We'll be picking our 2 nigerian dwarf goats up in a few weeks. Thought I'd do a survey of those more experienced.
Sooo, what do you wish you'd known beforehand?
Fortunately, we learned this from the people who sold us our first two. Have some baking soda at hand, for your goats, available to them on demand. Sometimes a goat will get into something which will cause digestive problems and bloating. The baking soda REALLY helps. When they need it they love it.
How they will exploit any weakness in a fence. If there is a spot where the ground is low, such as a small ditch, the goats will push at the hole until they squeeze out.
Ditto on the fences. They will ruin ANY fance in months.
ND's love to eat. Ours will eat till they explode. Hard to control portions when they are pushing each other at the feed. My wife has resorted to feeding them separately, which is a nuisance. But it's the only way to keep the aggressive ones from getting all the feed.
They are fun though. Enjoy the experience.
I wish I knew that they need shots like all animals do! The people we got them from said they never worm them or anything. So make sure you know what shots they need. Also find a vet that knows about goats!
Clear the area where they will be of posinous plants and cherry trees. I was told red maple is a no no also. I always thought red maples had reddish to purple looking leaves, but learned quickly they are green, after havinh a panic attack after my goats gotten hold of some maple leaves. Thank goodness it was a sugar maple. Beware of the wild plants that grow near where they will eat, lots of plants can make them sick, or kill them, and of course there isn't a list out there that has ALL the facts!!! My goats eat oak leaves, some say that's not good, vet says
it's ok,ahhhh, who do you believe!!! We got the goats to eat away brush and stuff, and find out that most of it will do them in! My husband is ready to kill me, because I won't let them free range(while we watch them) for fear they will eat poison.
We also learned that once you solve one fence,barn,pen, or run problem 10 more arise!
Last but not least, bigger is always better. Whatever size pen, run, barn, or such you are think of, go a little bigger, never seems to be enough room!
You probably already realized it, but: They're LOUD, and sometimes rather demanding. I like pygmies the best, and some nubians, but we had to sell ours, cause the neighbors across the canyon keep thinking a baby's dying or something.
And pretty much everything that's been said: feed rationing and fences. I also feel guilty when it comes time to burn off their horns. :-(
Almost any tree in their enclosure will be killed by their rubbing horns and/or nibbling at the bark. If you want to keep a tree, keep goats away from it.
I wish I would have known how much fun they are to have around. I would have had them sooner.
Not over feeding them grain is important. You can kill them with kindness...and they are pretty convincing when they tell you they are starving.
I have a dozen goats of various breeds and ages and mine free range with no problem. They are a friendly group and the first few weeks I stayed with them and walked with them where they were allowed to be. Now they have their own routine. I still need to walk out back with them to get them out of the barn, but once they start eating I can slip away without them following me. They seem to keep the same routine everyday...browsing their favorite spots in the same order....finishing with the pine trees then back to the barn.
One thing I do keep in mind now, is that when I am purchasing a goat, I make sure they have been handled and are used to people. They are just easier to handle when you do need to get ahold of one for hoof trimming or whatever.
Have fun! Carrie
They will climb on anything and everything. They will jump off the things they've climbed on. A mistake we made was having a pile of firewood too close to the fence. They climbed the wood pile and jumped over the fence. They will eat clothing. Left a jacket hanging on a fence post while working in the field and found it had been snacked on. Watching the kids butt heads is fun. Having them head-butt you is not.
THEY ARE ADDICTING! We started with (3) wethers given to us 4-yrs ago because the little girl didn't want to sell her "fair projects." Now I am about a week or two from having the first of 8-does start kidding.
Next week I go and pick up another FB boer doe to add to my other FB girls.
Like I said...they are addicting and multiply over night! Well it seems that way...they most generally have twins and triplets. If you have 4-girls having babies...you will most likey have 8 - 12 kids. So the herd grows quickly.
how wonderful they are. i have full size goats. they are a mess but so endearing. so intelligent.
anything made from nature, they might eat. like a cotton rope, they'd eat, but a nylon one they'd leave alone. that concept alone has made things a lot easier. they may test plastic but won't ultimately eat it.
We have Nubians and they never ate anything they weren't suppose to but one, Frederick, will find a plant with a root, take the root and make a circle with his head which makes the plant spin in a circle. He will also holds a maple leaf in his teeth and make it twill. He is the one that one day realize, while we were installing some electric cords, he could reach one. Because we couldn't move it until we were done I had to put some dawn dish soap on it so when he tasted it he got soap instead. He would run up the hill then run jumping in the air down the hill right back to the cord. He wouldn't touch it again but come really close, I LOVE THESE GUYS.
I wish I'd know that goats need to be paired up.Another thing I learned was that fences,in the eyes of a goat,were made to be escaped.I plan on having an electric fence the next time for penning goats.The last thing I wish I'd known is just how determined they can be about getting to something that they want.Sherry
watch your eyes when you're trimming their hooves...they can cuddle nice and soft then *bam* up comes the head and horns!! so beware if they still have them!
other than that....enjoy....they are SO much fun to have as long as you can give them what they need and require to live a long goats life. also...mine always try to kiss me on the lips!
that they are so stubborn , because I have 300 goats . they are stubborn when you give them there shouts .It can be hurtful