Ebonythehorse

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Hey everyone! I joined a while back but haven't really been online since. Well....I just put a down payment on some goats!!! I've been wanting goats for like ever, and finally I am getting some! I am getting two Toggenburg does I think is the breed? They are registered and the seller is throwing in a free breeding with the registered male. We are planning to have them for milkers, and we plan to make goat cheese, soaps, and just experiment with different recipes etc. We will be selling the kids and possibly showing the does. Their names are Ruby and Delilah. Ruby had triplets last year, and Delilah had twins. Delilah has slightly smaller utters, and we know her mom did too but by the time her mom turned three they enlarged a bit. Ruby is three and Delilah is 2. I know they need to have a specific diet, but there are SO many goat feeds out there and SO many types of hay that I don't even know where to start! I know I also need goat minerals and such. They will be dewormed and given a selenium injection shortly before we get them so I won't have to worry about those immediately but need to be ready in the future. I need your help to know what feed brands are good and what exactly they need, what types of hay they need, what types of minerals etc. I have horses and already get first cutting grass mix but will be ordering alfalfa for them soon, and I know goats need a specific type, so what should I get? I will be picking the goats up in a month once they are bred. I currently have a stall they will go in, inside the barn overnight, and need to built a pasture for them during the day. I will have a run in shelter for them. How big should the pen be? We have horse pastures with electric fence but I know goats will need much more than that, since they could duck right under the electric fence. Also, we have never dealt with birthing an animal before....what should I be prepared for and have on hand? What things should I have in a first aid kit? I ordered cameras that can connect to my phone already. Also, during the winter will they be cold? They are show clipped right now....do they need a type of blanket like horses sometimes do? Also..... does like a goat halter from tractor supply work for just leading them to and from pastures etc? SO sorry for the longest post ever! I just want to be ready for these gals! Thanks!
 

Baymule

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I'm not a goatie, I have sheep, but I totally get your excitement and concerns. Read. Go to the goat forum and start reading. You will glean a lot of information from past posts. You are in a good place, this forum is full of friendly people who will be glad to help. I'll call a few of them here to help you.

@frustratedearthmother
@Mini Horses
@Ridgetop
@rachels.haven
 

rachels.haven

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You sound like you're off to a good start.
Soft alfalfa for dairy does in milk is the best backbone to the diet. Lately I've been feeding it in bunk feeders that they have to reach through a cattle panel to eat from. Almost no waste. They appreciate grass as well in normal hay feeders. Hay should be free choice to keep those extra stomachs always working right. Always remember that for goats eating off the ground equals worms. Fescue grass is bad for pregnancy and lactation much like in horses. Not saying you can't use it, as some do, but it's not the best.
Premier1 makes a fun mineral premix. Sweetlix meat maker and Purina goat mineral is pretty good too. Free choice loose mineral is best.
Next comes grain. In the last 1-2 months of pregnancy start giving them a cup or two of grain in a milk stand and work them up to a pound or two by the end as their udder fills. Milking is 2x.daily unless you are milk sharing with kids and doing a nightly separation and am milking. They should get grain 2x daily then.

The pen should be as big as you can make it. Electric fence can work for goats, but the wires must be very close together, sometimes 4-6". It may be best to have a smaller pen of field fence or no climb horse wire with a gate that can go into an electric fenced area. In regards to space for the smaller pen area, I'm biased towards more rather than less. For them to live full time...check out story's guide to raising goats. Personally...for two does to live full time with day time trips into the electric fenced area... I like the space in my buck pen. It's 4-5 ish 16' cattle panels square (but again, I am biased and blessed). I've had to have pens as small as 3x3 16' panels too (drylot). It didn't go as well, but we made it work.

Blanketing after a show clip depends on your temperature and location.

For leading they are probably used to being led by collars if they are show clipped. You can do collars too, or try a thick rope slip lead. Try a mini horse leash ties to a carbineer clipped back to itself for each of them. Eventually goats will just follow you when you call.

As far as a first aid kit, do as much as you can yourself unless you have a really great vet specifically skilled at keeping goats alive. Goats are not sheep, cows, or horses and a vet with the mindset that they are will kill them. You will develop a first aid kit as you go.

For birthing, get the does a sub cue cdt shot 4-6 weeks before due date then pack lots of towels, iodine for the navel, and get a Kellie's kid puller as a good luck charm to never need it. You should also disease test your does for CAE at least to make sure they won't pass it onto their kids via milk and licking. CL and Johnes testing can and probably should be done at the same time on the same sample because it pays to know and at the very least it will help you sell extra kids to have the negative test.

Other stuff in your kidding kit will depend on your location and weather. Your does will probably need a good worming after the stress of late pregnancy and delivery. Which one you use is also location dependent.

Feel free to ask as many questions as you'd like. There are many very smart, experienced people here.
 

Ebonythehorse

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You sound like you're off to a good start.
Soft alfalfa for dairy does in milk is the best backbone to the diet. Lately I've been feeding it in bunk feeders that they have to reach through a cattle panel to eat from. Almost no waste. They appreciate grass as well in normal hay feeders. Hay should be free choice to keep those extra stomachs always working right. Always remember that for goats eating off the ground equals worms. Fescue grass is bad for pregnancy and lactation much like in horses. Not saying you can't use it, as some do, but it's not the best.
Premier1 makes a fun mineral premix. Sweetlix meat maker and Purina goat mineral is pretty good too. Free choice loose mineral is best.
Next comes grain. In the last 1-2 months of pregnancy start giving them a cup or two of grain in a milk stand and work them up to a pound or two by the end as their udder fills. Milking is 2x.daily unless you are milk sharing with kids and doing a nightly separation and am milking. They should get grain 2x daily then.

