Your goats need the majority of their diet to be natural bush fodder, woody plants, hay, tree bark, and more. It is very likely that the forage they eat does not provide all the nutrients they need to maintain perfect health. You will probably need to supplement your diet with a coarse grain such as goat feed, corn, or another good grain product.
If you feed your goats a diet that is almost exclusively grain, they will develop kidney problems that can be fatal. They can also develop a bloated stomach or become too fat. A goat should have a balanced diet that contains between 75% and 80% of its dietary intake of plants that provide natural forage.
You may have heard that a goat can eat anything or that a goat can eat anything. This is not true. Many natural plants can make your animal seriously ill or, in some cases, can cause premature death of the animal. Plants that will make your goats sick.
• Wild cherry
• Black walnut
• Sheep laurel and mountain laurel
• Ponderosa pine
• Mesquite pods
Keep plenty of fresh water available for your animals at all times. The amount of water they need will vary depending on the moisture content of the food they eat. In the winter months, if you live in an area where temperatures drop below freezing for long periods of time, you’ll want to get a submersible heater to place in the water container so the animal’s water doesn’t freeze.
The shelter is a must for your animals. They need a dry place where they can enter without rain and where they can sleep without dew falling on them. Their shelter should provide them with a way to escape the cold winds that blow in the winter and provide security against natural predators.
Most goat owners place a thick layer of straw or hay inside their shelters so that their animals have adequate protection from the cold and damp soil. You can put a wooden floor in your shelter if you want.
A large doghouse is also a good shelter alternative for a goat. The animal will enter the structure and will also climb the structure. Many owners buy igloo dog houses and place them inside their enclosure so that their small animals can enter.
You will need to learn how to trim your goats’ hooves. You can put rocks or concrete blocks in the pen with the animal to help it keep its hooves naturally, but from time to time you should insert its hooves and trim off the excess.
You must install fences that the animal cannot pass through and cannot lift to go under. Goats are known to poke their heads through fences and often have their horns dangling from the fence.
You need strong fences with secure gates to contain these animals. They will often push against the fence as if they are scratching their sides on the fence, so it is very important to have the fence material properly secured to the fence posts.
Signs that your goat is sick
No matter how well you take care of your animals, there will be times when they will get sick. The best way to determine if you have a sick animal is to pay attention to its normal behaviors. So when one of the animals begins to act differently than they normally do, you will quickly notice the difference.
Some signs of disease in goats are:
• When they don’t ruminate
• When they refuse to get up
• When they don’t eat like they normally do
• When your stool is solid or liquid instead of granules as it should be
• Walks and cries more than usual
• stop drinking
• Teeth begin to grind
• They have a limp
• They are amazing
• Your udders are warm to the touch.
• They are coughing
• Your eyelids or gums are ale in color.
• Have a runny nose
These animals have a great personality and will entertain you for hours. They will help keep the property free of shrubs and weeds, and the youngsters will bring in a fair price when you sell them. Caring for animals isn’t really difficult, and the rewards outweigh any problems caring presents.