If you finally decided on having goats of your very own, you’re likely wondering how to get started. Finding out how to get the ball rolling is as simple as preplanning what setup you want.
Goats are rewarding to have on the farm, no matter what purpose you use them. They are master mowers, too, cutting down all your grass so you don’t have to—oh, the perks.
So, just to ensure you’re giving them the best home possible, here are the best supplies to get you started.
The 14 Essential Goat Supplies
1. Proper Diet
Goats are notoriously voracious eaters. They have intense appetites and spend most of their day foraging.
They eat grass, shrubs, and other plants and flowers. In addition to natural foraging, you should supplement their diet with three to four pounds of hay daily. This amount can vary slightly depending on the size and breed of goat you own.
The reason goats require pay is due to their rumen system. Goats have four stomachs for digestion and having hay work as roughage in their diet promotes perfectly functioning digestion.
In addition to the nutrients they consume when eating natural foliage, you can also feed them commercial foods. These diets are well balanced to cover all areas of goat health to ensure your little ones are taken care of.
It’s imperative to keep them healthy in the winter months by supplementing them with grain and hay.
Goats need a variety of vitamins and minerals and their daily diet. Even goats that free-range sometimes don’t get the proper nutrients for optimal health. Adding minerals to your goat’s diet is optimal for achieving the healthiest specimens possible. This will ensure that your goat has what they need to thrive.
You can purchase minerals both online and in-store shops.
Goats can be rather naughty when it comes to escaping enclosures. Any goat owner will tell you how many reinforcements you have to make sure you have to keep your goats inside. A well-enforced gate made out of strong materials will work nicely, but it also needs height.
Generally, goats need fencing measuring between 4 to 5 feet, depending on your breed. Remember, goats are very resourceful, being masters at escaping. So you’ll need a fence that’s incredibly sturdy and goat-proof, essentially.
In addition to being regular jumping machines, goats fancy chewing as well. The last thing you will want them to do is to chew a big hole through your new investment.
Here are some fencing ideas on Amazon.
Even though goats are hearty creatures with excellent instincts, they need adequate shelter to protect themselves from the elements. They need shade, draft protection, and somewhere to escape wind and rain.
Usually, three-sided shelters work, but this can vary depending on your setup. If you already have other farm animals, you may have a structure that will suffice. But if not, you can buy pre-manufactured buildings, have one built at your home, or do your DIY project.
5. Food and Water Bowls
You can buy anything from standard bowls to automatic waterers—permitting that you mount the bowls correctly. Goats are very messy and can easily tip water and food bowls without reinforcements. You should always supply a secured fresh water source, so there’s no tipping.
When it comes to hay, goats like it when it’s a little up in the air. So, they should be able to access it at head height, ideally.
Your goat would have things a mess if you didn’t have some bedding to put down. Straw is usually popular because it is cheap, thermal, and easy to clean. You can also use sawdust or wood shavings for the ground.
Pine shavings are the most commonly used bedding for goats. It’s readily available at most feed shops, online, and at your local Walmart.
You can teach your goat many tricks—even how to walk on a lead like a dog. Even if you never get this far with it, having some sort of rope halter on hand is nice. If you ever need to restrain or confine your goats for a few moments, they work extremely well, and you don’t have to buy fancy ones—the simple rope style works fine.
Some goats are small enough to transport in your vehicle as long as they are in an enclosure. Some small goats can even fit in a large dog kennel. Even if you don’t have anything official, having these things on hand is always a good idea.
If you plan on transporting your goats to 4-H gatherings or simply need a way to transport your goats—you might want a livestock trailer. These trailers can also be super helpful if you have other livestock. They unquestionably come in handy but are really only necessary if you plan to travel with goats often.
Monitoring for sickness in goats is critical. Your goat can pass it to others in the barnyard; if you have a lot of livestock, it can transmit rapidly. Checking your goat’s temperature is a routine monitoring tool to ensure they are healthy.
If you detect a fever by the thermometer, you can intervene and act accordingly. It’s a preventative measure no farmer would go without.
Your goats will need routine oral and injectable medications to keep them healthy. You’re going to have to administer medicines to your goat regularly.
Many farm owners distribute their medicines rather than have a vet do it. However, you’re going to want to get comfortable quickly. If you need to learn, you can have another professional or experienced person show you if you’re unsure how to do things at first.
11. Drenching Gun
A drenching gun is a device that helps you administer medication to your goats. The drenching gun has a long stem that fits in your goat’s mouth to inject the oral supplement into the back of the cheek. With this method, they swallow it in its entirety. You can get precise measurements within the drenching gun to ensure you’re getting exactly the amount they need.
For sanitation, it’s best to always have a disinfectant on hand. You can use the disinfectant of your choice—just make sure it’s goat-safe! You can kill any lingering germs to ensure no bacteria spread, potentially causing infection.
13. Gloves/Protective Gear
Even though your goats are your buddies and you love them, they can actually transfer certain parasites and illnesses to humans. To be safe, you should always wear protective gloves when performing any risky care.
If you are coming in contact with any waste, blood, or bodily fluids, it’s especially important to protect yourself from potential transmission.
14. Hoof Trimmers
Hooves never stop growing, even though walking rough terrain will naturally file them down. However, especially in the winter months, when your goat’s range of access is limited, it can cause overgrowth, making walking uncomfortable.
There can be real consequences from not trimming hooves. However, if you plan to keep goats long-term, it’s a skill worth learning. If you do not feel comfortable performing this action, you also have the option to hire a vet to do it for you.
You can find kits for trims here.
Goat Fun Facts
Goats might be one of the most entertaining animals you can bring into your barnyard. Notoriously up to no good, your goats will have you giggling every day with their newest antics. But what are they good for? Lots!
Goats will be a joy to have on the farm, but you do need to be prepared for them. To own go successfully and ensure they stay their healthiest, you will have to check off all supplies and do tons more care research. There’s so much more to
know about these critters. We wish you the best of luck if you’re just starting your goat adventure. Hopefully, we helped you out getting started with this new chapter.
Featured Image Credit: MabelAmber, Pixabay