The pen should be as big as you can make it. Electric fence can work for goats, but the wires must be very close together, sometimes 4-6". It may be best to have a smaller pen of field fence or no climb horse wire with a gate that can go into an electric fenced area. In regards to space for the smaller pen area, I'm biased towards more rather than less. For them to live full time...check out story's guide to raising goats. Personally...for two does to live full time with day time trips into the electric fenced area... I like the space in my buck pen. It's 4-5 ish 16' cattle panels square (but again, I am biased and blessed). I've had to have pens as small as 3x3 16' panels too (drylot). It didn't go as well, but we made it work.

Blanketing after a show clip depends on your temperature and location.

For leading they are probably used to being led by collars if they are show clipped. You can do collars too, or try a thick rope slip lead. Try a mini horse leash ties to a carbineer clipped back to itself for each of them. Eventually goats will just follow you when you call.

As far as a first aid kit, do as much as you can yourself unless you have a really great vet specifically skilled at keeping goats alive. Goats are not sheep, cows, or horses and a vet with the mindset that they are will kill them. You will develop a first aid kit as you go.

For birthing, get the does a sub cue cdt shot 4-6 weeks before due date then pack lots of towels, iodine for the navel, and get a Kellie's kid puller as a good luck charm to never need it. You should also disease test your does for CAE at least to make sure they won't pass it onto their kids via milk and licking. CL and Johnes testing can and probably should be done at the same time on the same sample because it pays to know and at the very least it will help you sell extra kids to have the negative test.

Other stuff in your kidding kit will depend on your location and weather. Your does will probably need a good worming after the stress of late pregnancy and delivery. Which one you use is also location dependent.

Feel free to ask as many questions as you'd like. There are many very smart, experienced people here.
Thank you soooo much!!! This is a ton of really awesome information! I live in Michigan, I just moved to a newer area in the country and the neighbors say the winters can be kinda harsh since its mostly open fields. One quick question, the coyotes have been heard quite loudly lately, I want to make sure the does are safe. They will be in a stall in the barn overnight, and the only opening into the barn would be a gap under the gate to the horse pasture. I know coyotes won't touch the horses, so does that mean the goats will be alright in the stall? And when it comes time for the birth of the kids, should I separate the does into different stalls?
 

rachels.haven

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Thank you soooo much!!! This is a ton of really awesome information! I live in Michigan, I just moved to a newer area in the country and the neighbors say the winters can be kinda harsh since its mostly open fields. One quick question, the coyotes have been heard quite loudly lately, I want to make sure the does are safe. They will be in a stall in the barn overnight, and the only opening into the barn would be a gap under the gate to the horse pasture. I know coyotes won't touch the horses, so does that mean the goats will be alright in the stall? And when it comes time for the birth of the kids, should I separate the does into different stalls?
Hi, do you mean the UP or the mitten, and if on the mitten, the upper, middle, or lower hand? I used to live in MI, and the UP and top of the mitten were COLD, while where we were was...cold, but not in capital letters. Michigan varies (and that lake effect snow in some places, lol).

You should probably pack a heat lamp in your kidding kit, and if up on the mitten or in the UP a hair drier. Feel free to pack one anyway.

If the does come back CAE negative, you can choose/watch to see if you'd like to separate the does for kidding. If they get along, whatever you're most comfy with. If positive you may need to do a CAE prevention protocol to help prevent spread and illness to kids, but it won't harm you.

Coyotes will kill does and kids. You should probably find a way to lock the coyotes out of the does and kids stalls overnight or electric net fence them out overnight. Coyotes don't like spicy goat.
 

Ebonythehorse

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Hi, do you mean the UP or the mitten, and if on the mitten, the upper, middle, or lower hand? I used to live in MI, and the UP and top of the mitten were COLD, while where we were was...cold, but not in capital letters. Michigan varies (and that lake effect snow in some places, lol).

You should probably pack a heat lamp in your kidding kit, and if up on the mitten or in the UP a hair drier. Feel free to pack one anyway.

If the does come back CAE negative, you can choose/watch to see if you'd like to separate the does for kidding. If they get along, whatever you're most comfy with. If positive you may need to do a CAE prevention protocol to help prevent spread and illness to kids, but it won't harm you.

Coyotes will kill does and kids. You should probably find a way to lock the coyotes out of the does and kids stalls overnight or electric net fence them out overnight. Coyotes don't like spicy goat.
We are in the lower mitten. Great idea! I already have tons of extra heat lamps and I have blow dryer for barn use already so thats perfect! Would I get all those tests done by a vet obviously? I figured coyotes would try. I will definitely figure out a more secure solution. Thank you very much.
 

rachels.haven

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We are in the lower mitten. Great idea! I already have tons of extra heat lamps and I have blow dryer for barn use already so thats perfect! Would I get all those tests done by a vet obviously? I figured coyotes would try. I will definitely figure out a more secure solution. Thank you very much.
Awesome. You're warmer!

Having the vet do the tests will be the easiest. If you're comfortable drawing blood and mailing tubes of blood with padding and a frozen sponge in a bag as an ice pack you can do it yourself.

Here is how.

And here is where you can send them.

Red top tubes (you'll only need one per goat per time testing for all the tests at once)

And needles and syringes are at TSC or Jefferson.com



Good luck!
 
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