At Goat Maid's Farm we practice herd management and continuously strive to learn and improve our herd through open and honest communication with other knowledgeable goat owners. We aim to provide the best care and love for our goats daily because, in turn, they provide for us as well. Listed below is the care and feed practice we use for our goats. Please note, this is what works best for us right now, in our area and our goat breeds. GMF is offering this information as a look into how we run our farm and to help guide those starting out.
All in all...it works good for us!
Underlined words are links to the products being described.
We do not recommend any brand over another.
We are simply providing the links to the products we use on GMF for you to look at and use as a resource.
Minerals: All goats have 24hr access to goat specific minerals. We use a blend our local feed company makes.
When choosing minerals for your goats a "sheep and goat mix" mineral is not sufficient. Goats need copper that
sheep cannot have.
Water: All goats have 24hr access to fresh water, we use small buckets and change the water daily to minimize parasites.
Kids: All kids are started on a medicated protein pellet with coccidia prevention up to 20 weeks of age.
At 2 weeks of age when they are separated from their Dams we supply this pelleted feed nightly.
Link to two different types of medicated feed at our local feed supply for comparison ( unlined words are links, click on them!) Producer's Pride Sheep & Goat Deccoquinate & Purina Noble Goat Grower 16%-Medicated Goat Feed
Does: Access to pasture/brush all day and quality alfalfa hay. We supplement with Chaffehaye about 9 months out of the year or when it's too wet to graze.
Pregnant/Lactating Does: 4 weeks prior to kidding our Does feed increases with a ration of non-medicated 16% protein pellet with a mix of alfalfa pellet, beet pulp shreds, Black Oil Sunflower seeds and Chaffehaye.
Bucks/Wethers: Quality grass hay and protein pellet for urinary health.
*Due to the soggy climate creating a substantially flooded goat barn and back field,
all goats have relocated to our main barn and goat house.
Adult Does have all day access to this shelter. We have two "general population" stalls (12x12) where the Does are allowed in and out as they please during the day. At night we keep them safe and cozy inside, closing the doors from any danger outside. The other half of our goat barn contains rearrangeable stalls (1 to 4 stalls of varying sizes) and are used for kidding/injured goats. Here, Dams can give birth and have a space separate from the others. In the case of an injured goat they can heal without worrying about being bullied by another goat. Connected to this space is the milking parlor. It's still under construction, but it will have it's own sink, fridge and cabinets for meds and milking supplies.
We have a shed we call the goat house. It's my favorite space because it's cozy and intimate with a window and 2 stalls. Right now, until our new milk parlor is complete in the new barn we do all milking here. We alse use this space as kidding overflow when we run out of stalls for kidding mamas. Occassionaly it doubles as the infirmary for our sick goats. Don't worry we disinfect these stalls thoroughly before the healthy arrive.
Formally built by my husband when I thought I was going to raise hundreds of chickens. I now only have 10.... So it's now converted to a kidding shelter and playground. It is a 10'x10' space with 2 doors, windows and platforms for resting/playing. This hut has it's own run, seperate from older bullying goats, for kids up to a year old where they can play safely.
The boys have their own "Island of Trouble." I love those boys, but they stink.. A LOT! When we have company over for a cookout nobody wants dinner ruined by the bucks odor drifting in the air. The boys are housed in a pen towards the back of our property. It has a small island of trees, a shelter and plenty of room to act up and have fun.
All spaces are deep cleaned on a weekly basis and spot cleaned as needed. We use bright golden wheat
straw for bedding.
Our property line is fenced with both Red Line Goat Fence a woven wire 4"x4" square and Non-Climb Horse Fence a 2"x4" wire fence. They supported by a combination of T-posts, Wooden posts and trees. Our favorite of these two fencing options is the Non-Climb Horse Fence, the smallest goat kid cannot get thru it!
Beyond our Main Barn we have a black 4-board wood fence separating the livestock field from human play areas. Woven wire fencing is used with our 4-board wood fence to fill the gaps between the boards so the goats don't crawl between the boards.
During summer months when the grasses are growing we utilize an electric net fence to control grazing areas and allow for "field recovery" so the goats don't overeat the entire property.
