Getting 1st goat - want to be sure I care for goat properly : LUSENET : Dairygoats : One Thread

Hi everyone! We are hopefully getting our 1st goat this weekend. We hope to get a pygmy wether who will be a pet & a companion for our new filly so we can ride the older horses without the filly freaking out too much. I have purchased Purina Goat Chow (only type the feed store had & it seems to be the pellet kind as opposed to the sweet feed mix), oiler sunflower seeds, a salt/trace mineral block (like the horses have) and a large box of baking soda. We already have a good quality alfalfa hay. What else do I need to take care of the goat properly? Can they eat horse sweet feed if mixed with goat chow? I know goat will need vaccinations (not sure exactly what kind, dosages or where to purchase) and regular deworming (again not sure what type, dosage & where to get it). Do I use the same type as for horses? I would prefer to do as much myself as possible (shots, worming, etc..) and not have to rely on a vet for routine care. I understand a goat would prefer to sleep on an elevated bench and that hay should be kept off the barn floor. (Does this mean I should not feed hay outdoors on ground as I do with horses, or does this pertain only to inside?) I like my animals to be out as often as possible, though we almost always bring horses in at night during the winter. Whatever help you can give me would be greatly appreciated, as I want to do my best to keep our goat healthy. Thanks in advance!

-- Debbie (, February 19, 2002


Congrats Debbie! I'm sure you'll love your little guy! Check out this website: They have a bunch of info. on goat husbandry and should have many answers for you. Our goats sleep on piles of hay (while others are trying to eat it of course), in the horse feed trough, on the ground, and just about anywhere else they will fit... :o) We feed goats hay out of plastic milk crates and sometimes will put a flake or two on the ground outside. The only problems I've noticed is that they waste 1/2 of it when it's on the ground, and that it gets all wet if it rains. Goats need CD&T vaccines (which can be ordered through Jeffers Livestock, Caprine Supply, Pipevet supplies, etc.) I'll let someone else explain more about vacc. & deworming. There are many websites which explain everything very well & you can use them as a reference for later. Good luck!

-- Sharon in AL (, February 19, 2002.

How exciting Debbie! Your horse minerals are fine for him, so is the hay. If he is a grown wether he needs no grain. Be very careful that your Purina Goat chow doesn't contain medication, Lasalocid, Deccox, Rumensin, Bovatec, eaten by your horse will kill it, no sickness, just death. If you want to give him a treat of grain than use a small handfull of whatever horse grain you have and another smaller handfull of black oil sunflower seeds. Purchase some ammonium chloride from and feed it to him over this SMALL amount of grain daily at 1 teaspoon a day. This will not hurt the horse if it gets into it, but the wether needs this to prevent urinary stones. With you feeding alfalfa hay, I would just nix the grain all together and just give him the ammonium chloride in a 1/4 cup measure of sweet feed for the horses. Alfalfa hay is really high in protein, protein he doesn't need, protein that will cause urinary calculi. When you bring him home, after he has settled in maybe next weekend worm him. Whatever you worm your horses with just give him some, except Quest. On a goat you can 3 to 5 times the amount of paste, so if he wieghs 50 pounds than worm him just like he was a 150 to 250 pound horse. We don't feed hay on the ground because goats will lay in it, poop in it, and then won't eat it. The sleeping bench is a wonderful idea, especially if your corrals get wet, this keeps them up off the ground and dries out their hooves. You will have to trim his hooves every couple of months, it is actually easier to just do it monthly so it never becomes a major chore. Vaccinating should be done with BarVac CD&T a waste of money, though it isn't much money, since you will just sub q 2cc when you get him and 21 days later, then from then on just twice a year. Just throw it out as it expires and buy new. If you want to get him his own wormer than just purchase the apple safeguard and keep it just for him, same dosage as above. Other than quest there isn't an overdose on paste wormers on goats, well I guess you could see some shaking if you were to give him the whole tube! :) Vicki

-- Vicki McGaugh TX (, February 20, 2002.

Dear Sharon,

Thanks so much for the reply - I checked out the website & it's pretty cool! I have been searching & reading & trying to make sure I will be able to properly care for our goat (can't wait til we have both goat & a name) but have not run across anything as complete as the site you recommended. I had minimal experience with goats on our farm as a child, but the animals were not cared for the way they are now that I remember. Our goats pretty much ran loose & ate horse feed or whatever while foraging. I want to make sure our boy lives to a ripe old age and stays healthy. Will being a companion to the filly, the children (6 - 2 full time, 4 part time), the dogs, the other 2 horses & of course the adults be enough, or would it be better to get 2 goats? I don't want the filly excluded, but also don't want the goat unhappy. I like all my critters (in addition to those above also have birds, cats, a rabbit & getting geese this summmer) to live long happy lives. (Currently have a horse who will be 29 in May who is still ridden & still jumps - at liberty if we don't jump her. Her teeth [well at least what's left of them - she's a senior feed gal] know how old she is - the rest of her doesn't.) Now, I wonder if our fence to the garden will be enough. Sorry for the absurdly long messages - just discovered these sites last week & still very excited - guess I'll have to learn to condense. Thankls again!

-- Debbie in IL (, February 20, 2002.

Dear Vicki,

Thanks for the reply - I am VERY concerned about the goat chow - I think you said it could kill the horses??? I searched the entire bag - luckily ony bought 1 bag & could find no ingredient list. I will check Purina website to see what they say. Guess goat chow will stay in house, or garage or anywhere but barn! I realize I will need to trim his hooves - thanks for the tip on monthly - what I've read so far says less often, but like the dogs nails more often is easier. I had pictured sleeping bench in barn - never thought of one outside - great idea as it can sometimes (like now) be a real mudhole in corrals. Should I have a sleeping bench in barn too?? I also didn't consider that he will need to be kept out of grain & hay storage - I now remember on farm goats constantly climbing stairs into hayloft & having a field day. Thanks for the great info!

-- Debbie in IL (, February 20, 2002.

Good news - I checked out purina and the goat chow does not seem to contain any meds. Think I will still keep it away from barn. Also another ? - how much time do I allow from start to finish when switching feeds?

-- Debbie in IL (, February 20, 2002.

Someone already mentioned hoof care. If you don't yet know how to trim goat hooves I suggest you buy the booklet from Hoegger Goat Supply called Nanny Manicures. Excellent intro in how to trim goat hooves. Shows how to use the tools also.

-- r. (, February 20, 2002.

Thanks for the info. I've found some good websites on hoof trimming - (fiasco mentioned above, NPGA page, & others) & it looks very similar to trimming the horses. I have ordered a pair of hoof clippers and already have a hoof knife, hoof picks, etc.., so think I'm set. Hope the goat will stand as well as the horses for trimming, but doubt it. Can't be any worse than trimming the mastiff's nails!

-- Debbie in IL (, February 20, 2002.

The general rule for changing feed for most animals (dogs, cats, horses, goats, etc) is over 5 days. Gradually increase the amount of new feed as you decrease the amount of old feed. Should be a half/half mixture on day 3. Usually goats are pretty hardy and change over well. I agree with the others though, if he's a whether and you're feeding alfalfa hay you really don't need to feed him much grain. Just a tiny handful is fine.

-- Sharon in AL (, February 20, 2002.

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