Can We Raise Goats in Your Backyard?
Raise Goats in Your Backyard? you can raise the goats in your backyard. You have decided to get a goat or two and try them for a while, but don’t know where to start. If you have never owned any livestock before, but you want to learn how to raise goats in your backyard, getting started is a simple but big step. Goats are only one choice for backyard livestock, but their versatility and small size allow them to fit many different needs.
How Much Land is Required for Raising the Goats in your Backyard?
One goat is required 1.5 square feet for the covered area and 3.0 square feet for open area. If you are raising male, pregnant or lactating goat than 2.0 square feet for the cover area and 4.0 square feet for open area.
Goat Purchasing Hints and Tips:
The price of goats is impacted not only by the time of year, but also by the breed, age, and sex of the animal. Heritage breed goats are often far more expensive than other breeds. A quality Billy goat can fetch a high price and maybe more than well worth the money, but you should never simply believe the goat is a great breeder, healthy, and docile based upon the say-so-of a seller you do not know.
If you want to buy the animals, buy them during the late fall and winter season. Because in these season prices of the animals become drop. Sellers do not want to bear the extra expenses of wintering.
The best time for purchasing animals is between the middle of March and the end of the summer.
Always purchase the goat from a private professional breeder or an amateur. These are all reputed sellers. They have all the breeding records about the animals.
Always check the animals that they have been disbudded before buying the goats.
If You purchase a nanny goat or a doe that is pregnant can be exciting and seem like a great 2 for 1 deal, but if you are new to goat keeping, such a purchase could lead to heartache.
Always inspect any de-budding that has been done on a goat before buying. When done poorly, de-budding can pave the way for infection or deformed partial horn growth that can cause injury on your goat.
Bring Your Goats to Your Home:
Goats are herd animals and they like to live along with their companions or along with their kids. The best companion for the goat is another goat. But, sometimes you cannot afford to purchase or even find, two quality goats at the same time.
Choosing a safe companion for a single goat might seem like a simple proposition, but that is not necessarily so.
Some people think that dog is the best companion for goats. But, experiences show that it is not the best choice.
Even if you purchase more than one goat at the same time, there is no guarantee that they will get along.
When adding a goat to your homestead, the best rule of thumb is to make introductions slowly. Place a new goat where it can see, hear, and smell the others but not have immediate access to them. The other goats wander over to see the new arrival and get used to each other over the course of several days before they are allowed a supervised meet and greet.
What Kind of Feed You Should Give to Your Goat?
A standard size goat should be offered between two to four pounds of hay or natural forage to browse on a daily basis. Goats, like cattle, are ruminants and have four stomach chambers. Because of their ruminant status, a goat has an incredibly high metabolism and consume for more feed that what their size might indicate.
Hay and natural foraging items should be the primary source of food in a goat’s diet to avoid getting bloat, becoming overweight or developing other health problems. A legume-based hay is the best for goats, but bales that are also comprised of alfalfa and some clover are fine as well.
But, do not purchase or cultivate hay that is too high in alfalfa or cover if the same hay is going to be fed to non-ruminant livestock, such as equine. Alfalfa hay contains a higher percentage of minerals, protein, and vitamins ruminant livestock need to consume a healthy diet. The calcium levels in alfalfa hay are also highly beneficial to nursing goats.
Goats must ingest enough roughage to keep their rumen in proper functioning order. Long fiber hay is necessary for the bacteria-rich rumen in the first compartment of the stomach, to function. This large rumen chamber should feed spongy in texture when gently messaged through the fur.
Chaffhaye also makes an excellent supplement to tradition hay and grain feed in a goat’s diet. This type of hay is garnered by an early cut of tall grass or alfalfa that is mixed with Bacillus subtilis and molasses. This type of hay is not readily available at agriculture stores in my rural area, so pour a little molasses onto the goat feed once a week or more often if you have pregnant or nursing goats. Because chaffhaye is more nutrient-rich than typical pasture baled hay, a 50-pound bale is equal to nearly 100 pounds of traditionally baled hay.
Grain feed, or all stock feed, should be a supplement to the hay and browsing feeding habits of a goat herd. Mixing a quality all stock grain feed with cracked corn is highly recommended instead of allowing the goats to get too used to just the sweet taste of the grain feed. The cracked corn will infuse more nutrients into the diet of the herd that the all-stock or sweet mix grain feed alone.
Typically, only a tiny bit of grain is given as a treat or small dietary supplement during warm weather months- unless you do not have enough land for the goats to browse in addition to hay bales being fed.
During the cold-weather months, livestock is given increased rations of grain feed to infuse more minerals, protein, vitamins, and other nutrients into their diet.
