My husband and I have been raising goats for over 9 years now. If you’re like us in the beginning, you’re having trouble figuring out what to use and when. Or you’ve been raising goats for awhile, but something you’ve never seen shows up in your herd.
Whether you have one goat, or 300+, or maybe considering getting goats, I’m hoping you find this useful for your supply knowledge.
In our area, we are the first people to raise Boer Goats. We’re also the first and only people to have our goats on the livestock Show and Sale at our County Fair. ‘What!? Did you say you sold a Goat as Livestock at a county fair?’ Yes, and more shocking, we have roasted Goat for people to try! Why not? People eat Lambs. Cute little Lambs, cute little Goats.
While we definitely have the ones we get attached to, we know that some of them are being raised for meat. Believe it or not, goat meat is a rising trend. It’s in high demand for ethnic groups, especially for religious holidays.
On to what you need and why…
Anytime your goats aren’t feeling well, or when you need to give them a boost, Vitamin B is your go-to (or should I say Goat-to lol) This can be used orally or under the skin. I have needles and syringes linked below. We use Vitamin B after any stress as well. After transport especially! Vitamin B
Just like us when we get sick, goats need Electrolytes. Especially if your goat is having loose stools or just laying around looking lethargic. With goat kids, you need to watch them closely for signs of sickness because they can die in a day, even after you’ve tried to save them.
102-103 degrees Fahrenheit is a normal temperature range for Goats. If it’s elevated, that is a sign of infection.
If you need a lot of Electrolytes, maybe you would like to mix your own. I’ve made this and mixed the milk replacer with it as if this is the water. It works great as a boost for the first week after you bring home a bottle kid.
4 quarts water
1/2 cup Molasses
2 tsp. Baking Soda
2 tsp. Sea Salt
1 cup Apple cider vinegar
If you have a great veterinarian, ask them what they advise to have on hand for antibiotics. What we like to keep on hand is injectable Penicillin and La-200 are our most common.
Now for anything respiratory, you’ll need a prescription for this…it’s called Zac-Tran I really hope I spelled that correctly. It’s expensive, around $240 for a 100 cc. Bottle, but for kid goats it’s 1/2 cc dose sub cue. We and the dairy goat farmer we get our kids from swear by this as the best antibiotic by far! We have found it works for scouring kids as well. Dries them right up! This antibiotic is labeled for cattle, but very few drugs are actually labeled for goats.
Supplies you’ll need are:
(These are 3/4″, 1/2″ is ideal for Subcue injections, but it wouldn’t let me link them)
If the conjunctive area of the eyes, or their gums are pale pink or grey, they are showing signs of anemia. This means you need to deworm. Another sign that they have worms in adult goats is persistent diarrhea and/or weight-loss.
Safeguard is our first choice of an all-around wormer. However, Ivomec or the generic Agri-mectin was something we needed to use for our herd after a fecal on a sick goat showed lots of worms. Our vet said that our herd had possibly built up an immunity (or rather the worms had) to the wormer we were using, which was Safeguard.
When we only had a few goats we used Pelleted Wormer. That is easy with a small group of goats. Especially if you’re not comfortable giving liquid doses. I should mention that Safeguard and Ivomec (or Ivermectin) are given orally. Pine boughs are a great natural dewormer!
Keep in mind that Goats are browsers, not grazers. There is a reason they’re not too keen on eating off the ground. That’s where the worms are! This is their natural instinct to reduce the possibility of getting worms.
Now I don’t have a link for Valbazen, but you can get it at your local farm supply store. This one we discovered after we wormed and our goats were still sick. You can have your vet do a fecal to decide what wormer is best. Valbazen is best for white worms or tapeworms.
This right here took out several of our goats this summer before we finally bought Corrid and added it to their water for 5 days. We cleaned out the stock tanks as we do regularly, and added the correct amount of corrid powder to their water for 5 days. A pack seems expensive, but we treated 150 goats for 5 days with one package.
Now we’ve decided to use this regularly in their water as a preventative. There actually is directions for using this as a preventative right on the package. You can also mix this up and give doses orally if you think your goat isn’t drinking from the stock tank.
*Minerals are very important!
Copper, copper and more copper! Very important! You can even open the adult Bolus capsules and sprinkle on their feed. This is really important to do in the spring because if there are dormant worms in the Goats, copper will help get rid of them.
