This presentation was originally given at a meeting of the Midwest Goat Producers Association in Flora, Illinois, on April 20, 2007. - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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This presentation was originally given at a meeting of the Midwest Goat Producers Association in Flora, Illinois, on April 20, 2007. Goat Management Basics. MIDWEST GOAT PRODUCERS April 20, 2007 Flora, Illinois SUSAN SCHOENIAN Sheep & Goat Specialist W. Maryland Research & Education Center

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This presentation was originally given at a meeting of the Midwest Goat Producers Association in Flora, Illinois, on April 20, 2007.

Goat management basics l.jpg

Goat Management Basics


April 20, 2007

Flora, Illinois


Sheep & Goat Specialist

W. Maryland Research & Education Center

Univ. of Maryland Cooperative Extension

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Western Maryland Pasture-Based Meat Goat Performance Test

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Small Ruminant Web-Based Information Sources

  • Maryland Small Ruminant Page

  • Maryland Sheep and Goat (Quarterly) Newsletter

  • Hair Sheep Workshop @ Virginia State University

  • Shepherd’s Notebook Blog

  • Meat Goat Performance Test Blog

  • Sheep 101

  • Sheep 201: A Beginner’s Guide to Raising Sheep

  • National Resource on Sheep & Goat Marketing (.us)

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The U.S. Goat Industry

Show Wethers


Land management


large and small producerscommercial and hobby




Know where you fit.

What is management l.jpg

The act of managing something.

The supervising or directing of an enterprise/business.

Effective utilization and coordination of resources such as capital, plant, materials, and labor to achieve defined objectives with maximum efficiency.

What is management?

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Your management practices will be dictated largely by the goals and objectives of your goat enterprise.

Why are you raising goats?Business (profit), hobby, show, pets, brush control

What product are you producing?Meat goats, goat meat, dairy products, fiber, pets, breeding stock, wethers, show animals, land management.

What and who is your market?Other breeders, 4-H and FFA members, consumers, restaurant owners, meat processors, stockyards.

Define your objectives

Goat management covers many different aspects of raising and caring for goats l.jpg


Health management


Processing kids


Goat management covers many different aspects of raising and caring for goats.

Kiko kids Many Rocks Farm

What is the best type of goat l.jpg

The one that fits your system, matches your resources, and makes you the most money.

There is as much difference within breeds as between breeds.

There are relatively few reasons not to crossbreed goats . . . and fewer reasons to inbreed goats.

From a commercial standpoint, the best goat is one that performs the best, not necessarily looks the best

This is especially true for does and the bucks used to produce replacement females.

A Boer goat . . . no.

A purebred goat . . . no.

A registered goat . . . no.

An expensive goat . . . no.

A free or cheap goat . . . no.

What is the best type of goat?

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It depends on your management system and resources.



Quality, type




Management ability




How many goats can I raise?

Boer x Kiko

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Goats can be raised in different production environments.

All confinement/dry lot

All pasture/range

Combination of both

How many goats can I raise?

Kiko buck - Many Rocks Farm

  • There is no one best way to raise goats!

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It depends on

Time of the year

Rainfall, amt./distribution

How much you supplement?

Whether you graze year-round?

How intensively you manage your pastures?



How many goats can one acre support?

As a general rule of thumb, 1-2 acres will support 1,000 lbs. of grazing livestock.

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Ideally, roughage (pasture, range, browse, and/or hay) should comprise the majority of the diet for your goats.

Goats are ruminants.

Goats are selective grazers. They prefer browsing to grazing when given the opportunity.

Forage diets tend to cause fewer digestive problems.

Browse diets cause fewer parasite problems.

What do I feed my goats?

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Provide supplemental feed when the forage is deficient in nutrients and/or it is economically justified.

Free choice minerals

Last 1/3 of pregnancy

First 6-8 weeks of lactation

Creep feeding and/or supplemental feeding of kids to increase growth, condition, and worm tolerance.

Flush does in poor condition for breeding.

Poor quality pasture

During drought or wet conditions.

When should I supplement my goats?

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Goat-proof and predator-proof.


5-7 strand high tensile electric

Woven wire with offset wires


Same as perimeter

Semi-permanent electric


Electric netting


What type of fencing is the most appropriate for goats?

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Common sense

Carcass removal

Good neighbor relations


When and where do you kid?

Livestock guardians

Guardian dogs

Donkeys (standard size)

Llamas (not alpacas)

Lethal control

Shooting, trapping, denning, livestock protection collar, M-44 cyanide injector**contact APHIS WS

How else can I do to control predators?

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Depends when you kid.

Spring, fall - minimal

Winter - maximum

Need facilities to work goats.

Need a place to store feed and equipment.

Need a place to keep bucks when they are not being used.

Shelter areas in pasture.

Housing is also for convenience and comfort of people.

What type of housing do I need to raise goats?

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Annual kidding

Age of puberty averages 7 to 10 months (affected by breed, season, and nutrition).

Can breed doelings when they reach 2/3 of their mature weight.

Goats are seasonal in their breeding habits.

Seasonality is affected by breed and individual.

There are pros and cons to different kidding seasons: winter, spring, and fall.

How often and when should I breed my goats?