During the summer you may give one cup of grain daily to small stature goat breeds. Two cups of grain may give to standard size goat.
Grain feed should be regulated carefully to avoid overfeeding that can not only cause potentially deadly bloat but also colic-which could be equally lethal.
Goats should have access to mineral blocks on a year-round basis and a salt block at least during warm weather months.
Minerals are also available in granules form or in powder form. Minerals should be palatable. Mineral should put on the fodder.
Minerals are micro-minerals which are required in small quantity. These micro-minerals are essential for performing different body functions like reproduction, growth, etc.
It is highly recommended to keep baking soda in a feed bowl in the goat pen as a free choice treat. The baking soda helps stave off bloat and treat it naturally if a goat contracts it. Many goats farmers also sprinkle a little bit of baking soda on top of the daily grain rations to help thwart the development of bloat.
Manage Breeding Goats:
Goats are generally seasonal breeders, meaning they come into heat and breed during the fall as days grow shorter. The normal breeding season for most goats is August to March, though some breeds and individuals will breed all year long.
A doe’s gestation lasts about five months or 150 days. Normal delivery takes place at the nose between two forelegs. After birth, kids are required to take vaccinations in order to keep them fit and healthy.
For those of you who enjoy tiny details, once you have decided to breed goats, you must make sure that you breed only well-conditioned goats. They must be healthy, well-fed but not fat because fat causes goats many problems in conceiving and kidding.
Many goat raisers practice flushing which means controlling the does’ nutrition intake before the breeding season set in. This practice keeps the does in optimum condition for breeding, and helps them to produce optimum eggs during ovulation which gives them a greater chance of conceiving more.
Selection means using the most desirable goats or choice goats for the particular purpose of reproduction. Through selection, the breed is improved. Breeding goats can be done through inbreeding or line breeding, cross-breeding and line crossing.
Inbreeding is done mating between within the same breed. Inbreeding may result in uniform offspring in terms of performance and appearance. This means they are like their parents.
Crossbreeding is done between two different goat breeds. Its advantages include an increase in reproductive efficiency and vigor. Line crossing means the crossing of different bloodlines within a breed.
The final outcome of breeding goats ultimately depends on what you want and the method you choose in achieving it. And with the exception of cross-breeding, the end goal is to get consistent progeny from generation to generation.
What Kind of Housing and Fencing You Should Give to Your Goats:
Learn how to house and fence your goats in your backyard. Goat whether raised for meat or milk, need basic protection from the elements: snow, wind, rain, heat. They also are notorious for getting out of enclosures, so you’ll need some seriously tight fencing for them
There is no need to elaborate goat shelter. A hoop house can provide enough shelter for goats. And during the grazing season, trees or windbreaks, a three-sided shed, or a pole barn with just a roof may be enough for your goats.
If you are kidding in the winter, you will typically need a solid building for your pregnant and or lactating does and the kids. Inside the building, you can use livestock panels to divide the space into separate pens for each group of does and kids.
If you are creating goat housing, consider where you will store feed, straw or other bedding, and other goat-related equipment.
Also leave space for feeders and waterers, which will keep things cleaner and prevent wasting of feed. All animals should be able to eat or drink at one time.
If your goats will have access to a lot of woods, pasture, and other range areas, you will need 10 to 15 square feet per goat indoors for sleeping space. If not, you will need about 20 square feet per goat for sleeping space and 30 square feet for exercise.
What Kind of Goat Fencing You Will Give to Your Goats?
Fencing is key to the safety and health of your goats, your other animals, and the integrity of your possessions. Fencing for goats needs to be secure, not just to keep them in, but to keep predators like foxes, bears, dogs, coyotes, and more. You will need perimeter fencing around the entire goat area or your property boundary, and then cross fencing within the goat area to keep goats separated from each other.
Temporary fencing is meant to keep bucks away from does and weaned kids from does. This can be poly tape or wire, electric netting, or high-tensile electric wire. If using high-tensile wire, you will need five to seven strands of wire spaced 6 inches apart on the bottom and a bit more for the top wires
Permanent fencing can also be constructed of high-tensile wire, but if your goal is to keep out smaller predators like foxes, they can easily crawl under a six-inch-high wire. Woven wire fencing is a better bet for perimeter fencing. A strand of electric or barbed wire at the top will help keep goats in and more predators.
Pieces of Equipment Required in the Goat Farm:
When you are going to develop your farm, you should need some pieces of equipment on your farm:
- Hoof trimmer
- Syringes and needles
- Vet wrap and or some type of bandaging
Goat Breeder Associations
|American Goat Breeders Association
|English Goat Breeders Association
|Canadian Meat Goat Association
|Minature Goat Breeders Association
|American Boer Goat Association
|World Goat Breeders Associations