Questions & Answers
Here are some of the questions I have received from other goat owners and my advice*:
QUESTION: I do have one question regarding copper bolusing . . . I have not yet tried the marshmallows, but did try peanut butter which another breeder swore by. My goats did not like it. I am intrigued by your doe recipe but am wondering if molasses would work just as well (or better?) as the Karo – have you tried that? Maybe the Karo is stickier, I don’t know. Just wondering before I try it!
I actually find the light Karo syrup easier to work with than molasses and grind all ingredients very small. I also make a few extra small ones for the goats before putting the bolus in and give them the day before (always before feeding time), so they think it's just another treat. You need a helper though since it'd good to have one person in the pen and one person outside with the tray of boluses. The inside person shuffles the right goat to the front among the "hogs" and makes sure the bolus is swallowed. Any goats under a year we just pop it down their throat since no enticement of treat seems to work, just keep a stick across in the goats mouth, over the tongue, so they can't clamp down on your fingers!
I was searching for information on Nigerian Dwarf goats and came across your website. Since you invited questions or comments, you're stuck with me. :) My
husband and I recently moved with our four children to a farming community, and my first step into living the good life was to purchase a pair of Nigerian Dwarf Kids. They are brother and sister twins, and they are 5 weeks old today. The woman I purchased them from has been very helpful, but she isn't quite answering a couple of my direct questions. I am bottle feeding these babies with kid milk replacer. They are eating three times per day, and they are getting approximately 16 to 20 oz per day each. I am keeping them in a playpen in my kitchen, and I let them out in the yard weather permitting as much as I can. I have a little hay (which she sent with them, peanut I think very leafy) and some grains (she also sent) that I offer to them free choice. They are also always supplied with water. I am just curious as to when I can move them safely outside, and when I can begin the weaning process. We live in North FL and the weather fluctuates between about 65 degrees down to the 30's at this time of year. I have a child's play house that will be their "barn". It has windows and a door, but I will close them in at night. We will be constructing something more permanent in the near future, but I think it will work well for now.
Also, they chew on leaves and things in the yard, but I can't imagine them surviving on it right now. The boy seems much more interested than the girl, is there something I can be doing to encourage them to eat more?? Any thoughts or advice are appreciated. I have read alot about them, but all the articles seem to assume that they will be going outside to be with other goats, and they are the only goats
we have. By the way, the boy will be getting fixed in a couple of weeks, we got her with her brother so she wouldn't be alone. :) Feel free to ask me anything
you like, and sorry if some of this doesn't make sense.
I always enjoy talking "goat". Always living here in the Northeast, I do not have experience with your climate, however Ithink if you apply the same concepts that we do to acclimating the kids, you should be fine. The first thing to remember is to slowly introduce them to the outdoors if you are keeping them inside right now, but start doing it now, otherwise they will think your house is theirs! If you already have your pen set-up (if not, get it ready-make sure it is secure enough to keep them in and keep dogs & predators out) then in the afternoon, during a warm part of the day, start putting them outside with shade available if it's very warm. You may want to offer them some fresh hay at this time and/or grain, then offer them a bottle after.
Slowly extend the time they are spending in their house/pen (put them out an hour earlier/leave out an hour later...) until they are spending the whole day outside.
They may complain a bit at first, since it is new to them to be in their pen and not in your kitchen, but they have each other and will soon get used to it.
The house you are describing is probably not really very warm at night since it was not designed to be draft proof. I would put down 2" of pine shavings on the floor and then a deep layer of straw banked up on the sides. They will be able to snuggle down in the straw for warmth one they are staying outside. Leave them overnight when you are expecting a warm night. Close up the door but keep the window open a crack for ventilation. Leave a bucket of water in their house and some hay for them to munch on. They may cry at first, but most goats snuggle down and sleep once it's dark. They will be fine as lnog as they are penned securely.
Goats really do belong outside and you need to get them used to the idea soon otherwise they will always try to break into your house! You should feed them all of their bottles outside in their pen as soon as possible! They can be weaned from milk replacer starting at 8 weeks.
> By then they should be eating grain & hay readily. You
> can keep them on milk replacer a little longer if
> they are small or not gaining enough weight. You simply
> start dropping a bottle feeding and offer grain instead at
> that time. I usually leave the night bottle as the
> last one since it's their favorite. Once they are well
> acclimated to eating grain & hay and eat heartily,
> I change the evening bottle to just warm water. They will
> dring=k it at first, but eventually give it up on their
> own.As far as grain, you may want to feed them a medicated
> "meat goat" ration as it will help prevent
> coccidia and urinary tract issues (in the wether) but you
> should depend on local goat breeders for grain feeding since
> they have a better idea of what problems you encounter in
> FL. You will always need to feed them good hay, even if they
> browse on other things in your yard and provide them with
> clean water. You also need to provide a loose mineral/salt
> mix free choice and baking soda. You can buy a two
> compartment feeder for this purpose. They probably won't
> need grain once they are full grown and be careful not to
> overfeed grain.
> Last note, be careful what they eat in your yard! Many
> common shrubs & trees planted for decorative reasons can
> be harmful. Learn what plants are poisonous to goats in
> your area and remove them or keep them away.
Good luck & happy goating!
*Please remember that I am not a veterinarian and you should always seek your veterinarian's advice first for what is right for your herd
Kidding Adventures and Disappointments
99% of the time, a doe kids with little or no problems and delivers healthy kids all without much human intervention. Of course, a healthy well cared for doe is most likely to fall into this category. However, as you become a breeder, just by the number of breeding animals you care for, you are bound to have your share of kidding adventures and displeasures along the way.
It was only our second year as breeders, and we had two does to kid that year. Our older doe, Cleo, was huge and we were sure she had more than twins. I was concerned because she had been a very overweight 3-year-old when I bought her. We had trimmed her down, but I knew obese does were more prone to kidding problems. I began giving her a daily dose of Nutri-drench and watched her closely. My very city sister-in-law and nephew came by the day she went into labor. We had her in a big stall and everyone nervously waited as her labor progressed. I caught sight of the first kid and all I saw was a tail coming out-not good! This was definitely a no no in all my books and I was afraid she wouldn’t be able to deliver her. Then whoosh out she came! The kid was so small she had no problem at all. I picked her up and she fit in the palm of my hand. I put her in front of her mom to dry her off. The next kid born was also a doe.
Honey B’s C-Section
Bittersweet’s Bumpy Ride
Sadness of losing a kid
Death at a few days-
RANDOM THINGS I'VE LEARNED:
The best water buckets are plastic-sided coolers. The water stays cool in the summer and freezes less in the winter. When it's cold, we fill ours with warm water and sit them in a bank of straw and they rarely freeze all winter long.
To chill your milk, place your tote in a frozen bucket during winter. In summer I use a bucket with ice water and some cold packs. I bring it out to the barn and set my tote right in it. The faster you cool your milk, the better it will taste!
To help prevent the doe's discharge from drying in hr tail hail, apply a light coating of petroleum jelly to her tail daily. Don't forget a little fly spray too.
Dental floss is great for tying off umbilical cords!
If you are planning on getting 2 goats, build your shed & pen big enough for at least four. If you have does and are planning on breeding them, tbuild bug enough for 8! Most goat owners increase their herd and at least double their numbers because they are such fun animals to have!
Calf hutches make great shelters. I use them for my bucks. They are easy to clean, just flip them over. They are easy to move too. A 4'x8' hutch can house three to four bucks. They are warm in the winter because the sun shines right in and "captures" the warmth.
If you are new to goats or just considering them…
Call or e-mail us!. We love to talk goat!