Care Information

Goats are a HERD animal. We do not sell individual goats unless you are a Registered Breeder or you already own a small herd.

The best pets for your family are either Wethers (de-sexed males) or Does.

Bucks are definitely NOT suitable pet material. Although most have good temperaments, they are extremely smelly and often have personality changes when in Rut.

 

WHAT YOU NEED TO OWN A GOAT

·       PIC Number (Property Identification Code)

All livestock must be registered with the LLS (Land & Livestock). This number does not cost anything and is obtained by calling your local DPI (Department of Primary of Industries). It usually takes about one week to be approved.

** We are unable sell and transport our goats unless your property has a PIC Number**


· LPA (Livestock Production Assurance) Accreditation

From Oct 1st 2017 new biosecurity and Animal welfare practices will become part of a LPA accreditation every 3 years. You will need to complete an online assessment and pay a $66 fee, this is to be renewed every 3 years. 

The requirements are to demonstrate that your on farm handling of livestock is consistent with the Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines.

For more information visit: http://www.mla.com.au/LPALearning


·       Good fencing

It is imperative to have good fencing. We use steel star pickets with ringlock wire supported with timber posts. Our heights are 1.2m, however we have higher fencing in the Buck pens with straining wires on top.

We also have part post and rail fencing with ringlock wire as well. Many breeders put electric strands on the top and bottom of their fences to stop the goats rubbing against it.

**Never leave anything that is climbable near the sides of fences, as goats love to explore, and are more than likely to jump onto the object, and over the fence, to see what’s on the other side**

·       Shelter

Goats do not like getting wet. A shed, cubby house or 3 sided structure that is wind and rain proof is ideal. Have pallets or some type of flooring where the goats can get up off the wet ground.  Large Dog Kennels are great for babies and some younger goats.

·       Food & water

Always provide fresh water on a daily basis. Depending on the size of your goat, they can drink up to 12 litres per day. If you have an old bathtub in the paddock, you can put a copper pipe or sprinkle Copper Sulfate into it when filling to prevent the buildup of algae.

·       Love and attention

The more time you are willing to spend with your animal, the more rewarding the experience will be. Goats, like any pet, are extremely intelligent and easily trainable. They love cuddles, pats and brushes. The quieter your goat is, the easier it will be to give medications, medical care and hoof trims.

 

POISONOUS FOOD FOR GOATS

ANY DOG FOODS OR MEAT PRODUCTS

STONE FRUITS (BRANCHES, LEAVES & FRUIT)

POTATO

AVOCADO (SKIN & FRUIT)

FERNS (particularly Bracken Fern)

TOMATO (LEAVES AND STEMS) - Ripe fruit ok in small amounts

 

There are lots of helpful websites and books with lists of poisonous plants. Google or research for more information. Many sites will differ in their opinions, but we definitely make sure our goats DO NOT get any of the items listed above.


WHAT WE FEED OUR GOATS

For Does and Bucks, we give Lucerne Chaff, Horse and Dairy Meal, Copra Meal and soaked grains with lots of fruit and vegetables. They also have access to a nice grazing pasture.

If you are feeding Wethers, the grain should only be used as a treat, not a permanent food source. It is not necessary for them to eat it as its high protein/phosphorus content can cause Urinary Calculi (Kidney Stones). This is a serious condition which needs immediate treatment and in severe cases can cause death. It is best to just give wethers the chaff, dairy meal and copra with lots of fruit and vegies. Adding Apple Cidar vinegar to their water can also help fight off problems.

Homemade Stud mix: If you have a little more time and are trying to be economical, we soak an overnight combination of Oats, Barley and Black Sunflower Seeds in Apple Cider Vinegar with a teaspoon of copper sulfate (put these ingredients in a pillow case before adding warm water). Once ready, drain the water out of the container. DO NOT waste this, the goats love it!! They will either drink it straight out of a bucket or you can put it into their water troughs.

