Gap Mountain Goats                          Meat Your Future™

Goat Care

Goats  

are  

hardy  

animals  

but  

they  

do  

require  

a  

certain  

amount  

of  

care.  

If  

you  

are  

new  

to  

goat

ownership,  

please  

familiarize  

yourself  

with  

how  

to  

properly  

house,  

feed,  

and  

care  

for  

your

goats

before bringing them home.

Dry  

does,  

pregnant  

does,  

lactating  

does,  

kids,  

wethers,  

and  

bucks  

all  

have  

different  

nutritional

requirements.  

The  

status  

of  

their  

health  

and  

performance  

will  

be  

largely  

determined  

by  

how

well

 

their

 

needs

 

are

 

met.

This   page   is   merely   an   overview.   I   highly   recommend   “Natural   Goat   Care”   by   Pat   Coleby.   It   is   a   wealth   of   information and   I   have   never   been   disappointed   by   her   advice.   ** Please   note   the   book   should   be   used   as   a   guide   and   you   may   need to tweak the recommendations to suit your specific scenario. Goats   are   relatively   easy   animals   to   raise   or   to   be   kept   simply   for   pets;   however,   they   do   require   species-specific   care   and consideration   which   should   not   be   overlooked.   Before   purchasing   a   goat,   you   should   ask   yourself   a   few   important questions: Why do I want goats?  Do I have the time to properly care for goats? Do I have adequate acreage and housing for goats? Have I learned enough about goats before bringing one home? Am I dedicated to caring for the goats through their lifetime?

A long term committment

We   absolutely   support   the   idea   of   kids   becoming   involved   with   livestock   and   farming;   however,   we   also   want   people   to understand   that   pet   goats   are   different   than   dogs   or   cats.   NOTE:   That’s   ‘goats’:   plural.   Goats   are   herd   animals   and should always have a 24/7 companion. We   have   many   farm   visitors   looking   for   fun   livestock   to   add   to   their   property   for   their   kids   or   grandkids.   Healthy   goats   can live   more   than   a   decade   which   often   exceceds   the   interest   of   the   intended   young   recipient   as   they   become   teenagers, young   adults   or   go   off   to   college   leaving   the   parent   or   grandparent   to   care   for   the   animals.   This   is   often   the   point   where the animals become a burden, unwanted and neglected in some way.

Don’t overstock your property

Do   not   keep   more   goats   than   your   property   can   sustain.   Goats   should   always   have   access   to   a   range   of   fresh,   highly diverse   forage.   Keep   in   mind:   goats   often   eat   ALL   day   and   will   need   to   be   frequently   rotated   to   new   areas   in   order   to   keep them fed and not over-browse and kill their food supply. Do   not   be   fooled   by   books   and   “farming”   magazines   that   offer   pipe   dreams   of   how   you   can   “live   off   the   land”   and   keep   an array   of   livestock   on   less   than   five   acres.   You   will   quickly   find   yourself   in   over   your   head   with   hard   expenses   (hay/feed, minerals/supplements,   vet/medical).   To   raise   healthy   livestock   you   will   need   a   certain   amount   of   acreage   that   contains sufficient   edible   forage   for   the   number   of   animals   you   anticipate   keeping.   With   goats,   that   number   should   be   no   more   than 3 goats per rotated acre containing ample forage. For   example:   a   few   goats   can   easily   eat   1/2   an   acre   in   a   matter   of   weeks.   If   you   don’t   rotate   your   goats   to   a   fresh, unbrowsed   areas,   they   will   quickly   run   out   of   food   and   be   forced   to   eat   closer   to   the   ground.   That   scenario   results   in   the goat   being   over   exposed   to   parasites   and   you   will   end   up   in   a   losing   battle   with   intestinal   worms.   Overbrowsing   and trampling by the goats will also diminish and eventually eliminate their natural and steady food supply.

Let them be goats

Goats   are   browsers,   not   grazers.   They   need   a   sufficient   and   healthy   array   of   trees   and   shrubs,   preferably   those   with   high tannin   content.   Goats   are   NOT   lawn   mowers.   Grasses   should   be   a   part   of   their   diet   but   pasture   alone   will   not   provide   their need for trace elements. Quite simply...Goats have a high mineral requirement that cannot be supplied solely on grassy pasture. You   may   be   surprised   to   know   that   individual   goats   within   the   herd   often   prefer   different   foods.   I’ve   seen   some   goats browse   low-bush   blueberry   while   others   ignore   it   completely.   This   is   yet   another   reason   why   goats   should   have   access   to a wide-variety of fodder. Make    sure    to    include    plants    that    are    high    in    tannins    because    they    are    natural    wormers.    This    includes    hemlock, partridgeberry,   and   cinquefoil   but   the   list   is   much   longer.   Goats   also   love   striped   maple,   oak,   acorns,   maple,   goldenrod, and   all   sorts   of   bramble.   The   great   thing   about   bramble   is   that   as   long   as   it   has   a   season   in   which   to   rest,   bramble   is difficult to kill altogether and can be browsed by the goats each year. Bramble is also high in Vitamin C.

