Animal Care

Goats

GoatsWhat do Goats need?

  • Owner adherence to Irish legislation
  • Companionship (to be with at least one other goat).
  • A daily supply of good quality hay and greenstuff.
  • An interesting and varied diet, with access to bushes and branches.
  • Concentrates (high energy food enriched with vitamins and minerals) at certain times in its life, e.g. when pregnant or giving milk.
  • A mineral lick.
  • A constant supply of fresh clean water.
  • Somewhere, surrounded by secure fencing, in which to browse. Do not tie the goat up.
  • Constant access to a dry warm shelter at night or when it is cold or wet.
  • To be milked regularly if required.
  • Regular worming.
  • Hooves trimmed every four to six weeks.
  • Routine vaccinations against serious diseases.
  • Disbudding (to have its horns removed at no more than a few days old).
  • Careful and sensitive handling.
  • To be under the care of a vet.
  • To be looked after at holiday times.
  • Your time and interest for the rest of its life.

LEGISLATION

Anyone who has a goat or goats, either on external premises like a farm, petting zoo or at home, has to register the animal with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.  There are strict regulations on how the animal will be housed, fed, cared for, transported, etc.  As the owner it is your responsibility to ensure that you are registered and follow all the legislation.

Department of Agriculture Website - http://www.agriculture.gov.ie

National Goat Identification System (NGIS)  - click to view the regulations

Life span
Goats live for 10-14 years.

Sexually mature
From four to six months.

In season (when female goat is fertile)
Between September and March; lasts up to three days. If not mated, females will come into season every 21 days. Once mated, goats can stay in milk for two to three years.

Gestation (length of pregnancy)
Five months.

Number of offspring
One to four.

Weaning (coming off milk onto solids)
Not earlier than ten-12 weeks. The young needs to eat an increasing amount of solid food from two to three weeks old, in order to encourage rumen development.

Disbudding
At three to seven days.

Handling
Goats are sensitive, intelligent animals that should be handled in a smooth, calm manner.

Companionship
Goats are social and happier in pairs. They do have a 'pecking order'.

Health Problems
Common health problems include:
Diarrhoea: Consult a vet immediately.
Enterotoxemia: Acute inflammation

Remember - a pet needs your time and interest for the rest of its life.

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