Also remember that Goats and Sheep are not the same! Size-wise yes, so collars, applicators and other supplies can be used for both. Don’t fall for labels on Mineral blocks that say Sheep and Goat. Remember to look for copper on the label. The goats won’t overdose as they’re wired to lick minerals as they crave them.
We actually raise buck kids that we pick up at a dairy goat farm 4 hours away from us. After we stress these little guys out by hauling them 4 hours away from their home, we use several things to give them a boost after we bring them home.
One is a Vitamin B injection under the skin behind the shoulder, another item we give them as we’re unloading them is Probiotic Paste . Another great way to give older goats(once they’re on grain) probiotics is Probiotic Apple Treats!
Something that’s important for the first few days to a week after a kid is born is Colostrum. If your kid has his mama, he’ll be just fine. However, if you’re bottle feeding you’ll need Kid colostrum
*How to stop Scours
Anyone who’s ever bottle fed will know that kids can get scours/diarrhea from the milk replacer. One of the keys is to start out with small amounts per feeding and work your way up every few days by a half ounce to an ounce at a time.
We had to do fast research for treatments because we were losing babies. They would have diarrhea one day and be dead the next. So pig scour medicine works well. We used Spectoguard directly in the mouth. Several pumps is needed. We’ve even mixed that in their bottle with Electrolytes and replacer.
I buy the larger Spectoguard bottle and refill the small one because the pump is handy. Our vet also recommended Kaopectate, gallon. I started buying the little bottles for humans, and then our vet said she could sell us a gallon for around $8.50. We then found it at a farm store and on Amazon.
*Hoof Trimming Supplies
I’m going to do a blog post just for hoof trimming. It’s very important for their health and posture. I mentioned before how fast they can grow when the hooves get hot. This happens when they overeat, or aren’t feeling well.
This can cause them to founder, which breaks down their hocks. We had one goat do this. We bought her bred several years ago and didn’t realize she was overeating until she started walking funny.
Her legs were breaking down and she was walking on her hocks. It got to the point where she was clumsily stepping on her babies, causing permanent damage to their legs. We bottle fed her last babies and had to cull her out last year. She was such a sweetheart. I was very attached, but it was cruel to let her continue to hobble around. You have a few different options as far as trimming tools. Electric hoof trimmer, Multi-purpose hand trimmers or what we use…Side Cutters .
*Leads and Show collars
We keep horse Leads around all of the time to move them from pen to pen. We aren’t into big time shows, but if you are you will need a Show collar. We use basic Cattle Neck Chains or Bagged neck chain which we cut to length. To fasten them, we keep Heavy-duty Split Rings (I had a hard time finding that link on Amazon)
If your goats are pets, and you don’t have too many, you may want to use a Large Breed Dog Collar.
*Stock Tanks and Dishes
To start out, you can get nice heavy Rubbermade Stock Tanks or on the less expensive side a Basic Oval 40 Gallon tank. I know up here in Wisconsin, we need to have a few basic Stock Tank Heaters in the winter to keep the water from freezing.
Some other basic things you might need are Salt Block Holders and Flat-Backed Buckets. For Salt blocks, if you have several pens, we have taken a hammer and busted the block so we can put a chunk in their feeders in each pen.
*Fencing and Gates
We find, the best way to keep our goats in is Welded Wire Fence and 1-2 rows of Barbed Wire across the top. You’ll need T-posts that you can get at your local lumber yard, T-post clips to fasten the fence to the posts, and a heavy duty fence post driver.
We have young goats walk through the holes when we use cattle panels, but the moms usually holler at them to come back. They don’t venture too far from mama. Swine panels work as well to make a fast pen and the bottom holes tend to be smaller.
If you want something that’s semi portable, say you decide to use goats for eating brush, I recommend Electric Goat Net Fence and a Super Energizer 5 to control it.
We have our own system for record keeping. We use small Yellow Ear Tags to identify our Boer Goats. You’ll need a Tagging Tool to put them in. We use a sharpie or paint marker on them. The numbers we came up with started with the Doe number. She had just a plain original number like 1.
Her Kids’ numbers would use the first number as their mom’s number, the second number would be which Kidding she was out of. Let’s say it’s the second Kidding. The third number is the birth order for that Kidding. So let’s say this one was the second kid born from that mom that time. The kid’s number would be 122. Does number, Kidding, and birth order.
Let’s say the kid is a doe and we keep her for breeding stock. When she’s just over a year old, we breed her. Five months later she has her first kidding. We give her a Doe number, let’s use number 2. She had triplets on the first kidding. So her kids would be numbered 211, 212, and 213.
