How To Begin Keeping Goats
So, you are interested in keeping goats. Welcome to the club of people who are passionate about keeping goats and committed to their welfare!
Keeping goats is a great commitment in terms of time, money, and also the physical ability to manage them and is not for everybody.
Goats are a long-term commitment, because they can live for more than twenty years.
Researching Goat Keeping
The first thing that you should do is research everything you possibly can, before you bring your first goats home.
For general information and advice, talk to other goat keepers, read books, research on the internet and call local goat, or rural associations.
British Goat Society
The British Goat Society, for example, has a very useful website, full of helpful information, references and publications.
Learn as much as you can about goats and then learn with them; from experience as you go.
Goats are herd animals and need other goats to play with, to spar with, or just to enjoy each others' company.
Goats can easily live with other animals including horses and sheep, but require at least one other goat to be completely happy.
Buying A Goat
A good producer will never sell only one goat to a beginner, so plan to buy and keep at least two goats.
Shelter And Pasture
Evaluate what you have to offer the goats in terms of shelter and space and whether you are looking to breed the goats, produce milk to drink or make cheese, or to keep them as a pet.
Type Of Goat Breed
There are several breeds available that are specific for milk, meat or fibre production. There are also several breeds that have more than one purpose.
Good milking goats to start with are the Golden Guernsey, Saanen or Pygmy, whereas the Boer goat is good for meat and the Angora for fibre.
Consider the size of the goat you want; the Saanen, for example are quite large goats and need a lot of room, whereas Pygmies goats can be miniature goats.
Get as much information about the breed you are interested in and get feedback from people who have already kept the breed.
Goat Health Care
To keep goats at their healthiest, paying attention to small details is essential because it is these details, such as they are not eating like they used to, that can make the difference.
Not that the goat is a particular sensitive animal, they are quite hardy and tough, but the key to prevention is catching something early on, before it gets too much of a hold.
Another such detail is to ensure that the goats' shelter is properly ventilated and at the same time draught-free.
The last tip I will leave you with is to keep the goat's collar and the lead within easy reach.
Goats are great escapologists and love to eat a variety of plants, including your, or your neighbours' prized garden plants and vegetation, which may be poisonous for them to eat.
Keep all of these things in mind when you are considering keeping goats and you will be starting a richly rewarding relationship.
|22 May 2016|
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