More Goat Questions, Starting a herd?

chanceosunshine

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(Below are my original questions)

I had contacted a breeder to see if she may have doelings available mid-winter. She had some available now, but sadly, the barn and pasture aren't ready yet. She made mention that she would have does in milk with their doelings available in the spring. This is intriguing to me. My original plan was to get two little doelings and spend time bonding and raising them, then getting a buck and whether when it was time to breed them. So I'm wondering what the pros and cons would be between the two plans: A. Two doelings and B. A doe in milk and her doeling.

Clearly a pro with the doe in milk is that I would have milk sooner. But what are the other things to consider? I have absolutely zero experience with goats. I'm just looking for guidance.

My other "new" question is that I'm reading of people feeding alfalfa pellets and orchard grass pellets, etc...feeding them those types of pellets doesn't negate their need for hay, right? They need the hay for the stomachs, right? I'm assuming that those specific pellets are in addition to the regular goat pellets, yes?

My understanding is that they need free choice minerals, baking soda and hay, and that does and growing kids need grain as well, and I've seen that kids *can* get kid starter pellets but I'm not seeing those used (nearly) universally. Anything I'm missing?

Oh, and lastly, when dealing with parasites, do you just do a regular deworming protocol with what is available at the feed store or do you allow your vet to take care of that? And when you deworm your does, do you use the milk or do you wait on it to run through their system before using it for human consumption?

Thanks!


1. I've read the long list of toxic plants that could make goats sick or could kill them. I'm curious as to the likelihood of the goats eating them if other safe plants are available when they are out on pasture? My main concern is that we have black locust trees and they pop up all over the place. We also have one large black locust tree where they would be confined that I'm worried about. How extreme do you need to be regarding the toxic plants?

2. What are your options for leaving goats for a couple days at a time? AND, how reasonable is it to take them with you in a large airline carrier if they have housing available at your destination (NOT considering taking pregnant does or does in milk for a drive, only kids up until they are pg)?

3. I'm curious how many breeders set out to kid in the fall? I'm hoping to find quality registered doelings in heart of winter and wondering what my chances are.

4. Pros and cons of pasturing with chickens. I've read articles about the risks and about the benefits, but I want to know the pros and cons and experiences of real people. I'm really wanting to allow this to happen because it would allow the goats access to the "most fun" area of our property, is perfectly located where we intend to make them a stable in the barn, would provide them with grass to explore as well as woods to browse.

Thanks!
 
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Baymule

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@Mini Horses @B&B Happy goats @frustratedearthmother

These are good questions-you are studying and learning!

Toxic plants, most animals will not eat toxic plants unless they are the only greenery available. Sometimes animals will eat small amounts of toxic plants at certain times of the year, like they know something we don't. That said, I never plant something new unless I research it to death and I rule out a lot of plants that way. If it is invasive, it goes on my NO! list also.

I know of no cons of pasturing with chickens, unless it is ear mites. Ear mites are easily controlled by an eye dropper of mineral oil once a month, if they become an issue.
 

Mini Horses

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The chemistry of some plants/trees change with the season &/or stages of growth -- live leaf, dead leaf from trees; flowering, fruiting, vines/plants, etc. -- this can alter taste and toxic effects. Not familiar with black locust but, have none on farm.

My chickens free range where they want...horse/goat pastures. They do have own coop for housing and are penned there all night. Pros are that they love to eat bugs in & around barns, fields, etc. They break up poop piles, breakdown litter, etc. This helps keep flies down. I have had no issues with this, other than occasional need for clean up if they lingered in a feed trough too long. ;) They co-exist pretty well. sometimes they move the goat barn bedding around more than I'd like........:idunno
 

chanceosunshine

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Thank you both for the replies, they confirm my thoughts regarding plant safety but I didn’t want to be careless about it.

I have read that there are risks of certain of parasites and bacteria when you have chickens and goats together. It even states that some bacteria act as an abortificant In ruminants.

As with the plants and what I’ve read regarding them, it seems that there are people who, let’s say “overstate”, certain things that cause more concern than what’s needed. That’s partly why I appreciate being able to come here for clarification.

Thank you again!
 