When we make a new record of that doe, we put her new number on the sheet, her kid number and keep track of Kidding, medicine and vaccines. If we sell her, we can give that sheet to the new owner for their records. Here’s a great Record Keeping Book.
Clean Bedding is very important! Then as she has her babies, you can put more dry bedding on top and clean her stall later so you aren’t stressing her or her kids out. We started out using straw and then found a wonderful company about 45 minutes from us that makes Excelsior.
The place we go to is American Excelsior. They sell what they call ‘Barn Sorb’ or cattle bedding. It’s a little over $3 for a large bag so I usually get 15 bags or so at a time. What it basically is is fine wood fibers like sawdust. It’s so much easier to clean the stalls! And it’s made out of Popple(Aspen) trees so when you put it in your manure pile, it breaks down wonderfully! You can contact local wood furniture factories or wood manufacturers to see if they sell Excelsior or Sawdust for bedding.
You’ll need Long Nitrile Gloves in case you have to assist with the birthing. ‘What!? I have to put my hand in that poor mama goat?’ Yes, it’s necessary when the kid is backwards or you have one kid’s hoof and the other one’s head coming out. Or she’s young and the kid is large.
Then you’ll need old bath towels from the house or a 6 pack of terry towels that you can use to briskly wipe off the kid. I especially clean their nose and mouth area quickly so they can breathe.
Yes, it’s totally fine if the mom cleans them off, but we sometimes birth in January so we have the right age to take to the fair in July. So, we like to get them dried off and sucking on mom to keep warm.
*Keeping Kids Warm
Speaking of keeping kids warm, if the kid is limp or unresponsive, the first thing I do is stick my finger in their mouth. If it’s obviously cold, then you need to get that kid warm! Taking their temperature rectally can help you determine that too.
I’ve hauled them in the house in an 18 Gallon tote to put near the wood furnace, I’ve used a garbage bag to keep the kid dry while submerging his body in warm water. And I’ve used a Heating Pad under them in the tote to help them get warm. The best way to warm them or allow them to get warm is heat lamps.
There are 2 main types you can use. Simple Clamp Heat Lamps and Bulbs or if you want the safest one, there is a great Safe Heat Lamp you can put up. The kids can go under that as needed and if it gets bumped, they won’t get burned. We need a lot of lamps so we use the cheaper ones.
We mount them higher so the kids can’t reach it, and make a creep area that the moms can’t get to. Other things we’ve used to at least keep the barn above 32 when it’s below zero out are a Garage wall mounted Heater and an Infrared Heater. Keep in mind you want to have a place to put the infrared Heater that is aimed at the pen so it heats the goats directly.
Disbudding is nice if you don’t want them getting their heads stuck or being aggressive towards other goats. Yes, you’ll still have pecking order, but we have found, the Does with horns are downright mean to each other.
We have banded horns at the base for some of them. The bands will eventually cut in and the horns will fall off. Be prepared for blood. With our own babies, we like to disbud when they’re about a week or two old. You want them sticking up a little, but if you wait too long you will have large skirs later.
There are a couple different options for Disbudding. You can use a Basic Calf Dehorner (check Valley Vet or Jeffers Livestock Supply for an attachment for Goats) Or you can get one Specifically for Goats. You will also need a reliable Basic Stopwatch.
Now this job is not for the faint of heart. I used to time my husband while he did this, and say ‘awe’ all the way through it! He said that it bothered him enough without me doing that. It takes 8 full seconds to get the nice golden cap that you can knock off when you are done. They scream while you’re doing it, but are under their mama drinking within seconds. Some people hire someone to do this for them.
Another necessity is castrating. This is just putting a band around the base of the testicles. We have disbudded and castrated at the same time. This gets the stress over in one fell swoop.
They’re over it rather quickly and the Testicles will lose feeling, shrivel up and fall off in a few weeks. Two things you’ll need are Castration Bands and Banding tool.
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Raising Goats for Dummies and Goat Medicine and Surgery
The Goat Spot App
Goat Vet Corner on Facebook (be very careful only to ask vet related questions on there)
Message me anytime and I’ll help to the best of my knowledge.
*This article contains affiliate links. If you click on the links, you will be redirected to the product on Amazon. I earn a small commission if you purchase through my link. Thank you! Also, I am not a Veterinarian! We do a lot of our own treating from what we’ve researched because the Veterinarians around us are not knowledgeable about goats. In fact we’ve helped our vet learn about goats.