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Goats 101

  1. 1. Goats 101 Maegan Perdue Agent Associate Agriculture University of Maryland Extension Worcester County
  2. 2. Before you get goats…
  3. 3. Can you legally have goats? • Is your property zoned agricultural or residential? • Agricultural- Yes • Residential- Maybe • Do you live within city or town limits? • Check with city or town ordinances • Do you have an HOA? • Most HOAs do not allow farm animals • Will it cause a problem with your neighbors? • Will the noise and smell upset your neighbors? • What if the goat gets out and starts eating the neighbors flowers?
  4. 4. Know the rules! • For Maryland: • Nutrient management plans are required in some circumstances • Producers with 8,000 lbs or more of live animal weight • Producers who gross $2,500 or more • Nutrient management plans can be obtained from the University of Maryland Extension offices • mer_information.aspx • Other states: • Contact your county extension office • Department of Agriculture • Soil Conservation District/NRCS - costshare • Have a plan for dealing with manure and mortalities. • The National Scrapie Eradication Program • 1-866-USDA-Tag
  5. 5. Why do you want goats? • What are your goals? • Production animals? • 4-H? • Companion animals? • Pets? • Food security? • Vegetation control? • Goat yoga? • Do you have time for goats? • Can you afford goats? • Are you able to keep at least 2-3?
  6. 6. What is your budget? •It’s ideal to buy 2 or 3 from the same herd • Makes the transition easier • Better for biosecurity •Factor in emergencies • Fencing and housing emergencies • Veterinary emergencies • Medications
  7. 7. Are you ready? •Do you have adequate facilities? • Fencing, feeders, water trough • Housing • 3-20 weeks for custom builds •Do you have a feed and hay source? • Do you have storage for several months of hay? • Is your hay source reliable? •Can you locate a veterinarian?
  8. 8. Basic skills you will need… • Ability to handle and restrain the goats • Know where the gas and the brakes are • Drenching • Dewormers and some medications/supplements are given orally • Injections • Subcutaneous • Hoof trimming • Easily acquired skill *Milking • If breeding goats, it’s a good idea to know how to milk a little in case of an emergency and to acquire excess colostrum or milk to freeze for orphans
  9. 9. The good and the bad!
  10. 10. The bad side • A lot of goats are highly susceptible to the Barber Pole worm • Goats are susceptible to the Meningeal worm • Predation • Require better housing than sheep • Watch out for pneumonia • There are not a lot of veterinarians with small ruminant expertise • Lack of medications approved for use on goats
  11. 11. The bad side…there’s more • “If it won’t hold water, it won’t hold a goat” • They tend to be curious • They may eat things they shouldn’t • They will climb on fences…and you • They can be destructive • They will get their heads stuck in the fence, especially if they have horns, but are perfectly capable of getting stuck without horns
  12. 12. The good • Personalities/disposition • Small size • Less space requirements • Easier to handle • Multipurpose livestock • Milk, meat, fiber, pack, pets, etc. • You can get milk and meat from the same herd • Complementary grazing • Browse • Multi-species grazing benefits for cattle and horses
  13. 13. There’s more • Stable market for meat • Popular with many ethnic markets • Litter size • 2-4 kids is common in many breeds • Minimal equipment required • Hoof trimmers, collar/halter, thermometer • Artificial insemination is becoming more common • Dairy goat breeders are having a lot of success • Easy to pregnancy test • Blood sample • Minimal cost
  14. 14. Breeds
  15. 15. Meat Goat Breeds • Boer • Heavily muscled; pendulous ears; white with red head is most common color. • Kiko • Hardy breed; parasite resistant? • Myotonic • Fainting goat • Pygmy • Miniature breed • Savanna • White hair with black skin; pendulous ears • Spanish • Brush goat • Mixed Breed • Dairy to dairy cross, Dairy to meat cross & Meat to meat cross
  16. 16. Dairy Goat Breeds • Alpine • Standard size, many different colors • Lamancha • Standard size, many different colors, “no ears” • Nigerian Dwarf • Miniature breed, many different colors • Nubian • Standard size, long and pendulous ears, Roman nose • Oberhasli • Standard size, most are deep brown with black trim • Saanen • Standard size, all white • Sable- now a separate breed • Toggenburg • Standard size, brown with Swiss markings
