

Finding and training a reliable helper 146

Maintaining Physical Fitness 147

Walking with your goats 148

Furnishing your yard or pasture with toys 148

Entertaining with Your Goats 149

Chapter 9: Handling Routine Care and Important One-Time Tasks 151

Grooming Your Goats 151

Brushing 152

Bathing 152

Clipping 152

Specialized clipping 154

Caring for Hooves 154

Preparing to trim 155

Trimming the hooves 155

Dealing with Horns 159

Horned or not? 159

The case for no horns on goats 159

When to disbud 160

How to disbud 160

Preventing and dealing with scurs 164

Castrating Your Bucks 165

The problem of poor Elmer, or why to castrate 165

Knowing when to castrate 166

Choosing a castration method 167

Identifying Your Goats: Microchipping and Tattooing 169

Choosing a method 169

Tattooing your goat 170

Microchipping your goat 171

Part 3: Managing Goat Health and Breeding 173

Chapter 10: Outlining Basic Health-Care Requirements 175

Recognizing Signs of Illness 176

Working with a Veterinarian 177

Finding a vet 177

Knowing when to call 178

Preparing for a vet visit 178

Working with a non-goat veterinarian 180

Building a First-Aid Kit 180

The Straight Poop: Fecal Analysis 182

Giving Injections 184

Considering Vaccinations 186

Deciding whether to vaccinate 186

Looking into common vaccinations 186

Giving a vaccination 187

Keeping Health Records 188

Documenting important information 188

Keeping track of recurrent problems 189

Providing information for the vet 189

Tracking trends 190

Testing to Avoid Problems 190

Knowing what to test for 190

How to draw blood for a test 191

Knowing the Law Regarding Drugs in Food Animals 193

Chapter 11: Addressing Common Health Problems and Ailments 195

Managing the Creepy-Crawlies 195

Controlling external parasites 196

Minimizing internal parasites 198

Helping keep parasite problems at bay 202

Acquainting Yourself with Goat Viruses and Infections 202

Caprine arthritis encephalitis virus (CAEV) 202

Abscesses 204

Hardware disease 205

Tetanus 205

Johne's disease 206

Listeriosis 206

Pinkeye 207

Soremouth 207

Pneumonia 208

Wounds 209

Ringworm 210

Foot rot 210

Rabies 210

Examining Feed-Related Problems 211

Scours 211

Bloat 212

Enterotoxemia 213

Nutrient imbalances 214

Poisoning 218

Chapter 12: Breeding and Looking After Pregnant Goats 219

Preparing for Breeding 219

Running through Goat Mating Habits: Courting is Crucial! 220

Identifying the season for goat love 220

Manners, or what to expect from your goat 221

Doing the deed 223

Housing a buck after breeding 223

Finding Breeding Solutions When You Have Only Does 224

The invaluable buck rag 224

Leasing a buck 225

One-night stands, or driveway breeding 225

Artificial insemination 225

Looking into the Finer Points of Goat Pregnancy 226

Length of gestation 226

False pregnancy 226

Dealing with common pregnancy problems 227

Getting Ready for Kidding 230

Preparing the doe 230

Setting up a kidding pen 230

Being prepared with a kidding kit 231

Knowing when she'll kid (and what to do!) 232

Chapter 13: Now Comes the Fun Part: Kids! 235

Grasping the Basics of Kidding 235

Knowing what to expect from labor and birth 236

Handling multiples 239

Taking Care of Mother and Kids after Kidding 240

Caring for the new mother 240

Caring for newborn kids 241

The importance of colostrum 242

Dealing with kid problems 242

Tube-feeding a weak kid 246

Vaccinating 248

Feeding the Kids 249

Deciding between hand-feeding or natural feeding 249

Choosing milk 250

Feeding individually or as a group 250

Feeding schedule 251

Introducing solid foods 252

Weaning kids 252

Chapter 14: Caring for Aged Goats 255

Identifying Health Problems 255

Musculoskeletal issues 256

Digestive issues 256

Immune system issues 257

Circulatory issues 257

Mammary issues 257

