There are some basic preparations necessary before starting your goat herd. The basics discussed herein will be proper area, housing, fencing, feeding and watering. These topics as you will find are appropriate even for a show goat if you are starting a 4H or FFA project.
The area necessary for goat grazing is important factor do to the quality of forage necessary to sustain proper nutrition. If you are just starting out then allow plenty room for your animal. It is estimated that you can feed 2-4 animals per acre (but not in the desert. ) An acre is approx. the size of a football field. Until you know that this is ample grazing for your goat or goats don't over populate your pasture or field. It is important that goats to have plenty of roaming space. This will make for a healthy environment and keep parasites and communicable diseases down to a minimum.
Housing is relevant for shelter from weather for your animal. A good manager will have no problem making even the most basic shelter work. Use whatever material is readily available to you. You need to keep in mind we are protecting the animal from unnecessary stresses such as rain, wind, and cold. The goat is highly adaptable and does not require anything fancy or expensive. Allow approx. 10-15 sq. ft. per goat in an open housing situation for best results. For small application, it can be three sided 3-4 ft. tall in back and 5-6 ft in the front, open toward the south west to allow maximum sunshine penetration in winter. Goats do not require heating as long as you have a 4-5 inches of good quality dry hay down on dirt floor for bedding. Allowing them a place away from cold, wet drafty winter conditions. Closing up most of the front will help during the worst of the winter. They will group together and keep each other warm.
Fencing is important for your success in raising goats. Fencing that holds other livestock in just fine may not hold your goat in at all. I personally use a 39 inch woven fencing that has 3 inch H by12 inch W spacing at the bottom that graduate larger openings toward the top. Keeping your fence taunt and snug to the ground. I use two barbed wires at top spaced 4 inches above and apart, and one barbed wire at the bottom along the ground. This prevents the animals from going under the fence and helps to keep dogs out that may cause harm to your stock. You must be mindful that the goat has many predators. Where necessary and for larger applications a guard animal can be put in place to keep predators away. I personally use Great Pyranesse dogs and female Donkeys in different pastures. The Colorado University has a good site and more information on guard animals at; http://www.ext. colostate. edu/pubs/livestk/01218.html
Feeding your goats varies here because if you are feeding a show animal in a captive situation it is much different than a herd out in open pasture. All your 4H or FFA instructors are amply qualified to instruct you on feeding requirements. Now on the other hand if you are raising meat goats in pasture I don't recommend you follow the school instructors at all. Unless in situations where they to have pastured goats themselves. An adult meat goat requires 10-11 pounds of good quality hay or grazing per day which is equivalent to 3.75 pounds of feed per day. Goats are ruminant animals like beef livestock and know when to eat and when to stop in pasture situation. Goats don't normally over eat unless turned out to fresh ample supply of green field after a long dry winter. Like any livestock must be treated for conditions as needed. Goats turned out to abundant fresh grazing, I recommend giving treatment of Colostridium Perfringens type C & D with Tetanus Toxoid. This is available at feed stores or on line and is referred to as CD&T. Which is an over eating preventative treatment as well as Tetanus prevent treatment combination. Your veterinarian can assist you in administration.
Watering is very simple but you need to know that an average adult goat will drink 5-6 gallons of fresh water a day. Rubber bucket or container works well. Most goats are fussy about their drinking water. Emptying and refilling is necessary if hay or other debris blows into water. There are float valve products and larger containers at your local feed store that connect to water hose to help you for larger herds.
Author of this topic and many more is Daniel Truelove an expert author on meat goats.
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This article written by Daniel Truelove an expert on Goat Diseases. For more information on goats, goat lists, goat diseases and many more articles and useful information on goats and goat handling equipment click on http://www.thegoatguy.com