So you think you want a goat? Here's some of our most commonly asked questions to get you started.... enjoy!
How long will a goat live? A goat will typically live about 10-15 years, so when considering a goat purchase it's important to keep in mind that your baby goat will require just as much care, for just as long, as a new puppy would.
How hard is it to care for a goat? It is not difficult to care for a goat, but like any animal, a goat does require care. They must be given fresh food & water daily. Preferably have daily attention. They must have their hooves trimmed every 6-8 weeks. They usually require atleast 1 annual vaccination to prevent Tetanus.
Can I get just one goat? No, a goat must have a fellow goat buddy. They are truly herd animals and must have another goat to keep them mentally & physically healthy.
Do Nigerian Dwarf goats have horns? Yes, most goats are born with the ability to grow horns. Horns are naturally beautiful, but can also be very dangerous to other animals and people. Horns can also get stuck in fencing and can cause harm to the goat itself. Also, goats with horns cannot be shown in 4H or ADGA shows. We chose to dis-bud our goats so they do not grow horns. We feel this gives our goats the best opportunity at having a happy life in the show ring & in a loving family home.
Should I get a goat with horns? It is entirely up to you, whether you feel horns are ok for your situation. But keep in mind, that a goat with horns is more difficult to sell and can cause injuries. We will not sell any Nigerian Dwarf goats with horns. We feel they have a much better chance of a loving family home when they are disbudded.
How soon can I take home a baby goat? We feel that baby goats need their mommies for that first week, getting all that wonderful colostrum to give them a great start. We now pull the babies and raise them all together in a separate baby pen as bottle babies from about 7-10 days old through weaning (weaning about 9-12 weeks old). We feel a friendly goat is a life-long happy goat. :-)
What do I do with my goat once I get it home? We sell our goats with a care package which includes their current feed for 1 week. We do this because it is VERY important to gradually change a goats feed routine to avoid any illness or additional stress. When you get your goat home be sure to help him/her feel safe & secure. Double check your fencing and your new goats food and water area to make sure it is safe. Give the goat plenty of fresh water and some nice green grass hay to help him adjust. We prefer grass hay, especially during stressful times.
How big will a Nigerian Dwarf goat get? A Nigerian Dwarf goat will get about 19-24 inches tall and weigh about 60-80lbs. They will grow fairly slowly for the first few years until reaching their full size by about 3 years of age. Roughly they will be about the size of a Labrador.
How much milk can I get from a Nigerian Dwarf doe? This question is very tricky because it depends LARGELY on what the animal is being fed, it's genetics, how many times it has freshened (had babies), how old it is, and how many times a day it is getting milked. Nigerians can give anywhere from a cup to a gallon of rich sweet milk a day, depending on the above noted things.
I am looking for a goat to keep my dog company, is this alright? No, a goat needs to have another goat for a buddy, not a dog. A dog that is not specifically trained & bred as a Livestock Guardian Dog will instinctively consider a goat 'prey'. A goats playful manner will usually setoff a dogs instinct to 'chase' and this can be very bad for the goat. Even our own family dogs, which are well trained, are NOT allowed in with the goats.
What does a goat need? A goat doesn't require too much. They need a fellow goat buddy for company. They need basic shelter that is free of drafts where they can get out of the bad weather. Goats require hay & room to run & play. Only some goats require goat grain. We highly recommend that goats have access to loose goat minerals (not a block type) to ensure they grow well & maintain their good health. Goats LOVE to play, so we suggest things like secure stumps, picnic tables, kids plastic play structures, or other fun things for them to play on. You will definitely find much more joy in your goats if they are happy & playing. I find it is physically IMPOSSIBLE to not smile & laugh when a goat does a flying leap off of a play toy! :-)
What is a wether? A wether is THE BEST goat pet! They are male goats that have been castrated. They are sweet & friendly, & require only minimal care to have a happy healthy life. A good draft free shelter and some good quality grass hay and some loose goat minerals is about all a wether needs. Sometimes in winter or when the wethers are growing they can have a little goat-specific grain to help with growth and/or weight gain. It's very important that a wether not get more than 1 cup or two per day and it's best to supplement a male goat with a small sprinkle of Ammonium Chloride to prevent Urinary Calculi (Urine Stones that block the goats ability to urinate).
What is a buck? Do I need a buck? A buck is a male goat that is capable of breeding & producing offspring. This may sound interesting to newcomers, but...pee-yew! A buck goat STINKS... they have glands in their bodies that produce a VERY stinky odor, which *apparently* attracts the female goats. They also urinate proficiently, usually spraying all over their chin, belly, and legs, in hopes of attracting the lady goats. :-) Bucks are NOT for the faint-of-heart! We feel that a buck should only be purchased by well-educated goat owners who know exactly what they are getting into. Pee-yew! :-)
What is a doe? A doe is a female goat that can produce offspring & milk too.
What is "Disease Free"? Disease free is a very important term which means the animal and/or it's herd has been tested by a professional laboratory to ensure it is free from such diseases as CAE and CL. It is important to research goat diseases so that you can make an educated purchase decision. Some farms do not test for disease and some farms have these diseases and try to 'manage' them. We at Bellafire Farm test our goats annually for such diseases (Always NEGATIVE) and we do not purchase ANY new animals without proof of negative disease testing. Promoting a disease free animal is VERY important to us!
Can my kids show a Bellafire Farm goat? Absolutely!! We strongly believe that goats and kids go hand-in-hand. We also strongly believe in the 4H program and it's wonderful benefits! Therefore we give discounts to show homes and/or 4H homes.
How hard is it to milk a goat? It can't be "Rocket Science".... ? While it is not "Rocket Science", it certainly is not something you can learn in a few minutes. It is a bit of an art form to properly milk a goat. It's best to learn using a doe with experience in milking. She will have the patience to put up with your learning curve. Trying to teach yourself using a doe with no experience is going to be extremely frustrating for both you & her, and will probably ruin the experience for you both! If you are shopping for a milking goat, ask the breeder to show you how THEY do it... everyone does things a bit differently and goats are very intelligent & very routine oriented. You will have the best experience using an experienced milking goat & having someone actually show you how they do it. Then you can go home and practice, practice, practice. :-)
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