A Very Large Animal Will Eat Many Pounds Of Food Goats As Pets

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Goats As Pets

Although often characterized as a farm or work animal, a small goat farm can be very rewarding for the owner and is relatively easy as long as a few basic rules are followed. A small herd of goats can be an excellent source of milk and meat for the owner and by raising the goats yourself you can be sure that they have been raised in a healthy way. Goats can also keep your soil virtually weed free.

Goats are social herd animals and you should plan to allow at least two goats to live together. The best breeds to keep will vary depending on whether your primary reason for keeping them is for milk, meat, or fiber, or if you want them primarily as pets.

Facts about goats

Male goats are known as bread and female goats are known by name. Young goats are called kids. Goats generally live 10 to 12 years, although there have been cases of goats living up to 15 years. There are over 300 distinct breeds of goats and they are most closely related to sheep, with which they can be interbred, although this is not recommended. The main products associated with goats are milk, cheese, meat, mohair and cashmere wool.

Goat products

Goat milk is becoming increasingly popular and a large dairy doe can produce 3,000 to 5,000 pounds of milk each year (2 to 3 quarts per day). In most areas milk will need to be pasteurized if you want to sell it commercially, although you can drink untreated milk from your own goats. You should be aware that there is some research that suggests health risks with consuming unpasteurized goat’s milk. As with milk, there is a growing demand for goat meat and it is claimed to have health benefits compared to other red meats and chicken. If you intend to sell the meat, you will need to follow the rules that a small commercial processor must follow. The rules are less strict if the meat is intended for your own consumption. Some goat owners find it more practical to outsource the slaughter to a licensed butcher. Goats are also valued for three types of fibers, mohair, cashmere and cashgora.

Goat housing

A dry, vibration-free building is suggested which will protect them from the elements and provide adequate protection from rodents and other predators. Rodents can cause disease as well as eat and contaminate food and water supplies. In terms of dimensions, there should be enough space to allow the goats to stand upright on their hind legs with their necks extended. If laid separately, each goat should have about 4 m2. of floor space. If the goats are housed in a group in the same area, a minimum of 2 m2. should be provided for goats, although more than this minimum is recommended if conflict is to be avoided. Horned and dehorned or hornless goats must be dug up separately.

Goat food

Although they have a reputation for eating almost anything, they will not thrive if they are not provided with the right balances in their diet. While they will eat weeds and other vegetation including pasture, they will need access to good quality hay. Legume hay contains more minerals, vitamins and nutrients, although, as with other hays, quality can vary depending on harvesting, preparation and storage.

Goat health

There are a number of diseases that can affect a goat in both chronic and curable forms. Some of these diseases can be passed on to humans and other animals, while some diseases are specific to goats. Two diseases that can bring sudden death to a goat are coccidiosis and pneumonia. Of greater concern to breeders and producers are worms and parasites. A goat that is infested with parasites and worms and left untreated will most likely suffer a rapid decline in health, production and often result in death.

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