Goat raising requires a lot of work and watchfulness on your behalf, as it is a very difficult breed of livestock to raise and rear. For starters, goats require a lot of space. And that's just the beginning. There are several other considerations that you need to keep in mind. You need to decide whether you want to raise a goat for milk, or just want to have it as a pet. Many different breeds of goats are available. You just need to make a wise decision about which breed you wish to acquire.
Though not the most popular choice of pet, goats do have a certain degree of charm as domesticated animals. Even children love them. They are docile in nature and do not generally display any aggressiveness.
Apart from keeping them as pets, many people raise goats for meat and milk. Similarly, some people raise them for brush and weed control, and some do it for cheese. For each of these purposes, there is a specific breed that would be best suited. Being clear about the purpose of raising them goes a long way in getting the right breed and providing the right living conditions for them. Boer goats, for instance, are usually raised for meat. They are large and robust animals, and are a great source of nutrition and meat. Alternately, people are commonly seen raising pygmy goats as well.
Male and Female Goats
Once you have finalized the breed, you must decide which gender you want. For breeding purposes, it makes sense to get both, male and female goats. However, both genders have certain advantages and disadvantages associated with them. Males are commonly known as bucks. They have a very strong and repulsive odor that many people find unbearable. Bucks that are neutered are known as wethers. Most people you come across will prefer females to male goats. That is because they are easier to manage and don't have the pungent odor.
Goats tend to wander a lot in search of grass and land to graze on. That makes them easy prey for many predators, especially if you live in the countryside. As a result of this, they need to be allowed to graze in a fenced area. This is known as a goat pen. It limits their movement beyond a certain level and enables the owners to keep an eye on them at all times. For water, it is best to leave a bucket of clean water lying around in a spot that is clearly visible. If possible, you should also keep some guard dogs to protect them.
Goats eat almost anything that they see lying around, so feeding them the right kind of food should be your priority. The best thing is to feed them hay, around twice or thrice a day. The water and food should be kept away from their droppings. You might have to add additional supplements to their diet depending on their condition and specific requirements. You should also visit a veterinarian and get well-versed with all the dos and don'ts associated with goat care. The vet will also prescribe necessary medications and vaccinations to prevent major diseases. Goats are prone to pneumonia, so due care must be taken to prevent this illness.
You need to keep in mind that goats are primarily herd animals. Keeping a goat isolated for a long time or raising a solitary animal may result in it suffering from depression and cause you problems in the long run. It is best to raise at least 3 - 4 goats together. That, however, will require you to constantly keep an eye on them; regularly monitor their movements and activities. Like other domesticated livestock, they need adequate protection and sufficient care in order to thrive.