  17. 17. Fiber Goats •Angora •Produce mohair •Need shearing twice a year •Cashmere •Goats bred to produce a lot of soft undercoat Photos courtesy of American Goat Federation
  18. 18. Facilities, equipment and supplies
  19. 19. Housing • Should be designed to protect against wind, rain, snow, etc. • Should be 3 sided at a minimum • Avoid drafts • Sloped roof • Avoid designs that will get too hot during summer months • Can be permanent or portable • Sheds/Barns • Calf Hutches • Quonset Huts • Dog Houses? • Should provide all animals with adequate space • 10-20 square feet plus pasture • All animals should be able to get in the housing, stand and move comfortably • Watch for bullies! • Goats like to stay in groups**
  20. 20. 2021 cautions •Inventory delays are common for supplies •Custom built sheds may take several months for delivery •Plan accordingly
  21. 21. Fencing •Always have a permanent fence available that can hold all the animals! •Types and height of fencing will depend on the species of animals using it •You should plan to have a boundary/perimeter fence •Boundary fence should be a permanent fence •Temporary fencing can be used to divide pastures •When it comes to gates, go big!
  22. 22. Fencing • Goats must have an exercise area • Minimum of 30 square feet in addition to housing • Good fencing is a must! • Once they learn to escape, they will be hard to keep in any fence! • They will rub and push on fences • Permanent • Livestock panel- beware of horns • Welded wire- combine with electric • High tensile • Temporary • Electric netting- requires a good charge • Lambing jugs • Dog kennels?
  23. 23. Transportation • Livestock trailer • Great option, but not necessary for small numbers of goats • Hire a transporter with a trailer • Goat cages • Extremely useful • Weather needs to be nice • Hopefully, the big goats jump! • Dog crate • Wire crates can contain small goats or kids in the back of an SUV **Need to be prepared to transport goats to the veterinarian in an emergency!
  24. 24. Other Supplies • Feed and Feeders • Water troughs or buckets • Hay and hay feeders/racks • Hoof trimmers • Syringes and needles • Thermometer • Access to dewormers and antibiotics • Collars/halters and leads • Basic milking supplies
  25. 25. Production systems
  26. 26. Meat •Reliable market •Market for every size goat •Know your market • Wethers vs. bucks • Ethnic market • Religious holidays •Direct sales •Auctions •On-farm slaughter Photo credit: Susan Schoenian
  27. 27. Types of Meat Goat Farms •Traditional •Kids produced on the farm •Best kids are kept as replacements or sold as breeding animals •Remaining kids are sold for meat •365 day a year commitment
  28. 28. Types of Meat Goat Farms •Finishing • Groups of kids are purchased and fed out for re-sale • Purchase bottle bucks from dairies • Purchase weaned kids from breeders • Auctions •Seasonal commitment
  29. 29. Dairy • Niche market • Whole milk • Cheese • Soap • Raw Pet Milk • Food produced for human consumption is heavily regulated • Can be a heavy time commitment • Kids • Top doe kids are retained • Top bucks and remaining doe kids sold for breeding • Remaining bucks sold for meat
  30. 30. Home Dairy • Milk is used for the family (owners) • No “food” sales • Milk, cheese, ice cream • Pasteurized or raw milk • Soap sales are common • Minimal equipment is needed • Hand milk or buy small machines • Get the whole family involved • Can let the does raise kids, then milk after weaning
  31. 31. Commercial Dairy •Milk and cheeses are sold for human consumption •Heavily regulated •Large investment •365 days a year •Check with Department of Agriculture for state regulations on food sales
  32. 32. Hybrid •Dairy breed does •Terminal buck sires the kids •Kids are sold for meat •Does can be milked **Dairy breeds do not always make good mothers
  33. 33. Vegetation Control •Requires mobile fencing •Select goats that eat grass and brush •Need enough goats to quickly finish the job •You may need to stay with the goats •Risks • Poisonous plants • Getting out of the fence or tangled
  34. 34. 4-H Goats  Most breeds can be shown in local 4-H shows  Does the show offer dairy, meat and miniature classes?  Are the animals divided by breed or type?  Can bucks and wethers be shown?  Know the show requirements for your breed  Do the goats have to be disbudded?  What ages can be shown?  Do dairy goats have to be in milk?  Do the animals have to be registered or tagged?  Do the animals have to be purebred?  Know the ownership requirements  Do the animals have to be registered in the 4-Hers’ names?  By what age do the 4-Hers have to own the animals?
