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Pack Goats - training and equipment

 
master steward & author
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Location: Left Coast Canada
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It's time my goats started pulling their own weight around here. Sure they are decorative, and eat brambles, and make milk and manure, but I think they could do more to help out around the place.

At first I thought to train them to pull a cart and maybe even hook them up to a light wheel hoe plough, but the land here is too uneven for a cart to be safe for the goats.

So now I'm thinking pack goats.

A good link about working goats - the section on sawback saddles is especially interesting

Anyone here done this yet?

I'm curious about the training and how to build my own equipment. Buying it is well beyond my means at the moment, but I have wood, tools, textile experience and goats. I would like to make a saddle like this but I can't see how to get the size right for my goat.

What are the qualities needed for the blanket that goes under the saddle - and maybe info on historic textiles used for this sort of thing.

Or any other thoughts you have about it. I'm just getting started with my research, so I would love some ideas of what to look for and at.

I also found this inspiring saddle with my preliminary googleing.



So far I have a 1.5 year old oberhasli experimental wethered male who looks to humans for support and love but is a bit skittish. He's trained for simple commands (jump up, jump down, come, stay, walk) and can be lead on a halter. But he runs ahead if the human isn't firm with him, and gets easily spooked.

The other goat is 8 month old oberhasli grade, female, who is well bonded with humans, but is a total brat. On halter she's lovely, if a bit distracted by all the yummy things she wants to eat. She follows instead of trying to lead, and I think she will make a lovely pack goat. When she's with us, the other goat is much calmer. She seems small for her age, so I wouldn't put any strain on her yet. By winter I would like to train her to go for walks with the saddle (unloaded) on and to tie up near us while we are working about the farm.

Because of her small stature and other issues going on right now, I won't breed her until the spring at the very earliest, more likely not till next fall. That leaves me lots of time to train her.
 
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goats make wonderful pack animals. I have two pack sets myself.
Northwestpackgoats website is terrific. my sets are from them.
if you are on FB there is a pack and cart goats group.
 
r ranson
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Thanks for the letting me know about northwestpackgoats. That looks like a great site, and if I could afford it, I think I would buy their wood saddle kit. But the way the Canadian dollar is right now and other things in my life, I think it's going to have to be home made saddle for training - with a view to purchase a proper one later on. Also, I'm not on FB. This is about the most social media I participate in.


Can you tell us a bit about your experience training your goats? What made you want to get started with pack goats?

 
kadence blevins
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here is one of my older youtube videos. click on my channel there are I think 2 or 3 more on the goats packin. this one startin with putting the packs on: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XoLXsUMSAnc

if nothing else start training them to be good walkin with ya. get em on leash and walk/hike. the hardest thing is getting em to be trained to behave, you are the boss. once ya get the packs its just the same walkin and training plus saddle on.. after a while add the panniers with pillows/etc light stuff in em.. after a while have less pillows and add some weight.. after a while keep workin on longer walkin and more weight. just going slow like workin out or anything else. oh and you want the panniers to be even in weight! lol don't want the poor things walkin sidelong with 5# on one side and 15# on the other!

there should be links to informational articles through the northwest site. very good. I always went back to those.

also my youtube playlist for pack goats:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLC8D8292CD33D291F

when you do build yours make sure the straps are good! look at the straps in the videos and the northwest site! they are nice and wide enough bc you don't want it digging into the animal.
 
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