Get a diagnosis BEFORE parasite treatment

One   wormy   goat   doesn’t   (or   shouldn’t)   mean   the   whole   herd   is   wormy!   Medicated   feed   or   chemically   treating   for   worms   as a   matter   of   course   is   badmanagement.   You   destroy   the   animal’s   ability   to   develop   a   strong   immune   system   while increasing   the   parasite/virus/bacteria   resistance   to   the   medicine/wormer/antibiotic.   If   your   animals   are   wormy,   it   makes more   sense   to   find   out   why   and   correct   the   problem   rather   than   continuously   douse   the   herd   with   harsh   chemicals.   Stress is   a   common   cause   of   worms   and   can   arise   from   nutritional,   environmental,   physical   or   emotional   (weaning)   issues.   We perform our own routine FECs and monitor individual animals, as needed. When   it   comes   to   cocci,   we   only   treat   kids   (healthy   adults   will   have   an   immunity)   and   only   kids   with   acute   symptoms   and FEC   high   enough   to   warrant   treatment.   We’ve   had   numerous   instances   where   one   kid   was   treated   while   their   full   sibling was not. In an average year we only treat between 10% - 20% of our kid crop for cocci. I   don’t   know   where   the   recommendation   to   worm   goats   routinely   throughout   the   year   arose   (probably   from   an   industry   that stood   to   gain   financially)   but   we’ve   never   followed   that   protocol.   Keep   in   mind   that   every   goat   is   different   and   worm   levels vary   throughout   the   year   due   to   a   variety   of   reasons   such   as   weather,   stress,   age   and   how   well   their   nutritional   needs   are being met.

“A fence that won’t hold water won’t hold a goat”

Our   property   is   hilly,   rocky   (unmovable   ledge)   and   heavily   wooded   and   keeping   the   goats   safely   fenced   is   a   major concern. We have found ElectroNet is a fantastic and versatile option that allows us to fence difficult areas. New   Hampshire   isn’t   called   the   “Granite   State”   for   nothing.   We   are   surrounded   by   steep   terrain,   deep   woods   and   ledge that   isn’t   going   anywhere   unless   it   is   blasted   out.   Fence   post   digging   and   even   setting   T-posts   can   be   difficult   at   best   to virtually   impossible,   particularly   when   trying   to   fence   in   over   100   acres.   While   we   do   have   a   several   small   permanent paddocks   with   electric   hot   wires,   we   use   a   lot   of   ElectroNet   for   summer   ranging   and   paddock   rotation.   It   is   somewhat expensive but offers a lot of versatility: it goes up quick and can be moved easily.

Housing

Housing   should   be   dry,   draft-free   and   should   not   smell   of   ammonia.   It   should   be   well-ventilated   and   spacious   enough   that the   animals   have   ample   room.   We   allow   at   least   25   sf   of   indoor   space   per   goat   and   recommend   an   inorganic   floor   such   as 4”+   course   sand   over   a   thin   layer   of   limestone   laid   over   another   4”+   of   gravel   base.   Deep   bedding   harbors   bacteria   which can cause illness. It is also difficult to keep clean, particularly though a New England winter. An   overcrowded   barn   or   shelter   is   going   to   smell,   increase   the   likelihood   for   illness,   and   may   cause   fighting   within   the herd.   Make   sure   goats   that   are   lower   in   rank   can   safely   get   away   from   lead   goats   and   bullies.   All   goats   should   have   easy access   to   water,   minerals,   and   hay   without   feeling   intimidated.   A   separate   covered   area   that   is   open   to   the   south   is   helpful for   animals   who   prefer   to   be   out   of   the   barn   even   during   inclement   weather.   Our   goats   hate   to   be   barn-bound   and   prefer   to be outdoors where they can get some sun even when winter temperatures hover around 10° or lower.
© All materials and photographs contained within this website are the sole property of Gap Mountain Goats. 
Please: Before making the decision to buy a goat or any other livestock be certain of your committment.

Goat Care

Goats   

are   

hardy   

animals   

but   

they   

do   

require   

a   

certain

amount  

of  

care.  

If  

you  

are  

new  

to  

goat  

ownership,  

please

familiarize  

yourself  

with  

how  

to  

properly  

house,  

feed,  

and

care for your goats

before

 bringing them home.

Dry  

does,  

pregnant  

does,  

lactating  

does,  

kids,  

wethers,  

and

bucks   

all   

have   

different   

nutritional   

requirements.   

The

status   

of   

their   

health   

and   

performance   

will   

be   

largely

determined by how well their needs are met.

This   page   is   merely   an   overview.   I   highly   recommend   “Natural   Goat   Care”    by Pat   Coleby.   It   is   a   wealth   of   information   and   I   have   never   been   disappointed   by her   advice.   ** Please   note   the   book   should   be   used   as   a   guide   and   you   may   need to tweak the recommendations to suit your specific scenario. Goats   are   relatively   easy   animals   to   raise   or   to   be   kept   simply   for   pets;   however, they   do   require   species-specific   care   and   consideration   which   should   not   be overlooked.   Before   purchasing   a   goat,   you   should   ask   yourself   a   few   important questions: Why do I want goats?  Do I have the time to properly care for goats? Do I have adequate acreage and housing for goats? Have I learned enough about goats before bringing one home? Am I dedicated to caring for the goats through their lifetime? A long term committment We   enthusiastically   support   the   idea   of   kids   becoming   involved   with   livestock and   farming;   however,   we   also   want   people   to   understand   that   pet   goats   are different   than   dogs   or   cats.   NOTE:   That’s   ‘goats’:   plural.   Goats   are   herd animals and should always have a 24/7 companion. We   have   many   farm   visitors   looking   for   fun   livestock   to   add   to   their   property   for their   kids   or   grandkids.   Healthy   goats   can   live   16+   years   which   often   exceceds the   interest   of   the   intended   young   recipient   as   they   become   teenagers,   young adults   or   go   off   to   college   leaving   the   parent   or   grandparent   to   care   for   the animals.   This   is   often   the   point   where   the   animals   become   a   burden,   unwanted and neglected in some way. Don’t overstock your property Do   not   keep   more   goats   than   your   property   can   sustain.    Goats   should always   have   access   to   a   range   of   fresh,   highly   diverse   forage.   Keep   in   mind: goats   often   eat   ALL   day   and   will   need   to   be   frequently   rotated   to   new   areas   in order to keep them fed and not over-browse and kill their food supply. Do   not   be   fooled   by   books   and   “farming”   magazines   that   offer   pipe   dreams   of how   you   can   “live   off   the   land”   and   keep   an   array   of   livestock   on   less   than   five acres.    You    will    quickly    find    yourself    in    over    your    head    with    hard    expenses (hay/feed,   minerals/supplements,   vet/medical).   To   raise   healthy   livestock   you   will need   a   certain   amount   of   acreage   that   contains   sufficient   edible   forage   for   the number   of   animals   you   anticipate   keeping.   With   goats,   that   number   should   be   no more than 3 goats per rotated acre containing ample forage. For   example:   a   few   goats   can   easily   eat   1/2   an   acre   in   a   matter   of   weeks.   If   you don’t   rotate   your   goats   to   a   fresh,   unbrowsed   areas,   they   will   quickly   run   out   of food   and   be   forced   to   eat   closer   to   the   ground.   That   scenario   results   in   the   goat being   over   exposed   to   parasites   and   you   will   end   up   in   a   losing   battle   with intestinal   worms.   Overbrowsing   and   trampling   by   the   goats   will   also   diminish   and eventually eliminate their natural and steady food supply. Let them be goats Goats   are   browsers,   not   grazers .    T hey   need   a   sufficient   and   healthy   array   of trees   and   shrubs,   preferably   those   with   high   tannin   content.   Goats   are   NOT   lawn mowers.   Grasses   should   be   a   part    of   their   diet   but   pasture   alone   will   not   provide their need for trace elements. Quite    simply... Goats    have    a    high    mineral    requirement    that    cannot    be supplied solely on grassy pasture .   You   may   be   surprised   to   know   that   individual   goats   within   the   herd   often   prefer different   foods.   I’ve   seen   some   goats   browse   low-bush   blueberry   while   others ignore   it   completely.   This   is   yet   another   reason   why   goats   should   have   access   to a wide-variety of fodder. Make   sure   to   include   plants   that   are   high   in   tannins   because   they   are   natural wormers.   This   includes   hemlock,   partridgeberry,   and   cinquefoil   but   the   list   is much   longer.   Goats   also   love   striped   maple,   oak,   acorns,   maple,   goldenrod,   and all   sorts   of   bramble.   The   great   thing   about   bramble   is   that   as   long   as   it   has   a season   in   which   to   rest,   bramble   is   difficult   to   kill   altogether   and   can   be   browsed by the goats each year. Bramble is also high in Vitamin C. Get a diagnosis BEFORE parasite treatment One   wormy   goat   doesn’t   (or   shouldn’t)   mean   the   whole   herd   is   wormy!   Medicated   feed   or   chemically   treating   for   worms   as   a   matter   of   course   (after kidding,   for   example)   is   bad   management.   You   destroy   the   animal’s   ability   to develop   a   strong   immune   system   while   increasing   the   parasite/virus/bacteria resistance   to   the   medicine/wormer/antibiotic.   If   your   animals   are   wormy,   it   makes more   sense   to   find   out   why    and   correct   the   problem   rather   than   continuously douse   the   herd   with   harsh   chemicals.   Stress   is   a   common   cause   of   worms   and can arise from nutritional, environmental, physical or emotional (weaning) issues. We perform our own routine FECs and monitor individual animals, as needed. When   it   comes   to   cocci,   we   only   treat   kids   (healthy   adults   will   have   an   immunity) and   only   kids   with   acute   symptoms   and   FEC   high   enough   to   warrant   treatment. We’ve   had   numerous   instances   where   one   kid   was   treated   while   their   full   sibling was not. In an average year we only treat between 10% - 20% of our kid crop. I   don’t   know   where   the   recommendation   to   worm   goats   routinely   throughout   the year   arose   (probably   from   an   industry   that   stood   to   gain   financially)   but   we’ve never   followed   that   protocol.   Keep   in   mind   that   every   goat   is   different   and   worm levels   vary   throughout   the   year   due   to   a   variety   of   reasons   such   as   weather, stress, and how well their nutritional needs are being met. “A fence that won’t hold water won’t hold a goat” Our   property   is   hilly,   rocky   (unmovable   ledge)   and   heavily   wooded   and   keeping the   goats   safely   fenced   is   a   major   concern.   We   have   found   ElectroNet   is   a fantastic and versatile option that allows us to fence difficult areas. New   Hampshire   isn’t   called   the   “Granite   State”   for   nothing.   We   are   surrounded by   steep   terrain,   deep   woods   and   ledge   that   isn’t   going   anywhere   unless   it   is blasted   out.   Fence   post   digging   and   even   setting   T-posts   can   be   difficult   at   best to   virtually   impossible,   particularly   when   trying   to   fence   in   over   100   acres.   While we   do   have   a   several   small   permanent   paddocks   with   electric   hot   wires,   we   use a   lot   of   ElectroNet   for   summer   ranging   and   paddock   rotation.   It   is   somewhat expensive but offers a lot of versatility: it goes up quick and can be moved easily. Housing Housing   should   be   dry,   draft-free   and   should   not   smell   of   ammonia.   I t should   be   well-ventilated   and   spacious   enough   that   the   animals   have   ample room.   We   allow   at   least   25   sf   of   indoor   space   per   goat   and   recommend   an inorganic   floor   such   as   4”+   course   sand   over   a   thin   layer   of   limestone   laid   over another   4”+   of   gravel   base.   Deep   bedding   harbors   bacteria   which   can   cause illness. It is also difficult to keep clean, particularly though a New England winter. An   overcrowded   barn   or   shelter   is   going   to   smell,   increase   the   likelihood   for illness,   and   may   cause   fighting   within   the   herd.   Make   sure   goats   that   are   lower   in rank   can   safely   get   away   from   lead   goats   and   bullies.   All   goats   should   have   easy access    to    water,    minerals,    and    hay    without    feeling    intimidated.    A    separate covered   area   that   is   open   to   the   south   is   helpful   for   animals   who   prefer   to   be   out of   the   barn   even   during   inclement   weather.   Our   goats   hate   to   be   barn-bound   and prefer    to    be    outdoors    where    they    can    get    some    sun    even    when    winter temperatures hover around 10° or lower.
© All content and photographs contained within this website are the sole property of Gap Mountain Goats
Please: Before making the decision to buy a goat or any other livestock be certain of your committment.
Gap Mountain Goats                          Meat Your Future™