Put the pillowcase with grain mix back into bucket and close lid. Serve 2 cups to each goat mixed with chaff and dairy meal. Usually for our herd it lasts about 3 days.

ALL goats have full time access to a free choice mineral feeder (as per Pat Coleby) consisting of Seaweed Meal, Copper Sulfate, Dolomite, Sulphur, Lime and Salt

We also give all our goats Apple Cider Vinegar, Cod Liver Oil, Livermol, Sunflower seeds plus a range of herbs to help with their inner health and coat condition.

If we have Pregnant or Lactating Does, we increase their grain feeds to twice a day to help with milk production, and keep them in peak condition.

We use:-

50:50 Oaten/Lucerne Chaff mix (you tend not to waste as much), plus a biscuit of Hay each day. Alternate feeds of Horse and Dairy Meal or Copra Meal. Soaked Grain Mix of Whole Barley, Whole Oats and Black Sunflower seeds mixed with Copper Sulphate, Mikel. Cod Liver Oil and Apple Cider Vinegar.

Free access to a nice grazing pasture

Pre-made Stud Grain Mix purchased from livestock store (photo below)

 

Do not feed a sheep mix as it lacks copper. Goats need copper in their diet.

Our goats also get a mixture of apple, orange, lemon, pear, beetroot, carrot, pumpkin and sunflower seeds mixed with a variety of herbs (garlic, ginger, parsley, dash of cayenne powder, rosemary). This helps with their inner health and is great for extra nutrients.

ALL Goats love to browse. In fact, they prefer browsing over paddock pasture. Offering branches of native tree clippings like willow, wattle, bottle brush, banksia, tea tree and olive trees are great. Goats can also eat, rose bushes, citrus trees, Mulberry trees, Fig trees and pine trees. There are hundreds of varieties of trees, so do your research on what is appropriate.

A Goat Lick Block (Must contain copper). Leave this in a dry area on a brick or raised platform where the goats can get to it. They will lick at it when they need too. They can last 6-12 months.


ONGOING HEALTH

Adding MINERALS to your goat’s diet is important. All soil qualities vary within different regions and states of Australia. Along with our free choice mineral feeder, we also supplement into their feeds Livermol, Seaweed Meal, Garlic, Ginger, Apple Cider Vinegar, Brewer’s Yeast, Cod Liver Oil, Minkel, Diatomaceous Earth & Baking Soda.

We are using a homemade herbal goat worm Formula. We give this every week, and then for 3 consecutive days once per month. Since introducing herbs into our feed regime, we have noticed a great improvement in their coat condition and overall health.

As a special treat, we give our goats Currants or Sultanas. They’ll do anything for these!

 

VACCINATIONS

We vaccinate our goats with Ultravac 5 in 1 or Ultravac 6 in 1.

At 6 weeks they are given their 1st injection, then a 2nd booster at 10-12 weeks. At 12 months we give their final dose.

Every 6-12 months thereafter, you give a booster shot. These can be obtained from your local vet.


FEET TRIMMING

Every 6-8 weeks we trim their feet. You can use a sharp pair of garden shears or buy a hoof clipper from a local stock store. It is best to do their feet just after wet weather, as the hoof walls are softer and easier to cut.


DRENCHING

Along with our herbal wormer we drench every 3-6 months depending on the worm burden. It is best to do a Fecal egg worm count (FEC) prior to drenching, so you know what strand of worm you’re dealing with.

We use Caprimec, Cydectin Oral drench, Q-Drench, and Zolvix on our standard goats. It is wise to rotate these drenches, so they don’t become immune to one particular type.

On pregnant & lactating Does we use Avomec & Caprimec, as most of the above drenches are not recommended.  

Most of these drenches used above have not been approved for goats – only sheep (except Caprimec). Veterinary advice says give one and a half to double the dose recommended for sheep, as a goat’s metabolism burns it off twice as quick.

