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Raising Goats for Dummies


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Table of Contents

Introduction 1 Part I: Getting Acquainted with Goats 7 Chapter 1: Discovering the Joys of Raising Goats 9 Finding Goat Basics 9 Glimpsing the Benefits of Owning Goats 10 Becoming more self-sufficient 11 Using goats for companions or helpers 14 Raising goats as a 4-H project 16 Determining Whether Goats Are for You 16 Devoting time and effort 17 Deciding which goats are right for your situation 17 Finding out about local ordinances 18 Knowing your neighbors 19 Chapter 2: Glimpsing Vital Goat Statistics 21 Doe, a Goat, a Female Goat 21 Taking a Look at Goat Anatomy 22 Parts of the body 22 The digestive system 23 Hooves 25 Teeth 26 Beards 27 Wattles 27 Eyes 27 Signs of a Healthy Goat 28 Noticing posture 28 Identifying the meaning of goat cries 29 Determining normal temperature 30 Using ruminations as a health indicator 31 Taking a goat's pulse 32 Counting respirations 32 Recognizing life expectancy 32 Using a Goat Scorecard to Evaluate a Goat 33 Chapter 3: Knowing Your Capra Aegagrus Hircus (Goat, That Is) 35 Looking Into Dairy Goats 35 Standard dairy goat breeds 36 Miniature breeds 40 Discovering Meat Goats 45 Boer 45 Tennessee fainting goat 46 Kiko 47 Spanish goat 48 Newer crossbreeds 49 Investigating Fiber Goats 49 Angora 49 Cashmere 51 Miniature fiber goats 51 Chapter 4: Getting Your Property Ready for a Goat 53 Figuring Out How Many Goats You Can Support 53 Making Sure Fencing Is Adequate 54 Running through types of fencing 55 Planning for gates 56 Protecting Your Plants 57 Considering which trees to protect 57 Making trees goat-proof 57 Protecting Your Herd 59 Putting hazards out of reach 59 Avoiding tethering 60 Providing a safe place to bunk down 61 Considering local predators 61 Using guardian animals for security 62 Removing poisonous plants 65 Part II: Bringing Your Goats Home 67 Chapter 5: Home Sweet Homestead: Sheltering Your Goats 69 Outlining Shelter Types 69 Using an existing building 70 Building a shelter 71 Providing a Safe, Cozy Place for Goats to Bunk 72 Building a sleeping shelf in an existing barn 73 Using and maintaining bedding 76 Keeping Your Goats and Their Living Space Clean 78 Controlling flies and other bugs 78 Feed storage and ratproofing 79 Chapter 6: Dinner Time: What and How to Feed Your Goats 83 Goats Don't Eat Tin Cans: What and How to Feed 83 Understanding the two types of feed 84 Feeding hay and alfalfa 84 Using chaffhaye instead of hay and alfalfa 85 Feeding grain 85 Following a feeding schedule 87 Choosing organic - or not 87 Minerals are a must 88 Supplemental feeds 88 Using Body-Condition Scoring to Fine-Tune Feeding 90 Feeding for Special Cases 92 Pregnancy 92 Milking does 93 Kids 93 Old goats 93 Getting the Basic Supplies 93 Bowls 94 Buckets 94 Water supply 95 Mineral feeder 96 Hay feeder 96 Storing feed 97 Building a Simple Hay Feeder 98 Building a Mineral Block Holder 99 Chapter 7: Getting Your Goats: Choosing, Buying, and Bringing Goats Home 103 Choosing the Right Goats for Your Needs 103 Goats need company 104 Size matters 104 Horns can hurt 104 Registered or unregistered 105 Looks count: The basics of conformation 105 Finding Sources for Goats 106 Visiting local feed stores 107 Reading the agriculture paper or thrifties 107 Checking out Craigslist 107 Surfi ng breeders' Web sites 108 Joining registries and goat clubs 108 Going where goat people congregate 109 Making Sure You Get a Healthy Goat 109 Asking questions 109 Examining the goats 110 Observing the home herd 111 Protecting Yourself with a Contract 111 Bringing Your Goats Home 113 Transporting your goats 113 Quarantining new goats 114 Watching for signs of stress 115 Chapter 8: Working with Your Goats 117 Identifying