How to Raise Goats

To learn how to raise goats, you should first know what to look for in a healthy goat. If you know what a healthy goat looks like, you can tell when a goat is sick, or at least know that something may be wrong and take it to the vet. Whether you're farming goats or keeping pet goats, the signs of good health are the same.

Characteristics of Healthy Goats

  • Clear, bright eyes. If a goat has tearing or cloudy eyes, it may have a pink eye infection or other problems with its eyes.
  • A shiny and smooth coat. A dull finish to the coat could mean the goat has parasites. If the coat is fluffed up, the goat is not feeling well.
  • A good appetite. The only exception is a goat in labor; she may refuse to eat.
  • A good, alert attitude. If the goat's back is hunched up and the tail is drooped, there might be something wrong. Get your goat to a vet to check it out.

Goat Vital Signs
If you notice signs of illness in a goat, it's a good idea to isolate it immediately from other goats and livestock. Some illnesses can spread rapidly to other animals. The next step is check the vital signs. If you can't do this yourself, get help from a veterinarian.

  • A goat's temperature should be between 102.5 and 104 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Its heart rate is 60 to 80 beats per minute.
  • Goats breathe 15 to 30 times per minute.
  • A goat reaches puberty between 4 and 12 months, depending on the breed.
  • A goat's estrus cycle is 18 to 23 days. Each heat may last 12 to 36 hours.
  • It takes a goat about 150 days for a full pregnancy.
  • A pygmy goat may be bred at any time during the year, but dairy goats usually only go into heat between August and January in the Northern Hemisphere.

Healthy Feeding
If you know what kind of grass is in the pasture, you will know whether you need to feed grain and supplements. If you are not sure, you can get the grass tested for minerals and vitamins. You can also feed grain as a supplement instead of testing, but grain feeding gets expensive.

If you have a pregnant doe, you should always supplement with grains. Kids should also receive a grain supplement.

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