The “Do Not's” - What to Consider Before Getting Goats

Goat Keeping can be Rewarding
Goat Keeping can be Rewarding | Source

Once you have made the decision to keep goats, if you’re like me, you might have the propensity to rush right in before being totally ready. I can get so excited and so caught up in the moment that I don’t always stop and think. I’m a whole lot better than I used to be, but I still have my moments. But I’m also still trainable. They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, so maybe I’m not too … well … I’ll say it before you do … old!

In a previous article, Things to Consider Before Getting Dairy Goats, I wrote about things that you should do in preparation before bringing your goats home. In this article, I want to address some things that you might want to consider “not doing”.

My husband and I have been thinking about … wishing might actually be a better word … starting a goat dairy. He has showed more interest in the idea than I thought he would. Yesterday I saw on his computer screen that he was looking at a livestock auction website. And that leads me into the first “Don’t” that you might want to take into consideration.

Don't Buy Someone Else's Problems

Don’t buy goats to establish your herd from a sale barn if you can help it. Think of it this way – some of the goats (not all, maybe not even half) are there because their owners no longer want the problems that that goat causes. If an experienced goat herdsman doesn’t want them, neither do you!

In the article, Things to Consider Before Getting Dairy Goats, I advised that you should join one or more area dairy goat clubs. Talk to other members and visit their farms or facilities. This doesn’t just have to apply to dairy goats. This advice would be good for anyone purchasing any kind of livestock. By joining a goat club, you will learn about the people you are buying from and this will give you some kind of an idea of the quality of goat you will be receiving from them. And someone that you will have an ongoing relationship with, such as in a club, will be more likely to sell you a better goat. It is advisable to never buy a goat from a stranger, because you may be spending your money on something that you don’t really want.

Billy Goats

Unless you are keeping more than 5 females it is probably better to avoid the hassle of owning a male goat. They can be a lot of trouble. You actually have a couple other options at your disposal. If your herd is small enough, you could find someone who would allow you to take your females to be bred in their pasture. Another option is artificial insemination.

It's easy to see how even small horns can easily get caught!
It's easy to see how even small horns can easily get caught! | Source

Horns

Consider very carefully before buying a goat with horns. They can be very dangerous to you, to themselves and to other goats. If a goat were to stick its head through something such as the fencing, it is very easy for their head to get stuck causing injury while trying to dislodge it, or possibly death before you get to them. Horns are also dangerous when goats ram into each other.

Even little kids like to butt heads!
Even little kids like to butt heads! | Source

Don't Get Caught Unprepared!

If you’ve joined a goat club and attended some meetings, and attended some stock shows, then you have had the opportunity to talk to other goat keepers. They can be a wealth of knowledge for you. Talk to someone who is keeping goats for the same reason you intend to and find out what you will need to properly care for your goats. Don’t wait until you have the goats and all the sudden come up short on supplies because you didn’t find out beforehand. Ask questions and have everything ready to go before getting the goats.

Ignorance is not Bliss

Before you get your goats, become as knowledgeable as you can. I’m going to say it again: go to goat club meetings, goat association meetings and stock shows. Visit local goat farms and dairies and ask lots of questions. The answers you get will make you a better goat keeper, but they could also help you decide who you might want to buy your future herd from. Read books, magazines and articles about goats and goat keeping. Get acquainted with the vet that you will be using for your herd. There are lots of ways that you can increase your knowledge base, therefore how quickly you do this is entirely up to you.

Dogs and Goats Don't Mix

There are lots of fencing options available. But fencing such as electric fencing that will keep goats in will not keep dogs out. A pack of even small dogs can bring a goat down. So install good tight woven wire fencing that is at least 4 ½ feet high.

Source

Practice Makes Perfect

If you’ve never kept goats before, you might want to buy a younger animal and become accustomed to its care before taking on the milking of a goat also. Don’t buy a goat that needs milking the day she arrives. Give yourself time to adjust and to adapt. Give your animals a chance to adjust and adapt as you go through this learning process.

Quality Feed is Critical

Don’t skimp on the quality of feed or your goats’ health with suffer also. Then the money you saved on feed will be more than eaten up with the cost of vet bills. Talk to other goat owners in your area and find out what feeds are working for them. Talk to them about foraging, hay type feed, and grain formulated feeds. In dairy goats, the wrong feed will also drastically affect their milk production.

Illness

Preventative medicine is so much easier to practice, than treating an already sick animal. And by using good goat keeping practices, even if your animals do become sick, the sicknesses are generally less serious and less frequent. Concerning preventative measures, you will need to decide if you intend to use organic measures to care for your goats. If you don’t intend to go organic, talk to your veterinarian and discuss what vaccines and wormers they recommend. Talk to other goat herdsman and find out what vitamin and mineral supplementation they are using. Become familiar with each goat and their habits. This will allow you to notice changes in their behavior that may indicate an illness that can be treated more easily the earlier it is detected.

If you intend to go the organic route, talk to others who are raising their animals organically. Each generation of organically kept animals are healthier than the previous generation and are able to fight off disease easier. But it takes time and perseverance. It also takes some sacrifice. I know of organic breeders who will destroy a sick animal so that other animals will not get the disease, and so that the genetics that allowed the disease to manifest in the first place will not be passed on to the next generation.

Don't Experiment Without Experience

Until you have a very good idea of what you are doing and why it is working, don’t experiment with your goats’ feeding or management. Talk to others and learn from them. It is very easy to make mistakes that will cost your animals their lives, therefore, your livelihood.


After having read this list of “Don’ts”, and Things to Consider Before Getting Dairy Goats’ list of “Do’s” you are much more prepared for the wonderful journey ahead.

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Comments: "The “Do Nots” - What to Consider Before Getting Goats" 17 comments

Hillbilly Zen profile image

Hillbilly Zen 5 years ago from Kentucky

Honestly, Ms. hsb, you put together the BEST Hubs! Tons of useful information, and all kinds of wonderful pictures and videos. Really top-notch presentations. Thank you!


homesteadbound profile image

homesteadbound 5 years ago from Texas Author

Thanks, Hillbilly Zen! These videos really didn't totally tie in with the hub, but they were so cute I just couldn't resist! I'm glad you enjoyed the presentation. I know I take more time picking out pictures and videos to go with my hubs than you are supposed to, but I want them to be enjoyable. Thanks!


thelyricwriter profile image

thelyricwriter 5 years ago from West Virginia

Great detailed hub on goats Homesteadbound. You really pointed out a lot of different things when it comes too considering them to purchase. You have my votes. This was a really good article.


homesteadbound profile image

homesteadbound 5 years ago from Texas Author

thelyricwriter - I kind of have ulterior motives in writing these. As I study and learn, or go to a class, if I write a good clear article, then I will have the info for me too. Thanks for stopping by.


Cloverleaf profile image

Cloverleaf 5 years ago from Calgary, AB, Canada

Ooh - a goat dairy! This sounds like fun. But you've obviously got a lot of stuff to check out first. Good thing you've done your homework. Your videos were great, too (and very cute). I'm voting up and across the board!

Cloverleaf.


homesteadbound profile image

homesteadbound 5 years ago from Texas Author

Thanks so much, Cloverleaf. I thought the videos were really cute too. They didn't necessarily tie in totally other than the fact that they are goat, but I just couldn't help myself. Always glad to see you here!


stephaniedas profile image

stephaniedas 5 years ago from Miami, US

Oh my gosh, these videos are adorable. I've looked at all of your farm animal hubs because I am so interested in them. I'd love to learn more, please post when you get them and your experiences!


homesteadbound profile image

homesteadbound 5 years ago from Texas Author

stephaniedas - I thought the videos were very cute also. I'm glad that you have enjoyed reading all of my farm hubs. I hope I am able to fulfill these dreams sooner than later, and you can bet that I will be documenting them. I just might have to start a blog at that time also. Thank you so much for brightening my day!


MsDora profile image

MsDora 5 years ago from The Caribbean

I'm impressed by how knowledgeable you are! Growing up in the Caribbean, my grandmother kept goats. I wasn't committed enough to "Become familiar with each goat and their habits." However, I still love them enough to learn from what you wrote. Thanks for sharing!


homesteadbound profile image

homesteadbound 5 years ago from Texas Author

MsDora - Their personalites make them very easy to love. I am indeed on a mission to learn as much as I can in preparation of making a dream come true.

thanks so visiting.


patchofearth profile image

patchofearth 4 years ago from somewhere in the appalachian foothills

I read this article because I am considering getting a couple of goats and am doing research. This was very useful. Thank you for sharing your knowledge.


homesteadbound profile image

homesteadbound 4 years ago from Texas Author

patchofearth - Goats are really fun, and funny. Good luck on getting your goats. Thanks for stopping by. Be sure to read the other articles about goats as well.


Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

Brilliant;to own a little smallholding is my dream(daydream) with a donkey sanctuary;dogs;cats;chickens and couple of goats as well.

Well who said I can't dream ha ha ha!!

Thank you so mch for sharing.

Take care and enjoy your day.

This one has to have my up up anddaway.

Eddy.


Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

I thoroughly enjoyed this one and this is what I daydream about;my own backyard farm;no sign of it becoming a reality yet;but i have a very vivid imagination.

Take care and enjoy your day.

Eddy.


homesteadbound profile image

homesteadbound 4 years ago from Texas Author

Eddy - I am dreaming right beside you. I want all those things as well, so I keep dreaming and taking homestead classes and reading articles and dreaming. Thanks for stopping by! I appreciate it so much!


jmbugua 3 years ago

really want to invest on dairy goats,more so because of its milk,would like to get a sunnen..


homesteadbound profile image

homesteadbound 3 years ago from Texas Author

I would like to get them to make the cheese!

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