View Full Version : Goats?

Jun. 21, 2010, 09:29 AM
Still waiting to hear from the underwriters but with the appraisal coming back so well last week, it really looks like we might get the farm! Last night we drove to someone's place nearby that has goats... La Mancha to be exact. Got a lesson in goats as well as how to milk. She's got some 4 months olds that she's looking to sell and we're contemplating it. Anyone with goats want to weigh in??

Jun. 21, 2010, 09:38 AM
We used to have a goat dairy ages ago, used the milk to supplement foals and sold the milk to people in town.
Ours were mostly the bigger nubians.
We used to put on registered goat shows and help the 4H kids with theirs.

Then the new regulations about not selling fresh milk came in and we had to either set up to process the milk or quit.
We quit, sold them all but two pets, Billy the goat and an ancient alpine lady to a friend that also milked and we had been trading goats with.

Goats are much fun and not much work, really.
Why not?:cool:

Pennywell Bay
Jun. 21, 2010, 10:45 AM
Goats as pets or goats for business? I have goats ( Nubians) that I use to keep the weeds down. They love the thorns, weeds and stickers and keep my fence line pretty nice! They also are good babysitters for some of the horses.

Jun. 21, 2010, 11:17 AM
Here is a very amusing but informative thread on the hazards of owning goats. They are certainly interesting critters.....

Jun. 21, 2010, 11:22 AM
As a dairy business you would milk your does twice daily, breed according to when you need them to freshen and bottle feed the kids. You will micro-manage what they eat to make sure the milk taste perfect! You will love it but it is work! We had Saanans and they were loves!!

As a meat business it is a bit easier but the outcome kinda makes me wince.

As a companion animal there is not a better one in a barn!

Jun. 21, 2010, 12:27 PM
Mmmm, you can make fresh feta cheese!!!! :D :yes: :D Although it's best with sheep and goats milk, it's still pretty good with just goat's milk.

But have fun trying to keep them contained! :winkgrin:

Jun. 21, 2010, 12:36 PM
I have been contemplating getting goats.
I have one area of my pasture that is very wet in the spring, and rocky so I really can't get my tractor in there to mow, and its too large of an area to weed whack.
Now that its full of mostly weeds, the horses don't like it either.
I am on a mission to have it cleaned up so it could be a good area for horse pasture.

I already have one goat, oberhasli, and love him, but he's old and doesn't like to walk that far.

My question...
Can goats be easily tied to an area, or I could put up temporary fencing. At night, they'd be brought in. I only want them as pets, not meat.

What do you think?

Jun. 21, 2010, 01:13 PM
I'd hate to think of goats needing to be tied for more than a short while. They're pretty smart but I think they'd still get tangled up if they were on some sort of tether.

I think I could contain mine with an electric temporary fence, but mine are very much homebodies and like to stick around. And familiar with electric fencing.

Good luck with your new goaties! I'd love a La Mancha...

Jun. 21, 2010, 01:27 PM
Yay goats!

I agree - tying isn't the best.... if you can get some temporary fencing (electric) up that would be best.

I don't have temporary fence so I try to get my goats out for walks - something we are working on because everyone wants to go at once and I'm afraid they will gallop towards the road by chance...

I have two LaManchas! They are the sweetest, smartest devil wethers that I know. Just love them!:cool:

I also have a Nigerian Pygmy, a Pygmy cross and a Pygmy/Boer. Wonderful goats!

Jun. 21, 2010, 03:03 PM
i've had goats with my horses forever. I prefer the larger breeds,, they're sturdier, I think. You need GOOD fencing, and some can clear a 4'height, so think about that. A hot wire AND field fencing works well. They will graze,, but prefer browse, weeds, trees, flowers, so they can keep a fenceline clear, but need something extra in winter. Mine get Rabies shots every year and a C/D&T . Also may need hooves done if they don't have areas to wear themm downn naturally. They can live a long life. I had 2 does that lived to 17 and 19 and a wether that lived to 17, so be prepared for a committment. Hoeggar Supply has information and supplies ,, or contact the state Ag OFFICE OR 4H group. They are lots of fun, do best with more than one , but can't just be tossed in a field and left to fend for themselves. ( I know there are some areas that use them for highway or island weed control,, but they really do need some supervision and care- in my opinion.) And, i think a tied, unsupervised goat is somebody"s lunch!