MuldrowHomeFarm

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As for leaving your goats for a couple of days, I will tell you one piece of advice I was given before we got goats that has made a difference for me: Every morning goats wake up with one thought on their brains. "How can I kill myself today?" o_O
I recommend that you always have someone who can check on them, at least once a day, to make sure they haven't gotten into some nonsense, like hanging upside down from the hay feeder, chewing his cud (how he did this is still a mystery) or has her little foot stuck in the ONLY minuscule crack within 1000 miles that her tiny foot could fit in, and she has screamed herself hoarse.....but is completely fine once released?!?!?! Stress can cause a goat to go south very fast.
I wouldn't travel with a goat, carrier or not, due to stress either, but my goats are not pets. I love all 32 of them but they have 2 purposes: 1. Lawn mowers/bush clearers and 2. Freezer camp next year. We plan to rotate out the goats that are problems, too aggressive, not good Momma's, health issues and so on. We have several that are lifers and will be on the farm till they die of natural causes or old age.
As for breeding, we always try to breed for Spring but things happen....we breed in Sept/Oct for Feb/Mar kidding, but right now we have a split breeding going on. We have 5 does that were exposed to a 4 month old boy and apparently, he got the job done. We are fine with it, even though it puts them kidding in July/August, but one of them miscarried in Oct, last year, so we wanted her to have a baby and 1 had a baby in November but it was premature and we lost it, and her sister died 2 days later. She has had a rough time fitting in but she has done very well, so we are happy she is pregnant. The other 3 were ready to get pregnant but not planned so that's ok, too.
I would say, keep a look out and search for what you want at that time of year. If you find stock you want, contact the breeder and see how they can work with you to get your timeframes aligned.
And finally, our chicken, goats, Alpaca and Donkeys all intermingle, most days. We house the Alpaca and Chickens at night but our does and donkeys free range 100% of the time. We have a buck goat herd on our sons property, that is attached to our property and we have one big fence around the perimeter. Eventually, we will separate the properties but for now, our buck pen is on the far side of his property. Our girls go over everyday to visit but no hanky panky!
Welcome to BYH!!
 
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chanceosunshine

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As for leaving your goats for a couple of days, I will tell you one piece of advice I was given before we got goats that has made a difference for me: Every morning goats wake up with one thought on their brains. "How can I kill myself today?" o_O
I recommend that you always have someone who can check on them, at least once a day, to make sure they haven't gotten into some nonsense, like hanging upside down from the hay feeder, chewing his cud (how he did this is still a mystery) or has her little foot stuck in the ONLY minuscule crack within 1000 miles that her tiny foot could fit in, and she has screamed herself hoarse.....but is completely fine once released?!?!?! Stress can cause a goat to go south very fast.
I wouldn't travel with a goat, carrier or not, due to stress either, but my goats are not pets. I love all 32 of them but they have 2 purposes: 1. Lawn mowers/bush clearers and 2. Freezer camp next year. We plan to rotate out the goats that are problems, too aggressive, not good Momma's, health issues and so on. We have several that are lifers and will be on the farm till they die of natural causes or old age.
As for breeding, we always try to breed for Spring but things happen....we breed in Sept/Oct for Feb/Mar kidding, but right now we have a split breeding going on. We have 5 does that were exposed to a 4 month old boy and apparently, he got the job done. We are fine with it, even though it puts them kidding in July/August, but one of them miscarried in Oct, last year, so we wanted her to have a baby and 1 had a baby in November but it was premature and we lost it, and her sister died 2 days later. She has had a rough time fitting in but she has done very well, so we are happy she is pregnant. The other 3 were ready to get pregnant but not planned so that's ok, too.
I would say, keep a look out and search for what you want at that time of year. If you find stock you want, contact the breeder and see how they can work with you to get your timeframes aligned.
And finally, our chicken, goats, Alpaca and Donkeys all intermingle, most days. We house the Alpaca and Chickens at night but our does and do keys free range 100% of the time. We have a buck goat herd on our sons property, that is attached to our property and we have one big fence around the perimeter. Eventually, we will separate the properties but for now, our buck pen is on the far side of his property. Our girls go over everyday to visit but no hanky panky!
Welcome to BYH!!
Thank you for your reply. Honestly, it's not exactly what I wanted to hear regarding leaving them for a day or two or travel, but I need to know these things. I do wonder still whether or not they can be acclimated to enjoy a car trip.

My problem is that I have two farms in two states. We're currently in NW Ohio but we will be settling in NW PA. We go to the farm in PA nearly every weekend. The only people that we would trust in Ohio are our elderly neighbors who collect our eggs when we're gone for the weekend. They could tell me if a goat is hanging from the feeder upside down but it's a four hour drive to rectify the situation. That's why I was hoping the goats could just come with us. It will most likely be a year or two before we can settle in PA and we thought getting goats earlier than the move to PA would give us a head start on gaining experience, having a herd and being more self sufficient. I need to make wise decisions here. I've wanted to do this for so long I feel like I'm bursting at the seems.

I hope your kidding goes well for you this year. It sounds like you have a tough season last year. Those realities are something to be reminded of too. We hear mostly how well things go but being aware of these problems is important.
 

Mini Horses

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Goats are GREAT at finding the "needle in a haystack" tiny spot to get into trouble. They like to squeeze to get into trouble and once there, want to be rescued -- not try to squeeze out. Very smart animals but, mischievious. Always when you are not there, boredom? Now, doesn't mean they will do this but, we say -- have a number for a friend to call to help out "the watch" person, if you are away!