  35. 35. Pets, Working Goats & Agritourism • Any breed can be used • Temperament is a factor • Wethers are commonly used • Ability to withstand the environmental conditions is a factor for working goats • Size • Miniature breeds are popular for pets • Larger breeds are useful as pack and cart goats
  36. 36. Acquiring goats
  37. 37. How to narrow down a breed or type • What are your goals? • Is there are a stable market? • Know the rules for your market • 4-H/breed shows • Ethnic markets • Many goats can be multi-purpose • Do you want a certain personality? • What is budget? • Crossbreeds and unregistered goats are generally priced lower • What is available in your region? • No shipping • Will already be adapted to your climate
  38. 38. Where to find available goats • Auctions • Very risky • Spread illnesses • Likely culled for a reason • No history of the animals • Social media • Can find and follow farm pages • May be able to see some of the farm and other animals • Breeders • Breed association directories • Should have multiple generations • Purebred and registered animals • May be willing to give guidance • Extension office • Ag. Agent • 4-H clubs (see what the judge says at the shows, but beware! Some are well fed!) • Buck tests
  39. 39. What to look for on the farm • What type of housing and fencing do they use? • Are you able to provide the same or better? • Are any animals loose? • Once they learn to get out, you won’t keep them in • What do they feed? • Do the other animals look healthy and in good body condition? • There may be an exception, but most should look healthy • Are there any abscesses? • Evidence of diarrhea?
  40. 40. What to look for in the goats • Does the quality match the price? • You can’t milk or eat spots! • Do the animals meet the breed standard? • Know the breed standard before you look • Have the animals been tested for CAE, CL, Johne’s? • Should have a few years of negative tests • Anatomy • Good structure • Check for abnormalities: legs, feet, mouth, scrotum, vulva, udder, teats, etc.
  41. 41. Other Considerations • Kids are usually available in the spring • Buying at least 2 goats from the same herd can make the transition to a new farm easier • Does the disposition and temperament of the breed fit your needs? • Purchasing older “culls” from nice herds can help you build a herd quickly • Animals that didn’t make the cut for shows • Breeders trying to keep numbers low or make room for does with better bloodlines
  42. 42. Starting Small • Around 3-5 goats • Retain best doe kids • Change bucks every other year • Ensures you don’t get overwhelmed • Better biosecurity • Start clean and stay clean • Less stress • Saves money • Get your scrapie flock number and tags ASAP
  43. 43. Resources •Extension office/Land Grant Universities •Large animal veterinarians •Department of Agriculture •Breed associations •Mentors •Reliable books Photo credit: Susan Schoenian
  44. 44. Questions? Maegan Perdue University of Maryland Extension-Worcester Co. 305 Bank Street Snow Hill, MD 21863 410-632-1972 University programs, activities, and facilities are available to all without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, marital status, age, national origin, political affiliation, physical or mental disability, religion, protected veteran status, genetic information, personal appearance, or any other legally protected class.