The spring-like weather we were having a month ago got me inspired. I wanted some baby goats! I haven’t had anything to do with raising baby goats since I was a child. But I had enjoyed them, and well, I do have an animal addiction anyway. So I posted a little ISO listing on a Facebook farm page, to my husband’s consternation when he found out. Oops.
Finding Baby Goats
However, my little listing did bring some results. Multiple people let me know what they had and prices. But I was looking for a hopefully free, or relatively inexpensive baby goat. Did you know a lot of people want $100+ for a baby goat? I was told by someone, that visiting a livestock auction may provide cheaper options. I would’ve loved to get a Nigerian dwarf baby, as they stay small, but those can be $300!
Fortunately, I also got a private Facebook message from a local goat dairy. The lady had seen in my posting that I was willing to take a little goat that was a runt or in need of TLC. And she happened to have a pair of twins needing just that extra attention after a hard delivery. The little buck actually still hadn’t been able to stand 3 days after birth due to a leg/hip injury. And the little doe had a possible small brain trauma. Was I interested in taking them? I could have them for free.
I had to talk to my husband to get his approval. I also talked to a friend who owned her own goats and milked them. My husband agreed after some reluctance. The lady also let me know that the buck had started standing. So that was a good thing. I did have my own concerns about their limitations.
My friend went with me to pick them up. The buck clearly had a leg injury, but the little girl appeared pretty normal, other than a slight head tilt. The girl who went with me said this could simply have been due to her positioning during labor and could resolve with time. We were hopeful with time, the other baby’s leg injury would improve too.
Caring For Baby Goats
Of course my kids were thrilled to hold baby goats on the car ride home. The dairy kindly sent a gallon of milk home to help out, and the woman with me sold me 10 gallons of goat milk. She was also helpful to have brought her equipment to disbud them for me. Dis-budding is when you burn the roots of the horns that goats will grow. It sounds unkind and is controversial like other issues. However, for safety reasons, since these were my kids’ pets, I chose to have it done. My brother has a facial scar from a goat horn when we were kids. Some people also worry about goats getting caught in fences due to their horns. Another option is to buy a polled breed that won’t grow horns.
We put our little goats in our dog kennel. It had a tarp over top, and two dog houses they could use. We’ve been bottle-feeding them 4 times daily. When the goat milk was getting low, I purchased goat milk replacer from Tractor Supply. I mixed the two, to transition them more easily to the replacer. We didn’t note any issues.
Now the goats are just over a month old. Yesterday, we decided to decrease to bottle-feeding 3 times daily. This was indicated as ok on the milk replacer instructions. We also bought “goat kibbles” and have been giving them some hay. We’ve seen them eating and nibbling on grasses etc., when they are let out of their pen to play.
The little girl is a perfectly fine, healthy, rambunctious little goat. The little buck has been slower and less rambunctious. But his leg has gradually been improving. He has started jumping and standing on his back legs as well which is great. I haven’t tried real recently, but before just running your hand down his back, made him kind of cringe and tuck his back end down. It appeared to be his left hind leg and possibly hip involved.
We have them primarily for pets right now, and that’s why I wanted a bottle baby. They become super-friendly. We also castrated the buck by the rubber band method. My dad has a tool that we borrowed for that procedure. So technically he is now considered a wether. Hopefully, that will prevent some of the stinky male behaviors that buck goats exhibit.
Medical Care For Goats
There are other issues to consider as well with raising baby goats or goats in general. My friend wondered if we were going to vaccinate them. I hadn’t really considered that till she brought it up. We haven’t at this point, but quite possibly will give them the vaccine for tetanus. I need to do a little more research into what people vaccinate goats for. There is also the possibility of needing to worm them, which we can also do ourselves.
What About When The Goats Grow Up
Eventually, our baby goats will grow up. Perhaps we will figure out a way to let our doe have little ones. If we wanted we could milk her. These two are an Alpine/Nubian breed cross. We will have to figure out a way to keep them on our property. Goats are notorious escape artists. When I was growing up, I remember seeing one finding a way to get out of the field. But they can also put themselves back in when they deem it necessary.
I have said maybe we should get collars, and train these two to walk on a leash. I actually saw someone doing that not far up the road from us. It might be interesting to take the goats to the towpath like we do with the dogs, and see peoples’ reactions. 🙂
We may not keep these guys forever, but I hope my children enjoy the experience of raising them, and have good memories of it when they are older.