Traveling can be done. The "how to" will depend on their size and the numbers. Yes, a couple will travel in a cage, in the car/truck -- short distances. A trailer, they can travel and will accustom to but -- again depends on the animals

I believe we are giving you the senario of "what to watch & prepare" for in order to give you a lot of thought before you finalize your decision. It's true, goats are born with the "what surprise can I present" lifestyle.

I love my goats!!
 

chanceosunshine

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Goats are GREAT at finding the "needle in a haystack" tiny spot to get into trouble. They like to squeeze to get into trouble and once there, want to be rescued -- not try to squeeze out. Very smart animals but, mischievious. Always when you are not there, boredom? Now, doesn't mean they will do this but, we say -- have a number for a friend to call to help out "the watch" person, if you are away!

Traveling can be done. The "how to" will depend on their size and the numbers. Yes, a couple will travel in a cage, in the car/truck -- short distances. A trailer, they can travel and will accustom to but -- again depends on the animals

I believe we are giving you the senario of "what to watch & prepare" for in order to give you a lot of thought before you finalize your decision. It's true, goats are born with the "what surprise can I present" lifestyle.

I love my goats!!
I'm talking 2 ND goats, to begin with. I have seen people that do travel with their goats, some even saying it's their favorite "treat". I only believe half of what I read though and hope to confirm things with others who have nothing to gain (like not trying to earn from a blog-not at all saying it's not true, just looking for confirmation).

Loading up goats every weekend sounds like a chore, but I'm not afraid of work and I'll contort in whatever way to make something happen AS LONG AS that's not putting someone or somegoat in an uncomfortable position.

Trust me, I appreciate the reality check, I really do.
 

frustratedearthmother

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I raised and showed pygmy goats for years - a long time ago. They get accustomed to traveling. Mine would hop into the trailer and go to their own pen. All I had to do was latch the gate. We would line the pens in the show barn with tarps to try and reduce the goat to goat contact. You wouldn't need to do that since you're just going form your own farm to your other farm. One thing I did was to carry water from home so they didn't get fussy about water changes.
 

MuldrowHomeFarm

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Thank you for your reply. Honestly, it's not exactly what I wanted to hear regarding leaving them for a day or two or travel, but I need to know these things. I do wonder still whether or not they can be acclimated to enjoy a car trip.

My problem is that I have two farms in two states. We're currently in NW Ohio but we will be settling in NW PA. We go to the farm in PA nearly every weekend. The only people that we would trust in Ohio are our elderly neighbors who collect our eggs when we're gone for the weekend. They could tell me if a goat is hanging from the feeder upside down but it's a four hour drive to rectify the situation. That's why I was hoping the goats could just come with us. It will most likely be a year or two before we can settle in PA and we thought getting goats earlier than the move to PA would give us a head start on gaining experience, having a herd and being more self sufficient. I need to make wise decisions here. I've wanted to do this for so long I feel like I'm bursting at the seems.

I hope your kidding goes well for you this year. It sounds like you have a tough season last year. Those realities are something to be reminded of too. We hear mostly how well things go but being aware of these problems is important.
Oh, no, I just told you the minor bad stuff. We got our herd from an auction in September 2019 and didn't know we had 9 of 21 pregnant does. To make a long story short, we had an excellent kidding year. We spent Sept, Oct, Nov and Dec feeding and vetting everyone. We vaccinated, we treated, we spoiled! We ended up with 1 miscarriage (stress), 1 preemie that we lost (stress) and 6 PERFECT sets of twins and one PERFECT bonus single from a girl we didn't know was pregnant! We have veen so blessed with this little auction herd.
The first pic is our first set if twins. 1 doe and one buck.
The 2nd pic is our first 3 sets. Ivory and Shadow, doelings, Staubach and Landry, 2 bucks and, of course, Phil and Lil.
The next pic is my husband, standing with Olive and ger twins, Skye (doe) and Kelley (buck).
Then is Hazel (black Doe) with her doelings, Minnie and Daisy.
Next is our herd Queen, Scarlett (Red, 1/2 Boer) with her Moon spotted buckling twins, Rhett (black) and Ashe (Light brown).
Finally, our bonus baby! Her Momma is our lowest ranked female, with all kinds of issues but she is MY girl, my favorite and I spoil her......Calamity is her name and she is a 🔥 mess! Her kid, doeling, we named Rockette (Rah Ket)....seemed stunned to have been born. Unlike all the other kids, she stood for a solid hour, in disbelief, that she was in the world. I'm not sure who was more stunned, the baby, the Momma or us! Of course, I made sure she nursed immediately and dipped her cord in iodine, Momma let me, but Calamity was immediately a goid Momma and has been the entire time. Rockette is our youngest kid....at 5 months now and she will eventually be our herd Queen, if her personality is any indication. She is small but BOSSY! We currently have our other 5 does headed into their last month of pregnancy so August shoukd be a great month for us!! Fingers crossed!!
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