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How often and when should I breed my goats?

Accelerated kidding.Pregnancy lasts approximately 5 months, so more than one kid crop per year is possible.Is it practical, profitable?

  • Twice per year

  • 3 times in 2 years

  • Star system (Cornell) 5 times in 3 years

  • Opportunistic/continuous (keep buck in all the time)

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Ranges from 1 to 5

Twins most common.

Triplets frequent.

Yearlings often have 1 baby.

4-5 babies is rare

Tend to be more prolific than traditional sheep.

Reproductive rate is affected by breed, age, season, and nutrition.

Genetics of reproduction

Number of offspring determined primarily by doe (number of eggs ovulated sets upper potential)

Sex of offspring determined primarily by buck (Y). In long run, will be 50:50.

How many babies do goats usually have?

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Yes, if . . .

You don’t sell or cannot separate buck kids from their dams and female siblings by the time they are three months old.

You are selling for kids for market projects or as pets.

Your market discounts intact males.

You want better growth rates in the late summer and fall.

Otherwise don’t!

Should I castrate my buck kids?

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For dairy purposes

For pets

Wethers for show ??? (depends on rules of show)

As a personal preference

While individual goats can be restrained by the horns, disbudded goats are easier to work in a handling system, safer to handle, and less destructive to people, other animals, fencing, feeders, and equipment.

Disbudding is stressful to the goat.

Most meat goat producers do not disbud.

Should I disbud my kids?

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Maybe, if . . .

Milk production is a limiting factor.

You have lots of multiple births.

To go along with an early weaning program.

Pasture is a limited resource.

To get kids to grow faster.

To improve fleshing and body condition of goats (grade and price).

To improve resistance to parasites.

To feed a coccidiostat.

Only if it’s economical.

Should I creep feed my kids?

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Early (60-90 days)

Remove lactation stress from does to breed back earlier.

Put weaned kids on better pasture or save pasture for more does.

So you don’t have to castrate buck kids.

Focus internal parasite control on more susceptible kids.

Mastitis risk

Late (4-6 months)

More natural

Less stressful

Less risk of mastitis

More economical pasture gains.

Pasture-raised kids are more vulnerable to parasites and predators.

Need to sell, separate castrate males by 3 months of age.

Many does will rebreed while they are lactating.

When should I wean the kids?

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Internal parasites - worms

Stomach wormsbarber pole worm



Lung worms

Liver flukes

Meningeal worm

Hoof problems

Foot rot

Foot scald


Digestivescours, acidosis, bloat

What are the most common health problems with goats?

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Pasture rest/rotation

Multi-species grazing

Zero grazing


Manage grazing height

Alternative forages

Genetic selection (within and between breeds)

Selective dewormingNot everyone, not every month

Proper drug use

Fecal testing to determine effectiveness of drugsdrug resistance is a major issue

How do I control internal parasites?

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The FAMACHA© Systemfor assessing anemia and barber pole worm infection in small ruminants



The FAMACHA© system should be used as part of an integrated parasite management program that employs other best management practices.

What about coccidia can be a serious problems in kid goats l.jpg

Single-cell protozoa that damage lining of small intestines and cause diarrhea in kids.

Species and site-specific.


Good sanitation

Proper stocking/penning rates

Use of coccidiostats in water, feed, or mineral.

Bovatec®, Rumensin® and Deccox®


Treat with Corid or sulfa drugs

What about coccidia?**can be a serious problems in kid goats**

***Rumensin®, Bovatec®, and Deccox® are toxic to horses, donkeys, and mules.***

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Frequency of hoof trimming varies among goats, people, and farms.

Restraint: lift hoof while goat is standing on table, platform, or ground.Harder to tip goats on rump.There are tilt tables available

Don’t buy goats with foot rot.

Foot scald can occur seasonally when it is wet.

Hoof care

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There are many different causes of diarrhea (scours) in goats.

Infectiousbacterial, viral, protozoa

Non-infectiousnutrition, management, stress

Most digestive problems (bloat, acidosis) are caused by diet changes, usually sudden.

Know what you’re dealing with and treat symptoms.

Digestive problems

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Pepto-bismolbismuth subsalicylate


Immodium AD

Probiotics (yogurt)

Electrolytes (Gatorade®)

Nutri-drench (corn oil + karo syrup + molasses)

Bloat, acidosis


Vegetable oil

Mineral oil

Baking soda

Treating digestive problems

Respiratory symptoms coughing nasal discharge congestion wheezing sneezing fever l.jpg






Often occurs as a secondary infection associated with ketosis, milk fever, bloat, acidosis, etc.



Nasal bots

Poor ventilation

Dusty feed


Respiratory symptomscoughing, nasal discharge, congestion, wheezing, sneezing, fever

Normal body temperature is 102-103°F.

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Caseous Lymphadenitis (CL)

Internal and lymph node abscesses

Chronic, contagious

Caprine Arthritic Encephalitis (CAE)

Arthritis, encephalitis

Colostrum is primary mode of transmission

Other Diseases of Concern

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Johne’s Disease

More common than we think?

Digestive (wasting)


Regulatory issueUSDA ID requirements

neurological, wasting

Other Diseases of Concern

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Thank you!

Is she done yet?

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