For the first-timers, buying your first goat is always an exciting time. Same goes for those who already have many animals, adding a few more to the family is addicting too. What you are about to read is designed to help those who are buying a goat for the first time.
Fencing and Housing
Some may think that the first step is choosing what goat to buy. That’s not what you should be thinking about first. Buying your first goat is like buying a pet fish. Before getting a pet fish, be sure to have an aquarium ready. Same goes for goats. Fencing and housing are most important. Providing fences will ensure that they are not attacked by your dogs or other pets. A good fence will also give you peace of mind because you will not be worried that your goat will be eating your neighbor’s plants. Or worse, might disappear at night. Some recommend electric fences while others prefer barbed fences. Housing is just the basic shelter. This should give them protection from wind and rain. The next thing you have to think about is the area for your goat. An ideal space is around 10-15 feet of space for each goat. This size is good for normal-sized adult goat. If the goat that you wish to acquire is of a smaller size, then it only needs a small space. It’s very important that goats have ample space for movement. Ensure that their space is not overcrowded. This will guarantee that they do not become stressed out and sickly.
Choose Your Goat
There are many different goat breeds. Deciding to buy a particular breed will depend on the use of the goat. Choose among the 5 general breed types: Goats for dairy (milk), the meat breeds, goats for breeding, fiber goats and pet breeds.
If you want a milker, what you need to buy is a doe. The physical traits of this milker goat are not important. What you need to determine is that she is easy to milk and kids without effort. Just check the teats of the goat that you want to buy. You wouldn’t want a goat that has too big or too small teats, as these will make milking difficult. The teats should be just the right size. As for the temperament, the goat should be gentle and friendly. She should know how to behave on the milk stand. Examples of this breed are Toggenburg, Alpine, La Mancha, Oberhasil, Nubian, Saanen, Sable & Nigerian Dwarf goats.
Choosing the perfect goats for breeding is not that easy. There should be a careful examination of the breed and physical appearance of the goats. If you want a breeding stock, you have to be ready to spend on the best breed for you. Confirmation is highly important because this will determine the genes that will be passed on to the next kid generation. Be very meticulous in checking for the physical appearance of the goats. The pair that you will buy should be proportionate in appearance. Personality should not be important if you are interested only in the genetic make-up of the goats. But since you will be paying a hefty amount of money, better have goats that you will love to be with.
The meat breeds are Kiko, Spanish, Boer & Tennesee. These goats bulk up faster than other breed types.
Fiber goats are those who produce fibers for cloth material. Examples are the Cashmere and Angora goats.
Then there are the pet varieties. If you are interested in goats as pets, then what you should look for is the personality. These goats must be friendly and gentle. They should not have a wild side. One other thing to check is if the goat is naturally polled or disbudded. This means that the goat do not have horns anymore as these have been removed when still young. These goats usually are Pygmy and Fainting goats.
Do a Health Check
Buying your first goat should be about careful choosing. One way to see if the goat that you will buy is healthy is to check if the kind of breeder that’s selling them only has enough number of goats. If the breeder has too many goats and their space is overcrowded, this only means that he is just an all-for-profit goat breeder.
The coat should be shiny and smooth. Avoid those whose coats are dull, rough and coarse. The eyes should be bright and clear. Unhealthy goats have unfocused eyes and tucked tails. Stools should be firm, not watery or lumpy.
Do a Personality Check
How would you know if the goat has a great personality? Goats have a very wide range of personalities. This is a matter of knowing what suits you best. There are goats that are calm and gentle. There are some who are rambunctious. Be warned that there also goats who are not very bright. Checking for personality is like matchmaking. You have to determine the type of character that will suit your personality. After you have that settled, just be sure that the goat you want to buy loves being fed and touched.
Know Other Facts before Buying Your First Goat
There are mixed breeds out there and the goat being purebred should not be important unless you are set on acquiring goats for breeding. Vaccination is a fact that you also have to decide on. Some breeders choose to vaccinate so as not to risk the goats and the kids becoming casualties. Others much prefer that their goats are eating organic food and do not have any chemicals to mar their physical make-up.
One other important thing is disbudding. This is when the horns are removed when still a kid. Risking being horned might be your thing but this should not be a choice if you have children.
Goats are not grazers, remember that. They are not very interested in eating just grass. They love the variety in their foods. Goats like it better if they have many food choices. They will chew on some grass, nibble on hay and crunch away on leaves. Do not give your goat feed or grains as the everyday food menu. Grains and feeds cause constipation. You will not like your goat very much if he or she is constipating.
Know as well that making them eat a variety of food choices is enough. No need for vitamins and other commercial products that you will encounter. They only need clean fresh water and minerals. There are mineral blocks and there are loose minerals. Majority of goat owners prefer a mix of the two. Giving the goats just the mineral block will cause teeth problems because goats tend to chew away the blocks. Giving them loose minerals will help protect their teeth. So why give blocks? This is also for food variety.
Note that goats are herd animals. They are supposed to have other goats around. If this is your first time buying a goat, start small. Buy a pair of goats. And if you are still interested in goats, then you may buy more.
Lastly, get bits of advice from a veterinarian regarding disease testing. This is especially important when buying your first goat. You do not want a broken heart with your first goat when he or she becomes sick.
In getting your first goat, always remember that you are not just buying animals. Goats become members of your family. You and your family should be ready for the arrival of a new baby.