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Adventures in Raising Goats

June 24, 2010

We picked up our new goats a couple of weeks ago. They’re really sweet. The mama, who we named Juniper, is really shy. We had a hell of a time catching her to milk her at first… then we went on vacation to Wisconsin for a week and let our amazing friend, Chris, try her luck with Juniper. Apparently, all went well until Merri broke the fence down and all the goats got out and had a wild party in the barn, including about a whole bag of goat feed and the resulting diarrhea.

I liken it to teenagers sneaking out of their second story bedroom on a school night, while their parents are out of town, to go out drinking with their older friends and coming home and barfing in the garage.

By the time we got home, the new baby, who we named Laney, was limping a bit. She’s still a little wild so it takes some real effort to catch her. We caught her and inspected her legs/feet/everywhere, and noticed some weird action happening in one of her hooves. Turns out the poor girl has hoof rot. It’s all gooey and coming apart, and swollen where the hoof meets the skin. It’s really painful. We had to separate her from the rest of the goats, since the bacteria that causes hoof rot is contagious, so she’s in a little pen in the barn where it’s nice and dry. Keeping her feet dry is really important. We give her a foot bath a few times a day, and are starting her on antibiotics.

Aside from that, all is well, and the new goats are getting along with our bully, Merri, much better. Between Merri and Juniper we’re getting about 5 quarts of milk per day. We need to start making more cheese and some soap and other stuff.

Here are the newbies:

Laney and Jared

Juniper - the bigger one

One Comment leave one →
  1. June 25, 2010 12:25 pm

    Ack! You’re lucky the goats didn’t get bloat (different from dog bloat, btw). Might want to look that up so you’ll be ready to deal with it in a hurry if you need to. Good prevention = good fences! 😉 Good fences = 10′ tall, no-climb stock wire fencing, dug into the ground about 2′, wood posts on the outside every 6″, and with a top and bottom rail, and staples every centimeter. LOL! But seriously, top and bottom rail will really save you a lot of trouble in the long run. Trust this tired voice of experience! ;P Goats are huge fence-climbers. The sturdier your fences are the better: posts on the outside so they don’t pull out the staples or loops, top rails minimum, 4″ minimum wooden posts maybe 6′ apart. Oh, and really reinforce the gate. That’s where they think most about coming and going, and watching activities outside. In early days I had a fence like yours. I had a doe climb up a fence, and manage to go over the half-collapsed top, but with one back leg caught in the wire! She hung there upside down for i-don’t-know-how-long (I was at work), yelling her Nubian head off, ’til I had to cut the fence wire to release her swollen leg. 😦

    For hoof rot, and to avoid it, keep those hooves trimmed small and square, so there’s no separation between the sidewall and the sole (soft part). My favorite tool ended up being a curved carpet knife, nice and sharp, supplemented by a rose trimmer for overgrown sidewalls. Once you get them well-trimmed, you can try using a flat rasp or plane to keep them that way. I had a doe that was pretty insistant about getting hoof rot, but I kept it in line with constant trimming. Some keepers also make sure they have something hard and rough in their pens, like rocks to climb on, or even stair tread friction thingies on slanted ramps for climbing.

    Aren’t I just a wealth of information! Gee. Somehow I don’t remember you asking for all that helpful advice! Ah well. It’s free, anyway! 😀

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