Monday, May 19, 2008

Goat Advice

My good friend Karen is adopting two goats and Andrea is buying two of my kids, since I know that they both read my blog, I thought that I would give them some advice.

It is always better to stop at two, although I would never suggest having just one. But that doesn't matter since no one can have just one. Two is a nice number, if you can discipline yourself enough to stay at that number. You must be very careful to resist urges to run out and get a couple more.

Goats are the sweetest, funniest things you will ever find. They show love and affection to you, they do funny tricks and they have attitudes and moods. All goats should have a playground, they need things to climb on and jump off of. They love slides and teeter totters. If you have big rocks to put in their pen they will serve two purposes. They can spend time playing king of the mountain and they will also file their hooves down some.

If your goats have horns, you must be aware that they can hurt you without meaning to. You must also be aware of things in their area that they might get their horns caught on. Horned goats stand a risk of tearing a horn loose or off and that is a real goat emergency, that will probably require a Veterinarian.

While on the subject of Veterinarians, you need to know who a good goat Vet is in your area. Not all Vets know the first thing about goats. You also need goat friends that you can turn to for advice if needed, sometimes they know much more about goat illnesses than Vets do.

I personally have my very own senior neighbor lady who is a goat expert, that I can call at anytime before 6:00 in the evening, that is when she goes to bed. You can also join goat message boards online to discuss problems that might arise, you can glean a ton of information from people who have raised goats for years there. My favorite is www.GoatBeat.net.

Goat's hooves must have regular attention, they grow long and must be kept trimmed, it isn't a hard job but you will have to have someone to help you. You can use a regular horse hoof pick and small pruning shears to cut the extra growth off with someone restraining the goat.

Another lesson to learn is that goats are obstinate, it is just a goat thing. Some days you will love them so much that your heart will feel like it is going to burst. Then the next day you will feel like you could strangle them with your own bare hands.

Here is the key phrase that you need to remember: "Goats will always do the exact opposite of the thing that you are trying to get them to do." If you can remember this then you will be prepared for handling goats by always trying to get them to do the opposite thing from what you really want them to do, then they will do the thing that you wanted in the first place. But goats are very clever and will sometimes know your evil plan and will mess with you mind by doing the wrong thing perfectly. If you completely understand this last paragraph then you are not ready to own goats, but if this paragraph has you confused then you are the perfect goat owner.

No fence is goat proof unless the goat does not want to escape. We were under the false impression that our four strands of electric fence was good enough to keep goats in, but what we didn't realize was that they just never had a reason to want to get out. Our queen doe was satisfied with her surroundings and she is a bit lazy, so the fence held her. As long as the queen was happy the rest of the herd was happy too. But when we started taking the queen out of the pen to milk her, we soon discovered that it was only the queen who was keeping the rest of the herd in the fence. They just simply went under or over it without a second thought.

There is much more advice that I could give but I am tired of typing right now. Goats are not the sturdy animals that they appear to be or are portrayed to be. They have a lot of health issues, diet issues and parasite issues. You will need to learn about the rumen and its function and care.

The other thing that you need to know is that no one is a goat expert, even though I told you that I had my own personal goat expert neighbor earlier, she actually calls me for advice as much as I call her. No one knows everything there is to know about goats. They are one of life's mysteries.
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