The bucks area is fenced with cattle/goat panels. These panels are extra strong/thick gage wire to keep them in. We haven't experienced any escapes yet!
Parasites and worms are a threat no matter how clean your barn/pasture areas are. ALL goats have some degree of worms and parasites, it's normal. Having too many of these is the problem. GMF uses the FAMACHA scoring system assessing the mucous membrane beds of the goats eyes and the overall condition of each individual goat.
We use an Herbal wormer by Fir Meadows LLC . After trying several different suppliers "Fir Meadows" fulfilled our needs, was the easiest to administer and the herd eats it willingly! We haven't used any commercial wormers since going herbal. The "Fir Meadows" herbal wormer is safe on all ages, species and is pregnancy safe. We use Herb Mix DWorm A and GI Soother Digestive System Support. The GI Soother treats for Haemonchus Contortus (Barberpole worm) and Coccidia prevention, which the Dworm does not.
Birth - 2 weeks:
Kids and their Dams get two weeks together for bonding and separation from the rest of the herd. If it's a nice day out and under our supervision, Dams and their kids are allowed out for an hour or two to meet fellow herd members and explore nearby.
2 weeks - weaning:
Kids and their Dams join the herd for daily grazing and sociallizing. Kids are separated from their Dams at night and placed in the "kids only" stall. Here they play with other kids and begin to eat solid foods and have access to fresh water and bedding. Kids at weaning age (8-10) weeks will receive their first hoof trim. Regular trimmings are ongoing after this.
Separated from Does/Doelings at 8 weeks of age. This is to prevent any unauthorized breeding. If there is only one buckling intact he will be accompanied by wethers until moved to another farm or old enough to move in with the adult bucks.
Once castrated they are allowed to run with the Does/Doelings, occasionally they will accompany a lone Buckling (as noted above).
At 10-12 weeks Doelings are removed from their Dams (traditionally weaned by now) and put in with the yearling population to allow for growth and fun away from any cranky older Does.
All kids registered and non-registered get tattooed. It's required by registeries and also good for non-registered kids/goats if ever the need to identify a lost or stolen goat arises.
All kids are disbudded by 1 week of birth. Earliest is best to destroy all horn cell growth and minimize scurs (bone tissue growth not destroyed by disbudding)
CDT: Given at 4 weeks and again at 8 weeks.
Cocci Prevention: Started on Medicated pellets at 2 weeks.
GMF castrates bucklings at 8 weeks with a scalpal using "farm sterile"
techniques. We feel this is least traumatizing on the kid and a 100% guarantee the kid will not be able to reproduce. The newly wethered kid will stay on the farm for one week after this procedure to ensure health and free of infection prior to going to their new home.
A Does gestation lasts approximately 145 days give or take 5 days.
4 Weeks before kidding:
Increase food ration weekly of non-medicated protein pellet, alfalfa & beet pulp pellet
2 Weeks before kidding:
Administer a dose of BOSE
Shave hind quarters, udder and belly area. Deliveries get messy. Shaving the Does reduces the amount of fluids becoming matted into their hair.
1 Week before kidding:
Doe is put in her own kidding pen at night with fresh bedding, hay and water.
Loss of the ligaments around the Doe's tail and a raised tail head are main signs we look for when a Doe is within the 24 hr window of delivery. We watch for increased contractions and pushing. Once the Doe starts to push we join her for support and aid of the delivery of her kids. Many times we have to intervene to help a kid make it's way out. Being at the Doe's side increases the chances for a safer delivery.
Due to our work schedule we milk our Does once a day in the mornings.
We use a homemade udder cleaner prior to milking and a commercial teat dip post-milking and an all natural udder balm. My wonderful husband made a milk stand for me, keeping the milking products and my back off the ground. We use all stainless steel or glass milk collecting equipment and filter all milk prior to being consumed/frozen. Most of the milk is filtered and frozen and used for making Cold Process Goat's Milk Soap. Once a week we check for mastitis using the CMT (California Mastitis Test). Using very strick and proper udder care/cleaning has resulted in zero positive mastitis tests to date.