For further information on worming and drench resistance we recommend the following website:

Worm Boss http://www.wormboss.com.au


BATHING

Every few months we also bathe our goats. It is just the same as bathing a dog. Use a luke warm water, and don’t get it in their ears/eyes. We use Fidos Shampoo wash, Marthas Wool mix or if their skin looks dry or irritated, we use Malaseb wash, which is great for animals with skin conditions. We also brush them regularly.


LICE/TICKS

Goats get lice in their coats. If you have a small number of animals, it’s advisable to wash with a flea/tick Shampoo or pour a diluted Malaban solution down their backline. Then, once dried, you sprinkle their coats with a combination Sulfur Powder/DE (Diatomaceous Earth) or a dog flea & tick powder. There are also some Pour-On solutions, but we have never used these.

Also, during the Spring/Summer months, it’s advisable to check for ticks, especially on the babies. Ticks can kill.

We use Preventic collars as a precaution, but not on babies under 6 weeks.


SCURS

Goats should be disbudded between 2-7 days of age. We use the Rhinehart X-30.

Occasionally, after a goat disbudding, they may develop Scurs. (Bucks are particularly prone to this due to their hormones). This is part of the horn bud which hasn’t quite been reached in the disbudding process or the disbudding has been done too late and incorrectly.

Scurs will not grow into a full horn, and usually cause no problems for the goat. In some instances, they can curl down into the goats head. During breeding seasons or goat play, the scurs can get easily get knocked off while fighting.

There may be some bleeding, but often it dries up relatively quickly. Just spray with a betadine solution to keep flies and germs away.

Scurs can be trimmed with minimal stress to the animal. There are many great websites to help assist with these issues.


BOTTLE FEEDING

Although we don’t bottle our babies, sometimes there is a need. Goat’s milk is best.

If goat’s milk is unavailable or cannot be milked directly from the Doe, then we have used Vitafarm Formula, or a standard powdered milk from your supermarket. Follow the exact directions on the packet, otherwise your babies will end up with scours.

We use the Lamb Pritchard Teats for babies 0-2 weeks, and then the Excal Topper Teats for babies 2-12 weeks old (see pictures below)

 These fit on any pop top/water or soft drink bottle.

Lamb pritchard teat Excal Topper Teat

Lamb Pritchard Teat and Excal Topper Teat

Anti-vac bottle (Lamb feeder)


GENERAL GOAT INFORMATION *

  • Temperature = 38.5 C - 39.5 C - This varies depending on the temperature of the goat's surroundings. 
  • Pulse rate = 70 - 80 beats per minute
  • Respiration =15 to 30 per minute
  • Rumen (stomach) movements = 1 - 1.5 per minute
  • Puberty = 7 weeks - 8 months (separate bucks from does at 2 month)
  • Estrus/Heat Cycle = 17 to 23 days
  • Gestation = 143 to 155 days
  • Life span:
    • Does = 11-12 years average age, but... usually the death in does is kidding related.  Does that are "retired" from breeding around age 10 live longer: 16-18 years (and I just recently found a doe who was 24; she was retired from kidding at age 10). 
    • Wethers = 11-16 years average age
    • Bucks = 8-10 average age - bucks usually live shorter lives than does and wethers due to the stresses of going into rut each year.
  • Full growth size: Most goats do not reach their full size until they are about three years of age. (They keep growing for about three years)

* Information from Fias-co farm website

                

RECOGNIZING A SICK GOAT

Off their feed

Isolating themselves from the herd

Pale eyelids or gums

Grinding teeth

Not urinating

Runny Poo

Limping

Arched back

Bloated stomach

Not active

Before rushing to the vet, make a note of the goat’s symptoms, and how long they’ve been sick. What has the goat been eating? Are any of its herd mates showing the same symptoms? When was last worming?

Check the rectal temperature. Normal range is 38.5-39.5 degrees. Isolate the sick goat and treat accordingly or call your vet.


© The Dillons 2015