Normal Goat Behavior 117 Establishing a "pecking" order 118 Biting, butting, and mounting 119 Conducting Basic Training with Your Goats 121 Collars are not just decorations 121 Handling goats regularly 122 Walking goats on a lead 123 Teaching basic manners 124 Moving Up to Advanced Goat Training 125 Teaching tricks with a clicker 125 Using an obstacle course 126 Housebreaking 126 Preparing goats for packing 127 Training goats to pull a cart 129 Supervising Your Herd 131 Meeting their social needs 131 Evaluating the time you have to be home 132 Finding and training a reliable helper 132 Maintaining Physical Fitness 133 Walking with your goats 134 Furnishing your yard or pasture with toys 134 Taking Your Goats to Schools or Nursing Homes 135 Chapter 9: Handling Routine Care and Important One-Time Tasks 137 Grooming Your Goats 137 Brushing 138 Bathing 138 Clipping 138 Specialized clipping 140 Caring for Hooves 140 Preparing to trim 141 Trimming the hooves 141 Dealing with Horns 145 Horned or not? 145 The case for no horns on goats 146 When to disbud 146 How to disbud 146 Preventing and dealing with scurs 150 Castrating Your Bucks 151 The problem of poor Elmer, or why to castrate 152 Knowing when to castrate 152 Choosing a castration method 153 Identifying Your Goats: Microchipping and Tattooing 155 Choosing a method 155 Tattooing your goat 156 Microchipping your goat 157 Part III: Glimpsing Goat Health and Breeding 159 Chapter 10: Outlining Basic Health Care Requirements 161 Recognizing Signs of Illness 161 Working with a Veterinarian 162 Finding a vet 163 Knowing when to call 163 Preparing for a vet visit 164 Working with a non-goat veterinarian 165 Building a First Aid Kit 165 The Straight Poop: Fecal Analysis 167 Giving Injections 169 Considering Vaccinations 171 Deciding whether to vaccinate 171 Looking into common vaccinations 172 Giving a vaccination 173 Keeping Health Records 173 Documenting important information 173 Keeping track of recurrent problems 174 Providing information for the vet 175 Tracking trends 175 Testing to Avoid Problems 175 Knowing what to test for 176 How to draw blood for a test 176 Knowing the Law Regarding Drugs in Food Animals 178 Chapter 11: Addressing Common Health Problems and Ailments 181 Managing the Creepy-Crawlies 181 Controlling external parasites 182 Minimizing internal parasites 184 Helping keep parasite problems at bay 187 Acquainting Yourself with Goat Viruses and Infections 187 Caprine Arthritis Encephalitis Virus (CAEV) 188 Abscesses 189 Hardware disease 190 Johne's Disease 191 Listeriosis 191 Soremouth 192 Pneumonia 193 Wounds 194 Ringworm 194 Foot rot 194 Examining Feed-Related Problems 195 Scours 195 Bloat 196 Enterotoxemia 197 Nutrient imbalances 198 Poisoning 201 Chapter 12: Breeding and Looking After Pregnant Goats 203 Preparing for Breeding 203 Running Through Goat Mating Habits: Courting Is Crucial! 204 Identifying the season for goat love 204 Manners, or what to expect from your goat 205 Doing the deed 207 Housing a buck after breeding 207 Finding Breeding Solutions When You Have Only Does 208 The invaluable buck rag 208 Leasing a buck 209 One-night stands, or driveway breeding 209 Artificial insemination 210 Looking Into the Finer Points of Goat Pregnancy 210 Length of gestation 210 False pregnancy 211 Dealing with common pregnancy problems 211 Getting Ready for Kidding 214 Preparing the doe 214 Setting up a kidding pen 215 Being prepared with a kidding kit 215 Knowing when she'll kid (and what to do!) 216 Chapter 13: Now Comes the Fun Part: Kids! 219 Grasping the Basics of Kidding 219 Knowing what to expect from labor and birth 220 Handling multiples 223 Taking Care of Mother and Kids after Kidding 224 Caring for the new mother 224 Caring for newborn kids 225 The importance of colostrum 226 Dealing with kid problems 226 