The very first steps when purchasing your goats.
Part One - Government regulations
View your Agricultural Department requirements to keep goats.
Be aware of the need for :
- Property Identification Number PIC.
- The need to have a completed National Vendor Decloration NVD, Identifying the animals, Listing what medications they have had administered, showing their origins and transport method.
- Become aware of the need to abide by the National Herd Identification Scheme,
- Be aware of the State Health Declaration requirements
Buying ear tags in Victoria
-Light tags should be considered for small ears.
-Each brand of tag has their own applicator
Part Two - Animal choice.
The adoption of Pygmy goats has been rapid over the last few years as more people recognise the joys of keeping a couple of tiny goats in the backyard or hobby farm. Goats are relatively low maintenance, but like all livestock have particular special needs.
Most councils in Australia allow you to have pet goats provided the property is over one acre in size. Each council has slightly different requirements, so it would be worth a quick call to avoid disappointment. One aspect that is often overlooked is the noise female goats make in Autumn to anounce their sexual desires.
Breeders charge a range of prices depending on their objectives and the quality and type of stock they are selling. The higher prices are asked for the top style breeding and showing stock. Mid range prices are usually asked for lower percentages ( ratio of pygmy genes to others from the general goat population). The lowest prices are asked for excess male kids that have been neuted ( castrated). Wethers make great pets and are the least demanding.
Everyone has a story of a pet goat on a chain from their childhood. This practice of teathering is no longer acceptable. Another comon story is how as a child a dog and a goat were best of friends and they have a desire to recreate this memory. Again the keeping of a dog with a goat is highly discouraged nowadays to protect the goats from the torment.
All goats should have the company of at least one other of similar size, so if you are getting started never go to purchase just the one to begin with. As a goat is a herd animal it has evolved to need the company of a friend.They will always settle and not call endlessly if they have a buddy.
Goats are herd animals and need the company of at least one other goat to be happy and healthy. How many goats you keep will depend on the size of your property and your knowledge of goat husbandry.
Pygmys and their derivatives make the best pets. They have a natural friendly temperament, range from 40 to 55cm tall and come in all colour varieties. Their life span is much the same as a small dog, so be prepared to have them around for approximately 12 to 15 years.
Part Three - Housing Facilities
Goats will adapt to the climate they are kept as the seasons change. Goats need shelter from the wind and rain, adults can survive both but not when they come together. Cold and wet and windy will do them no favours
Part Four - Feeding
A goat comes in two parts, an outside that you fall in love with and an iside that resembles more a beer barrel then a simple stomach. Keep the fermentation barrel full and balanced and the goat will live to a ripe old age. The goat must feed its microflora of bacteria and protozoa, cellulose, plant protein, sugars & minerals. The microbs inturn make the amino acids and vitamins the goat needs for normal digestion and absorbtion further down the tract. The microbs are the feed source to the goat, as Crill are to the Whale.
But the goat cannot survive on feed that is all digestible, it must have a substrate that is not digestible at all, which is lignin or wood. Lignin is found in rank grass, mature grass hay and woody plants.
A goat must always have a full rumen of digestible and non digestible material.
The microbs in the rumen are a dynamic bunch responding to the food source the gaot is finding to nurture it. If she changes the source the bacteria rebel and take time to adjust to the disruption. in moderate cases the goat shows the upset by the stool becoming lose and watery. If the goat is happily feeding its friends grazing grasses and hay and she delivers them a large feed of grain or simple starch, a very unfortunate situation will occur. The doe may have liked the taste but the joy is short lived. The fermentation barrel microb population are forced to work on the substrate in a reaction that will produce the wrong bi products for the host. The products are acids and gases in a volume that in excess will kill the microbs and sometimes kill the host as well.
The point to remember is every thing in moderation.
The fermentation process serves a secondary role as well, it produces large amounts of heat as the raw materials are broken down by the microflora. A hungry goat is a cold goat.
Water is a must in summer and particularly during lactation. Animal eating winter feed 70% water will not look for water, but develope the habit of always allowing the access of clean water.
Part Five - Basic health treatments
Vaccination 3 in 1 or 6 in 1.
Vaccinate does within the last month of pregnacy, and 6 months later.
Vaccinate bucks every 6 months.
Vaccinate kids 6 and 12 weeks of age. and then every 6 months
Refer to Pygmy Post 2nd Edition
Drench or worminig for stomach parasites