Monday, December 8, 2008

Have Fun With Your Goats

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Goats are useful animals, providing us with milk, meat, and wool. They have fulfilled these important roles for thousands of years, enabling humankind to survive and thrive on just about every continent. In today’s world, where most people buy their meat and dairy in the grocery store and wear clothing made of synthetic materials, some folks have found a new love for the goat and how they can help us. Goats are among the most fun and rewarding animals to raise; hopefully this site will help you discover and learn new things about goats and how to benefit from them.

One of the most popular occupations for goats is simply being companions. More and more people are discovering the joys of keeping goats around for companionship. Just about any breed of goat can make a good pet, though the smaller breeds are more popular as companion goats.

Nigerian Dwarf goats are a great companion goat because of their smaller size and cuteness factor. An adult doe or wether grows to be 16 to 23 inches at the withers (goat shoulder) and weighs anywhere from 40 to 80 pounds. Nigerians breed year round, which makes goat kids available any time of the year. Their size allows children to handle them if they are handled a lot when they are kids and if they are friendly, and they transport in dog kennels if need be. They are intelligent and affectionate, and are easy to train, whether it’s for milking or something like cart pulling. They love to be with their owners, so they make great companions for walking, hiking, or even camping. They are natural comics and make for great entertainment to watch.

Some pet goats help their owners give back to the community by working as therapy goats. These goats accompany their humans to schools, nursing homes, and other places where people in need of a special kind of therapy can only be administered by an animal.
The Delta Society, an organization that tests and registers pets for therapy work, includes goats in their list of animals eligible for registration. To become registered Delta Society pet therapist, a goat must pass a test that shows it to be controllable, reliable, and predictable. The goat must have good manners in public places, and have the social skills to seek out and visit with strangers. Information at .

Build A Goat Shelter, No-Waste Manger, and Stanchion

For those who have goats or are thinking of getting them but don’t have the proper goat equipment, here are some ideas that will help you build what you need to keep your herd safe and healthy. Before kidding season, when my herd often doubles in size, I start making choices of which goats to keep and which ones to sell. In this calm before the storm, goat equipment is foremost on my checklist. There are three pieces of equipment that make keeping goats easier: a shelter, no-waste manger, and stanchion to hold your goat still while milking, grooming, etc. You can purchase these items from supply companies or you can make them yourself.

A goat shelter is important to keep goats out of the wind and rain/snow. The shelter must be constructed so it has ventilation, otherwise the goats will not get enough fresh air and develop lung problems - if you can smell urine when you open up the shelter, then there is not enough ventilation. You can construct this easy shelter without a front door to use as a loafing shed in the summer, and then attach the front panel as a door for winter protection. The size of this shelter will accommodate four adult goats and their kids.

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