If you're reading this article than you most likely are or will be bringing home some goats very soon! They are very fun to have in the backyard/barnyard. Probably like me you've read and watched YouTube videos to prepare yourself. I myself gathered up lots of information and when I brought my goats home I was still not 100% ready and lost information from the overload. Below is a basic checklist you can print out to get those basics taken care of. You will learn as you go and add to the list.
MINIMAL GOAT CARE CHECKLIST:
#1 ~ A BUDDY
Yes, I have buddy in all uppercase, you really need two and not just one. Goats are herd animals and will be very lonely without a buddy, will be stressed and stress can cause them to become ill.* Generally, most good breeders will refuse to sell to anyone where the goat will be alone.
*Speaking from my childhood experience, had a single goat for a short while.
#2 ~ Draft free, dry shed with Ventilation
Goats need to be able to get out of the weather. For some areas a three-sided shed will do. In areas where the winters can get into the teens and less a four-sided shed is best. Nigerians need 10 sq. ft. and standards about 25 sq. ft. of space each in a shed or barn. Make sure they have clean, dry bedding.
To get started you don't need much. After deciding to get goats my husband and I quickly put up a cattle panel hoop shed for our first year with goats. It did the job and my doe even had her babies in there. We are in Western NY and it helped up through the winter.
#3 ~ Free choice Hay, Water and Minerals
Clearly all would know that clean water need to be always accessible to any animal. Goats also need loose minerals to keep themselves healthy. Somehow they know when they need it so you need to leave it out for them in a dish at all times. Many owners provide free access hay as well. Others choose to provide hay twice a day. I do twice a day or my goats eat until they are overweight.
#4 ~ Basic Medical
There are a lot of things you will want to add to your medical box but these are the minimums to get you started and should have from day one.
Baking Soda ~ Bloat is common in goats and can kill them. When they need it they will automatically eat the baking soda which will prevent and stop bloat. Some would have added baking soda on the free choice list as some feel they need it 24/7 and you can do that. I personally only offer when I feel they may need it. Goats can bloat when introduced to new feed so I would suggest putting it out free choice the week or two that you are switching a goat over from previous owners feed to what you will be providing goats.
Probiotics ~ is good to give when a goat is off to a new home, any other time of high stress and given as a boost when they look like they are getting a cold.
Thermometers~ The first thing you need to do if goat is unwell is to take its temperature. Its the first thing a vet will ask for. I would suggest atleast two thermometers on hand in case one has a dead battery or stops working. This is another speaking from experience.
#5 Have a Vet lined up ~
Before you get your goat check around to see what vets in your area are willing to work with goats. Then when an emergency occurs you can call them without fumbling for a vet.
#6 Routine Trimming
On average you will need to trim a goats hooves every 1 1/2 to 2 months. This greatly depends on each individual goats hoof growth rate. I quick check once a month.
#7 Routine Deworming
All goats have a small worm load but to keep it in check please learn how to tell if a goat is overloaded with worms by learning how to check famacha. Famacha score can be determined by pushing down upper lid and look at lower part of eye color. Sorry I don't have a picture or video of famacha scores nor a how-to, please check online, I'll try to post later. If famacha is low have a fecal test done. Worm depending on fecal test results.
#8 Learn how to check famacha
Yes, I'm re-emphasizing, this is invaluable to know. If famacha is low but fecal test doesn't show worm overload you will need to figure out why goat is anemic. I check my goats famacha every couple weeks.
#9 Yearly CD&T Shots
This really is your decision whether your goats get this but I wanted to make you aware of it. For most it is the one vaccine they will give their goats. It protects them from overeating disease and tetanus.
#10 Copper Bolus
This really depends on your area and your water. There are areas that lack copper and some goats will need a copper bolus. Providing a copper bolus every 4 to 6 months is needed for some goats to keep them from deficiency. Deficiency can cause problems. So read up on that too.. again I just wanted to brief you so you are aware of it.
When I picked up my first goat the seller kindly told me about majority listed above. Without her providing me that knowledge I really would have screwed up my first two goats. I wish I had the information printed out and handy. So please print out, keep it tacked up in your goat's supply area for the first year. You will find that this list is VERY basic but its a great starter. I hope this helps you on your new journey to goat parenting!
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