Saturday, January 12, 2013

What do Goats eat?

Do goats chew their cud?  
Do goats burp?
If you said "yes" you are correct on both.

They are able to eat hay, brush and other roughage type feed because of their unique digestive system, made of 4 different compartments referred to as the four stomachs.

Goats belong to the class of animal known as ruminants. They and other like animals: cows, deer, chickens (just kidding not chickens) ruminate or chew their cud.
When roughage is eaten by goats it is first chewed, soaked with saliva, and then swallowed. This ball of feed swallowed is called "the cud" and it goes down into the 1st stomach (rumen) to be broken down by micro-organisms living inside the goat’s stomach.  The rumen acts like a big fermentation vat breaking down the fiber in the feed. This is similar to how wine is made from grapes in a wooden barrel.

At regular intervals the cud is brought back up (regurgitated) to the goat's mouth to be chewed on some more and then swallowed again. Goats often burp to get rid of the gas produced by all the fermentation.
You may be interested in reading more on this topic
Goats Grazing
Proper Feeding of Goats

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

How to Take a Goat’s Temperature

Does my goat have a temperature?

   If you are trying to take your goat's temperature with a thermometer in the goat's mouth you are at the wrong end of the goat. Turn around and face the rectum.

   Taking a goat's temperature with a rectal thermometer is the correct instrument. For the purposes of the farm and with a goat as the patient, the only difference between a rectal thermometer and a regular thermometer is where you place it to take the reading.

  Normal temperature for a goat is 102 to 103 degrees F. If your goat has a temperature, there may be an infection.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Birthing Barn For Goats

Born Warm
Your doe should not be left out in the cold when they are expecting. The babies should be born and spend their first days in an area protect from the cold and wind. A ground cover like straw or shavings should be used to keep the area clean and warm. Using a heat lamp is recommended but proper hanging is a must to avoid it dropping to the floor and causing a fire.

Thanks to Bill DeVaul for the birthing barn photos. Please visit his website to see some great photos of his goats and his must-see online store for signs

You may be interested in reading more on this topic, take a look at these:
Raising Goats - Winter Housing
Goat Barn
Raising Goats in Cold Weather
Delivery of Baby Goats 
Raising Goats - Winter Housing
Goat Barn
Raising Goats in Cold Weather

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Proper Feeding of Goats

Feeding Your Goat

Goats will taste just about anything. Cartoons often depict the goat eating a can, or a cardboard box. Goats are curious and experimental tasters but are quite particular in what they actually consume.

Goat Diet
1. Hay - Goats are ruminants and are able to eat and digest roughage. Hay should be free of dust, mold and weeds. The higher the quality of hay the better. See more on roughage for goats.
2. Concentrates - Grains like oats, bran, and barley. Concentrates should be measured and fed on a routine schedule.
3. Supplements - Purchase a goat-specific supplement in a pellet form, never feed vitamins or minerals meant for other livestock.
4. Treats - Much research has been done on dairy goats and sugar. Milk production has been found to increase after a ration change that included sugar, molasses, sugar cane or sugar beets. Moderate amounts of sugar is healthy for your goat. Making your own goat treats is easy and fun.

Goat Feeding Tips
-Store all feed off the ground to prevent mold, insects or other pests from eating or infesting it. 
-Use removable feeders for concentrates.

You may be interested in reading more on this topic, take a look at these:
Goats Grazing 

Feeding Hay 
Feeding Scraps 
How To Build a Hanging Hay Feeder