A Beginner’s Guide to Goat Care

Your goats need the majority of their diet to be natural forage from shrubs, woody plants, hay, tree bark and more. Chances are the fiber they eat doesn’t provide them with all the nutrients they need to maintain perfect health. It will probably be necessary to supplement their diet with a coarse grain such as goat feed, corn, or another good grain product.

If you feed your goats a diet that is almost all grain, they will develop kidney problems that can be fatal. They may also develop a bloated stomach or gain too much weight. A goat should have a balanced diet that contains 75% to 80% of its dietary intake from plants that provide natural forage.

You may have heard that a goat can eat anything, or that a goat will eat anything. This is not true. Many natural plants can make your animal seriously ill or, in some cases, can cause the animal to die prematurely. Plants that will make your goats sick.

• hemlock
• Wild cherry
• Azalea
• Black Walnut
• Rhododendron
• Sheep Laurel and Mountain Laurel
• Juniper
• Ponderosa Pine
• Yes
• Mesquite pods

Keep enough fresh water available for your animals at all times. The amount of water they will need will vary depending on the moisture content of the food they are eating. In the winter months, if you live in an area where temperatures drop below freezing for long periods of time, you’ll want to get a submersible heater to place in the water bowl so the animals’ water doesn’t freeze.

Shelter is a must for your animals. They need a dry place where they can shelter from the rain and where they can sleep without dew falling on them. Their shelter should provide them with a way to escape the cold winds that blow in the winter and provide safety from natural predators.

Most goat owners place a thick layer of straw or hay inside their shelters so their animals have adequate protection from the cold and wet ground. You can put a wooden floor in your shelter if you wish.

A large dog house is also a good alternative shelter for a goat. The animal will go inside the structure and will also climb on the structure. Many owners buy the small igloo dog houses and place them inside their enclosure so that their small animals can get into them.

You will have to learn how to trim the hooves of your goats. You can put stones or concrete blocks in the pen with the animal to help it naturally support its hooves, but from time to time you need to put bugs on them and trim off excess.

good fencing

You must install fences that the animal cannot pass through and cannot lift to get under. Goats are notorious for sticking their heads through the fence and often have their horns hung on the fence.

You need strong fences with secure gates to contain these animals. They will often push against the fence as if they are scratching their sides on the fence, so it is very important to have the fencing material properly secured to the fence posts.

Signs that your goat is sick

No matter how well you take care of your animals, there will be times when they will get sick. The best way to determine if you have a sick animal is to pay attention to their normal behaviors. Then, when one of the animals begins to act differently than he normally does, he will quickly notice the difference.

Some signs of disease in goats are:
• When they don’t ruminate
• When they refuse to get up
• When they are not eating as they normally do
• When your poop is solid or liquid instead of granules like it should be
• Walking and crying more than usual
• stop drinking
• They start to grind their teeth
• Have a limp
• They are amazing
• Your udders are warm to the touch
• They are coughing
• Your eyelids or gums are beer-colored
• Have a runny nose

These animals have great personalities and will entertain you for hours. They will help keep the property clear of bushes and weeds, and the youngsters will bring a fair price when you sell them. Caring for animals isn’t really that hard to do, and the rewards outweigh any problems caring for them presents.

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