Bringing home your first baby goat/goats is wonderful! They are such a blast to watch as they run about with their hop-skippity-jumps! One could spend way too much time just watching and playing with them!
If you have bottle fed babies you have already realized that they are a fantastic companion. Maybe more-so than you had in mind! They will follow you everywhere and bellow when they do not see you. When they find you they will happily bounce up to you wagging their little tail to tell you how happy they are that you are fine and not lost anymore! You may have already found that they will cry for you when you leave them in their pen. Yes, it is heartbreaking, but that is their intent. They will be fine.
They will love to be in the yard with you and will stay right within your sight. Actually, you will be within their sight! Nibbling on everything is what goats do, so do not be alarmed when they nibble on something they shouldn’t. Most likely they will just pull on it and play with it. They will, however, nibble on any plants. Be sure to research plants that are poisonous to goats and search your surroundings for them. Goats do die from eating poisonous plants, and they usually die quickly! This is a serious warning because it is very heartbreaking when it happens!
Of course there will be adjustments for you and your new friends so have someone you can call with questions! You will have them! Here are some frequent problems that people run into:
- Changing from milk to formula, or brands of formula, can cause diarrhea and the goat may not want to eat. This is not good so do this gradually by mixing the 2 together over the course of a couple of days. ** Helpful tip – a whole raw egg in the milk will generally firm up loose stools in 1 or 2 feedings.
- The same problem can occur with a change in the grain so again, change it gradually. Once I did not do this and even though the goat was mature, I almost lost her. I feel very blessed that she did not die. Most do.
- Hay is generally not a problem. They may not eat it at first, but should adjust as long as it is a good quality. Nothing dusty or moldy!
- Baking soda given free choice in a place that they cannot step in it is very helpful during these changes. I keep it out for my goats all the time and they eat what they want.
- Make sure they cannot get out of the pen/pasture. Of course they have fun bouncing and jumping about the barn, but they can get into places that they cannot get out of. A couple of times I had to rescue them after they had fallen into a gap between hay bales. One was almost suffocated! Since they are creative they will also find ways to get into things you thought were safe!
- Make sure you have a good vet who works with goats. If you do not have a regular vet already, find one you like and be sure you can call when you need to. A sick goat usually needs to be cared for quickly and if they are, they can usually survive.
These are just some things that come up most often. Do your research! There is a lot of good, helpful information on the internet. Most of all do not hesitate to ask someone. Most “goat people” love to help each other out.