Jun. 21, 2010, 03:10 PM
the current field is fenced with 6 strands of electric (about 2 miles of fence on a 10 mile charger). would that work or would we need to reinforce the existing fence more?

Jun. 21, 2010, 03:14 PM
As I was working on the weeds that seem to be impossible to control along my fencelines I thought about goats....
I don't want to hijack this thread, but have a couple questions. I have 4' high livestock and no-climb fence with electric at the top. Would that work for goats? What do you guys do at your gates?

Jun. 21, 2010, 04:07 PM
I didn't mean to imply that I would tie them up and leave them. While I do barn chores, tie them to an area to clean it up. Its about 40' from the barn, some about 10'. For sure, they'd be dinner...I am very careful with my chickens, and same for the goats. I would not leave them tied up unless I was there, plus my dogs who would also alert me to any intruders.

My problem is I have a oberhasli wether, who really is more of a barn lizard. When he leaves the barn, the heavens sing since he prefers his stall. Door is open, so he can come and go, but he prefers to lounge in a stall. I just don't want more goat barn loungers. One is enough, I want browsers...hungry ones!

The area is large enough that I could put up no climb and leave them in that during the day and bring in at night. Tying is for them to eat a specific area for a couple of hours max and then be loose in the area.

I really just want to know they really are going to browse and consume the weeds that are just out of control.

Are there any poisonous plants for goats?
I was told milkweed. Which isn't in that area. I have tons of bittersweet that is going rampant, and I would love it if a goat could eat it.

Really just want to hear from folks who have hungry goats vs barn loungers. thanks.

Jun. 21, 2010, 04:09 PM
Beastieslave -

I have 2x4 nonclimb horse wire with an oak sight board. The gates are pipe gates.

Never had a problem with goat escapes - but pygmy's would be able to get out through the pipe gates. I took in two old pygmy goats and to keep them in I just put nonclimb on the gates.

I never had any trouble with my goats - ever. They were all great animals to have around. I used them as weed control for my pastures.

Jun. 21, 2010, 07:20 PM
Given a choice and with plenty of edible stuff, i think the goats would stay away from toxic plants. Your state county extension would have a list of poisonous plants for your area. I do know rhododendron, and I think azalea can be harmful. I have tons and tons of stinging nettle,, but will they eat it "raw"? NO, But once I weed wack it down and it dries,, they devour it. One of the goats I have now is an escape artist. I have a top hot wire on my 4'fencing. there is one area within my pasture that ,if she stands on a rock , she can jump over ,, but is still IN the pasture, so not a problem. She can clear a 4'stall door, too, which makes for a fun time when the vet comes. i have to really lock all top and bottom. Being herd animals, even if one got out I'd think it would stay close to the rest. They have done a good job "pruning " the lower branches of the apple trees in teh pastures. they also can chomp on horses's tails , so pay attention, epecially in late winter/early spring.

Jun. 21, 2010, 07:20 PM
PRS, thanks for that stroll down memory lane! That was one of the funniest threads ever! The 2 dog, 1 goat vehicle attack team still makes me chuckle!

Jun. 21, 2010, 07:27 PM
Just found out that bittersweet is toxic...no wonder the horses don't eat those beautiful green vines.
Oh well, I still have plenty of other non toxic weeds to be consumed.

Its funny to hear about jumping 4' and escape artists.
My one lone goat has the opportunity to go wherever he wants, and he sticks within 20' of the barn.
He doesn't go out with the horses, and rarely goes even out of the barn. he lives a cush life. But, the other goats...they need to earn their keep(hah, sure).

Go Fish
Jun. 21, 2010, 07:27 PM
Beastieslave -

I have 2x4 nonclimb horse wire with an oak sight board. The gates are pipe gates.

Never had a problem with goat escapes - but pygmy's would be able to get out through the pipe gates. I took in two old pygmy goats and to keep them in I just put nonclimb on the gates.