Behavioral changes 258

Making Allowances for Disability 258

Providing proper housing 258

Finding a workable diet 259

Easing chronic pain 261

Determining When to Let Go 262

Part 4: Making Your Goats Work for You 263

Chapter 15: Discovering Goat Milk: How to Get, Use, and Sell It 265

Developing a Milking Routine 266

Knowing when to milk 266

Keeping the milk fresh 267

Caring for the udder 268

Preventing mastitis 269

Keeping records 269

Ending milking (Drying off) 270

Getting a Grip on Hand-Milking 270

Getting the supplies 271

Running through the hand-milking process 272

Using a hand-milking machine 273

Using a Motorized Milking Machine 274

Handling Milk to Keep It Clean and Fresh 276

Straining the milk 276

Cooling the milk 277

Storing the milk 277

Staying Legal while Selling Milk 278

Chapter 16: Goat Meat: From Breeding to Selling and Beyond 279

Getting the Basics of Raising Goats for Meat 280

Cross-breeding standard dairy goats to produce meat goats 280

Using your dairy goats for meat 281

Selling Your Products 281

Identifying potential buyers 281

Selling goats 284

Advertising 286

Legal considerations 287

Determining what to charge 287

Using marketing terminology properly 288

Slaughtering Goats 289

Doing it yourself 289

Using a licensed slaughter plant 289

Hiring a mobile butcher 290

Humanely slaughtering goats 290

Using All of the Goat 291

Hide tanning 291

Animal feed 293

Using the organs for herd health check 293

Chapter 17: Showing Your Goats 295

Finding Shows 296

Preparing to Show Your Goat 296

Getting your goat show-ready 297

Assembling your supplies 300

Earning more than just ribbons 301

Marketing at shows 301

Showing Your Goat in Person 302

Dressing appropriately 302

Keeping your goat between yourself and the judge 302

Focusing on the judge at all times 303

Making sure not to talk with your neighbor 303

Remaining calm even if your goat is misbehaving 303

Doing what the judge asks 304

Keeping your goat properly set up 304

Being a good loser (or winner) 305

Showing Your Goat Virtually 305

Setting the scene 306

Preparing your goat 306

Photographing properly 306

Chapter 18: More Benefits of Goats: Fiber, Breeding, Weed Control, and More 309

Harvesting and Selling Fiber 310

Reviewing fiber types 310

Shearing: How and when 311

Processing the fiber 314

Spinning 316

Selling your fiber 317

Creating Mini Breeds 318

Backpacking with Goats 320

Offering Buck Service 321

Boarding Other People's Goats 322

Selling Compost 322

Hiring Out for Weed Control 323

Providing "Goat Therapy" 324

Part 5: The Part of Tens 325

Chapter 19: Ten Common Mistakes First-Time Goat Owners Make 327

Getting Too Many Goats Too Fast 327

Failing to Educate Yourself before Getting Goats 328

Underestimating the Costs 328

Paying Too Much or Too Little for Your Goats 329

Getting Only One Goat 330

Buying Unhealthy Goats 330

Neglecting Routine Management and Care 331

Overlooking Your Goats' Dietary Needs 331

Giving the Goats Too Little Attention 332

Getting a Buck before You're Ready 332

Chapter 20: Ten Misconceptions about Goats 333

Goats Will Eat Anything 333

Goats Stink 334

Goats Aren't Very Smart 334

Goats Make Good Lawn Mowers 335

Goat Milk Tastes Bad 335

Goat Meat Tastes Bad 335

Goats Get Most of Their Water from Plants 336

Goats Are Only for People Who Can't Afford Cows 336

Only Male Goats Have Beards 337

A Dog Makes a Good Friend for a Goat 337

Appendix: Goat-Milk Recipes 339

Index 357

Om forfatteren

Cheryl K. Smith has raised a small herd of Nigerian Dwarf and Oberian dairy goats under the herd name Mystic Acres since 1998. She is the owner of karmadillo Press and is the author of Goat Health Care, Goat Midwifery, The Best of Ruminations Goat Milk and Cheese Recipes, and Raising Goats: Some Essentials.