Therefore, natural care for goats requires that proper structures should be built to house these goats as well as finding the best conducive environment in other to yield the best results.
Goats need some kind of shelter whether it is a small barn or shed. Although they do well in cold environments they can be very sensitive to extensive heat. To care for these goats naturally, some of the important requirements areas follows:
- Protection during the rainy season because goats can develop hypothermia if drenched to the skin from rainfall.
- Protection from dogs
- Protection from thieves
- Shelter should be well bedded, clean and draft-free.
- The floors of their shelter should stay dry since goats can be prone to foot rot.
Maintaining a good and clean shelter will decrease the spread of bacteria. It will help maintain a healthy animal.
Feeding your goats the proper foods and placing their food appropriately is very important. A mixture of foods is used to feed many goats, but water should always be nearby and accessible for these animals for goats generally drink to 1 gallons of water per day.
Goats demand balanced diets to maintain their health, weight, vigour and appetite. These ruminants are particular eaters refusing soiled foods or that eaten by other animals. A combination of forages (hay and browse), grain and grain by-products (corn, wheat, sorghum and even sunflower and cotton seed), and nutritional supplements (minerals, salt) is recommended in the feeding program.
Caring for goats requires you take all the relevant steps to maintain a healthy herd. The health care programme should include hygiene and disease preventative measures. Bond with your herd; get to know your animals and their daily routines. Notice if there are any changes in their appearance, behaviour or temperament. There are many indications that could signify a problem. For instance, goat having a dull coat may indicate parasites; refusing to eat, not being alert, or having a droopy tail could all signify problems. These are just a few examples but, there are many more.
Keep up with their immunizations and medical history. Maintaining proper goat care will allow them to live long and stay happy.
There are three (3) basic breeding strategies, each having different results. Goat producers must select the strategy that best suits them. The options involve selecting animals for reproduction based on:
Line breeding: Line breeding mating related animals (either distantly related or closely related). Line breeding (or inbreeding) results in genetic uniformity of offspring, in terms of appearance and performance. On the downside, line breeding leads to loss of vitality and reproductive performance.
Crossbreeding:It involves the mating of animals of two different breeds.
Line crossing: This is the crossing of different lines within a breed.
Whatever way you choose to raise your herd,make sure you make it work for you.
Steaming up – six to eight weeks prior to kidding, increase concentrate gradually to 1kg/day. This encourages proper development of the foetus during the most demanding period for growth.
Prepare well ventilated and bedded area for doe.
Have experienced herdsman on spot on day of expected kidding.
Signs of pregnancy
The first sign is that the doe does not return to heat three weeks after breeding. Twelve weeks after breeding, the abdomen enlarges noticeably. Pregnancy can be detected as early as sixty days after breeding with the aid of ultrasound prognosticators.
Signs of birth:
- Swollen vulva
- Does appear hollow in flank and either side of tail
- Turns head towards the tail
- Isolates self from herd
- Produce low bleat as if she is talking
- Udder increase in size and may drip constantly
- Frequent urination
- Lies down and stands up repeatedly
- The water bag ruptures and the kid is produced
- Placenta to be expelled 12 hours after birth
Care of Newborns
After birth, let the mother lick the kid(s) to develop good relationship with their off spring. Licking kids is also necessary to remove mucous that can hinder breathing, causing death. Wipe nostril and mouth dry only if kid still fails to breathe properly.
Dip navel in diluted iodine daily for 4-5 days in order to prevent infections.
Ensure that kids get colostrums within the first 15-30 minutes of birth. If the kid is too weak to suckle by themselves, feed colostrums from a nipple bottle
Doe and kid should be placed in covered pen, which is well bedded, dry and well ventilated.
Record birth of kid in field diary.
Identify kid by applying tattoo (preferably in its ear) as soon as kid is strong enough.
Introduce grain concentrate, fodder and minerals 1-2 weeks after birth. These should be palatable and easily digested, however.
Kids can be dehorned at 14 days of age or as soon as the horn buds appear.
Give the kids the necessary vaccinationsat 6 weeks toprevent against diseases. This is followed by a booster shot at 12 weeks of age.
Do first deworming at 8 weeks, primarily for tapeworms.
Wean kids at 12 weeks of age.
Separate male and female kids at weaning.
Observe for lice infestation and dip or spray if necessary.
Weigh at monthly intervals from birth to market (8 – 10 months) for males and to breeding (10 – 12 months) for females.
Barns should be cleaned every 2 weeks, as goats can produce up to 10 pounds of waste daily. The presence of faeces and urine promotes the spread of flies as well as bacteria. It could also cause illnesses such as pinkeye. Regular cleaning will ensure that goats have a dry and healthy space to sleep in.
Remove stale feed from feed troughs and thoroughly clean troughs before supplying fresh feed.
There now, you see that caring naturally for goats is quite a joy. I’ve put together these steps and first-rate tips for you to take your first steps in your natural care for goats so that in a couple of weeks, you too will be a proud professional since there’s every likelihood that you will be able to visually see some results.