I never had any trouble with my goats - ever. They were all great animals to have around. I used them as weed control for my pastures.

I have Pygmys. They are very difficult to contain. You'd be shocked at what they can squeeze through. Practically every morning I open the blinds to the back deck and patio, and there they sit, waiting for the Corgis to blast out of the house and chase them around the back yard. I can never figure out how they escape. However, they refuse to go back the way they came. So, it's goat round up every freakin' morning.

The only way I can stop it is to lock them up at night. They're pretty good about coming into a stall if they think there are Oreos in the feed tub.

If you want less trouble, go for the bigger guys.

Jun. 22, 2010, 07:54 AM
Yearsand years ago we lived on Block Island( off the RI coast). I had a goat that I brought over on the ferry. She live in a stall we built in the garage. During the winter she could roam around andwould visit the Coast Guard station quite often. During the summer we had to keep her kind of close because she'd wander down to the beach in front of the house and steal fishermen's lunches. She'd also get INTO the CG station and chow down on the pool table, not to mention walking up and down over people's cars. Our summer neighbors always invited HER over for cocktails and , oh sure WE could come too. She was a great tourist attraction, especially when she'd be on the beach as the ferry went by! We had lots of fun with her and when we had to leave she went back to the mainland on the ferry and was a 4H GOAT after that.

Pennywell Bay
Jun. 22, 2010, 09:57 AM
"What do you guys do at your gates?" I use a panel of a X pen and clip it on ( ok- fine- baling twine works as well.... ). You could also use a section of the 1 x 2 inch green no climb you can buy at Home Depot cheap and secure it ( w/ baling twine ha ha, no don't use it - the goats can eat right through twine...).

Jun. 22, 2010, 11:59 AM
I have Pygmys. They are very difficult to contain. You'd be shocked at what they can squeeze through. .

I got my pygmy's when they were pretty old (owner didn't want them anymore). I can well imagine that had they been more lively they would have given me trouble.

My favorite goats were my big guys - but the last one died a couple of days ago. I'm not ready to get any more. Not yet.

When I had a small herd I never had to spray my pastures, though. Now that they're all gone the fence lines are a mess. They really do chow down on that brush. Especially honeysuckle. Oh - they loved that honeysuckle.

I hear a lot of goat complaints from horse owners. But I really did enjoy having them.

Jun. 22, 2010, 12:06 PM
There's a place down the road that has a lot of pygmy goats. I've had to chase them out of the road often enough to know I don't want little goats at the farm! I'm glad to hear the some of you have success attaching mesh of some sort to your existing gates.
Now, I'm going to see if there's a place neaby that will loan me some goats. I think I'd like to try 'em before I buy 'em ;)

Jun. 22, 2010, 01:44 PM
With the larger breeds I haven't found a problem with teh pipe gates, especially the ones with the narrower bottom section. A few years ago we had a kid born and we attached sections of lattice ( with zip ties) to any secrion of fencing or gate we thought she'd be be able to squeeze through. We're in the process of switching gates to ones with a mesh bottom.

Pennywell Bay
Jun. 22, 2010, 01:48 PM
My neubians get through the pipe gates when they want (esp when I am on the other side!)

Jun. 23, 2010, 06:27 AM
I've used that green garden mesh (from Lowes) on pipe gates as suggested by Pennywell Bay.

It's worked fine but after two years I do have to replace it just due to goatie wear and tear. I originally attached it with wire but once the horses arrived I worried about loose wire bits so I actually do use baling twine. If the goats don't SEE me tying it on it can last for a couple of months! ;)

I love my goatie friends.

Murphy's Mom
Jun. 23, 2010, 05:35 PM
I love my two goats, Hank and Hayden. They are Boer/Alpine crosses. Very friendly, easy to train not to jump on you, love weeds. They do get out occasionally so I put bells on their collars to help locate them. Easy to catch, they come when called! I have cattle panels as fencing, but they do not overlap enough at the ends. They will test the fence daily and try to escape. I have tied them out for short periods of time, but the rope does get tangled. I also have some 4' sections of cattle panels that I move around for a portable pen.

