How to raise goats includes tips on nutrition and typical goat issues like whether to dehorn your goats. And if your planning on raising dairy goats, you will need to learn about goat breeding, goat gestation, and how to milk while taking care of baby goats.
Goat gestation or pregnancy plays a large part of raising dairy goats because this is how goats get their milk supply.
After your goats have their kids, you will have to decide whether to let your does nurse naturally or bottle feed the baby goats - or a combination of both. Learning how to raise goats can be a great venture that can provide you companionship, food, and even great entertainment.
Raw goat milk is the primary reason for raising dairy goats and they can provide you milk for 7 to 10 years.
Goats can be raised in hot or cold weather, but some breeds will do much better in cooler rather than hotter climates.
Providing your goats with adequate nutrition is one of the most
important parts of "how to raise goats".
If you don't feed properly, your goats will be more prone to disease and will fail to reach their full potential.
One of the biggest tips on nutrition is making sure your goats are able to browse freely on pasture.
Or you will have to provide your goats with forage or fresh hay. And you may have to supplement their diet to ensure adequate nutrition.
For expecting or lactating does, keep a well balanced grain supplement on hand.
You must also trim their feet every few weeks or so to prevent hoof rot.
Many prefer to concentrate on holistic health care or herbal methods
to build a strong immune system against parasites and other invading
organisms. And from observation, I think the more holistic approach will keep your goats healthier.
Goats will experience heat every 18 to 21 days until bred. Breeding your doe early in her heat cycle may produce better results as ovulation occurs 12 to 36 hours after the onset of heat.
The signs of heat include tail wagging, restlessness, mounting, mucous discharge, and being very vocal. During the mating season, glands on bucks produce an oily substance whose odor attracts the does.
Break the amniotic membrane if it doesn't break when the kid comes out. And clean the fluids from the kid's mouth and nostrils, so they can breathe.
Your doe should be bred once a year with a dry period of about two months (not producing any milk). This dry period allows her mammary system to repair and regenerate.
Bottle feeding baby goats is one way of how to raise goats.
Some breeders prefer this method as it creates a special bond between you and the kid.
If you choose to bottle feed once your doe's milk comes in, milk your goats 2 times each day about 12 hours apart.
You will need to milk her 2 times daily in order to stimulate milk production and to keep her udder from getting too full - this is very important!!
During the first day and possibly 10 days after kidding, she will only produce colostrum.
Babies need the first milk or colostrum in order to get the antibodies needed to build their immune systems.
This must be given to kids almost immediately.
Therefore, it might be wise to hold off on
bottle feeding for at least a few days - if that is possible. It also gives the doe time to bond with her kids.
Choosing to allow your doe to nurse is how to raise goats more naturally and some people prefer this method.
You can also choose to do a combination of milking your doe and allowing the kids to nurse during the day time.
This allows you to milk once a day in the morning for your own use.
You would separate the kids from their mother at night when
they're about 2 weeks old.
When you separate the kids at night, be sure to
milk your doe to remove any milk leftover from the kids.
In the morning, you will have a full udder of milk that you can use for your personal needs.
Your doe's milk production will be stimulated by two things - completely emptying her udder once in the morning and then allowing her kids to nurse all day.
Her udder will be able to get really full at least once each day.
This gently stretches her udder and teats, building the milk holding capacity of her udder and making her teats more milkable.
The kids will be able to feed themselves and be looked after by their mother. And the kids will be able to stay with their mother for several weeks.
You can wean the kids when they are about 2 to 3 months old from their bottle and/or nursing.
Most goats naturally have two horns which can be in various sizes and shapes. All goats have horns unless they are polled goats and polled goats (which are hornless) naturally occur occasionally in most breeds.
How to raise goats to be hornless would require breeding two naturally polled parents - some have found this genetically unsound.
Although, females usually do not have as much horn development as male goats.
Removal of the "horn buds" on a young goat or the removal of growing horns on a more mature goat is subject to much controversy. Many prefer to leave the goat in its natural state.
One argument is that horns can act as a cooling device for goats and fiber goats are often left with horns to help with temperature regulation.
Keeping goats with horns may be more of a consideration for goats with a heavy coat or goats that live in hot places.
Most dairy breeders use an electric disbudding iron when dehorning goats.
This is a piece of equipment that gets hot enough to kill the horn bud when placed on the horn bud early enough.
This procedure usually occurs at a very young age in the first two weeks of life.