Tube-feeding a weak kid 229 Vaccinating 231 Feeding the Kids 232 Deciding between hand-feeding or natural feeding 232 Choosing milk 233 Feeding individually or as a group 233 Feeding schedule 234 Introducing solid foods 235 Weaning kids 236 Part IV: Living Sustainably and Making Money from Your Goats 239 Chapter 14: Discovering Goat Milk: How to Get, Use, and Sell It 241 Developing a Milking Routine 241 Knowing when to milk 242 Keeping the milk fresh 243 Caring for the udder 244 Preventing mastitis 244 Keeping records 245 Ending milking (Drying off) 245 Getting a Grip on Hand-Milking 246 Getting the supplies 247 Running through the hand-milking process 247 Using a hand-milking machine 249 Using a Motorized Milking Machine 249 Handling Milk to Keep It Clean and Fresh 252 Straining the milk 252 Cooling the milk 252 Storing the milk 252 Staying Legal While Selling Milk 253 Chapter 15: Goat Meat: From Breeding to Selling and Beyond 255 Getting the Basics of Raising Goats for Meat 256 Cross-breeding standard dairy goats to produce meat goats 256 Using your dairy goats for meat 257 Selling Your Products 257 Identifying potential buyers 257 Selling goats 260 Advertising 262 Legal considerations 263 Determining what to charge 263 Using marketing terminology properly 264 Slaughtering Goats 265 Doing it yourself 265 Using a licensed slaughter plant 265 Hiring a mobile butcher 266 Humanely slaughtering goats 266 Using All of the Goat 267 Hide tanning 267 Animal feed 269 Using the organs for herd health check 269 Chapter 16: Further Benefits of Goats: Fiber, Breeding, Weed Control, and More 271 Harvesting and Selling Fiber 271 Reviewing fiber types 272 Shearing: How and when 273 Processing the fiber 275 Spinning 277 Selling your fiber 278 Showing Your Goats 280 Finding shows 280 Preparing your goat for showing 281 Getting your supplies together 284 Earning more than just ribbons 284 Marketing at shows 285 Creating Mini Breeds 285 Offering Buck Service 287 Selling Compost 288 Hiring Out for Weed Control 289 Providing "Goat Therapy" 289 Part V: The Part of Tens 291 Chapter 17: Ten Common Mistakes First-Time Goat Owners Make 293 Getting Too Many Goats Too Fast 293 Failing to Educate Yourself before Getting Goats 294 Underestimating the Costs 294 Paying Too Much or Too Little for Your Goats 295 Getting Only One Goat 295 Buying Unhealthy Goats 296 Neglecting Routine Management and Care 296 Overlooking Your Goats' Dietary Needs 297 Giving the Goats Too Little Attention 297 Getting a Buck before You're Ready 298 Chapter 18: Ten Tips for Showing Your Goat 299 Practice Walking with Your Goat before the Show 300 Thoroughly Clean and Groom Your Goat before the Show 300 Dress Appropriately 301 Keep Your Goat between You and the Judge 301 Keep Your Eyes on the Judge at All Times 301 Don't Talk with Your Neighbor 302 Remain Calm Even If Your Goat Is Misbehaving 302 Do What the Judge Asks 302 Keep Your Goat Properly Set Up 303 Be a Good Loser (or Winner) 303 Chapter 19: Ten Misconceptions about Goats 305 Goats Will Eat Anything 305 Goats Stink 306 Goats Aren't Very Smart 306 Goats Make Good Lawn Mowers 306 Goat Milk Tastes Bad 307 Goat Meat Tastes Bad 307 Goats Get Most of Their Water from Plants 307 Goats Are Only for People Who Can't Afford Cows 308 Only Male Goats Have Beards 308 A Dog Makes a Good Friend for a Goat 308 Appendix: Goat-Milk Recipes 311 Cheeses and Yogurt 311 Drinks 314 Entrees and Side Dishes 316 Desserts 322 Index 325

About the Author

Cheryl K. Smith has raised a small herd of dairy goats under the herd name Mystic Acres since 1998. She published Ruminations: The Nigerian Dwarf and Mini Dairy Goat magazine and Goat Health Care. She writes a blog (ruminationsongoats.blogspot.com) and is an expert on goats at allexperts.com.

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