Pennywell Bay
Jun. 24, 2010, 08:50 AM
Love the names Hand and Hayden! Mine are Bob and Marley....

Jun. 24, 2010, 03:33 PM
So, what should I look for in a goat? Is there a way to tell if it's friendly but not a pest? My friends had some goats that were obnoxious anytime people were around. Is that kind of thing always obvious? Will most get along with the horses even if they haven't met equines before? Will my horses be upset by goats (if so, hopefully just at first - right)? If I have lots of pasture and plenty of things for them to browse on will I have to feed them too? I do expect to feed them in the winter.

Jun. 24, 2010, 07:49 PM
My question...
Can goats be easily tied to an area, or I could put up temporary fencing. At night, they'd be brought in. I only want them as pets, not meat.

What do you think?

I think to tie a goat out unless you're right with them is a bad idea. First stray dogs, coyotes, etc. will think "Fast food....yum".
Not to even mention you could come back and find your goat choked to death or all beat up with rope burns.

Pennywell Bay
Jun. 24, 2010, 08:41 PM
Well, bottle fed babies are usually very person friendly, sometimes TOO friendly. I make certain that the human barn kids do not play "rough" with the goats b/c then they think it is OK to head butt people. I discourage the goats "rearing" when they are little as well b/c it is cute when they are little and not so much as they get bigger. I had one goat that was not bottle fed and he adapted nicely.

Jun. 24, 2010, 10:42 PM
We have nubbins for milk and they are sooo sweet! If you just want a good pet I would get a wether (castrated male)if you do you should not have to feed him.My goats love my horse one of them even rests against him to get to the trees(and even more surprising my spooks at everything horse lets her:).Somethings to watch out for are.(1)Horns try to get one that is all ready disbudded then you do not have to be worried about them getting there head stuck in the fence.(2) Dogs,goats seem to turn on the pray drive in even the most calm and sweet dogs so make sure they can't get in to where the goats are.

Jun. 25, 2010, 06:29 AM
I have a variety of goat friends and all came from separate situations. They each have terrific individual personalities.

The LaMancha boys were bottle fed and are most pushy. They are strong boys and also are insisting on dominating the other goats and try to dominate my two minis. They have horns due to a botched dehorning job at their original farm. You'd think they'd get their horns stuck in things but they don't... They are amazing at getting out of stuff. What they CAN do with their horns is hook them into fence and PULL. They don't like to do this with the horse fence but they do it with their stall mesh.

I have a Pygmy/Cross doe and her daughter who came from a dairy farm. The mom wasn't too friendly when I got her but was naturally sweet and gentle. She is now the big love bug. Her daughter is 1/2 Boer and is beautiful, friendly, bold, silly, snuggly and funny. Love her.

My wee Nigerian Pygmy came from an abusive situation and thought he was a pig. He was raised with pigs. After a year he has become the character of the barn. He loves the horses, makes friends with any creature, does a great Rodeo Goat impression and now enjoys scrubbies and pats and even gets in my way at feeding time! Unheard of when he first arrived.

I guess the moral of my long-winded story is that whatever goat breed you choose you can mold and bring out their character and underlying sweetness. I do have to be a bit more firm with the LaMancha boys, as they will test, but they are always the first to come running for goat kisses and snuggles.

I haven't had any trouble with the five goats being around my Thoroughbred and the minis (knock wood). There is a definate pecking order in the barn with the horse on top, followed by the mini mare and so on. Everyone respects their place.

Pennywell Bay
Jun. 25, 2010, 06:31 AM
Horns! One of mine has them and one had them removed but they grew in kind of deformed. My dogs are alright w/ my goats ( German Shepherd and and a Jack). There was a little frenzy when they first met but now my goats don't run so they are no fun for the dogs. The dogs are all super obedient ( a retired police dog and a certified therapy dog) so besides the initial excitement, everyone is OK. Plus Marley the goat will turn and face the dogs - which freaks them out.

Jun. 25, 2010, 08:01 AM
My mini boy will sometimes play "face off" with the LaMancha boys! They'll do the rear - butt thing and he'll mimic them! :lol: