Things to Consider Before Getting Dairy Goats
So, you’ve decided that you want to keep goats. You’ve done lots of reading and lots of studying. You’ve even decided that you want to keep dairy goats. That entailed lots more reading and even more studying.
You’ve found that female goats are called does, male goats are called bucks and they, like us, have kids. You’ve learned that goats are social creatures and would never be happy alone, but that’s okay because you would never be happy with just one.
You’ve learned that they have to be feed twice a day, and if you have dairy goats they will also have to be milked twice a day.
Are you really ready?
You have your land and you’re ready to get your goats, or are you? Other things that you need to have considered are:
- Is your pasture or pastures fenced with materials appropriate for keeping goats in? Is your fencing also able to keep dogs out?
- The pasture has trees or a shelter in place to protect the goats in times of extreme heat, and/or a dry draft-free building is available for use during cold, inclement weather. All poisonous plants (milkweed, sheep laurel, black cherry, and nightshade) have been removed from the pastures.
- Do you have enough supplemental broad-leafed feed and a ration of high-protein grain feed?
- In purchasing a goat that needs to be milked immediately, do you have all the necessary equipment for milking your goats, and for storing and processing your milk?
- If you are also purchasing a kid, to you have everything necessary to care for this arrival: bottles, heat lamps, etc.?
These are the very minimums of things that have to be in place, taken care of and considered before you bring your goats to their new home.
Before purchasing there also some other things to do and consider in order to make this experience all that it should and could be.
- Join one or more area dairy goat clubs. Talk to other members and visit their farms or facilities.
- In addition to the reading and studying that you have done, visit herds and look at the different dairy goat breeds. Observe the goats and talk to their owners.
- Visit goat shows, talk to the owners and ask lots of questions.
- Taste the milk produced by the herd, and then the goat or goats that you are considering the purchase of.
- Contemplate the pros and cons of purchasing a kid, a yearling or a milker.
- Any goats that are being purchased for milking should be disbudded, for your safety and for theirs. Marye Audet has a very good article on this, How-to Disbud a Goat Kid In this great article, Ms. Audet has pictures showing the disbudding in progress. Notice that the kid is being held in someone's lap during the disbudding. This is proof to me that the disbudding is minimally painful. This would not be possible during a very painful procedure.
- Look at recent CAE test results, brucellosis test results and a Caseous Lymphadenitis vet check before purchasing a new addition to your herd.
With all of these things taken care of, you will be assured of making a much more intelligent decision on the purchase of your new herd. When you bring your new herd home, it will be a much more enjoyable experience and one you can remember for all the right reasons.
After having read this list of “Do's”, and The "Don'ts" to Consider Before Getting Goats you are much more prepared for the wonderful journey ahead.
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Copyright © 2011 Cindy Murdoch (homesteadbound)
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