for people who love the littlest dairy goats
Hi everyone. I am a newby here. This past Saturday I picked up 2 two month old Nigerian Dwarf wethers from a woman who raises the goats for dairy. They are disbudded and have a very sweet demeanor. I know they are not going to be good for much other than clearing brush and being my pets.
That being said, I want my goats to be the healthiest and happiest that they can be.
They have a pen that we built yesterday with an enclosed area for sleeping. There are large boulders in their pen that they LOVE to bounce around on.
What I'm looking for is help with daily care. What do I feed them? The woman I got them from said just hay. Is that enough? What about a salt lick? When should I give them shots or de-worm them or perform medical care?
Any and all suggestions are extremely appreciated!
The grass hay is perfect for feeding, and is all they need. However, they will also need a loose mineral mix made specifically for goats. I use Manna Pro, but there are others. Purina makes one. ADM makes a couple, just make sure it is the non-medicated version if you get it. You could give them a couple Tbsp. of black oil sunflower seeds (BOSS) daily. You can give tree clippings, grass, veggie trimmings, raspberry and blackberry trimmings.
You can also make sure they have baking soda available at all times. It helps prevent bloat by balancing rumen pH.
They will need their hooves trimmed, most likely every couple of months.
The deworming question is extremely loaded. I personally keep an eye on my goats, watching for signs they are struggling with a worm load such as poops that are clumping together like a dog poop or diarrhea (there can be other causes, such as too much grain or fresh grass), loss of body condition, pot belly, anemia (check inner eye lid for dark pink color. If pale there is most likely a worm problem.) You can take a fresh sample to a vet for examination to see what type of worms and how many you might be dealing with. I only de-worm when there is a clear need, and stick with one dewormer as long as it works.
Shots are a personal issue. Many people on this site choose not to vaccinate their animals. Others do. Most commonly is the CD&T and pasturella. They are given once a year.
That's about all I have time for at the moment, but I'm sure others will chime in with anything I've forgotten or left unclear. Best wishes for you and your new friends! :)
Hi there and welcome!
Do not underestimate the wonder of the wether! I have 4 of them and love them! Full of love and personality and mine are the most colorful (fun) goats on my farm- my 7 girls are lovely but the boys have PERSONALITY! They will teach you how to raise healthy goats and maybe in the future you'll want to get a girl or two and raise a few babies, do some milking. After having raised these wethers - it will be much easier since you'll have most of it all down. AND if you do get girls some day - the wethers play a role in letting all of us people know when the girls are in heat.
I agree - just hay and some sunflower seeds although I think some people give them a little bit of grain when they are quite young. 8 weeks is pretty early to leave Mom compared to what many folks do - although I clearly know WHY many other people want to send home the little darlings at 8 weeks!
This list is really wonderful regarding its information - just put a topic in the search area and you'll find a lot of information. I highly recommend Debra's Raising Goats Naturally - seen over on the right. Great book, easy to read, and by reading it - you will either avoid asking all the same questions that are answered in the book OR you'll be able to finesse your question for more detail than the book might share for your particular interest.
By the way - make sure you do a search for what plants are poisonous to your goats. Babies that don't hang around Mom long in the pasture might eat food that isn't good for them and some is really dangerous - so be aware!
If you have pictures - please share!
Oh, thank you! I appreciate the responses. With the baking soda, is this loose soda from the box that I would just pour into a bucket or something? I am going to take a trip to Tractor Supply and buy some provisions.
So far our little guys are a joy. You weren't lying about personality! I laugh constantly at their antics :)
Here is a pic
Rebecca I bought a small 'mineral' feeder at my feed store & it has 2 sections to put things in. I use one side for the loose baking soda & one side for the loose minerals. They'll eat it as they need it, but I learned quickly don't put too much or they'll waste it. If it gets wet, pooped in, messy etc they won't eat it....same with their hay-picky little stinkers! So attach it to your barn wall or whatever a level so they can lick out of it but not put their feet in it. Your babies are very cute & I totally agree with Judy's response above about everything. This site is wonderful for help and questions! You'll find questions about shots & wormings you'll need to research & decide for yourself. Main thing is keep your goats away from other goats that might have diseases. Hopefully you got your kids from a reputable breeder who understands these health concerns & took precautions. Good luck with your little boys!
I suggest putting the minerals above their head height and then putting a block in front so they can reach them. This helps tremendously to keep the poop out of the feeder. It is amazing how much space they can have and how often there is poop in their feeders/water.
Welcome to this wonderful world of Nigerian Dwarf goat ownership though it is questionable who owns who.
Thank you all. I will buy the books and do my research!