Scared goat newbie to be..... Hello everyone, I know you guys are tired of newbies coming aboard and asking the same questions each time over and over, I am one of those newbies but please be gentle with me. I am a disabled senior from Northeast Mississippi who wants to get either sheep or goats for my 20 acres about 15 in pasture land and 3 in trees, saplings, briars ect. And about 2 acres for two homes and lawns.
I have searched and read the web for 3 days and 3 nights on what, how, when to do, its to the point I am 100% confused and don't really know what to do.
There is so much contradiction on procedures that it makes one to just forget doing any goats or sheep period.
I will not waste much of everyone's time so I will be brief and just answer questions from the people that are gracious enough to reply.
As mentioned I have about 15 acres in 3 different pastures. I had read that I do not have enough rough area to support goats, so I was advised to go with sheep.
My purpose is to try to make a few dollars with this land that otherwise is being cut for hay that I receive $0 money for.
Some places I read that goats can't survive on grass and hay alone, and then there are others that say they can. I have prefer the goats over sheep simply because there is no market for shee in my area, but goats are in demand.
So the question is what do I do? Also what's this parasite and worm and other things that goats get that are harmful?
How did they get it? How to you treat or reverse it? How do you know when a goat has something wrong? What if I purchase my pair and they are sick? What do I do?
Man like I said I am confused, I don't know if I am washing or hanging out.
What I understand is in my area people use goats mostly to clean up areas, so do I need the more expensive meat goats to raise and sale? I just need answers because I don't have a clue anymore.
Sorry for the rant. Thanks in advance for any help.
15-20 acres is more than enough for a couple of goats, however they are not as easy to care for as most people think going into it as newbies. They have unique and sometimes complex nutritional needs, they can become mineral or vitamin defficient and that can be very hard to diagnose because it is so subtle. The more acreage they have access to the better, goats want to forage, so they want to eat bushes, trees, vines, anything Not at ground level is preferable. This leads me to the point about parasites and worms, they get these by grazing on the ground in confined areas for too long because the parasites climb up the short blades of grass and wait to be eaten by the goats. When the goats poop them out later onto the grass the cycle continues. The best way to avoid parasites is to give them a large area to roam or rotate from area to area. Give them access to nice green hay at all times so that they can munch on that whenever they want. Think of their stomachs as an engine, it should constantly be fed to keep the gut bacteria working and happy. These prey animals (sheep, cows, goats, etc) sleep maybe a total of 3-4 hours in a 24hr period, the rest of the time they should be digesting or eating. Meat goats do get fat easier than other breeds, so if your intent is for meat sale then I would buy a meat breed. Most goats require some grain to fatten up for butchering, grass, trees and shrubs hold very little calories or fat. If you are feeding neutered male goats however, you must be very careful about feeding too much grain because it can cause a urinary blockage that will kill them within hours. (It is caused by too much phosphorous) If you have access to it, I would feed soaked beet pulp pellets (1 part pellets to 3 parts warm water). Do NOT let beet pulp get wet in storage, it can become dangerous to them, and once soaked, make sure it is eaten within a few hours in warm climates, it can cause acidosis if not careful. Beet pulp is high in calcium, so it helps to balance out the high phosphorous present in grains such as oats and corn.
Be careful when selecting goats to buy, look for a healthy shiny coat, they shouldn't be too skinny and ribby. Check their teeth, by their second season they should have a set of adult teeth but still have baby teeth, look for two different sizes of teeth if the seller says they are still young. Pull back the eyelid and check that the skin under the lid is a nice pink color, not pale. It is safer to buy baby goats in some ways because they have had less exposure to possible diseases. Check the other goats in the seller's herd, be wary for any lumps around the jaw which is a sign of an infectious disease called Caseus Lymphoma. Do not buy goats that have been living in crowded, muddy conditions, the possibility for disease is high. I do not know what country you are in, if it is the USA, Canada, or Australia you can certainly ask the seller if they have ever lab tested for CL and or CAE
I think I’ll just respond with what works for me. We had goats, now just keep sheep (just person preference). We move our around with electric fence on our property and feed no grain. Our goats were and sheep are very happy and well shaped. We have yet to treat for parasites. I believe it is because they are moved so quickly to new grass they aren’t getting a chance to eat next to where they pooped (which is the basic cause of parasites). We check on them twice a day, make sure they have mineral and water, and move them every 2-5 days. There is also shots, trimming hooves, shearing, etc that needs to be done on a schedule. I’m sure you could easily find a goat owner in your area to come out and teach you how to do all that.
When researching goats I read a lot about the fainting goat breed.. myotonic or something like that. Anyway, they are actually a meat goat. And they are short, which means less pressure on fences and probably easier to keep in. They mite be a good breed to consider.
If you could even divide your pastures into 6 separate ones, I bet that would help a lot with parasites. They say you need to let each pasture rest for one month before you let them back on it. I don’t like any sort of meds I have to do on a routine for livestock. Just a person preference. I would rather spend more time moving them to fresh grass and treating individual animals as needed.
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